Tag Archives: myanmar

The People of Yangon

Earlier this year, Neocha’s founder and creative director Adam J. Schokora spent a week exploring Myanmar. For him, Yangon, the largest and most-populated city of the country, was one of the most unforgettable legs of the trip, a city that’s rich with life and colors. Below, he presents a visual diary of his travels.


今年早些时候,Neocha创始人兼创意总监Adam J. Schokora用了一个星期的时间来探索缅甸。对于他来说,他在缅甸最大和人口最多的仰光的经历是整段旅行中最为难忘的部分,这是一座充满了蓬勃活力和缤纷色彩的城市。下面是他在这段旅行中记录的视觉日记。

“When I travel, I’m not particularly interested in visiting scenic spots or the ‘must-sees.’ For me, the charm of any destination is found in its people and that’s what I try to capture when I’m out shooting. I shot the following pictures during a trip to Yangon, Myanmar earlier this year. The pictures show a glimpse of the wonderfully photogenic, friendly, and colorful people of the city.”


旅行的时候,我对于风景名胜区或所谓的“必看”景点不怎么感兴趣。对我来说,任何一个旅游目的地的魅力都在于生活在那里的人,他们也是我在旅行时尝试着用相机捕捉的对象。今年早些时候,我在前往缅甸仰光旅行期间拍摄了下面这组照片。这一系列的照片展示了这座城市里极其上镜,友好亲切又多彩多姿的人们。

“Yangon is bustling in the same way any big Asian city is, but in many ways, it still feels undiscovered. The saturated colors, the worn textures, and the general throwback aesthetic of the city gives any image a unique, nostalgic feel quite unlike anywhere else I’ve travelled. The locals don’t seem to mind having their photo taken, nor are they overly clamoring for the attention of your lens. Bouncing around and capturing authentic moments without disturbing anyone or raising suspicions is done with ease. Yangon is a paradise for casual street photography.”


“与其它亚洲大都市一样,仰光也是一个繁华的城市,但从许多方面来说,又让人觉得它仍然是一座未被发现的城市。浓郁饱和的色彩、古旧磨损的纹理以及整座城市弥漫的“复古”美学风格,令每一张摄影作品都充溢着一种独特的怀旧氛围,与我去过的其它地方截然不同。当地人似乎也并不介意别人给他们拍照,也不会过份喧嚷来吸引你的镜头。在这里,四处闲逛,就能轻易捕捉到各种真实的画面,同时不会打扰到任何人或令人起疑。仰光绝对是一个休闲街头摄影的天堂。”

“Equipped with just a Leica M, a Leica M6, and two Summicron lenses (a 50mm and a 90mm), I roamed the city and shot these pictures over the course of a few short days without a predetermined agenda or route. A few of the locations shown in the images include the Pansodan Ferry Terminal and Yangon River boardwalk area, the Yangon Central Railway Station, the Theingyi Market, along with countless other intersections, overpasses, alleyways, shop fronts, and courtyards.”


“我拍摄使用的设备只有一部徕卡M相机,一部徕卡M6相机和两支Summicron镜头(分别为50毫米头和90毫米的定焦镜头),在短短的几天时间里,我漫游于这座城市,拍下了这些照片。我没有预定的行程,也没有计划好的路线。这组照片中的部分摄影地包括Pansodan客运码头、仰光河滨的木板散步道、仰光中央火车站、Theingyi市场和无数个随意逛到的交叉路口、立交桥、小巷、商店门前和庭院。”

Instagram: @ajschokora

 

Contributor & Photographer: Adam J. Schokora


Instagram: @ajschokora

 

供稿人与摄影师: Adam J. Schokora

Exploring Bagan

Sarah Ong and Eu-Jinn Teh are the husband and wife duo behind The Silver Lining, an awe-inspiring space in which the couple share their collective love for “life, people, gatherings, nature, creativity and art.” The pair recently travelled to Myanmar, to explore the country in which Sarah’s parents grew up before immigrating in 1971. This journey brought Sarah and Jinn to the peak of ancient temples, into the thick of bustling local markets, and floating through Old Bagan on a hot air balloon. Below, they relay some of the highlights of their Myanmar travel log and share a few travel tips for enjoying the very best of Bagan.

