No More Strolling Along Goteik Viaduct in Shan State

By Myat Pyae Phyo 15 December 2015

RANGOON — Authorities are clamping down on a restriction that prohibits walking along the Goteik Viaduct in Shan State’s Nawnghkio Township, a ban already in place for the landmark railway trestle that was not previously enforced, according to Aye Maung, an assistant general manager with the state-owned Myanmar Railways.

“In fact, walking has never been allowed on the viaduct. Despite the warning notices, people walk on the viaduct. We are warning because of the danger of falling off it,” Aye Maung told The Irrawaddy.

Previously, the viaduct was largely only accessible by train, but visitors can now easily reach the site by car. The viaduct’s popularity as a tourist destination has grown as a result, say locals, drawing visitors from many parts of the country.

“There were already notices saying ‘No passing except concerned authorities,’ but we walked right through,” said Pan Pan, a Mandalay resident who visited the viaduct earlier this month. “But some do not behave themselves. The train had to sound its horn to warn people sitting [on the viaduct] to get out of its way.”

Aye Maung said the bolstered effort to enforce the restriction went into effect Monday.

In addition to a route linking Pyin Oo Lwin and Lashio that passes over the viaduct, Myanmar Railways operates a railway gang car for tourists looking to experience to scenic ride over the bridge without committing to the lengthier train journey connecting the two towns.

The largest railway trestle in the world at the time of its construction, the Goteik Viaduct is more than 115 years old and was built across a valley that sees the structure span 2,260 feet in length. Its tallest tower is more than 800 feet high.