Saturday, May 23, 2015

Elite Bus from Bagan to Yangon

View from inside the bus

I dreaded returning to Yangon. Not because I don't love that city, au contraire, it’s only of my favorite cities on earth. But I expected the journey to Yangon to be as bad as the journey out of Yangon, in which we subjected ourselves to 15 hours of torture on a train.  Because of my flight anxiety, I avoid planes at all cost and I assumed a 9-hour bus ride would be just as bad, especially after enduring an anxiety-educing 12-hour one in Malaysia.

But returning to Yangon was inevitable, so eventually I had to toughen up and buy a buy ticket, which I decided was the lesser of three evils. Since I was convinced that I could not sleep on an overnight bus ride, our hotel booked us a day ride on E-Lite and we paid 15,500 kyats per ticket. I had never heard of the company and was skeptical, but prepared for the worst.

At 8:00 am a pick-up truck got me from my hotel lobby, then proceeded to meander through town, picking up other tourists along the way. The bus pulled up and to my relief, looked brand new and clean. I boarded and departed at 9:00 am, exactly on time.

The bus ride far exceeded my expectations to the point that it was memorable. First of all, we had a bus attendant who was very professional and provided us with snacks, waters, blankets, and announced upcoming rest stops. The seats were so wide and comfortable, and the journey so smooth that we slept almost the entire time. The AC was at a comfortable temperature, unlike the freezing trains and buses I had ridden before. There was no bathroom on board, which had been a source of concern for me, but we stopped every 2.5 hours for a bathroom break and this was fine. The bathrooms at the rest stops on the side of the road were decent. No toilet paper, but that is typical of Myanmar. We even had lunch at noon at one of the Feel restaurants. We arrived at Yangon bus terminal precisely on time at 6:00 pm. The only negative is that the bus terminal in Yangon is far from the city, further even than the airport, so it took over an hour in traffic to reach our hotel.

 Overall, I am so grateful for not taking the train from Bagan to Yangon, and would highly recommend E-Lite buses. 

Restaurant at the rest stop

Lunch at Feel Restaurant

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