Monday, June 24, 2013

A Train Around Yangon

Burmese teenagers sit in the doorway of the Yangon Circular Train as it passes through a market near Yangon. 

The Yangon Circular Train is a slow train around Yangon. A train leaves the main Yangon station every few hours and takes three hours to make the approximately 40 kilometer circuit. It's a third class only train that shakes, rattles and rolls through the countryside. It's not air conditioned and it's not particularly comfortable. It's the best way ever to spend an afternoon in Yangon. 

Burmese pay a few pennies for a ticket, tourists pay $1. There is a special car for tourists which is cleaner than the other cars, has fans and hard seats. It's also relatively boring. The views are there but the experience is lacking. 

The ride with the Burmese is a lot more interesting. The cars are dirtier and the seats, when a seat is available, are a lot more uncomfortable, but the views are just as good and the experience definitely not lacking. 

It took me about 2 minutes to realize I didn't want to ride in the tourist car, so I moved to the coach behind the tourist car and enjoyed the "real" Burma. It was a great way to spend the afternoon, riding in a Burmese coach as we rolled through the countryside. 

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