VIP luxury doesn’t even come close to describing the Yangon to Inle Lake bus that I had the pleasure to travel on.
Bought for a bargain price of $17 (not including the taxi to the bus station which is faaaar away so make sure you leave in lots of time) from lovely Simon the hostel owner in Yangon. They always tell you it’s a VIP bus you are taking, but it rarely is in this part of the world, but this time, I got lucky!
HUGE leather fully reclining seats, free toothbrush and toothpaste, shortbread cookies, boiled sweets, eucalyptus oil, a face wipe, vomit bags and 2 soft warm blankets to snuggle in when the air con was pumped up to what felt like -40 degrees.
Even the dinner/toilet stop was a charm, we stopped at a modern looking service station with flashing lights and plenty of food options. I shared the toilet cubicle with a curious chicken. It is still Myanmar however, so bring your own tissues.
Unfortunately the bus stopped in Kalaw to soon (actually on time but too soon for me to fully enjoy a good sleep), and after a gentle wake up from the bus-hostess I found myself shivering on the side of the road at 4.30 in the morning.
The only problem with this bus ride was that it set the standard way to high for any further bus rides I would be taking in Myanmar. It was my first bus experience in Myanmar and seemed I peaked with a great bus too soon, leading to high expectations that were never met.
The bus time from Yangon to Kalaw takes approx 10 hours, leaving at 6.30pm and arriving at 4.30am. Add an extra couple of hours plus a winding road if you decided to go all the way to Inle Lake on the same bus.
For anyone that is interested, the bus company is:
Thit Sar OO Express
Recommended any day, or night!