Once home to over 10,000 temples, the otherworldly historical city of Bagan is not to be missed. More than 2,000 of these ancient and unmistakable pagodas still stand, and walking amongst them seems to transports you back to the 11th century when Bagan was the thriving capital of the Pagan Empire. The temples are mostly dedicated to Buddha, although dotted with the odd Hindu shrine, range vastly in size from imperious monuments several stories high to tiny stupas that only allow one or two people inside at a time. The smoky atmosphere (attributable to the numerous household cooking fires in the area) and entirely unique landscape makes every single sunrise and sunset a breathtakingly different experience.

Present-day Bagan is separated into three distinct regions – Old Bagan, New Bagan and Nyaung Oo. Old Bagan is the heart of the old city where you’ll find most of temples. There are a number of hotels and resorts but they tend to be pretty pricey. New Bagan was essentially created by the government to prevent locals from living in and among the temples and is honestly fairly bland and characterless. There are many very affordable places to stay In Nyaung Oo, and the town is a fun 20 minute bike ride from Old Bagan. It is also home to F.I.T. Street where you will find a number of great restaurants to eat. You can get to and around Old Bagan by foot, bicycle, electrical bicycle (E-bike), car and even horse cart if that so tickles your fancy.

The number one experience is a hot air balloon ride that takes you on an unforgettable, peaceful sunrise glide over the heart of Old Bagan, just high enough that you feel like you could graze the very top of the Dhammayangi Temple. There are three ballooning companies, all of whom cost roughly the same, setting you back a hefty $350 USD per person, a worthy price for the experience.

For another magical sunrise experience that’s completely free, cycle to Bulethi Pagoda at the break of dawn to catch the balloons wafting by. This is still a relatively unknown sight, and definitely worth becoming a morning person for. Must-see pagodas include Shwesandaw during sunset (expect crowds and tour buses but also a sunset that will make you forget about them all), Dhammayangi, Ananda, Htilominlo, Sulamani, and Manuha Paya (for its giant reclining Buddha). The best thing to do is just generally get lost in and amongst these ancient structures and just go wherever your exploring feet take you.

Nyaung Oo Market is also worth a gander. Beyond the food market, there are many beautiful fabric stores. The region is known for their exceptional lacquer ware, an ancient craft that originated from China. It involves a labour intensive process that consists of building up over 20 layers of various naturally occurring substances to create beautiful and very hardy pieces, which can range from very functional bowls and plates to purely ornamental art pieces. There are, as always, cheap knock-offs but search out a place called Lotus Collection in New Bagan to find an artisanal studio versus a number of the larger factories that give off a “mass-produced” feel.

Bagan is accessible by air, road, rail and boat, depending on where you’re coming from. Coaches are available and are a good way to see the countryside but can take a long time (around ten hours from Rangoon/Yangon). Be sure to bring along your camera, a pair of energetic legs for cycling and pagoda climbing, a bit of extra cash for an unforgettable balloon ride, and your best mingalaba (a Burmese greeting that means “May your day be filled with auspiciousness!”) to soak in and explore Bagan, a truly historical and spiritual centre of Myanmar.

Website: thesilverlining.co

 

Contributor: Whitney Ng

Puppets of Myanmar

 

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“Some say that the culture behind traditional Burmese puppets has been around for thousands of years, perhaps since the 11th century, but I’m not certain.” says Mr. Khin Maung Htwe, owner of the Htwe Oo Myanmar Puppetry Home. “Although I’m sure that it originated from over 600 years of ancient culture; we have discovered that wooden puppets were a major form of entertainment for Burmese royals ever since the 15th century. During the period of colonialism, this art migrated along the Irrawaddy River, before settling amongst the local community.”


