Comprehensive guide to take a budget trip from Yangon to Gokteik Viaduct
Have you ever thought to make a trip from Yangon to Gokteik Viaduct? Do you want to travel from Yangon to Gokteik Viaduct on a budget trip? This post will help you to make your dream happen.
It will be a very long trip (over 750 KM) and there are many options to get Gokteik Viaduct from Yangon. Depend on your budget, your timeline, and your preference, you can choose the best option fits your needs.
Along the route, there will be several destinations to stop. You can also enjoy touring around these destinations if you want to. Because of our route pass through some famous tourist destination spots (e.g. Mandalay, Pyin Oo Lwin, Hsi Paw), you can also project your timeframe if you want to spend some time in these places.
The first destination will be Mandalay, and you can enjoy touring and sightseeing around Mandalay. We will have a separate post for Mandalay trip.
The second destination will be Pyin Oo Lwin (formerly known as Maymyo), a hilly resort city. We will have a separate post for Pyin Oo Lwin trip.
Related article: Famous places at Pyin Oo Lwin for tourist
The third destination will be Hsipaw. This place will be reached after you pass Gokteik Viaduct. We will have another separate post for Hsipaw trip.
The following are the different options available from Yangon to Gokteik Viaduct on a budget trip. And for each option, there will also have different return plans.
Yangon to Pyin Oo Lwin (By Express Bus)- Pyin Oo Lwin to Gokteik Viaduct (By Train)
This option is the most convenient route and also suitable for a person with limited time. You can take any express bus from Yangon to Pyin Oo Lwin. But we would like to recommend the following express bus company.
Shwe Mandalay Bus Left Yangon Aung Mingalar Bus station around 19:00 and arrive at Pyin Oo Lwin at 5:30 AM in the morning. It is regular bus and the cost is 12.38 USD.
Mandalar Min Express has two types. Vip Bus and Regular Bus. The main difference is a seating plan. VIP bus has 2+1 seat plan. So if you travel alone and you want to sit alone, you can choose VIP Bus. VIP Bus will leave Yangon at 21:00 and arrive Pyin Oo Lwin at 6:30 AM in the morning.
Cost for VIP ticket is 21.9 USD.
Mandaar Min regular Bus usually leaves Yangon around 19:00 and arrive at Pyin Oo Lwin at 5:00 AM. Regular Bus cost is 12.4 USD.
Elite Express also has two types, VIP (19.6 USD) and regular bus (11.2 USD). Both buses usually leave Yangon at 20:00 and arrive at Pyin Oo Lwin at 6:00 AM in the morning.
You can purchase bus ticket online through the following websites:
Or you can purchase at the ticket counters around Aung San Stadium at the center of Yangon.
In some townships, you will probably see a ticket counter for Express buses and you can also purchase there. But some of the bus company tickets cannot be purchased at that kind of counters.
Yay.. Now let’s go to Gokteik
The train will usually arrive Pyin Oo Lwin station around 7:50 AM (7:52 AM to be exact) and leave Pyin Oo Lwin at 8:22 AM. So you have some time to spend between bus and train station. (There is no direct train from Pyin Oo Lwin to Gokteik, you have to take a train which travels from Mandalay to Lashio).
It is easy for you to manage to get a bus ticket. You can either buy through online bus ticket websites or you can buy at Aung San Stadium in Yangon Downtown.
The challenge will be to buy a train ticket from Pyin Oo Lwin to Goikteik. You cannot buy this ticket in advance in Yangon. Ticket has to be purchased at Pyin Oo Lwin Train station.
You can buy only one day in advance at the station for the next day trip for both local and foreigner. They usually start selling around 3 PM in the evening of everyday for upper class tickets.
If you spend one day (arrival day) in Pyin Oo Lwin, it will not be a problem. You can go to the station and buy a ticket yourself. (But you have to make a night stop in Pyin Oo Lwin). It is also a good option for you if you have time. You can enjoy sightseeing around Pyin Oo Lwin.
But if you are on tight schedule and you cannot spend one day in Pyin Oo Lwin, you have to arrange to get a ticket for you. If you have a friend in Pyin Oo Lwin, it is just easy. Ask your friend to buy a ticket for you.
