Monday, June 24, 2013

By train to Gokteik and one of the longest
viaducts of the world across a canyon

Picture by -AX-
The viaduct of Gokteik

The train in the direction of Hsipaw and Lashio, up to the high plateau of Shan State in the northeast of Myanmar, leaves Mandalay early in the morning, at 04.00 am, see the timetable on The train soon will gain hight using a series of zig-zags. The higher the train climbs, the greener the country. Streams cut flower and vegetable fields, in between huts made ​​of woven bamboo mats. Buffalos are grazing in the rice fields, farmers bucking under their straw hats in the sun. After about four hours, the train enters the once British hill station Pyin U Lwin (Pyin Oo Lwin). The colonial rulers fled here, when the heat in the dusty plains of Mandalay was unbearable. From here the train takes another two-and-a-half hours until it arrives in Gokteik. Just after Gokteik station suddenly the tourists will jump up, grab their camera and secure a place at the open door or the window. In the distance, the steel girders of the Gokteik viaduct come into view. At a walking pace, the diesel locomotive pulls the cars on the bridge. If you want to cross the viaduct on the train and afterwards return south, you should buy a ticket to the station called Nawngpeng. The southbound train is waiting here, but you should hurry to catch it.

When American engineers finished the viaduct in 1901 this was the second largest bridge of the world. 793 meters long and 111 meters high, across the Gokteik canyon. The British colonial rulers built the bridge to extend the railway line from Mandalay to Yangon via Lashio. From there, on the so called Burma Road, they delivered weapons to the Chinese who fought against the advancing Japanese in the Second World War. Until the Japanese overran Burma in 1942. The bridge was renovated in the 1990s.

If you want to stay in Pyin U Lwin (formerly Maymyo), you get more informations on The Leaping Lemur. One sight in Pyin U Lwin are the Kandawgyi National Botanical Gardens, where many families and young people flock to, strolling around the lake with its black swans, picnic in the shade of trees, playing guitars and sing.
From here you can also visit the waterfalls of Pwe Kauk and Anisakan as well as the Hinduist-Buddhist cave-shrine of Peik Chin Myaing.

Picture by Arian Zwegers
Pyin U Lwin Market

Picture by Mat Maessen
Pyin U Lwin Downtown

Picture by Mat Maessen

Picture by mangostani
Horse-carriage waiting in Pyin U Lwin

Picture by ninjawil
Nuns in Pyin U Lwin
Pyin U Lwin with Kandawgyi Lake

Hotels in Pyin U Lwin

Kandawgyi Hill Resort:

Picture by travfotos

Candacraig Hotel:

Picture by lacest20

Read more:
Mandalay Impressions: Between Pilgrims to a very holy Buddha Image and the unholy Chinese Hunger for Jade
Mandalay Hotel Picks: Reviews by guests
Mandalay Restaurant Picks: Reviews by guests
Amapura - the City of Immortality and U Bein Bridge: A day trip from Mandalay
River Cruises from Mandalay to Bagan and Mingun

Get around in Mandalay by Taxi

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