Travelogue: Myanmar - Day Five

Yangon Central Railway Station

Today is our last day in Myanmar! Sadly, Our flight is in the evening so we had the day for free and easy activities. A few of us decided to take the Yangon Circular Train, which, as the name suggests, is a train that goes in a circle around the outskirts of Yangon. Initially I was a little bit hesitant on taking it because I wondered whether this train ride is worth the time (a full round is 3h-long). But on hindsight, it turned out to be one of the best decision made on the trip!

Upon reaching the main station, we were a little clueless as to where to purchase our tickets. Thankfully Cheryl read up a bit the night before so we roughly found our way. Go up the stairs leading to an overhead bridge at the end of the carpark. Then walk on the bridge (above) until you pass a set of railway tracks (below).

You should take the first set of stairs you see after walking over the railway tracks. It's the one above (I walked past it to take the shot) so it'll be on your right.

Head to platform 7 (above) to buy your tickets.

We were very surprised when we found out that each ticket is only 200 kyats, i.e. approximately 24 cents!! That is super worth it considering that this circular train allows you to board and alight at any stop along the circular route!

The trains come every 30-40 minutes and we were quite lucky that we waited only around 10 mins for it to pull into the station.

It was my first time sitting in a non-aircon, no-frills train and the experience was amazing.

It was such a joy to take in the sights and sounds around you, as the train passes by different landscapes, be it open grass fields, local markets, slums, and even relatively rich houses. I could feel my GE2204 Cities in Transition knowledge coming back to me, and you know that feeling always gives you a sense of pride, that you can apply your knowledge to the real world, and especially when you're travelling.

This was one of the stations, where a local market is just beside it. You can really see how the locals do their tradings, sell their wares and all. Admittedly it's very 'third-world', but I don't see anything wrong with that!

These houses are the slums, but I've seen worst ones along the way than this. It really strikes me how people can really live with so little and live so simply and still get by life just fine.

Then, we alighted slightly past the halfway mark, because Sarah, Cheryl and I wanted to do some last minute shopping before going off to the airport. The train ride was so relaxing, I swear I didn't want to leave. A part of me really wanted to sit there and just stare outside the window and let the wind brush my face (and fringe) and ignore the time. It was such a wonderful opportunity to really stop and ponder about life, and face all your pensive thoughts. I thought about my priorities in life, why I want to pursue travelling, and what I want to do in the near future (in terms of priorities, again). Everything then was just so... perfect, for the lack of a better word.

This was something I always envisioned myself doing some day, alone with my thoughts, sitting in a train that travels through the countryside. When you think and ponder and reflect, that's when you also find out more about yourself. And that's what I really love about travelling. Not just about visiting places of attraction, but personal growth too.

And that was when I really felt blessed to be there on that journey.

So the three of us took a taxi back to Yangon city to catch about another 2 hours of last minute shopping. We initially wanted to walk at Bogyoke Market (above) again but decided to explore the streets around it instead. Had one or two good buys sof elephant pants in the end haha so I guess it's not bad? Heh.

It was time for us to head to the airport... We had our last dinner in Myanmar at the one and only restaurant within the departure areas (and it was crazily expensive, of course, argh).

Some noodle salad which I forgot the name heh

Because it was a salad kind of dish, the noodles were cold but I didn't really mind. They were coated in tomato sauce and it slurps right down your throat! Nicely combined with chicken, hard boiled egg and ngoh hiang alike stuff.

I really enjoyed this trip because it's full of authenticity (at least, compared to the previous places I've been to), and it was very relaxing. I learnt a lot about Buddhism and the Burmese culture, observed and experienced (to a certain extent) the locals' way of life, and drew some comparisons between governance in Singapore versus in Myanmar. I like how I'm beginning to think more critically too (hahaha, or so I think) and maybe it's due to my PS mods too? Well... We all learn and have to begin somewhere, I guess.

Thank you, Myanmar, for the wonderful experience. Thank you Gladys for your meticulous organisation and responsibility for all things regarding this Overseas Field Trip! Thank you to my fellow Geographers and friends who came along this trip, for you guys made it all the more fun and enjoyable! Finally, thank you to my parents for letting me go on board another learning adventure. (: So truly blessed to be able to see the world. Another step closer to my dream of roaming the world~ I wonder what's next...? (: