Despite the coup and the carious insurgencies throughout the country visiting Myanmar, formerly known as Burma is very much possible right now. The center piece for tourism is of course the former capital city of Rangoon, which aside from many historical sites offers a particularly unique ride on the Yangon Circular Train.
A part of the wider railway system of Myanmar the Yangon Circular Train works as a kind of metro service going around Yangon in you guessed it a circle over two hours before dropping you back to the start.
So, how do you take said train?
How does the Yangon Circular Train Work?
There are 21 stations on the railway with a ticket allowing you to ride the whole thing. Said ticket costs a mere 300 Kyat, or just over 15 cents USD.
Technically of course you can join the train anywhere, but for tourists your best bet is to get on at Yangon Railway Station, a true site in itself, as not only one of the most important stations in the country, but also boasting ac colonial feel.
The trains go from early morning to early evening fairly regularly meaning that you can technically at least get on and off as many times as you want, or simply ride the whole thing soaking up the atmosphere, watching the scenery and doing a bit of people watching.
What is there to do on Circular Train in Yangon
Not much, but of course this is part of the joy. The trains themselves have no AC, but open doors and windows for your breeze, as well as your view. The train of course goes through Yangon, stopping at some impressive stations, but also out into the countryside, giving a truly unique south-east Asian picturesque view.
And as well as looking at the scenery there is also the chance to look at and interact with people This route is used by workers, people trading, visiting family, or simply having a day out. And it is quite amazing to see just how much people manage to get on these trains!
You also will not go hungry on the train, so long as you are adventures enough to try Burmese street food. If you are of a slightly more delicate persuasion then it is worth bringing your own food and drinks, with Yangon Railways station having lots of small shops.
What is it like riding the train in Myanmar?
Whilst taking the circular train is in many respects the “light” way to do train travel in Myanmar, it is also an interesting insight. In may ways it is quite similar to third class in Thailand, or even Cambodia, with there also being uniquely Burmese/British colonialist feel too.
If you are though someone worried about health and safety and the like, this will either not be for you, or if you do come stay in your seat rather than leaving out of the door….
It should also be noted that there are some hoodlums on the train who have been reported to steal phones and the like from both locals and foreigners alike, although we personally had no issues on our trip here.
So, while there is a lot to keep you going in Yangon, taking a few hours out of your day to try the circular train is worth the effort. And Young Pioneer Tours liked it so much that we are currently planning a tour not just to Yangon, but also the rest of Myanmar. You can check out our South-East Asia landing page here.