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A RIDE ON THE CIRCULAR RAILWAY IN YANGON, MYANMAR

THIS ENTRY IS JUMPING AHEAD IN THE STORY OF MY TRIP. I WILL START FROM THE BEGINNING LATER.

FIRST, I WANT TO SHOW YOU WHAT I SAW OF MYANMAR & INTRODUCE YOU TO SOMEONE I MET WHO MIGHT BE OF HELP TO YOU IF YOU WANT TO VISIT MYANMAR. SHE OWNS THE NEW TRAVEL AGENCY, RED IXORA , IN YANGON.
HI SOPHY, IF YOU ARE READING THIS.
YOU WILL SEE HER LATER.

I ARRIVED AT YANGON AIRPORT FROM SIEM REAP.
THE IMMIGRATION GUY WAS THE MOST RELAXED & FRIENDLY OFFICIAL I HAVE EVER COME ACROSS. HE INTRODUCED ME TO THE MAGIC WORD 'MINGALABA' - HELLO OR WELCOME.

I HAD ZERO PROBLEMS GETTING A TAXI.
ON THE WAY TO THE RATHER SWANKY, VERY EXPENSIVE, CHATRIUM HOTEL, I WAS STRUCK BY THE ALMOST TOTAL ABSENCE OF MOTORBIKES & SCOOTERS.
UBIQUITOUS ELSEWHERE IN SOUTH EAST ASIA, THERE ARE ALMOST NONE IN YANGON.
LOTS OF CARS THOUGH, & PEOPLE, PEOPLE EVERYWHERE, MOSTLY WEARING WHAT I WOULD CALL SARONGS BUT HERE ARE CALLED LONGYI , AGAIN, SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT FROM MOST OF S.E ASIA.

I ARRIVED JUST AT SUNSET & THIS IS THE VIEW FROM MY HOTEL ROOM ....

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I THINK THIS ONE BELOW IS THE FAMOUS SHWEDAGON PAGODA, ALSO FROM MY HOTEL ROOM.
I DID NOT GET TO SEE THE PAGODA UP CLOSE THIS TRIP BUT, AS YOU WILL SEE LATER, I SAW PLENTY OF OTHERS.

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.... AND ANOTHER SHOT OF THE POOL.

I GOT UP LATE & ASKED THE CONCIERGE TO HELP ME FIND THE CIRCULAR RAILWAY THAT I HAD READ ABOUT. HE WAS VERY HELPFUL & QUICKLY HAD ME INTO A TAXI TO THE STATION WITH INSTRUCTIONS TO THE DRIVER TO GIVE ME DIRECTIONS TO THE TICKET OFFICE.
I EXPECTED TO BE ABLE TO FIND THAT MYSELF BUT WHAT DO I KNOW?
SEEMS THE TICKET OFFICE IS LOCATED ON THE PLATFORM. PLATFORM 6, OVER THE BRIDGE.
I DOUBT I WOULD HAVE FOUND THAT ON MY OWN.

TAXIS ARE VERY CHEAP IN YANGON BY THE WAY, COMPARED TO CANADA. A TEN MINUTE RIDE WAS ABOUT THREE DOLLARS & AS HE 'DID NOT HAVE CHANGE', HE GOT A TWO DOLLAR TIP.

ON THE WAY TO GET MY TICKET, I BOUGHT MYSELF BREAKFAST OF A COUPLE OF SANDWICHES & A TAMARIND DRINK FOR NEXT TO NOTHING FROM A LITTLE SLIP OF A GIRL AT A BOOTH. THE HOTEL WAS CHARGING A LOT FOR BREAKFAST

I JOINED THE LINE FOR TICKETS & WHEN I TOLD THE GUY IN THE BOOTH THAT I WANTED A TICKET FOR THE CIRCULAR LINE HE TOLD ME TO GO TO THE OFFICE BEHIND HIM.
I ENTERED THE OFFICE WHERE THERE WAS A MAN SEATED AT A TABLE.
THE FIRST GUY THEN CAME IN, TOLD ME TO SIT AND ASKED ME IF I WANTED THE AIR CONDITIONED CIRCULAR TRAIN. ACTUALLY, HE TOLD ME I WANTED THE AIR CONDITIONED TRAIN & I READILY AGREED.
IT WAS A BIT WARM OUT.
I PAID THE 80 CENTS FOR THE TICKET & THE OTHER MAN GAVE ME THE TICKET. THAT'S ALL HE DID. NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT.
THE FIRST MAN TOLD ME WHERE TO WAIT & THAT HE WOULD COME OUT AT 9:30 WHEN THE TRAIN ARRIVED TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO.