有人说缅甸木偶文化自11世纪起,已有上千年的历史。我不确定这个一千年的说法,但我肯定它是已超过六百年的古老文化,在15世纪,它是专门作为皇家贵族的娱乐后来在殖民期间,木偶文化沿着伊洛瓦底江迁徙,最后在三角洲地区安顿下来…… ” Khin Maung Htwe先生娓娓道来,他是位于仰光Htwe Oo Myanmar Puppetry Home的木偶剧团负责人。

As with the rest of the world, cultures and old traditions are slowly fading into the background within contemporary Myanmar. However, Khin Maung Htwe remains adamant in upholding this piece of Burmese heritage, by performing alongside his family-run puppet troupe at Htwee Oo Myanmar Puppetry Home. Each puppeteer, which includes Khin Maung Htwe’s own wife and daughter, uses all ten fingers to intricately animate wooden marionettes with every pull, twist, swing, whirl and shake. There are 28 main characters in traditional Burmese puppet shows, ranging from gods, animals, monsters and royals. Traditional Burmese puppets are carved, polished, sanded and painted, before they are dressed in hand-stitched costumes; the entire process requires around twenty days of production from start to finish. Strings are also attached to every joint, including the puppet’s eyebrows in order to allow for more flexibility during each performance.


与世界各地一样,缅甸的传统文化也面临着改变和消失,但仍然有像Khin Maung Htwe先生这样热爱木偶文化的人坚持将其传承。Htwe Oo Myanmar Puppetry Home是半家族式的剧团,Khin Maung Htwe先生的女儿与太太也是木偶表演者。传统的木偶角色有神、动物、妖怪和帝王将相等28种。木偶戏剧表演艺人通过十个指头,让这些本来无魂的木偶,通过线牵艺人巧妙的运用提、拔、勾、挑、扭、抡、闪、摇等技巧,顿时有了生命一般。做到如此这般,也得益于缅甸木偶复杂精细的制作工艺。一个木偶的制作周期通常为20天,需要经过四、五道程序。从雕刻、加工、刨光,到贴金、上漆、打磨、上色、修整,从头部到身体各处13个关节,再逐一用线将上肢、下肢、腰部、颈部、手掌、甚至眉毛等串起来……此外,木偶身上的服装也都由手工艺人一针一线缝制。这样,一个木偶才拥有了神灵具备的可能性。

Unlike most performing arts, language barriers don’t exist and do not hinder the audience’s enjoyment and connection with the puppet show, and in turn, this has preserved the art form for centuries. Previously, it was even possible for a single puppeteer to control 60 strings at one time; however, this is a skill that has been lost over the years. Modern-day puppeteers usually learn to control at least 12 puppet strings.


木偶戏没有语言的沟通障碍,它生动的肢体表演也是可以流传几百年的原因。据说木偶艺人最多可以同时操控60根线,但这种技能已经失传。而现在的木偶艺人至少也要学会控制12根线,才能让木偶活灵活现起来。

Despite the increasing rarity of traditional Burmese puppetry, there are still some prominent figures within the community who are determined to keep the art form alive. We also encountered a puppet theatre group at Nanda Restaurant in Bagan, whose elderly leader was proudly passing down the art form to his grandchildren. He describes traditional Burmese puppetry as being like a performance from the soul, which is evident as he seamlessly guides and controls his puppets across the stage with both eyes completely transfixed. Building up to the climax, the veteran puppeteer twists the puppet in a 360 degree spin before catching the puppet on his shoulders, all in one continuous motion. Deeply focused on his craft, he has the expression of someone who is simply full of dedication and reverence for this ancient art form.


