Buses, Boats and More!
Usually, it seems like Blake and I stick to one form of transport when visiting a different country. With this trip, we got to experience some unique ways to get around!
To go from Yangon to Mandalay, we decided to take an overnight bus, which is quite common in Myanmar. Buses aren't anything crazy... but we were introduced to our first 2+1 VIP bus! We didn't know what 2+1 seating meant but it was only $40 and some change for 2 tickets. We boarded the bus and learned why the 2+1 seating was so good. Instead of 2 seats on one side and 2 seats on the other, the bus had two large seats on one side and only 1 large seat on the other. Our seats were like recliners! They even had the foot rest that popped up so you were almost laying down. They gave us a pillow, a blanket, a bottle of water, and some snacks! We were in heaven and settled in for our 8 1/2 hour ride. Besides the cold air conditioning, everything was great! We made it to Mandalay at 5:30 am, grabbed a cab and crossed our fingers again that we'd be able to check in. I think the hotels are used to tourists arriving extremely early. We checked in at 6am, even before sunrise!
From Mandalay to Bagan, we took a boat! The cities are only 120 miles apart but the boat took a good 9 hours or so. It was extremely relaxing and the sites were wonderful. Check in time was 6:30 am but we arrived a little after 6 so as to get a seat in the shade. The boat filled up and we were off at 7am. It was pretty cold in the morning but they passed out blankets to make us more comfortable. We were fed breakfast, lunch, a snack and quite a few cups of coffee and tea. I've taken boat trips before, but I don't think I've ever taken a boat from one destination to another. We arrived in Bagan a little after 4 and wondered how we were going to get to shore. There wasn't a dock in sight and we were quite a ways from the beach. We watched them set up a make-shift walkway using planks and sandbags. Two men held a bamboo rod as a hand rail. No one fell in and we made it to shore without getting wet.
From Kalaw, we did a 3 day, 2 night trek to Inle Lake! It's about 61 km between the two cities. This is another first for me. I don't think I've ever walked that far from one destintation to another. See my separate post on this trek.
Other modes of transportation in Myanmar include planes and trains, of course. However, the flights are more expensive and the trains are pretty old, rickety, and unreliable. If we had more time, we would have tried out one of the trains.