for more information on visiting Myanmar, see my First Timer post.
hands down, the Yangon Circular Train (aka the Circle Train or Circular Railway or Circle Railway depending on who you talk to) is the best dollar i’ve ever spent. slowly meandering its way around the city of Yangon, the three-hour journey takes you past cityscapes and countryscapes, giving you a window-side glimpse into local lives.
the station and the ticket
if you’re walking down the main Bo Gyoke Aung San Road, and you think you’re near the central train station but you don’t see anything, you’re right. there will be a large overpass, Pandosan Street. take the stairs up and follow everyone underneath the covered walkway towards the train station. you will pass over what appear to be old, abandoned trains and come to a series of stairs on your left. take the first staircase all the way down to the platform and continue to the ticket booth.
i didn’t know the schedule but luckily there was a train leaving in five minutes. the man who sold me the ticket walked me to the correct platform (several over) and told me which car to get on. i spied this map and schedule and took a quick snap before we rushed out of the ticket booth to catch the train. the trains go both clockwise and counterclockwise — just take whichever comes first. i’ve transcribed the schedule here:
- 6:10 AM
- 8:20 AM
- 8:35 AM
- 10:10 AM
- 10:45 AM
- 11:30 AM
- 11:50 AM (i took this one; train went counterclockwise)
- 1:05 PM
- 1:40 PM
- 2:25 PM
- 4:40 PM (i’d avoid this one and any after since much of it will likely be in the dark)
- 5:10 PM
there seem to be several types of trains. i’ve seen reports of (and saw passing trains with non-locals on) wooden benches as well as plastic benches that go along the sides. i was lucky, i guess, to get this type, and it wasn’t crowded so i was able to move from one side to the other. note that there are no doors so you could even hang out the side as well, i assume. the train goes so slow (you could run faster) it seems to be quite safe to do so.
i actually didn’t take the train the entire loop — i got off a station early to go to Bogyoke (aka Scott’s) Market. my ticket was checked twice along the journey.
what you’ll see
oh this was great. note the big market at Danyingon Station. so cool. oh, as always, more pictures on flickr.
if you see something you like, buy through the window!
and yes, the northern point of the railway passes by the airport — if you’re lucky you’ll see a jet land!