这传统文化虽日趋衰落,但在缅甸各地仍有坚守的艺人。同样在蒲甘Nanda餐厅里,我们遇到了一班木偶剧团,其中一位最长者将这门艺术骄傲地传给了自己的孙辈。这是一种通过心灵来表演的艺术,那位年长的艺人不断变动手中的架子,目光完全倾注于木偶身上。随着剧情进入高潮,他也从挪着小碎步一路平移,到360度连番转身,最后将木偶稳稳落于自己肩头,整个动作一气呵成。这无不体现着艺者的精湛技艺,而他的眼神始终透着对这门古老艺术的执着与敬仰。

With every passing scene, the puppeteers bring each character’s personality to stage. Storylines are derived from a variety of plot lines that range from ancient myths and legends, infused with a great deal of humor, folklore and everyday life. Singing artists further bring these expressionless puppets to life; their vocals give personality to the characters and heighten the atmosphere, creating a more unified and enchanting performance.


随着一节节肢体被注入生命,在提线的牵引下,整具木偶陡然间具有了灵性。传统木偶戏的内容多以动作性、故事性取胜的古代神话传说为主;到后来,随着木偶形象的日趋鲜活日常,情节开始渗入民间的风趣诙谐。木偶戏的演出格外注重声形合一,这些没有表情的木偶,其喜怒哀乐都只有通过艺人的演唱来表达,再以配乐作为场景气氛烘托。

While there are now no more than a dozen independent puppeteer groups left in Myanmar, it remains highly regarded as a unique art form that is heavily steeped in the country’s rich, traditional culture.


现在的缅甸,可以独立进行木偶表演的老艺人,只有十多个了。木偶戏不再仅仅是娱乐,它也是以更高的艺术形式在表现缅甸的整个传统历史文化。

Website: htweoomyanmar.com
Facebook
: ~/htweoomyanmarpuppetryhome

 

Contributor & Photographer: Chan Qu
Videographers: Chan Qu, Leon Yan


网站: htweoomyanmar.com
脸书
: ~/htweoomyanmarpuppetryhome

 

供稿人与图片摄影师: Chan Qu
视频摄影师: Chan Qu, Leon Yan

Football, the Religion

British photographer Tony Burns first became involved with photography in his 20s. Initially for him, it was just a hobby but later he was also given a contract to contribute to Lonely Planet as a freelance travel photographer. Soon after, travel photography became his full-time occupation and, much to his delight, he was travelling almost all of the time.

In the process of developing his own style, he decided to start shooting more photo essays and long-term stories. He tells us, “Some advice I had been given at the time was to ‘shoot what you love’, and football was the first thing that immediately came to mind. Like most kids growing up in the 80s in the UK, football was a big part of life and most evenings were spent kicking a ball around either in the street, backyard or a nearby field.”

In his travels abroad, he would be constantly looking for it and one time when he was in Myanmar, he was amazed to see a group of Burmese monks playing the game in their robes on muddy pitches. He knew right away that this would be something that he’d want to shoot a story about. When he first spotted this small group of young monks playing football outside an old teak monastery one afternoon, he was sitting on the back of a motorbike taxi. Seeing this was, as he calls it, “a photographer’s dream”.

Tony shot this project over four short, separate trips, while also visiting some other monasteries in the city. He tells us that the monks generally have long days that start very early at 4am: they first have breakfast; then spend the morning in classes, learning the ways of a Buddhist life; next, they eat lunch usually before noon and then cannot eat for the rest of the day. Afternoons involve more classes and tend to finish around 4pm for the younger monks, which is then often when a game of football might happen.

These games of football aren’t officially organized by the monastery nor are they a part of the monks’ daily routine. The players typically just decide amongst themselves when and if they want to play – and on most days, they do. Tony tells us that they “learn, eat, play and live together for those years that they practice as monks. So they almost form a new brotherhood or family through that experience, and playing football is just a part of that and is just one way (for them) to unwind each day.”