SO I WAIT ON THE PLATFORM AND WATCH THE ACTIVITY AROUND ME.

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9:30 & NO TRAIN

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9:40 - & STILL NO TRAIN ... BUT IT'S OK ON THE PLATFORM .. & HAVE YOU NOTICED WHAT LOVELY CLOTHES THE LADIES ARE WEARING? YOU WILL SEE A LOT MORE

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TRAINS ARE COMING & GOING BUT NOT MY AIR CONDITIONED ONE

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LOOK AT THIS LITTLE DARLING BELOW ... BUT 9:50 AND STILL NO TRAIN .

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THE TICKET SELLER COMES OUT TO TELL ANOTHER COUPLE OF TOURISTS THAT OUR TRAIN IS HELD UP & WILL NOT ARRIVE FOR AGES SO WE SHOULD GET ABOARD THIS TRAIN INSTEAD. NO AIR CONDITIONING BUT THEN THERE ARE NO DOORS & NO GLASS IN THE WINDOWS SO WHO NEEDS A/C?

THIS IS OUR ROUTE ..

... .. .

NOT TOO FAR .. ABOUT THREE HOURS

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STILL A BIT OF A WAIT TILL WE LEAVE SO I CHECK OUT MY TRAVEL COMPANIONS .. NOTE THE SIGN ON THE WALL - NO SMOKING, NO LITTERING &, PAY ATTENTION NOW - NO CANOODLING.

WE ARE ON THE MOVE NOW & THESE TWO WATCH US LEAVE YANGON. THIS TRAIN TRAVELS IN A LOOP BACK TO YANGON SO THE BONUS IS I CANNOT GET LOST AS LONG AS I STAY ON THE TRAIN.

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THESE LADIES GOT OFF AT THE FIRST STOP ..

LIKE SUBURBS ANYWHERE, YANGON'S ARE NOT THE PRETTIEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN BUT A BIT MORE INTERESTING THAN THE 6:05 FROM LIVERPOOL STREET.

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A SOMEWHAT HAZARDOUS PLACE TO DO SOME LAUNDRY ... AND GRAFFITI IS HERE, AS IT IS THE WORLD OVER.

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MORE SUBURBS & A FEW STOPS, LETTING PASSENGERS OFF & ON ..

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OUT INTO THE COUNTRYSIDE NOW & THE TRAIN IS FILLING UP A BIT. I HAVE MOVED DOWN THE COMPARTMENT TO GET NEAR A DOORWAY. NOTE - A COUPLE OF WESTERN TOURISTS DOWN THE WAY ..

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THIS STATION HAS A LITTLE MORE BUSTLE ABOUT IT ..

AND A FEW PEOPLE GET ON .. MORE THAN A FEW, & THEIR PARCELS OF FARM PRODUCE ..

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YES - IT'S FILLING UP NICELY ... MUST BE A BIT OF ROOM FOR THIS LADY ..

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THE TOURISTS LOOK A BIT GLUM. PERHAPS THEY ARE WONDERING WHEN TEA IS SERVED ..

THIS GUY JUMPED FROM THE TRAIN SO HE CAN'T WAIT AROUND FOR TEA, OR THE STATION EITHER ..

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MORE GLAMOUR BESIDE THE TRACKS

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AND MORE GLAMOUR COMING ON BOARD. WHERE ARE ALL THESE LADIES GOING DRESSED UP LIKE THIS? & NOTE THE GIRLS SITTING DOWN HAVE THANAKA ON THEIR FACES. MORE ABOUT THAT LATER..

A GIRL IN YELLOW - MORE ABOUT THAT LATER TOO ..

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AAHH .. TEA TIME. WELL NOT TEA BUT ALL SORTS OF OTHER FOOD TO BUY. I HAD SOME FRESHLY CUT MELON & SPRAYED JUICE ALL OVER MYSELF. VERY TASTY ..

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SOME PEOPLE WAITING FOR THE TRAIN TO GO BY ..

