Riding the Circle Line in order to escape bustling Yangon
23-25 March 2014 I wish I could say that I saved the best for the end, but unfortunately Yangon was not my most favorite place. Maybe because it was freaking hot when I was there, which made me very loom the whole day long! Yangon was the only city during my whole trip where I felt the need of taking a shower after I just had one! With some effort I managened to convince myself for a walking tour of Yangon. I did not expect this city to have some of the grandest colonial-era buildings in all of South East Asia. Many of those buildings are situated around the Sule Paya, a 2000-year old golden temple in the center of a traffic circle.
THE landmark of Yangon and holiest Buddhist site in all of Myanmar is Yangon’s Shwedagon Paya, the golden stupa. In contrast to what many people think, it is not Myanmars’ tallest pagoda. The tallest is actually the Shwemawdaw Paya which is situated in Bago.Although not the tallest, it is for sure the most impressive one. The Shwedagon Pagoda consists hundreds of colorful temples, stupas, and statues that reflects the architectural era spanning almost a 2,500 yearsMy first visit to the pagoda was on my first night in Yangon. How did I knew that it was Full Moon Day, which made thousands of devotees and monks visiting the place, offering flowers, worshipping and meditation?! It was immensly crowded but at the same time nice to see all the Burmese, young and old on a for them important day. (TIP: there are 4 entrances to the pagoda and as a foreigner you are supposed to pay 8 USD entrance fee, but not every entrance has people collecting it. Go via the north entrance and you might be able to avoid the entrance fee. It worked out for me ^_^)
I needed to escape Yangon’s heat! So I filled in a hot afternoon by riding the Yangon Circle Line train. For only 1$ (locals however only pay 0,20$ *_*) it takes you in 3 hours around (in a circle) Yangon. You board a rusting antiquated train, packed with locals during the week. The permanently open windows give you the opportunity to see small villages and the people living on the outskirts of the former capital. It’s not a very comfy ride, sitting on the hard seats and the final hour can seem painfully slow, but this really is an intreped adventure in the big city and you are bound to make many new friends along the way…and the best value you’ll get from a dollar in Yangon!
I think I did my best to enjoy Yangon and I did enjoy some things in this metropolis. And although I was sad to have to leave this beautiful, amazing country I was at the same time very happy that I was moving on to my next destination…my birthplace Hong Kong!