Hsipaw & the Gokteik Viaduct, Myanmar

Our last destination in Myanmar was to go to Hsipaw – a relatively quiet village northeast of Mandalay. You’d think we’d of had enough of trains by now, but I had read about this train route that went through beautiful mountains and on a particularly rickety bridge over a deep gorge spanning 300 metres. That particular part of the train route is called the Gokteik Viaduct. It was built by the British and then repaired in 1951 after being damaged in WW2 and was repaired again in the 1990s. With open air on either side it’s breathtaking and terrifying at the same time. The train slows down to eliminate any pressure that could cause more damage and therefore takes several minutes to cross. Lots of time to lean your head out the window and develop a fear of heights. The whole train ride was a highlight for me and an excellent way to spend our last day in Myanmar.

Crossing the bridge.
A view of the bridge.
How I spent most of the 8 hour trip.
Our seats. The train trip is known for it’s scenery rather than it’s cleanliness and comfort!
Snacks were always available en route from vendors like this woman selling pieces of chicken.
A boy sitting in an abandoned train car.
Kids sell glasses of water along the tracks.
Just outside of Hsipaw: the joint efforts between a mother and her two daughters aren’t enough to move these water buffalo.
The eldest daughter hits them with a branch to get them going.
Young nuns run across the street in Hsipaw avoiding the vehicles.

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