28, July 2012
We purchased our tickets for the bus from Kinpun to Yangon directly from our hotel, Golden Sunrise, for 7,000 Kyat/person. This included the bus (pickup truck) picking us up from the hotel, since we were on the main road back to Kyaikto. If you remember from a our post regarding the bus from Bago to Mt. Kyaiktiyo, you will need to change transportation in Kyaikto. Basically, change from the pickup truck to the real bus which are both operated by Win Express. Optionally, if you are staying in the town of Kinpun, you can purchase your tickets directly from the Win Express office which is located at the “Y” of two streets in town and next to the Sea Sar Hotel.
However, while we were sitting around chatting with the friendly employees of the Golden Sunrise Hotel an employee approached and said our taxi had arrived. What did arrive wasn’t a taxi at all but two motorbikes! Normally, we would have said no to this, but since the hotel had arranged it for us with the bus company (Win Express) we felt obliged. Even with just two bikes we were able to carry all of our luggage. Heidi’s 75 liter backpack went in front of my driver while my camera backpack went in front of Heidi’s driver. He also had a basket in the front of his bike to put our Watershed waterproof bag. Heidi carried her backpack and we were off on a twenty minute ride through the beautiful and peaceful countryside of rolling green hills of the Kyaikto region.
Once we arrived at the bus station, we only waited a few minutes before our real bus showed up. This station was one of those types that you would never figure out without someone pointing it out to you since there is no writing in English. If you are coming in monsoon season I’m pretty sure you will arrive here the same way we did – through the bus companies taxi (motorbikes).
We were on the road to Yangon at 11:30 AM and we made frequent stops through the entire journey. This made the ride a little uncomfortable as this was the first bus that we had without air conditioning. When the bus was in full motion it was fine with the breeze coming through the windows, but as soon as the bus stopped it would get hot very fast. Also, with the windows open there would be some stops that had foul smells coming in through the open windows. Something that can be avoided with an air-con bus!
We also stopped for lunch about 1.5 hours into the trip. While it was early for us, the bus clearly had been traveling for a some time before we got on and most passengers went straight into the restaurant to order a meal. As usual, the rest stop had bathrooms but these were probably the least clean of all of our bus rides. Probably because this was not along the main highway where everything is new and mostly clean.
At the 2 hour mark we stooped in Bago and by 3.5 hours we were at the Yangon Aung Mingalar Bus Station. Next we had to haggle with taxi drivers to get a 7,000 Kyat price to our guest house (May Shan) in Yangon. You might be able to haggle down another 1,000 Kyat, but from our experience the more you haggle the poorer quality taxi vehicle you will get! Ours in particular, was very old and was missing the paneling inside of the doors and my door didn’t have a window knob. I didn’t realize this until the driver reached over to me and handed me the window knob. My first thought was, “what do you want me to do with this?” Then instantly the rain came down in buckets and I stuck that window knob on as fast as I could and started to roll up the rusty old window as much as I could. I then looked over to Heidi to see that her window was mostly rolled up. While her door had a window knob, she couldn’t rolls hers up all the way because it was being held up by an old moldy towel. So while neither of us could completely seal our windows it was better than being drenched. We looked at each other and laughed as drips of water came in through the openings and landed on our heads.