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Train trip Fianarantsoa -Manakara 1
About the food......It's very long train ride about 10-12 hours,we need to prepare food and drink well in advance Some unlucky trip can be up to 20 hours! .One big bottle of water/person is not enough.Don't expect much to buy them along the way.When sun shine through window ,it'll be quite hot (november)and make us feel more thirsty. The food ..,if you can eat local food easily and don't mind about hygiene much,you have chance to buy food from few stations along the way.I admit that I mind a bit about food hygiene so I prepared myself some bread and energy bars,but I under-estimated the amount of it.It's not enough for me both food and water.There's one staff carrying a bucket full of soft drinks and beer.We bought 1 coke each and that's it.He has limited of stock and with full passengers.I had no idea how the villages along the way looked like ,but expected that some station may have water to sell.But I can tell you that ,there was only 1 station along the way that sell bottle water and proper meal, about half way journey( 6 hours),and that's it.No more. So...prepare enough food and drinks for yourself or buy them from that station.
1.You can see the name of station that they stop quite long ,to let everybody had lunch.This is the only chance for heavy meal and to buy big bottle of water.
2.At least 2 tables set the food for sell.This is an example.The food mostly zebu meat,like mincemeat ball,sausages,parts of organ.Together with good looking pasta,light baguette and some salad.
3.This table sell similar thing,zebu mincemeat ball,fried meat with some spice,sausages,fried shrimps with some light baguette.They all looked good but I don't eat zebu,so nothing for me.That's my last chance for proper meal along the route.
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To take an impressive train trip 2
There were 8 bogies for this train,first class was the last 2 bogies.I think they let first class passenger board first,so I have time to walk around see the train.It's an interesting old train,but wonder if I can reach Manakara today? :ob
But when I saw some mechanic checking around ,I felt little better then.
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To take an impressive train trip 1
I planed to come to Fianarantsoa just to take this impressive train ride to Manakara.According to my limited of vacation time, I dodn't have time to really explore the town itslef,so it's very pity.
This train trip will take about 10-12 hours.This is only minimum time but in real it's always take longer.The reason mostly because of train technical problem. The train leaves Fianarantsoa on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 7 am and gets back from Manakara to Fianarantsoa at 6:45 am on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. A single way ticket price now 30.000 Ar (around 10 US$ / 9 €) in a first class bogy,second class 24,000 Ar. From my second and third pic show the price that attached on the wall,one with old price and another one is recent price. Travelling in second class is cheaper but I don't recommend,most local were packed into those bogies.If you really need to enjoy the ride and to see spectacular view ,better pay more for first class one,but that actually is just like a very basic and simple old bogy,so don't expect anything much from the word "first class"
In the website siad we can book the ticket in advance by pay some amount of booking like 2,000 Ar.ButI couldn't find any effective website or contact number to contact with,so I should go to buy ticket there at the station, but as I mentioned about limited of time,so I have no chance to buy ticket in advance.There are 2 reasons we should book it in advance..1.We better choose to sit on the left side (if start from Fiana heading to Manakara) to see much better view. 2.This train ride is one of the "not to be missed" thing to do for traveller who love travel,and now it can be full easily,and so far I saw ony 2 bogies of first class which can contain approximately about 32 sitting passenger n ieach bobgy I'm not sure about standing ticket,I mean ,if sitting seats are already full, they'll still sell tickets or not.If some body know about this ,could you please tell me too,I'd like to know.
In my case I woke little earlier than plan to go buy ticket.It's about 10 minutes walk from my hotel.When I arrived at station hall ,there were a lot of people , "oh ohw! ..can I still have chance for a ticket ?" I thought that was the queueing line,but I asked people that were blocking the entrance about ticket.They pointed inside so.. ok...I skip the row or some kind "packed row" squeeze myself through them inside.It seems that they gave way,no body complaint,so I assumed that they were not queueing up.
The ticket staff wasn't there yet anyway,so we waited with few other tourists in front of the booth.And as I expected the seat on the left were sold out and now only 4 seats on the right.At the moment they start to let some pax board the train .After get ticket I wanted to get on the train immediately but again ,look at the "packed queue" in fron of the door ,"how to get through and how long to wait in line?" I innocently asked few local people around there ,they are helpful,one even brought me squeeze through people to the door and said some thing to the staff.There's a female staff at the door ,look like she's very upsetting to everybody,shouting to all local pax around her,but be a little politer to tourists.When I show her ticket and said "good morning" to her with a big smile,she said hello and smile back too,and let us pass through .Big smile really worth many things.
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