Tony normally shoots with a Canon 5D MK3 and a set of prime lenses: the 35mm 1.4, 85mm 1.2, and 135mm f2. For street photography, he likes to use a Fuji XT1 and a 35mm 1.4 lens. Ultimately his goal is to explore a city and stories as much as he can. He says, “I’m constantly looking at the work as a whole and deciding from there which sorts of images or subjects I need, and how it will all flow and be sequenced.” His creative ideas often come out of that and for the shots themselves, he goes where those particular stories or locations are, hopefully during the right time. Patience is key when shooting and he says that it is important to build towards the right kind of lighting.

Generally Tony tries not to define himself as any specific type of photographer, for example, a photojournalist, street photographer, or documentary photographer. For him, the projects that he shoots can be very different from each other and may incorporate different approaches and styles. Certainly he admits his work is narrative-driven and based on visual storytelling, but he says that he tends to shoot what he finds most visually striking about a place or thing that he feels compelled to explore and show.

Tony also has another football project from Rio de Janeiro, entitled Cidade do Futebol. “There are certainly similarities between street football in the favelas of Rio and the novice monks playing in Myanmar,” he says, “As an observer and photographer, I was struck by how timeless these scenes look. In England for example, street football seems a thing of the past and now kids mostly play organized games for local clubs rather than just have a kick around in the streets with their friends. So that’s why the streets of Rio and Myanmar were so striking, it all looked like it could be happening in any era, and evokes memories of football from the past, rather than the modern day version of the game, which is really influenced by money.” Perhaps it is a bit of a cliché to say, but for Tony when he was shooting in Rio or Myanmar, he admits that he felt he was really witnessing football – the beautiful game – in its purest form.

Websiteshootingtheworld.com
Facebook: ~/shootingtheworld
Instagram: @tonyburnsphotos
Twitter: ~/tonyburnsphotos

 

Contributor: Leon Yan

The Culture of Night Markets

People tend to have a preconceived notion of what night markets are, considering them simply as places where people can gluttonously eat and drink to their heart’s content. But in reality, that’s barely scratching the surface; there is more to night markets than meets the eye. The rich selection of local street food is definitely a big part of night market culture, but there are also vendors selling cheap clothing, print publications, vinyl records, and various household items. You can even find more peculiar services, such as palm reading and fortune telling. Although not immediately obvious, night markets are actually intrinsically linked to the daily lives of the locals and their traditions.


在多数人眼中,夜市只不过是一个吃喝闲散地儿,但事实上,又不尽其然。许多夜市除了吃喝外,还有书报杂志、影碟唱片、平价服装、日常家居等,甚至有看相、测字、算命……等等与寻常百姓日子息息相关的琐碎。

For locals, night markets are places where they can go to relax and unwind from the stress of a busy workday. They’re also convenient shopping destinations that hold a wide array of products for avid consumers. For tourists, on the other hand, night markets are places where they can go and immerse themselves in authentic local culture. A visit to the night market can give them a candid look behind the curtains of a particular city; it is a place that can provide some insight into the religious preferences, economic status, and the local traditions of the region.


对本地人而言,夜市提供了工作之余的休闲场所,这里诸多小商品的集中售卖也弥补了日间无暇购物的不便。而对外来人来讲,夜市更是与地方文化亲密接触的不二法门。所谓饮食男女,你可以通过夜市更真实的了解当地的经济状况、宗教信仰、风土人情,所有更接地气的一面在此向你铺开。

The night market in Pattaya, Thailand is as convenient as it is lively. People can drop by and buy fruits, a late night snack, or meet up with a group friends to enjoy a hot meal from one of the many street stalls. A stroll through this market reveals a near overwhelming selection of food. Every stall appears to be busy stir-frying, deep-frying, grilling, brining, or preparing dishes for the endless stream of hungry visitors. Even though it’s street food, it is obvious these stalls pay close attention to the way ingredients and seasonings mix. At one stall, I requested my dish to be prepared with a certain combination of ingredients, but the stall owner looked at me as if I was committing culinary blasphemy and dissuaded me. Rows of take-out bags can be seen hanging at many stalls, the owners of which looking to capitalize on customers on the go. The locals are fond of sweets, and a huge variety of eye-catching multicolored desserts can be found throughout the market. When you’ve finally decided on what to eat and filled your stomach, then it’s the perfect time to explore and see what the rest of the market has to offer. I browsed through old vinyl records, picked up a local newspaper, and chatted with some stall owners. The locals were friendly, humorous, and lively. Despite the language barrier, a simple smile and nod at times felt like it was all the dialogue that was needed.


