The infamous journey from Yangon to Bagan by sleeper train. We’re here to tell you all about the sleeper train from Yangon to Bagan in Myanmar. We knew were in for a… let us just say “experience” when we booked our tickets. but isn’t traveling all about experiences?!
All aboard to Bagan, Myanmar!
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Where To Buy Tickets For The Sleeper Train To Bagan?
You can purchase your ticket for this rickety route at the Train Station in downtown Yangon.
Now, this train station, where you buy your tickets, is the MOST rustic, run-down building. In hindsight, it set the tone for the ride a bit 🙂
When To Buy The Sleeper Train Tickets To Bagan?
We advise buying your tickets as soon as you can. We tried to buy our tickets the day before we wanted to depart and no luck. Sold out.
We had to leave 4 days later than originally planned as those were the tickets that were first available for the seats we wanted.
Sleeper Train Ticket Options
There are a few ticket options for this ride…
- Third Class
- Second Class
- First Class / Sleeper Car
First class is the option we went with. First class is referred to as the “sleeper car.” Sleeper Car, luxurious right?
Ha, well in comparison to the other options, yes. We paid $16 per ticket and will go into detail about the sleeper car a bit later.
How Long Does The Sleeper Train From Yangon To Bagan Take?
We were told the trip takes 14 hours. We left Yangon at 4:30 pm and arrived at Bagan’s train station at 1 pm the next day.
That 14-hour ride turned into a 20-hour ride. From what we understand, this is typical. The train always ends up running behind and longer than expected.
There are stops along the way for locals to get on and off and also for goods to be loaded on and off the train. This all takes time but the stops aren’t long, which is nice.
What To Pack For The Sleeper Train to Bagan?
The biggest thing to pack is FOOD. You’re on the train from anywhere to 14+ hours, so you’ll be getting hungry.
Bring snacks! We got some jellies and bread.
There really isn’t much of an opportunity to get off the train, even though there are stops. However, there are vendors that come to the window and sell some food items so don’t panic if you forget some food.
You’ll have your luggage / backpacks with you so everything else you should be set with but a few notables are…
- Toilet Paper
- Sleep sheet (the beds are filthy)
- Deck of cards (to help pass the time)
- Motion sickness medicine
- Sleeping mask
- Ear plugs
What’s First Class Like On The Sleeper Train to Bagan?
We got a separate car that we shared with 2 other folks. So a total of 4 people to each sleeper car.
You had your own bathroom and by bathroom, it was a rusty toilet with a hole in the ground that you could see the tracks run by as you squatted.
There was a bed on top and the two seats under the raised bunk is where you sat. Both these two seats folded out to make the second bed.
There is no A/C in the train but you did have a rotating fan on the ceiling. Luckily, we took this trip on February where the nights were cold so AC was not needed.
The only downside to the sleeper car is that you are stuck in the car. The car doesn’t attach to the rest of the train so you can’t walk about the cars.
We enjoy sitting and talking with locals and other travelers so this was a bit of a bummer for us.
About The Sleeper Train Ride From Yangon To Bagan
Okay, now let us talk about the ride. Like we stated above, we knew 110% what we were getting ourselves into.
We were prepared for this to be agonizing but god dammit, we wanted to experience it! From what we’ve read, it seemed to be far from pleasant and self-induced torture.
In all honestly, it wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought it would be.
We made this ride to be so awful in our heads that when we were actually on it, we really ended up enjoying it. Now, let us clarify “enjoyment.” By no means are we going to jump on this train route anytime soon but we are totally glad we did it.
You pass by villages and get a peek into the countryside and lesser seen areas of Myanmar. The sunset and sunrise are beautiful – it really is a treat to sit back and take it all in.
Now, the train ride is still on the British rail lines that were originally laid in the late 1800’s and have yet to be updated.
The train jerks and jumps the whole way to Bagan and there are times that you think, “this is it, were going off the tracks!”
There were several times that we were lifted out of our seats from the jerks but you just laughed and took another laaaarrrggge swig of Myanmar beer.
Sleeping, in all honesty, was the worst part.
It’s nearly impossible to sleep when your body is being thrashed around all night but you manage to get some shut eye in.
Our advice is whoever is the “lighter” sleeper sleep on the bottom bed and not the top. The top bunk you feel everything way more and get tossed around more than the folks sleeping on the bottom.
Should You Take The Sleeper Train From Yangon To Bagan?
Yes, the ride is long. Yes, the ride is jerky. And yes, the ride can be tiresome but we wouldn’t have traded those 20 hours for anything.
If you have the time, we highly suggest you take the trip. It’ll be a trip … er… experience you wont soon forget!
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)