In December of 2008 Brian Hartenstein and family left America for an adventurous life overseas to live and work throughout Asia, raising three daughters with a sense of wonder and awe at the possibility of the world. It is now 2016 and the adventure continues back home in Oregon. This blog remains as a time capsule to that period. Thank you so much to all our friends around the world. Please stay in touch. We miss you all!
Monday, February 6, 2012
Riding Trains Through Burma
You didn't think I was going to come to Burma without getting on a train did you? Of course not!
The Yangon Circle Line is a pretty cool way to spend the day. That is, if you can find the main train station.
Just off Aung Sun Bogyoke Market straight across from the Sakura Tower, the Yangon Main Train Station is a dirt floor cafe, dimly lit, barred entrance, pit.
Believe me, it takes an ounce of courage just to step into the place, with roving packs of dogs and men sitting in the dark smoking, you've got to stiffen your upper lip and just go with it.
But if you do, you will find that the main entrance to the station is actually along the outside main road, up the stairs, across the highway sky bridge, and down the stairs onto the track platform.
There you can buy tickets for the three hour ride. Cost: 1 U.S. dollar.
It's absolutely worth it. Although, let's face it, a young person could probably jog about as fast as the train runs... and forget about overnight trips. That was the first thing I wanted but was told NO. Burmese trains just don't run anymore.
They've been replaced by overnight private bus companies. So for the best train ride, try the Yangon Circle Loop.
Kids board selling shaved ice and the woman with a giant bowl of stacked bread she carries on her head... will great you. There is the man tossing peanut shells out the window and the hard benches and red interior alone are worth the trip.
Trains leave every couple of hours, yes, LONELY PLANET needs to be updated, and the adventures at each station look cool to get off and explore. Have fun!