Yangon Central Railway
The 45.9 km circular railway is one of the main transportation modes for local people, and carries between 100,000 to 150,000 commuters everyday. With over 45km (almost 29 miles) of track servicing metropolitan Yangon with 39 stops, it takes over 3 hours to complete the full loop.
The British built the narrow gauge, double track railway which began operation in 1954. Along with the bus network it’s one of the cheapest modes of transportation available.
The train doesn’t have air conditioning and the seats are a little uncomfortable but it all adds to the fun. If you’ve had enough you can always hop off wherever you like and take a cheap air conditioned taxi back!
The locals are always smiling and will go out of their way to try and help you if they can. You couldn’t find more friendly people.
Begin your journey at Yangon Central Railway Station; it’s best to get off early in the morning when it is not too hot. The trains run from two platforms going both clockwise and counter clockwise and you can buy your tickets on the platform for 200 Kyats each. The clockwise train leaves from platform 7, and we’ve heard the other goes from platform 4.
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Along your journey the locals get on and off selling their wares of fruit, betel nut, and traditional Burmese snacks. We didn’t see anyone selling water while we were on the train so make sure you take some water with you – you’ll need it! Watch out for people selling water on the platform at Yangon Central, we had a girl try to sell us one large bottle for 1000 Kyats when the regular price is around 300 Kyats for a large one and 200 Kyats for a small one.
What sort of train trip would it be if you didn’t hop off and have a look at some of the local towns? We hopped off at some random stop we liked the look of along the way and had a great time interacting with the locals and walking through the market which spilled out onto the train tracks. We bought some fruit, took some photos, and then jumped back on the train.
Try hopping off at Da Nyin Gone for a large market which is about half way, and then get back on to complete your trip.