Looking out through the window of a rusted train, a toothless Burmese man smiles to me. His daughter, wearing the traditional yellowish-white cosmetic thanaka paste, looks down, almost shy of the moment and my presence there. Like many others, they are patiently waiting for their convoy to depart from Yangon’s Central Railway Station.
If you want to experience the way locals live, work and get about in Yangon, you need to visit the Yangon Circular Railway. It was my last day in Myanmar and I didn’t have time to ride – the full circle takes about 4 hours – but I was not going to miss a couple of hours at the Central Station. Yangon is an amazing city, often overlooked, and worth exploring for at least a couple of days. You can check more of Yangon here.
The Yangon Central Railway Station is located downtown and, being the gateway to Myanmar Railways, is the largest station in the country. From there you can get to the inner part of Myanmar and, of course, the Yangon Circular Railway. The train travels very slowly around the loop; the 39-station system connects suburban areas and towns on the outskirts of Yangon.
As always in Myanmar, you can walk freely and takes photos of the people and activities without any problem. They are welcoming, and love to be photographed.
The train was at the platform and didn’t seem like it was going to move anytime soon, so I jumped in one of the carriages. The air was thick; there were people occupying almost every inch of the rotten wooden seats, most of them barefoot, and the smoke from cigarettes clouded the view. All the windows were open and some of people were reading; I guess they were getting ready for the long journey back home. I wandered through some of coaches and took some photos. People were carrying all sorts of goods, from little baskets filled with random stuff to big bags full of food or produce. Finally, it was time to get off the wagon before it departed.
I am now certainly itching to make the circle, but that will be in my next time in Myanmar. For now, I just leave you with these photos.
As always, feel free to leave your comments, I appreciate them. For print and licensing information, just click the images.