If you haven’t been to Myanmar before then you may be surprised, like I was, to know that travelling around the major cities is very easy. The are a number of domestic airlines, trains, buses and even cruises. If you are on a budget and have the time then the cheapest options are either the bus or the train.
The journey that I was planning to take was from Yangon to Mandalay so I decided to take the a VIP bus as I heard it was a pleasant experience. I booked my ticket 2 days in advance through a tour operator which was a good decision as I had to change the dates and the operator arranged this for me without any problems.
I was staying in central Yangon and the bus station itself is just outside the city. Now depending on the traffic and the time of day it can be between a 1 to 3 hours journey. With the ticket company that my tour operator had booked through there was a free pick up from certain locations around Yangon city to the bus station and you should be told these locations on your ticket.
When I arrived at the bus station I was guided to a waiting room which had seats, food and drinks to purchase and even free WiFi. There was also a TV showing local programmes which kept the locals entertained while we all waited for our bus.
Now, when the bus arrived I was completely amazed. I used to be a flight attendant for Emirates Airline and when I boarded the bus I thought I had had walked into first class! Yes really! I knew my bus was a VIP bus but this was, to date, the best bus I had ever seen and would give many airlines first class cabins a run for their money. The bus had 2 attendants, which looked like actual flight attendants, it also had large reclining (almost) flat seats and a personal television for each seat with a huge selection of recent English movies and channels. When I was guided to my seat by the attendant I was given an amenities pack and also a box of snacks and water. There was already a blanket in my seat and I was offered another by the attendant which I happily took. The seats were super comfy and even had an adjustable head rests/neck pillow.
The 10 hour journey itself was a great experience with the attendants regularly coming down the aisle offering you water and turning off the TV screen and seat lights for those passengers that had fallen asleep, as the bus left at 9pm. On the way to Mandalay the bus made 2 stops for food and toilet breaks.
After watching a couple of movies and finishing my chocolate muffin from my snack box I drifted off to sleep with the aid of the eyes shades from the amenities pack and woke up a few hours later to the announcement from the attendant that we had arrived in Mandalay.
All in all I would have to say it was one of the best sleeps I ever had while travelling by road and would definitely recommend this particular route of travelling from Yangon to Mandalay.
I booked my VIP Bus ticket through AsiaTrips Myanmar. For further details about travelling around Myanmar please visit www.asiatrips.travel.