I booked my VIP nightbus from Yangon to Bagan at my hostel for 18500 kyat. I had no idea what to expect but turned out that finding the bus would be the most stressful of it all. That bus terminal is crazy busy and seems to have no obvious organization.
How to find the night bus from Yangon to Bagan
How to get to Aung Mingalar Bus Station
You have several options to get to your nightbus to Bagan. Either, you call a taxi for about 12000 MMK. This will take about 1hr and 15 minutes due to the crazy traffic. The taxi should of course drop you off right at the correct bus but I’ve been told that they also had troubles finding the bus. Secondly, you can get a public bus to Sule Pagoda (200k) or walk to the pagoda and then get a shared van to the bus tetminal, which takes about as long as the taxi and costs 1000 kyat. It will drop you off at the entrance of the bus station which is several blocks long.
I took the third option, which is taking bus 36 from Sule Pagoda. It takes about 1.5 hours and costs 200 kyats. It’s a public bus ans you can only travel with it with a hand luggage sized backpack. The buses get very crammed but luckily I could sit. Nevertheless, it probably wasn’t the most agreeable option but surely the cheapest one. I checked on map.me at about what stop I had to get off. When it was time, I was slightly paranoid that the bus would drive off again with me still on it since it was quite hard to push past the people. Finally, I was standing outside on the dark highway. There still were some people and market stalls and I saw a few coach buses about 150 m along the road. So, I walke to the station only to realize that there were about 100 buses and none of them belonged to my company. I seemed to be in the Mandalay section.
Bagan Prince Express
The first three people I asked about Bagan Prince Express had no idea where it could be. One told me to just wait here (somehow felt wrong) another one said it could be anywhere, I should hire a driver (yes, but where can I find one?). And one just pointed in the middle of the chaos and said that it was too difficult to find. So, I was about to make my way between all the coming and leaving vehicles when finally someone knew where the station was. He also saud that it was far to walk but told me to hop on his motorbike and two minutes later I was at the right place. Thank God I found this guy. I’m pretty sure motorcycle taxis for tourists are prohibited in Myanmar but I probably would have missed my bus otherwise. Now I still had time to eat my take away dumplings 🙂
Nothing at my bus booth said Prince Express but all the employees said that I was at the correct spot and it was calming that everyone else was going to Bagan as well. Again, I met a girl from Sweden whom I had already talked to at one of the Pagodas. The world is small in Myanmar.
How was my trip on the nightbus from Yangon to Bagan
I had a single seat and was positively surprised that all the seats had a neck rest. Further, you can recline the seat pretty far and have a foot rest as well. It’s possible to sleep, even if you don’t like sleeping in a sitting position. What surprised me most though was that the seats had seat belts that worked.
Then, all tbe passengers received a bottle of water, a moon cake a tooth brush set with hand wipes and a can of coke. The journey could start. Now, I was still thankful for the A/C but I knew from past experiences that it would be colder again later.
The first toilet stop was already after 1.5 hours and they had clean Western and Asian toilets. After that, we only stopped alongside the road a few times but more for the driver to stretch his legs. We also had a toilet on board.
Of course a couple of hours later I was cold even with socks, my sweater, scarf and jacket on. Unfortunately I only found out two days later that every seat also had a blanket. Oh well, at least I wouldn’t be cold on the next journey.
We arrived at 6 am sharp, exactly on time, which was another funny thing. Do you know how the clocks on European night buses are never correct? In Myanmar they all showed the same time as my phone. Which brings me to my last point: every seat had an Asian power plug. It worked fine to charge my phone with the International charger.
All in all the night bus ride from Yangon to Bagan was very agreeable. The bus drove fast but we had no emergancy breaks and hardly any honking. If you like it quiet, you should ask for a seat in the back of the bus since in the front you’ll hear the loud talk of the drivers and the Myanmar pop music they listen to.
Where to stay in Bagan
I stayed at Dormitory@Golden Crown Motel and was extremely happy with that place. It’s near the bus station of Nyaung U and so the taxi from there wasn’t so expensive. Plus, with a scooter or bicycle you can easily explore the temples of Old Bagan. It was clean and even our “dorm” was just a room with three single beds and a private bathroom. Since the place wasn’t fully booked, I could already check-in at 7 am, after arriving with my night bus from Yangon. Golden Crown Motel is located only a short walk from the food street. Try A Little Bit of Bagan Restaurant (about the third restaurant on the left). It has an amazing pumpkin curry and eggplant salad.
Plus, Golden Crown Motel has a good breakfast buffet with a few Myanmar specialities and enough variety to fill a European stomach.
Do you travel on night buses? What was your best/worst experience?
Check out my itinerary for the best temples in bagan.