Bikes are the best way to travel, closely followed by trains. Yes it takes 15 hours from Yangon to Mandalay on the train but this is like a magic time capsule train. Its like 1970’s Sydney red rattlers where you can sit at the door way smoking a cigarette with you leg hanging out nonchalantly waiting to have it ripped off my a staunch on. Its Thomas the tank engine, with signal men every few miles changing the signals and waving flags in a very uncomputerised way. Its old Asia with hawkers leaping on at a stop to sell you a chicken rice and only jumping off when the train has reached 10 miles an hour.
First class is clothed in bottle green which contrasts with monks robes in a very pleasing way. Second class has hard wooden seats, and windows that are not annoyingly jammed up with dirty glass. This makes for unimpeded views of the cactus forests of the dry zone and the distant hills of the golden triangle along the Thai border. Problems only arise in the wet season when everyone in second class gets completely drenched.