If you don’t have a friend in Pyin Oo Lwin, you need to contact a local agent. Some of the hotels and guest houses in Pyin Oo Lwin provide that kind of service with charges. There are also some agencies based in Yangon and arrange ticket buying service for you.
This contact person can provide ticket purchasing service for you in Pyin Oo Lwin, he also helped us when our group traveled to Pyin Oo Lwin and Gokteik.
Name: Ko Nay Linn (email: email@example.com, phone: 09799231574, 09697712168).
If you are unable to reach out to him, just lets us know by sending an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will pass your information to him.
Important note: At that point, If you want to pass through the bridge on the train, you need to buy a ticket to Nawngpeng Station which is another side of the Gokteik station.
If you just buy a ticket to Gokteik station, your destination is ended at Gokteik and you will not have a chance to pass over the bridge. So be sure to purchase a ticket to Nawngpeng.
Train ticket fee from Pyin Oo Lwin to Nawngpeng is 1,600 MMK.
Train ticket fee from Pyin Oo Lwin to Gokteik is 1,300 MMK.
Important: Please book a seat on the left side of the train, so that you can enjoy Gokteik Viaduct when the train is approaching it.
To make sure to get a ticket in advance before you get to Pyin Oo Lwin. If you will have to re-arrange your schedule and plan.
Let’s say that you have already secured your seat to Gokteik, you will have some time (around 2 hrs) to spend in Pyin Oo Lwin. You can go straight to Train Station from Bus terminal by taking a taxi.
You can have a motorbike taxi or horse cart. Horse cart will be bit costly, but this is a popular trademark of Pyin Oo Lwin. Cost for motorbike taxi will be around 2,000 MMK.
If it is still dark when you arrive at the bus terminal and you are the only one at that time, I would personally recommend you to stay at the bus terminal till the light comes. There are several shops at the bus terminal and also there is a big toilet room.
When you arrive to Pyin Oo Lwin train station, you will probably see some locals buying tickets at the ticket counter. Don’t complain to me that why can’t you buy a ticket at that time. This is for normal seat passengers and normal seats are only allowed for local passengers.
Things to bring with you
You don’t need to bring many things. A bottle of water and some snacks will be fine for your trip from Pyin Oo Lwin to Gokteik. From station to station, there are some food and snack sellers on the train, so you can buy some snacks from there.
If there is no delay, you will arrive to Gokteik station around 11:00 AM. (If you purchase ticket till Nawngpeng, you this is not your destination station). But trainmaster will be too generous, so he let passengers to get out of the train and take photos of Gokteik viaduct from the Gokteik station.
You will have time around 5 to 10 minutes. It will be enough for you to take a picture and selfies.
Then the train will continue to Nawngpeng station by passing Gokteik viaduct. This will be the most exciting part, right?
I am not going to tell in detail how to enjoy it. Just see the video I have taken over the bridge.
Yayy.. We arrived at Nawngpeng station where you have to get out of the train. At Nawngpeng station, you have to do two very important things.
First thing is you need to buy a return ticket to From Nawngpeng station to Pyin Oo Lwin. But you don’t need to worry about not getting a return ticket. Pyin Oo Lwin station will inform Nawngpeng station about a number of visitors who will come back from Nawngpeng.
So your ticket will be already reserved at the counter. But you need to show the ticket you have to buy a return ticket. (So don’t throw away your ticket).
You can buy a return ticket to Pyin Oo Lwin or Mandalay depends on your plan. Estimated arrival time to Pyin Oo Lwin will be around 16:00 and Mandalay will be 22:40.
The second thing you need to do at Nawngpeng station is to buy your lunch. Near to the station, you will see a group of people surrounding something.
This is the place you can have your very delicious lunch box. It was my favorite and I couldn’t forget what I have.
It is just a normal lunch box which cost around 1,500 MMK per box. You will have rice with fried chicken or chicken curry with some fried vegetables. But this is the only lunch you can get at Nawngpeng station and also on the way back to Pyin Oo Lwin.
If you don’t take it, you will be hungry on the way back to Pyin Oo Lwin. So don’t forget to grab one lunch box. (For me, I grabbed two).
