Planning a 2 week trip around Burma this December. I'm trying to figure out how to book train tickets in advance. The companies listed on Seat61.com are telling me that they can no longer book in advance as the government keep changing the schedules. Everyone is telling me to go and book in person but we land the day before we need to get the train from Yangon to Mandalay. Can anyone recommend any travel agencies or services that can book tickets in advance for us?
#1 ohmytravels has been a member since 18/12/2010. Posts: 2
General consensus says the train is a lousy way to travel in Burma. The bus is the way to go taking some 10 hrs on the new highway, the train averages 17 hrs if your lucky.
Your hotel/guesthouse should be able to sort a ticket out for you for a small fee. You're probably talking around 12000 Kyat for the journey.
ohmytravels - I have a feeling your information about not being able to pre-book trains in advance these days in correct. When I was there in December and also March on both occasions the guesthouses I stayed at said it was necessary to go to the train station in person to book (you need to pay in US dollars and remember to take your passport) whereas they readily assisted with booking flights, buses and hotels. Once in the country I've used Exotic Myanmar a couple of times, mainly for flight tickets but they seemed pretty efficient so you could try emailing them (their website is easy to find).
I don't agree that train is "a lousy way to travel in Burma" - sure they're incredibly slow, rickety and bumpy but I've had some of my best experiences on Burmese trains. That said, steviej may have a point regarding the train journey from Yangon to Mandalay - it's a long one. I don't know what the rest of your itinerary involves but if there is the opportunity for a slightly shorter train journey you may want to consider that instead ...... I've never taken the sleeper from Yangon to Mandalay but a day train full of locals and their produce may be more interesting and have more opportunities for interaction .......