在泰国芭提雅的夜市,人们可以买到蔬果、打包宵夜,或是三五人坐下热食,闲聊一二。这里沿路小吃品类繁多,少有重样的摊位,煎、炸、烤、煮、拌,各种食物做法层出不穷,所用配料也颇为讲究。我曾试图自行搭配食物与香料,却被摊主善意拒绝,似乎那样便破坏了他们的美食原则。摊主们在提供现煮的同时,也会整齐摆放出已打包扎口的分装小食袋,以方便那些没有时间坐下的顾客。当地人喜甜食,常把甜食染成极具想象力的缤纷荧光色,以此夺目。当你在大量美食中作出了选择,酒足饭饱后,散着步又可以捎张影蝶、买份报纸,与摊主唠几句家常。我在此走了几个来回,即便言语不通,也与这些热爱生活又生性幽默的们熟络了起来,彼此点头招呼不亦乐乎。

As night turned into day, the crowds from the night market began to trickle into the morning street market around the corner. Fish and meat vendors began their prep work. At the same time, many neighboring stalls have already begun hawking fresh produce. Even with the smells and steam of breakfast foods slicing through the brisk morning air, the night market around the bend is still lively, seemingly a 24-hour nonstop affair. As the morning light illuminated the streets, I took in my surroundings. A motorcycle taxi driver finishing up his night shift picks up a fresh bouquet from a flower vendor, while local monks made their way through the market, while alms bowls in hand. Charitable vendors provided them with food in exchange for prayers of good fortune. Posters and framed portraits of Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, can be seen in the majority of the stalls. As I left the market, I felt like I had a deeper understanding of the local culture. I saw the people’s endless adoration for the king, their unwavering faith in the country, and the passion they had for life.


这熙熙攘攘的人群从夜市直奔早市,转角菜场的鱼摊肉铺也忙活起来,边整理着时鲜货品,边做起了买卖。街边早餐冒着腾腾热气,那外头的夜市仍旧络绎不绝,24小时都不得空,以此生生不息。刚结束一晚工作的摩的司机,也不忘在清晨的花店挑一束中意的鲜花。当地僧人在此时也托钵开始一天一次的乞食,很多摊主会分享他们的食物给僧人,并祈求平安。泰国人民非常爱戴他们的国王,在市场摊位上随处可见悬挂张贴的国王肖像。所以你会感受到这个国家的信仰,国王与人民的和谐关系,以及他们的生活热情。

A few days later I arrived in Yangon, Myanmar. The temperature was noticeably hotter than Thailand, and I relied on gulping down mouthful after mouthful of sugar cane juice to keep me refreshed and hydrated under the blistering hot sun. Strolling through Yangon in the day, the streets were already abuzz with activity and people weaving in and out of street side stalls set up by tea vendors. As night descended, the night market came to life and the streets became even more lively. I noted many similarities and differences between the Yangon market and the Pattaya night market. Like Pattaya, the street food seemed to open up the floor for lively discussions and talks amongst friends. But the dishes in Yangon were less well-presented in terms of aesthetics, and seemed to reflect the unavailability of certain ingredients in the area. The dishes here mostly rely on a variety of heavy seasoning for flavor, and the most prominent street food is wet tha dote htoe, or skewers of pork offal boiled cooked in soy sauce; the skewered pork sit in a circle around a large metal pan. Occupied plastic stools surround the stalls, and people are happily eating and dipping away.


