I arrived in Pyin Oo Lwin after a mega journey and checked into the only listing in town on hostelworld.com. It was clearly an old guest house/hotel that had been converted into somewhat of a hostel by adding extra beds into normal hotel rooms. No worries.
There were some people sitting around outside the check-in area in the afternoon, so I asked if any of them had done the train / had any advice. The hostel offered rides to the train station in the morning, and some of the people outside had arrived by train coming the other direction. They recommended sitting in “upper class,” because the seats are bigger, more comfortable, and there’s a fan. “Lower class” tickets are $1.50 US. “Upper class” costs $2.30 US. That’s for a 7-hour train ride! Incredible.
For dinner, I ate at the hostel restaurant with the group from outside, which included a German girl, a Dutch girl, a Kiwi guy, and an Irish guy. The food was super cheap, and they had vegan milkshakes for $1.20 US! OF COURSE, I got one.
I signed up for the ride to the train station the next morning, which included a South Korean guy from my room, a couple from Spain, and the German girl. Goodnight, first day in Myanmar!
In the morning, we got in the back of a pickup truck modified to have some benches in the back and rode a short way to the train station. Sure enough, $2.30 for the ticket to Hsipaw. I was cracking up.
I killed some time taking pictures outside the train station, practicing my minimal German and my budding Spanish.
Can we take a minute to observe that there’s a different bathroom for foreigners?
The train station was quaint, and you definitely got the impression that its halcyon days were gone.