The return trip will be not much exciting. Make sure to grab your belongings in your arm as you may fall asleep after having lunch on the train.
If everything goes well and there is no rain delay, you can even take a night bus to Yangon. The latest bus which departs from Pyin Oo Lwin is Elite and which will leave Pyin Oo Lwin at 19:00. (But to make this happen, you have to buy a bus ticket in advance).
If you are planning to stay in Pyin Oo Lwin for one day, here is the list of some cheap hotels and guest houses located in the city center of Pyin Oo Lwin. So that you can go around with easy access. You can get a room with the price under 20 USD.
Guest Houses near City clock towner
Golden Dream Hotel
Bravo store and Hotel
Guest House and hotel near Market
Tha Ha Zar Ta Hotel
Royal Flower Guest House
San Taw Win Motel (This one is not located on the main road)
If you prefer to enjoy real life of Pyin Oo Lwin
Hotel Rich (Also known as Backpackers hotel)
Yangon to Mandalay (By Express Bus) – Mandalay to Gokteik Viaduct (By Train)
You cannot try this route without spending one day in Mandalay. But if you plan to explore and spend one day in Mandalay, you should choose this plan.
The issue is that train from Mandalay to Gokteik Viaduct will depart at early in the morning around 4:00 AM. None of the express buses from Yangon will arrive to Mandalay before this time.
So that you have to spend one day in Mandalay and then take the early morning train to Gokteik viaduct.
Where to stay in Mandalay
Royal Pearl Hotel
Palace View Hotel (I strongly recommended this hotel)
You can take any Express bus from Yangon to Mandalay. We would like to recommend JJ Express, Elite, Boss and Shwe Mandalar Express.
As you are going to spend a day in Mandalay, you have time to buy a train ticket at Mandalay Railway station. Don’t forget to buy on the same day you arrive at Mandalay.
I would like to recommend you to stay at the hotel or a guest house near the Mandalay railway station. Because you have to take a train early in the morning (as the train will depart at 4:00 AM, you should arrive at the station not later than 3:45 AM).
If you travel alone, please ask the hotel to arrange transport to get to a station.
All other things are more or less the same with the first route.
Yangon to Pyin Oo Lwin (By Express Bus)- Pyin Oo Lwin to Gokteik Viaduct (By minivan or taxi).
Taking an express bus from Yangon to Pyin Oo Lwin is the same with the first route. Then now you arrive at Pyin Oo Lwin in the early morning.
You can rent take a minivan or taxi from Pyin Oo Lwin to Gokteik Viaduct. But it is more appropriate if you are coming with a group. You can rent the whole minivan to go there. And also come back to Pyin Oo Lwin with this minivan.
If you travel alone, this is not a good option. Because you have to pay for the whole minivan and it will cost you. There is no regular taxi service between Pyin Oo Lwin and Goktaik.
And another disadvantage is you will not have a chance to cross over the bridge with a train.
Yangon to Mandalay (By Train)- Mandalay to Gokteik Viaduct (By Train)
If you have a plenty of time and don’t want to spend a lot for Gokteik trip, this will be an option. But please keep in mind that this will be a tough one. You will be spending on the train over 18 hours.
The following table shows the trains from Yangon to Mandalay. U stands for upper class, O stands for ordinary class and S stands for a sleeper.
If you take the train number 11 you will arrive at night to Mandalay, spend somewhere in Mandalay (I mean nearby hotel/guest house), then take an early train to Pyin Oo Lwin. (But don’t forget to buy a ticket for Pyin Oo Lwin train). Other train numbers time frame is more or less the same with Express bus.
Yangon ► Mandalay
The advantage of taking the train is that you can reduce travel cost. But not much. Even you have to spend money on a guest house in Mandalay.
|One-way, either direction, in kyat||
|Rangoon to Mandalay||12,750 ($14)||9,300 ($10)||4,600|
Where can you go beyond Gokteik Viaduct?
Actually, Gokteik Viaduct is not your last destination for this trip. You will notice that some of the passengers will continue taking the train beyond Nawngpeng station. Yah..
They are heading to Hsipaw, a small city in the northern Shan State. Hsipaw is also a tourist attractive city with very interesting places to visit and explore. You should also extend your trip to Hsipaw if have time.