I have read a lot about this slow train to Thazi and how it is an incredible experience to have in Myanmar. I read a lot of different opinions about it and I decided that I must to it as the descriptions were too good.
This is my first train ride in Myanmar, and I truly believe it is one of the musts does in the country. Not only this slow train to Thazi but riding a train in general. It’s something unique and amazing.
I took a tuk-tuk from the city Nyaungshwe until the train station and it took around 20 minutes to get there. I buy the ticket at the station that is not very crowded. Just a few tourists were doing the same. The ticket seller was very nice and guided me inside the train to show me where is my seat. The train looks very old but it actually isn’t uncomfortable. I was in the upper class but still, haven’t played more than 3€ for this train ride.
The train departs around 8 AM and I arrived at Thazi around 7 PM, so I spent the full day on that amazing train ride. The most fun one ever. It is called the slow train because it’s velocity is all the time around 10-20km/h. That’s why you take around 11h to do around 150km but is so much worth it.
Besides the view that is incredibly beautiful among the mountains and the different types of landscapes Myanmar has to offer, all the bustle and hustle during this ride is a lot of fun and it’s the closest you can be to Burmese people and their culture. There were a few more tourists until Kalaw station, but from Kalaw to Thazi I was the only foreigner around. That allows you to appreciate the local’s life just as it is. Every train station is a market and the train itself is a moving market as there are always people entering and leaving the train while selling their stuff. From fruits to vegetables, sweets, drinks, meals, everything is provided to you by the train sellers. I saw some weird things being sold like for instance fried crickets…
Every train stop people are coming in and out and all types of things are going inside the train through the windows. They don’t care that it’s your window, they still make business through it. There are vegetables, flowers, and fruits going around all the time. It’s so cool to see the Burmese as they are and how this people life. It’s like a real-time travel to the past. Not like medieval fairs, a real-time travel. Those were things I bet you could see in Europe some years ago. That’s why this slow train to Thazi is so unique!
I also love the view, although I think that it can be even better after the rainy season as you will get a much greener landscape. We are crossing really tight paths on the rocks. It’s tempting to put your head off the train to see what’s around but you really need to be careful as the rocks and trees are so close to the train.
I remember recording a few seconds of the ride to try to catch the song the lady behind me was singing. When I got back to Portugal and I see this video, I got chills as that music that I have once recorded because I was enjoying it, it’s the same as one of the Myanmar music I have been listening to so far. I had to no idea that I had heard it before so that coincidence got me chills. Even because this music is one of my favorites.
During this ride, I also see some burning fields that Burmese burn on purpose to fertilize the soil. That was a weird sight for me as I didn’t know they were burning dry things for this purpose. It was kind of shocking…
I arrive Thazi and it’s totally dark. I just went there to sleep and catch another train in the next day’s morning.
So far, I’m loving the slow train to Thazi, so I’m excited for the next day!