Journey Three / Chapter 21


February 2019

Early morning local train ride to the commercial capital of Myanmar teaches you as much about life in this fascinating country as you can possibly learn in a single hour.

We arrive from the Shan State and Lake Inle to Yangon at 5am with an overnight bus. But instead of getting off in the actual city centre, we get off at the very edge of the city, where suburban railway starts and change tourist bus for a local train. We already know that local, especially urban trains are one of the best ways to observe real life in many countries, especially in Asia. And the morning ride in Yangon did not disappoint.

The journey starts slowly at 5am with the first train of the day with almost nobody on board, riding through eerie foggy edge of the jungle, tiny villages and sleepy stations. But as the sun gets up, both the train and the outside come to life. Soon the train is full and stations outside are busting with markets. Eventually everything seems like a huge market - stations, trains, surrounding streets. All noises and smells mix up to extraordinary experience.

Yangon (known in colonial times as Rangoon) is the largest city and commercial capital of Myanmar (Burma). Yangon served as the administrative capital of Myanmar until 2006, when administrative functions were relocated to the purpose-built city of Naypyidaw. But Yangon is still a major go-to place to experience living history, where various past eras from ancient times through colonialism to present mix in a unique colorful mash. Join us as we explore this fascinating city in the last chapter on Burma below.