When we asked the owner about which bus to take from Yangon to Bagan, he strongly recommended Elite Express because while it’s a bit more expensive, unlike the other companies who use Chinese buses or second-hand Japanese buses, the company only uses new Swedish buses.
We purchased our tickets from the ticketing office in downtown Yangon on our first day there. We booked the 21:30 Elite Express bus ticket from Yangon to Bagan for Ks 14,200 per person. You can’t buy round-trip tickets from the Yangon bus station. We bought our return trip ticket through our Bagan hotel’s front desk. Price was Ks 15,200 for the Elite Express bus ticket from Bagan to Yangon.
After the excursion to Bago & Taukkyan, we said goodbye to our adopted travel buddy Gin and hopped on a cab to Au Ming Lar bus station to catch our bus to Bagan.
The interior of the Elite Express bus was clean with decent legroom. They also provide each passenger with a blanket, toothbrush, toothpaste, wet towel, a snack (pastry and a cup of coffee), and a bottle of water. Each seat also has an entertainment system that we didn’t use because we were all too tired and decided to sleep through the trip instead.
Overall, the bus ride was a pleasant one and I’d book a trip with them again next time. One thing that irked me was they require all passengers to alight at a stopover. Apparently, all buses stop there so that the passengers, bus driver and crew can freshen up (hence, the free wash kit) and eat. According to the stewardess, all buses do this and nobody is allowed to stay on board to prevent theft. That’s fine, except it’s difficult to get off the bus at 2:30 AM and wait for 30 minutes for the bus to leave again.
We reached Bagan at around 6:00AM. Upon alighting from the bus, we were immediately swarmed by a big group of horse cart and van drivers offering to drive us to our hotel. Not a very good thing to wake up to. They have a “leader” who speaks good English with whom you can negotiate with. The price started at Ks 5,000 per person. After much haggling and glaring from bleary-eyed tourists, we were able to grab a van ride for Ks 7,000 for 3 people. (Later on, we found out that another guy got a ride to his hotel (near our place) for Ks 6,000 for 1 person.) It’s a good idea to ask the stewardess to haggle for you or look for another group to share a ride with.
Bus from Yangon – Bagan – Yangon
|Taxi from hostel to Au Ming Lar bus station (Ks 7,000 for 3 pax)||2,400|
|Elite Express bus ticket Yangon – Bagan||14,200|
|Van from bus station to Khumudra Hotel (Ks 7,000 for 3 pax)||2,300|
|Elite Express bus ticket Bagan – Yangon||15,200|
|Total||Ks. 34,100 ~ US$ 34.1|