In pictures: the faces and sights onboard the Yangon circular train

TRUNDLING around on Yangon’s circular train is a great way to take in the sights, sounds, smells and people of the city. While somewhat of a snail’s pace it provides a great patchwork experience of all aspects of life in Yangon from the crush and hurry of the inner city to the rural areas on the outskirts where agricultural fields are worked and cows graze. The route is about 50km and stops at 39 stations.

Meeting other passengers is all part of the experience and this rather makes up for the hard and somewhat uncomfortable seating. People are friendly and may even share their food with you, however hawkers ply their wares on board too so you’re never too far from hot corn, chewing tobacco or various drinks.

The entire journey takes about 3-4 hours but at any point along the way you can jump off and catch a taxi or bus back into town. Tickets cost USD $1 for foreigners regardless of where you get off. Take your passport.

The Yangon Central Railway Station was first built in 1877 and again in 1954 using Burmese traditional architectural style with tiered roofs.


The Central station is a busy area full of waiting and disembarking passengers.

The crush of boarding. Some passengers bring all sorts of things on board with them from children to sacks of vegetables or live chickens.

The basic wooden seats inside the carriage are not the most comfortable but the social and communal atmosphere on board is enjoyable.

Smiling passengers pass by on another train.


The train flits through the inner city past typical housing like this.


A Muslim passenger on board the train.


Getting some shuteye at any of the stations is hard when a train trundles by.


A hat seller on the platform. Sellers with bananas, corn, tobacco and other paraphernalia are constantly jumping on and off hawking their wares.

Passenger portrait.

A friendly mother with her daughter wearing the thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark.

At some stations the platforms become makeshift markets during the day.


A tomato seller at one of the stations.


As the train gets further from the inner city there are more scenes like this one with open fields, rivers and more rural dwellings.


In this part of the city much of the land is given over to agriculture.


A common sight in this area are people using this hand held watering system.


All images by Joanne Lane,