Dec 17, 2014

A steam train between Bagan and Kyaukpadaung is going to start.

A vintage steam train will ply tourists between Bagan and Kyaukpadaung in Mandalay starting next week.
The train will cash in on Mandalay’s popularity as the gateway town to visit the historic sites of Bagan and particularly rail fans, who enjoy stream train travel.
Very little advance notice has been given to overseas tour operators so it is unlikely that the train’s sales team will be able to muster group business in the short-term.
Tour operators are likely to adopt a cautious approach to see if the train is here for the long-term, or just another experiment that lacks a  marketing plan, or sales expertise to secure advance bookings through the international travel trade.
Price is a another consideration. The train will begin a single weekly service, every Tuesdays, effective 16 December and the 110-km return journey will cost a staggering USD250 per person.
The train will carry up to 120 passengers at a time and is pitched at high-end foreign tourists, looking for a different mode of travel to Bagan that harks back to Myanmar’s colonial history.
Bright View Steam Locomotive Tours director, Zaw Weik, was quoted by the Irrawaddy media as saying: “I am not only seeking business success, but also the improvement of the tourism industry.”
Included in the price is a short stop in a local village, meals and transportation by car to and from Mount Popa once passengers alight at Kyaukpadaung.
A typical return journey from Bagan to Mount Popa by private taxi costs USD34.
Bagan Tourist Guide Organisation president, Zaw Win Cho, told the Irrawaddy that the locomotive would be a popular draw card despite the ticket price.
“I think the cost is high, but wealthy  tourists will pay. There is a one hour hot air balloon ride here that costs USD360, but tourists still fork out the cash.”

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