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Published: December 14th 2018
Firstly, yes, a day bus from inle lake to bagan exists, and it’s a coach not a mini bus. Googling it I couldn’t find any evidence of it’s existence so I was pleased to find it.
It does make for a slightly dull day to report though... We woke up early to more rain so we could grab breakfast and pack before catching the bus to Bagan. I hope it stops raining soon!
Most of the buses on offer seem to be night buses but arrive at about 4am which is rather miserable when hotel check in isn’t until 2pm. Unlike the bus between Yangon and Mandalay there isn’t a new highway across the country between inle lake and bagan which means it’s very bumpy and windy and I suspect not conducive to sleep.
The other advantage to the day bus is that it’s much cheaper than the night bus (K13000 as oppose to K20000).
The bus was supposed to pick us up from our hotel at 8am to take us to where the coach leaves at 830am. Sitting in the hotel lobby at 820 we were starting to panic that it wouldn’t turn up. It did arrive but the bus station was within easy walking distance so if that sort of thing makes you nervous I’d suggest reducing your stress levels by getting yourself there rather than waiting for pick up.
The views along the route were beautiful and seeing the scenery change was really interesting. The best bit for me was when we drove past an elephant being ridden by a father and his small child (no equipment on it at all) and then shortly after drove past a group of elephants walking along the road. Such magnificent creatures.
We also drove past a large religious procession complete with horses, a fake elephant, music and dressed up women.
The bus stops fairly regularly for breaks and lunch was reasonable (they have nothing vegetarian on the menu but if you ask they’ll do it without meat).
Perhaps unsurprisingly the bus station in Bagan is a long way out from any of the accommodation. There are 3 main areas to stay in Bagan. Old Bagan is closest to most temples but the most expensive area. New Bagan is where the government tried to relocate the citizens of Old Bagan to and is still close to some temples. Nyaung Oo is the new town, furthest away from the sites and generally the cheapest option. We were dropped just outside Nyaung Oo and our hostel is just outside Old Bagan. We managed to find a couple to share a taxi with but it’s still expensive - K14000 between the 4 of us after a lot of negotiation.
Recently Bagan had reduced its permit from 5 days to 3 days, keeping the price the same at K25000 each. We were very pleased to discover they have changed this back again (so recently the sign outside still says 3 days and the tickets have been amended by hand). Arriving at 5pm it’s already dark so we effectively have to pay for a day without seeing anything today.
The other thing I’m pleased to discover is that there are still some temples you can climb up. Officially this is banned and certainly not possible on the main temples. Our hostel has explained where it’s still possible though. My thoughts on this are divided - it’s obviously better for the temples and future generations if no one climbs on them. Having said that from a selfish point of view it’s much more exciting and interesting being able to explore building hands on rather than from the other side of a fence....
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