抵达缅甸仰光后,天气更炎热了,我只顾着不停地往嘴里灌甘蔗汁。街边有不少热闹的茶铺, 但是当晚的夜市让人窥见了更多生活气。美食当前,人们必然是打开的,茶余饭后聊什么都是嘴边话。可能由于物资的相对匮乏,缅甸的食物并没有太多花里胡哨,他们喜欢用各种调味粉。这的夜市里,最多见的就是卤煮烫,主要是猪肉下水串成串摆在卤煮汤锅的四周,摊位周围有一圈凳子,食客可坐下来随意挑着签、蘸着汁儿吃。这里的夜市还有各种煎炸饼类和虫子;有拌着豆制品的凉面;有堆成山的榴莲;更有烧烤、粥品类,比白日里的街头食物要丰富得多。

The streets of Yangon were quite active as well. Crowds of men gathered and watched TV on the side of the street while drinking beers, while others seem perfectly content to just sit outside in the cool night air and people watch. The Myanmar people are mostly Buddhists, but from brief conversations with a few locals, it seemed like they were eager to learn more about foreign religions. The more outgoing locals won’t hesitate to come up to you with flirtatious offers of taking you out for milk tea in English. On the other hand, some locals are more reserved, or perhaps wary of foreigners, and tended to keep to themselves. But most people still seemed keen to interact with foreigners to try and learn more about the world outside of Myanmar.


男人们喜欢在仰光的街头巷尾聚一起,看个电视、喝点小酒,或者只是坐着看看来往的人。缅甸当地人信奉佛教,也对外来人的信仰很感兴趣。出于腼腆或者拘谨,大多数当地人并不会与外国人多话,但也有个别会上前用英文搭讪,请你喝杯奶茶。他们都很友好,也希望接触到更多外面的世界。

Night markets are a cultural phenomenon; they’re closely linked with the local economy and societal needs. If you’re looking to experience a slice of authentic culture in southeast Asia, night markets are undoubtedly a must-visit.


夜市于一定的经济条件和社会需求之上,融入了当地民生,形成了一种独特的文化现象。若是你在旅途中,不妨入乡随俗,去夜市走走,因为在那里方能尝出地方滋味、百家烟火。

Contributor & Photographer: Chan Qu


供稿人与摄影师: Chan Qu

The Slowest Train

 

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The rapid growth of Yangon into a sprawling metropolis contrasts sharply with the many rural areas of Myanmar. The air there is thick with exhaust fumes, the streets are congested with traffic, and the lack of a well built public transport system means commuting can often be treacherous and expensive. One of the oldest methods of traveling through Yangon still remains the cheapest: the Yangon Circular Railway, a local commuter network that covers 30 miles and runs in a three-hour loop around the city of Yangon. This rail system offers a unique way to take in the city’s rapidly changing landscape.

The circular slow train loops around Yangon and runs 20 times daily through 39 stations, passing boisterous wholesale markets, slums, garbage dumps, and farmlands. It is a relic of colonial times, built by the British in 1954, and operated today by Myanmar Railways. At its fastest, the train chugs along at ten miles per hour.

Passengers can hop on and off at any station. Riding the train is a warm and breezy way to while away an afternoon with monks, vendors, kids, and Yangon residents from all walks of life. Snacks are sold throughout the cars or outside the windows as the train approaches each station. While some complain that the train is impractically slow, there is no doubt that life on the Yangon Circular Railway is a part of local culture that is slowly disappearing.

Address:
Platform 7, Yangon Railway Station
Pansodan & Bogyoke Aung San Rd
Yangon, Myanmar

Trains depart every 45 to 60 minutes.

Ticketing Info:
100 – 200 Kyats non-A/C
500 – 800 Kyats A/C coach

Passports are required for ticket purchase.

 

Contributor, Videographer & Photographer: Jia Li