Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Transportation in Myanmar – Through Photos

See also Religion in Myanmar – Through Photos

My father recently visited Myanmar as a consultant of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to review the ongoing oil palm projects funded by the FAO and to give suggestions to improve production of oil palm in Myanmar. On his return he sent me tons of photos and I am planning to post those to my blog in the coming weeks.

Browsing through the photos one thing that caught my attention was the transportation system in Myanmar. Buses in Yangon reminds of you of British colonial era. See one of the transport buses plying in Yangoon.

In other parts of Myanmar trucks are used as a major mode of transport. Here are some pf the photos of the trucks. These photos were taken from the following places- Yangon, Kawthaung, Myeik, Dawei and Malwmayine and Mudon.

In the highways the traffic is very slow and it takes almost 15 hours to travel 200 miles in ordinary buses, due to the bad condition of roads especially in rural areas. In the interior places it is still worse. If you undertake a bus journey, you are not sure of the time of arrival to the destination. My father was telling me that you may be stranded anywhere due to flood or land slides in between. Here is a photo of a typical transport bus in Myanmar.

Most of the major bridges in Myanmar are constructed of wood like this one.

In between these wooden bridges my father could find a bridge that could be considered state of the art - a three km road cum railway cum pedestrian bridge, the Motama Bridge - on the way from Yangon to Malawmyine and Mudon in the Mon state. This bridge constructed over the mouth of the river Salwan and two other rivers which joins at Malawmyine before joining the sea. This engineering marvel was completed in the year 2005. Before the construction of the bridge people going to Mudon from Yangon had to embark at Motama jetty and use a ferry to travel to Mudon.

Another interesting thing about transportation in Myanmar – Motor bike taxis- this is a common form of transport in all places especially in rural areas and small towns. They take you to long distances and small interior roads. Here is a photo of a typical motor bike taxi stand.

Train is not a popular mode of transportation. My father was telling me that train lines were meter gauge and travel time is very high. Here is one train.

To transport stuff the farmers mainly use small tiller type vehicles, locally made, like this one.

Another interesting fact - Petrol bunks (gas stations) are very rare in Myanmar. Petrol is available from road side shops. Even government vehicles petrol is filled from these shops. Petrol is under rationing in Myanmar.

Will be back with more photos and interesting news about Myanmar later.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

India:Burma::USA:Mexico !!

August 01, 2008 1:45 AM  
Blogger moonlight said...

interesting...waiting for next episode.. :)

August 01, 2008 8:58 AM  
Blogger scorpiogenius said...

Say what, i checked the dates on the first photo to see if it was a recent come that bus still running yaar???

did you inform the bus manufacturer? Its a great PR for them..:)))


August 01, 2008 5:28 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Haha, you can't argue with that sturdy British bus in the first photo. Still going strong. According to Wikipedia, us white devils weren't all bad:

"Under British administration and until the early 1960s, Burma was the wealthiest country in Southeast Asia. It was once the world's largest exporter of rice. During British administration, Burma supplied oil through the Burmah Oil Company. Burma also had a wealth of natural and labor resources. It produced 75% of the world's teak and had a highly literate population."

Sadly, it seems that the country has been exploited from the outside and mismanaged from within. 24th in population and 79th in GDP is a tough pill to swallow. Where do they go from here?

August 01, 2008 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Sarath said...

Maybe thats what will happen if a lion brought up in a cage in the zoo is left alone in the forest :P !

August 01, 2008 9:10 PM  
Blogger Mani said...


Can't think of anything better to your reply!

August 02, 2008 1:27 AM  
Blogger Prasanth. R Krishna said...

Interesting Pictures. Its enlighten how the Transportation system there in Mayanmar. Waiting for the next. Thanks for giving the links.

Please remove this word varification from the Comment Pad

August 03, 2008 9:01 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Regarding scorpiogenius' comment, the bus that is shown in the first photo is a conversion from a Chevrolet Military truck built in Canada between 1941 and 1947. There are hundreds of them in Yangoon. It's difficult to tell from this side-view photo, but if you see it from the front it's more apparent.

November 23, 2008 8:56 PM  

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