Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Yangon circular train ride... supposed to be amongst the things tourists should experience while in Yangon. I left this as one of the last things to experience due to the quite long time needed to circle the whole city. Finally this morning, together with a local friend, we took the 8h20 train and started the three hours long ride circling Yangon and its suburbs. The ticket fee is 200 Kyats/person and there are quite a few departures per day! The train leaves from platform 7 where you can also buy the ticket.

The train itself is very interesting. The one we took had around 20 carriages which were connected together making it easier for the people to look for an empty seat especially in the morning when the passengers carry many bags of various sizes with fruits and vegetables commuting to reach the different markets in Yangon, or for the various sellers to sell their products to travellers ranging from cold water or hot sweet tea to spicy grated mango.

The coaches have no doors and the windows are wide open to be able to get some fresh breeze. You have some ventilators on the roof most of which are not working. You are not allowed to smoke, throw garbage or kiss! I actually saw people throw garbage out of the windows (it is so normal for people here to dispose of their garbage wherever they are), and smoke but indeed nobody was kissing! I suppose kissing in public is taboo and is also not allowed because people face each other on the two parallel wooden benches.

It is hard to say if this could be a worthy experience for the tourists. I would agree so if only the tourists stay in Yangon and do not travel outside the city. Indeed the ride takes you to the suburbs and Yangon’s outskirts and you can see some of the fields being worked by the locals, some traditional wooden houses and kids playing around; in some of the stations the people display their fruits and vegetables directly on the platform.

For me, the most interesting thing was to observe the travellers coming in and getting out of the train. People going to the market with their many and heavy bags, relying on the people to help them in and out of the carriage, ladies cleaning their vegetables before reaching the market, and of course people falling asleep from the ride!

Anyhow the ride, because of its many stations and high levels of commotion did not seem that long.

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