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“Just take half the journey” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Yangon Circular Train

Yangon Circular Train
Central Station, Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar
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Top Rated
$41*
and up
Yangon by Circular Train: Life Along the Loop
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
singapore
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5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Just take half the journey”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2013

I took the circular train expecting to go one round around yangon (3hours), but halfway I was too bored and decided to alight and take the opposite train back. It was ok for an experience of how the locals use the ancient train to get around, but to sit through the whole thing may be a bit too much.

Visited June 2013
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Vaduz, Liechtenstein
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87 reviews 87 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
“different for sure”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2013

to have a look at how people live around Yangoon, to meet intersting characters and to take great photos... though your bum will get sore!

Visited July 2013
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Slow train to a wonderful experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2013

Yangon is not a city of sights. In fact, the same could be said not unkindly for Myanmar. Tourism slowly is crawling out of its over-controlled infancy. That lack of sights on a city tour itinerary doesn't bother me as I travel to see different ways of life, "the people", as it is normally put. That seems to be the view of many on Tripadvisor, I think.
So, the Circular Train must be top of your list as there is no better - more efficient, if you like - way of seeing a large chunk of the people, in much the same conditions in which most in that country live.
The best place to catch the Circular Train is the ornate and cavernous Central Station, with the ticket office being between tracks 6 and 7. You pay your USD1 (I don't know if they accept kyats) and get a special "Foreigner Ticket" (Pictured). There is a sign to be nice to tourists and to smile, and most people do that (Pictured).
The ticket probably entitles you to the "Upper Class" section pictured in some of the reviews here, with fans on the ceiling and a sort of covering to the seats. I chose the ordinary class as noted on my ticket: benches along the sides, with open space in the centre where the action takes place (Pictured).
People sleep, eat, bundle their market produce, drink local rum, chew (and spit) betal, laugh and just get on with their lives. People ride with books as well as huge bales of something.
I was looking out the low windows, but had seated myself next to one of the doors, for the breeze and because I wanted to see outside. I took some photos of the passing scene (See waterside hut attached), but the train did go fast enough that I missed some scenes.
The train takes more than three hours to roll around its nearly 40 stations. There are maps and timetables posted at some stations: I add here the map and timetable on the desk in the ticket office where I started my journey.
Yes, it is hot. Yes, there are no toilets. It can be crowded. Heavily polluted waters and lands are visible and poverty is all around.
If those sorts of things trouble you greatly, don't take this train. It is not for tourists, but locals who want to get about Yangon. It is a go to place, though, for being part, even artificially, of the local scene.
I did not feel that people were very interested in what I was doing there. I definitely look the outsider and the Akubra hat I wear always only prompted one man to approach me and offer a swap: no thanks. Another person seemed to find my golden haired arm entrancing, touching it lightly as if I was some strange creature from another planet. He gave a happy running commentary and others replied to him.
It was in a local language, so I did not understand: I think he meant well, though.
Otherwise, I might have been like anyone else going 'round the perimeter of Yangon.
You get a deep view into everyday life and if you have the time, take it a second time around, when you will notice things you missed the first time.
Don't leave Yangon without it.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Great view of local life”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

A must-do as this train ride gives an excellent insight into local life for just $1 US. Sit in the regular section (long benches on either side with the middle open) as that is where the vendors sit and where the sellers come through at the station stops. The whole ride is 3 hours but there are numerous stops where you can get off if you want (we travelled with 3 young kids so only made it about 1 hour before they tired out).

Visited August 2013
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United Kingdom
Top Contributor
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122 attraction reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
215 helpful votes 215 helpful votes
“Seems fun but only got to the station.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

I can only tell you about the station as I did not have time to take the circular train. There is one route clockwise and one anticlockwise.

Times as follows anticlockwise.

08.40; 10.45; 11.15;13.40 ns16.40 hours.

Clockwise.

08.20; 10.20; 11.20;13.05 and 14.30 hours.

I was told the trip takes about 3 hours and and if you have the time read the other trip advisor reviews as to what to investigate and where to disembark the train.

There were all sorts of Anglo/Burmese (anglo-indian) malapropisms and I photographed them, they made me chuckle. I saw time tables, itineraries classifications. You can travel ordinary class/first class and upper class!

I photographed the rolling stock, walked the platforms and actually saw the engine driver to a mainline train eating his lunch in the cab. Great clocks (analogue ..... Harry Potter)!

The main line seems to be around metre gauge and the circular train about 600 mm. My guess it does not get above 30 MPH! .

Now in the entrance yard to the station I saw no cars so you have to park somewhere else and I have no details to give you.

This is reputedly a good way to see some country life and you know the pace will be just right to absorb the detail and takes some good pictures.

However this trip is one only for railway enthusiasts (not fanatics).

The station is possibly walkable being about 20 minutes from the town centre but I had a taxi for the day and spent a delightful 20 minutes wandering the platform.

You will only be allowed onto the platforms if you seek the station masters consent. So go to the main entrance to the platforms then go left and look along the wall. You should see a an opening with a shabby door beyond. Knock and show your camera, say OK and gesticulate in the directions whilst smiling. Then go back to the platform entrance and get onto the platforms. I took the classic platform shots.


For sure there are no toilets on the train and I did not use them on the concourse but they will be there. Just expect them to be in the classic 50's style.

Would someone who travels this route advise us all of the price per head.

Have fun you trainees. By the way a good place to eat a packed lunch but make sure you have some cushions to sit on as it is 3 hours!

By the way I did not see a food court. at the station so do take your own food.

Be blessed as always.

Chris & Anna.
PS Mums a tight rein on the little one as they can walk off whilst the train is in motion. Wheelchair users no chance on this one. Sorry about that as I know you enjoy a good view whilst journeying.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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