Being affordable and having a large train network connecting to most of the hard-to-reach areas, people especially living in remote areas of Myanmar still mainly rely on trains for travelling and transporting their local products to the big city like Mandalay. Being one of the largest rail stations in Myanmar, Mandalay Central Railway Station is Upper Myanmar's gateway to the 3,126-mile national rail network. The current station is a recently built seven-story complex, located in downtown Mandalay while the old one is located farther south of the new station. The station also comprises an MTT office—run by the government—where visitors can get all the train departure information in English.
Train Networks from Mandalay
Mandalay Central Railway Station is the terminus of the main rail line from Yangon and also the starting point of branch lines to Pyin Oo Lwin, Monywa, Pakokku, Lashio, Kalay, Gangaw, and to the north, Shwebo, Kanbalu, Kawlin, Naba, Mohnyin, Hopin, Mogaung and Myitkyina.
There are two trains running from Bagan twice a day and it takes around 8 hours from Bagan to Mandalay. The train from Lashio leaves quite early in the morning and this 16-hour journey involves some wonderful sceneries as well as the famous Gokhteik viaduct in Naung Cho of western Shan State.
How to buy a train ticket at the station?
You will need to present the passports of all the people traveling, and payment must be made in the Myanmar currency (Kyat). You can purchase the train ticket up to 3 days in advance (at the Advanced Ticket Office) from the train station you want to take. If you buy the ticket and travel at the same day, you can buy it at the "Ticket Office". In Myanmar, the train reservation records are kept in written form at the station from which the passenger intends to depart.
Note that you can only buy ticket at your departure station. For example, you cannot purchase a ticket from Manadalay to Thazi at Yangon Central Train Station. Moreover, leaving the train and catching a different train for the remaining journey is not permitted. If you want to do a ‘stop-over’ or break up your journey, then you need to buy separate tickets at the station you want to depart.
Travelling by train in Myanmar will give you a fascinating opportunity to explore the most breathtaking sights as well as to mingle with the local people. Although most of the trains are bumpy ones, the sleeper carriages and the upper classes will give you a more comfortable experience. So, if you happen to be in Mandalay, head off to the Mandalay Central Railway Station and book your ticket to take you in and around Mandalay.