Saturday, March 8, 2014

LIFE: Myanmar - The night bus experience

I didn't even know that Bagan exists one week before my arrival so while roaming around Yangon I read about Bagan once in a while and decided to go there.
Well, it wasn't that kind of excitement I had when going there like the feeling I had on my way to Kuala Lumpur or other areas. Probably because hardly anyone knows where Bagan is. When I read that this area is known for it's amazing temple sites, pagodas and beautiful sun rises I just thought "man I'm tired of temples and pagodas!". So actually the main reason why I came here was just because I was fed up with big cities and just wanted to calm down in a peaceful village. After an 8 hour ride with the night bus from Yangon to Nyaung U you arrive at the main bus station and can go by horse cart... yes, a pretty old-fashioned horse cart to your hotel. Horse carts are really a normal way of transportation over here. It can be a bit bumpy and awkward but it's definitely a must-to-do in Myanmar!
There are only night busses from Yangon to Bagan but I would rather call them "night" busses or probably even Burmese party busses. The departure time is at around 7 pm and once everyone is on the bus and you slowly head to the high way (do not imagine their "high way" to be like at home) they would play a couple of really strange Burmese kind of pop/ rap songs (while colored disco lights are blinking on the ceiling) and then there's a short introduction in Burmese and English (definitely the funniest version of both) and then when you think you can finally get the sleep you've been craving for since hourse they start playing a Burmese sit-com or stand-up comedy show on the flat screen until late at night with its volume so hight that even the speakers sound like they're gonna give up any moment. Don't expect others sleeping. No you'll probably be sitting in the bus as the only foreigner not understanding a single word and everyone else around you would be laughing probably even louder than the actual show. 
When sleeping time comes and they've actually turned of all noises and lights (at about 11.30 pm) you finally get some rest. You've almost fallen a sleep and then OF COURSE you'll be waken up because it's time for a break at about 1 am and everyone has to get out of the bus for 30 min. After the break you think "Yes, NOW I'll get my sleep" - No, you won't cause you will be riding the bus for only 2 more hours and then you've already reached Nyaung U and they'll let you out at the bus station at around 3 am. YES, 3 am!! I mean what the hell do you do in an old, really cold village at 3 am when check-in time starts at 12 pm?? When I arrived at my hotel (by horse cart. Haha I still think this is hilarious) the guy told me "Check-in is at 12 but you can leave your backpack here" What??! I can leave my backpack at the hotel? And what about me?! So I asked if I could just wait inside and then he even offered me a matress on the floor to have some sleep until it got bright. And THEN I finally got my sleep (well only three hours on a thin matress on the floor).

So if ever you plan to take the "night" bus in Myanmar you should either learn Burmese to understand the obviously hilarious tv-shows or you should have a nap before you leave.


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