“Yangon Central Station”

Yangon, Myanmar. November 2019 (12 photos)

This is Part 15 of my posts about Myanmar, and Part 19 of my posts about my near month-long visit to Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore in November 2019.

Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is the largest city in Myanmar with a population of over 7 million. The name Yangon is derived from the combination of the Burmese words ‘yan’ and ‘koun’, which mean ‘enemies’ and ‘run out of’, respectively. This word combination is commonly translated as ‘End of Strife’. It’s rather ironic given the history of Yangon and Myanmar. Anyway, here are some more photos from my walks in Yangon: Scenes from the end of strife, particularly taken on my visits to Yangon Central Railway Station.

“At the ticket office”

In Burmese script, words are not separated by spaces or punctuation. Seeing signs written in Burmese was mostly very perplexing and intimidating. I walked to the ticket counter in trepidation. Eventually I worked out I was at the wrong ticket counter for the train I wanted to ride.

“Waiting hall”

Yangon Central Railway Station was first built in 1877 by the British. The building was designed in the British Victorian style and the access roads were bordered by grassy lawns. The beauty of the property prompted locals to praise the new structure as the Fairy Station.

“From above”

In Myanmar, it seemed to be normal for people to walk across and along railway tracks even as trains approach (bottom right in photo above).

“Platform life”

The station became a favourite target for Japanese bombers during World War II. In 1943 it was destroyed by British forces retreating to India from the advancing Japanese army.

“Monk at the station”

I took the photo above on my first day in Myanmar, because seeing a monk at the station seemed like a novelty. Little did I realise that I would see hundreds more monks during my visit to Myanmar.

“Little red engine”

The station was rebuilt following the war according to a design drawn by engineer Hla Thwin and based on Burmese traditional architectural styles, making prominent use of indigenous tiered roofs called pyatthat. The opening ceremony of the new Yangon Central Railway Station was held on 5 June 1954.


Most trains in Myanmar are very old retired trains from Japan Rail. Watching these guys tinkering about, I kind of had second thoughts about taking the train.

“Bird on a train”

“Woman with a sack on her head”

“Carry on”

I just sat for a while on a bench. People passed by regularly carrying goods on their heads.

“Passing by”

A slow moving train passing by.


This is Part 15 of my posts about Myanmar, and Part 19 of my posts about my near month-long visit to Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore in November 2019.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Yangon: Scenes from the end of strife (3)


56 thoughts on “Yangon: Scenes from the end of strife (3)

  1. J.D. Riso says:

    So nice to see a post from you again, Draco-san. Fantastic work, as always. Something so nostalgic about railway stations. Hope you are well!

    • Thanks, Julie. I’m well and hope you are too. This is one of those stations and cities with a lot of character and heritage. I was able to wander around the platforms and get on and off trains freely without looking suspicious. Even walked along the tracks like a local. Didn’t carry anything on my head though. 🙂

  2. Well look who’s back! Good to hear from you, Lignum. I love the way people are sitting in little chairs between the trains having a meal. I had to take a second look for the bird as my attention was drawn to the designs on the train. As for carrying things on my head, I could carry somethings, but that sack looks pretty heavy. I guess if you grow up doing that, it’s not a big deal.

    Hope all’s well with you and yours,


    • Thanks, Janet. It’s a very market oriented society. Those people with stools were vendors who come to the platform then hop onto trains to sell their food. They bring everything with them! A guy stopped to rest near me. I asked if I could see how heavy his bag was and I was very impressed by his neck strength.

    • Thank you. It was possible to walk anywhere in the station, and along the rail lines without a ticket or being bothered by security. I took advantage of that for my photos. So different to the life we know in Australia.

  3. Great series of photos, and a perfect subject with the railway station. I think this is the perfect place to learn more about the culture and life of the people ~ and it makes for such great photography as well. Cheers ~

  4. The station looked very familiar to me. There is, of course, a functional sameness to all train stations, but this familiarity seemed more than that. It seems that colonial Britain perfected its experiments in India before exporting them to Burma. The round concrete seats around pillars, for example, are things you can still see in India. The Burmese detailing is a nice touch, but it is more visible from outside the station.

  5. A plethora of scenes from the Yangon train station, Draco, and each one is a story. I love the first one, espec. the ornamental tiered roof architecture; can’t imagine what it must’ve taken to find a raised spot to shoot this. The eating scenes, the bird, head-carrying scenes, all so astute. My favorite photo is the last one, the slow-moving car passing by with the three men on the steps, all the men inside the car, and the bright-colored paint-chipping car. Your gifts are great, my friend.

    • I seem to be attracted to places like this, which act as a microcosm for daily life. Honestly I would have been happy to stay there for longer, but there was so much to see there, including riding the trains. What an experience it was. Thanks so much, Jet.

  6. Great observation of trains and train stations in Yangon. It’s so different compared to our transport system here. Agree with your use of the word novelty – the trains there seem like classics. Interesting to hear the trains still run these days given they were retired trains. Sometimes it is what it is. Great shots as usual.

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