Yangon Circular Railway - A Great Way to Experience Local Life
Taking the Yangon Circular train is not only a means of transportation but also an experience in itself. The easiest place to start your journey is from Yangon Central Railway Station. The reason being that most tourists start here and thus the people working there have enough experience engaging with tourists to be able to direct you to where you need to go. However, it is possible to start from any of the stations the train stops at.
When you enter the train station, there is a ticket booth in the middle (left most picture) - do not buy the ticket from there. Instead, ask which platform the Circular Train operating at and buy directly at the booth on that platform (middle picture). Each ticket costs 200 Kyat. If you want to get off and get on again, you would have to purchase another ticket.
Take the stairs at the left-most end of the station to get to the platforms.
When I was there in Dec 2019, there was construction going on eastern part of the loop. So unfortunately I could only ride from Yangon Central Station to Insein Station. Hopefully, when you are there in future, the whole loop would be operational.
While there may not be anyone checking your ticket before you board, a train conductor might check once you're on board. So don't try to get on without buying a ticket.
Seeing the Japanese characters on the board, the train seems to be an old Japanese train. if you look around the train, you would also find old Japanese advertisement posters.
I was one of the last people to board the train and when I got on, there weren't any places left to sit so I decided to sit at the train steps. Not long after, someone gave up his seat for me and I was so grateful for that. And after a few more stations, the guy with the white cap sitting down asked me to go to where he was so that i could get the best view from the train.
And because of his kind offer, I had the opportunity to video this. For me, the best place to be on the train is either the first on the last cabin. I was on the last cabin and the view was amazing.
There is never a dull moment on this train. There will always be someone selling something, a conversation to listen to or even a sight that was interesting- a glimpse of local life in it's truest form.
I truly enjoyed my time on the train. While I didn't have the chance to ride through all the stations, what I experienced in that short amount of time was everything I hoped for. People working in the stations were helpful to point me in the right direction, commuters on the trains were extremely kind to give up their seat for me and were even thoughtful enough to let me stand at the best position to take pictures and videos. If you get a chance to come to Yangon, this is something you should not miss.
Address: Yangon Central Railway Station, Kun Chan Road, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)