Yangon Circle Line train

Spending three hours on the Yangon Circle Line is a great way to pass an afternoon in the city.

A girl wearing the sandalwood paste called thanaka.
A girl wearing the sandalwood paste called thanaka.

The train takes a long loop around the city – right to the outskirts where the scenery is very rural.

Leaning out to catch the breeze
Leaning out to catch the breeze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can buy snacks, plastic goods – even bird feeders – along the way, but not bottled water, so take plenty of that (or buy it from Yangon Central Station).

A vendor at one of the line's 38 stations
A vendor at one of the line’s 38 stations

 

On the weekends it’s not at all busy, other than for a couple of stops where fruit and vegetable vendors pile on with sacks of produce.

Passing a wrecked car yard
Passing a wrecked car yard

Hop on at Yangon Central Station and jump off at any station, should you wish. The price is the same regardless – $1 per person. If you’re a foreigner, don’t forget to bring your passport or you won’t be able to board.

Inside the carriage, with my husband looking out at the view
Inside the carriage, with my husband looking out at the view

As the train is so slow, it isn’t used by the middle class to travel to work. Surely one day in the near distant future it will be upgraded and Yangon’s streets will be cleared of the current chaos.

It didn't get much busier than this for most of the journey
It didn’t get much busier than this for most of the journey

 

 

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Jessica Mudditt is an Australian freelance journalist whose articles have been published by The Economist, BBC, CNN, Marie Claire, GQ and Australian Geographic.

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“I squeezed Sherpa’s hand one last time before reluctantly letting go. Our eyes locked for a second and we mouthed a quick “I love you” – the most affection it was appropriate to show in the conservative Buddhist country. I wanted to run a hand through his mop of curly black hair but he was already walking away from me.”