AND I WASN'T AWARE THIS WAS THE SLEEPER ...

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THESE TWO COULD NOT SQUEEZE INTO MY CARRIAGE & I HOPE THEY MADE IT ON FARTHER BACK.

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HOPEFULLY THIS GIRL IS SWIMMING AND NOT DROWNING ...

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STILL IN DREAMLAND ..

AND THIS LADY HAD BROUGHT SOME FLOWERS ON. SHE PUSHED THEM INTO THE CARRIAGE & I DRAGGED THEM AWAY FROM THE DOOR. I HAD HELPED OTHERS GET THEIR PRODUCE ABOARD & THEY WERE ALWAYS VERY APPRECIATIVE.

ONE ELDERLY LADY TOLD ME TO PASS HER STUFF DOWN TO HER ON THE PLATFORM .. IT WENT THROUGH THE WINDOW.

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TICKET INSPECTORS CAME ON BUT NEVER EVEN GLANCED AT MY TICKET. EVERYONE ELSE EITHER HAD A TICKET OR PAID ON THE TRAIN & THERE WAS A FARE PAID FOR THE BUNDLES OF PRODUCE TOO.
HOW THE KEPT IT STRAIGHT IS A MYSTERY TO ME.

AND A NUN, LOOKING VERY NICE.

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NOW WE KNOW WHERE THOSE TWO LADIES GOT OFF ..

AND THE FLOWER LADY LEFT HER FLOWERS ON THE SIDE OF THE TRACK & WALKED OFF. TO GET SOME HELP I EXPECT. THEY WERE VERY HEAVY.

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COMING INTO YANGON AGAIN .. THE END OF A THREE AND A HALF HOUR JOURNEY. THE BEST FUN I HAVE HAD FOR A LONG TIME. AND I NEVER DID GET A REFUND FOR NOT GETTING THE AIR CONDITIONED TRAIN. THIS TRAIN WAS BETTER ANYWAY AND AT 80 CENTS I THINK THEY CAN KEEP THE REFUND.

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I STOPPED AT THE BOOTH TO GET A DRINK AND WAS STANDING, LOOKING TIRED & SWEATY NO DOUBT WHEN THE LITTLE SALES GIRL GAVE ME A GIFT OF A PACKET OF TISSUES TO WIPE MY BROW. WHAT A SWEET THING TO DO.

TOMORROW, ITS ALL ABOARD PANDAW FOR THE BOAT RIDE TO MANDALAY .. . FIFTEEN DAYS AWAY.

Posted by hasbeen 15:50 Archived in Myanmar

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Comments

I have really enjoyed looking at these pictures, which begin to recreate what must have been a wonderful journey.

by ADAMYAMEY

Glad you liked them .. be sure to try the circular railway if you are ever in Yangon.
I was also on the Lashio to Mandalay train .. it does not just sway from side to side but up & down too .. the most shaking train I have ever been on but great fun.

by hasbeen

Not the Road to Mandalay, but the Rail to Mandalay! This blog is poetry in pictures!

I could see that it was fun. Lots of passengers were carrying vegetation - herbs?

by ADAMYAMEY

Herbs & flowers, I think.
Please share the blog if you think it worthwhile .. not too many people get to see it.

The circular railway is just the first page .. the table of contents has the story of the boat to Mandalay .. the Irrawaddy river being the 'Road' to Mandalay.

I do have another, somewhat longer blog on TravellersPoint http://hasbeen.travellerspoint.com/toc/. but have taken the time yet to put it in order . . TP's default is not to my liking so I fix the order..

by hasbeen

Have you posted a link to this on Facebook or similar?

by ADAMYAMEY

I am not on FaceBook but there is a link on my Google +. Red Ixora Google + & Red Ixora FaceBook. Red Ixora is a small travel agency in Yangon, owned by my girlfriend .. I try to help her out with the English text on the website

by hasbeen

Marvelous report. We got off at 3 different stations and we spent an hour at the Drug Elimination Museum, one of the best museums that i have ever visited, Huge building with many exhibits, but only receives a handful of visitors a day. Seems like your train was much more crowded than the ones we were on. By the way motorbikes were banned from Yangon after one of the generals was hit by one some years ago

by Palawan Dave

I enjoyed the read here Steve. Will certainly keep this in mind should we visit one day :)
Cheers Ann.

by aussirose

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