Yangon circle train experience- worth it? - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Yangon circle train experience- worth it?

A round trip journey in Yangon Circle train is touted as one of the must do activity when in Yangon. I also tried it during my visit- was it worth it? What to expect? Read on.

Yangon circle train is a local train that goes in circular loop around Yangon town. The roundtrip lasts for as much as 3 full hours, for a distance of roughly 50 kms and two dozen stops. The ticket cost is just 200 MMK (INR 10 or USD 0.15). Internet literature said foreigners need to carry passport, but when I went to the counter I was issued the normal ticket without asking for any document.

I reached Yangon central at about 3.45 PM but next circle train was only at 5 PM. Without a better plan I spent some time around the station and got back to platform 7 at 4.45 PM. I was shown the train. Like any local train, the Yangon circle train has about 6-7 compartments, a bare minimum seating arrangement and is meant for local people to get to other parts of the city super cheap. Train started on-time at 5PM and within first 2-3 stations all seats were taken and crowd began to swell, thanks to evening rush hour. Within 5th station crowd peaked to its maximum. But having seen Mumbai locals and crowds in India, I felt the crowd wasn’t that heavy. Many be western tourists will find it amusing but didn’t excite me much.
The train had two types of coaches- one with bench seats parallel to the window, other with regular forward facing seats. The compartment with forward facing seats had "ordinary class" written on it- not sure what is the name of the even cheaper looking former category of compartment. There was no match to height of compartment and platform. One had to climb up and down a bit to get in and out.
There were a few vendors trying to sell stuff but only when there were not much crowd.

View outside- not good. The Yangon city – at least the suburbs are very dirty and filthy. I could see extreme filth outside- garbage, sewage, waterlogging and so on. I know India isn’t a super clean country but Myanmar was 10 times worse. They definetly need some campaigns similar to Swatch Barath. Plus various vendors sell their stuff- fruits, vegetables and so on right on this filth/garbage with near zero care for hygiene, waterborne diseases and so on. I didn’t have any great expectations from Myanmar but wasn’t expecting the cleanliness level to be this low. After about an hour the city limit ended and outside view changed to greenery. Half way into the journey the crowd was gone, very few people were left. I changed into a different compartment, which had front facing seat (but the coach had ordinary class written outside)

Eventually the darkness loomed in. It took another 90 minutes to get back to Yangon central station. Due to darkness couldn’t see much, I believe scenary outside would have been similar.
Overall, I spent 3 hours going around the Yangon town in circle train, for a negligible ticket price. I feel it would have been adequate to spend just about half an hour to 1 hour on the circle train, save yourself some time and return by bus, or get down somewhere to visit other attractions-but again, your call.
Summary: If you've seen and experienced crowded trains in India or elsewhere Yangon circle train won't have anything unique to offer. Else you can try. If you have lots of time and nothing better to do, going around in circular train will be a good time pass for a super low ticket price.

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