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“See Rangoon life for real”

Yangon Circular Train
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Yangon by Circular Train: Life Along the Loop
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Cape Town, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
119 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
“See Rangoon life for real”
Reviewed September 11, 2013

A three hour journey that encircles Rangoon. The train has two classes - 'Ordinary' and 'Upper Class' at $1.00 per person. We settled into our 'Ordinary' seats (benches actually) along with Rangoon's best but were whisked away to 'Upper Class' by the station master. Truth be known we would have preferred to be in 'Ordinary'. Anyway, the train passes through many stations and vistas from slums to open fields. We loved it. Tip - take some bottled water!

Visited September 2013
4 Thank lynton1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Just take half the journey”
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
2 Thank yiwenfrsingapore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Level 5 Contributor
87 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
“different for sure”
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
1 Thank Jeez4475
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Slow train to a wonderful experience”
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
13 Thank Grant M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Great view of local life”
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
Thank biggreencane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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