The Mandalay Express
The Mandalay Express
Yangon Central Railway Station
Yangon Central Railway Station
Tickets
Tickets
MAN OUT THE WINDOW.jpg
Life by the tracks
Life by the tracks
PASSER BY.jpg
Bartering
Bartering
TRAIN INTHE SUNSET.jpg
TRAIN LUGGAGE.jpg
TRAIN YELLOW MAN.jpg
PHONE MANs.jpg
WOMAN WITH BAGS CIRCLE LINEs.jpg
WINDOW GIRLs.jpg
BOY ON CIRCLE LINE.jpg
SLEEPING ON THE TRAIN.jpg
BABYs .jpg
CARRAIGE.jpg
EATINGS.jpg
STATION GIRLs.jpg
Vendors
Vendors
PINAPPLE GIRLs.jpg
Food on the go
Food on the go
MONK.jpg
Tranquility
Tranquility
The Mandalay Express
The Mandalay ExpressPublished over 30 years ago, Paul Theroux's vivid and endearing documentation of his railway journey across Asia is said to be a modern classic within travel literature. The book inspired me to retrace a leg of his journey, aboard the Mandalay Express, from the current capital of Yangon, to the old capital of Mandalay. Myanmar is a magnificent country, only recently opened to tourism, and so it was very easy to place myself amidst the adventures depicted within Theroux's original writing. The series is focussed on the people I met along the way, the ever changing cast echoing Theroux's own words 'I sought trains, I found passengers' 
Yangon Central Railway Station
Yangon Central Railway StationThis colonial styled building is where the journey begins. The route from Yangon to Mandalay has existed since the British expanded the Tuangoo line to Mandalay as early as 1889. 
Tickets
TicketsThe ticket offices are notoriously fickle with their opening times. I visited Yangon Central station the night before departure, only to be told that the ticket office was closed, by the ticket officer, who was standing in the open ticket office. I instead bought a ticket at 4:30am, 30 minutes before departure. 
MAN OUT THE WINDOW.jpg
Life by the tracks
Life by the tracksThe train ambles along politely, bisecting daily routines and offering a genuine glimpse into life on the outskirts of the city. It's been said that to really know a country, you need to smell it, and a journey on the Mandalay express does exactly that. This is why train travel strikes me as so unique, because you are traveling so intimately within your surroundings, you get the opportunity to experience Myanmar as you travel through it. You can't do the same from a coach, or aboard a plane. 
PASSER BY.jpg
Bartering
BarteringThis lady barters with a merchant as the train slows and passes a market located within a station. 
TRAIN INTHE SUNSET.jpg
TRAIN LUGGAGE.jpg
TRAIN YELLOW MAN.jpg
PHONE MANs.jpg
WOMAN WITH BAGS CIRCLE LINEs.jpg
WINDOW GIRLs.jpg
BOY ON CIRCLE LINE.jpg
SLEEPING ON THE TRAIN.jpg
BABYs .jpg
CARRAIGE.jpg
EATINGS.jpg
STATION GIRLs.jpg
Vendors
VendorsA vendor distributes noodles, offering passengers an opportunity to eat a surprisingly fulfilling meal aboard a train that never stops for more than 2 minutes in an 18 hour journey to Mandalay
PINAPPLE GIRLs.jpg
Food on the go
Food on the go Suspiciously delicious train food. 
MONK.jpg
Tranquility
TranquilityThere is a wonderful serenity to be found aboard the trains of Myanmar, a stark contrast to the mayhem of the cities. Passengers become placid observers of the outside world as the train calmly makes it's way through the outskirts of the city. 
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