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Central Myanmar

YANGON

Global Mark : 13.62

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
3 1 4 5 4 5 2 4 1 12.89

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
20 100% 75% (15) 100% 10 to 18 14.35


Description :
The busy capital of Myanmar

Comments : Fairly developed, fairly clean, fairly charming and fairly interesting, Yangon gets a fairly good rate as far as Asian capitals are concerned.

What to do ? Walk the colonial streets in Chinatown & Indian district / Explore the markets : souvenirs at New Bogyoke, culture shocks at Theinggyi Zei or anything on almost any street / Change money at the best unofficial rate in the country / Wake up early to visit one of the biggest, richest, sacrest and kitschiest Buddhist Temple of Asia / Tour all Myanmar's temples in five minutes at a nearby temple / Then tour all Myanmar's agricultural products at the nearby museum (free) / If rich & culturally craving, check the other museums : national ($5), war ($3), Gems ($5, arguably the most interesting and the best place to buy safe gems),... / Follow local lovers to the gardens by the side of a huge lake colored with lotus flowers / Spot an original restaurant shaped like a royal barge / Learn about your bright future with streets' palm readers / Free birds at temples / If time, visit the surroundings : boat crossing to Twante (you may actually have to take a bus once in Dalah), bus ride to Thanlyin,...

What you may not like ? Paying the entrance fees through the nose because you are a big nose / Some busy, noisy and polluted streets / The speedy & horny vehicles / Having trouble getting a bus seat on short notice / Not being able to walk all around the lake on small paths / The very unreliable tourist office (MTT) / The constant change of exchange rate, too fast for the touts to keep track of or the periodical intervention of the government on illegal money changers which freezes both touts & rates / The beggars, some very very young / The working kids in nearly all tea spots or restaurants / The dangers associated with prostitution (police, HIV,...)

How long ? Two days would be enough to visit Yangon but if you start shopping, eating or exploring...


Where to stay ? 

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online and save money !

- In Central Yangon, near the Sule Paya (taken as a central reference), from west to east :

  • Daddy's Home Hotel (252169), No170 Konzaydan St, south-west, opposite a charming old building / Ridiculously small fan Sgl $3, bigger room $6(1) or $10(2) / Common HW shower / Light Breakfast / CNN TV / Go there to take a photo of the opposite building... / To be fair, this place was recommended by a backpacker as being cleaner, quieter and cooler with its AC rooms than the GH below. Did I miss something here ?
  • White House (240780), No69-71 Konzaydan St, south of the above / Dorm with ventilation (17) $3, basic downstairs rooms w. ventilation $4(1) or $8(2), "on the roof" rooms w. fan & HW shower $6(1), $10(2) or $15(3), rooms w. AC, shower & window $8(1) or $15(2) / Light breakfast / Go there for the nice house with stones decorations, the view from the terrace equipped with hammocks, the reasonable price for the upper Trpl rooms / What you may not like : the claustrophobic & noisy cheaper rooms without window, the number of rooms, the ventilation system, the stairs or spotting a rat in the room ! (it looked rather clean to me but a backpacker I met strongly disagreed)
  • Golden Smile Inn (273589), No644 Merchant Rd, corner with Shwebontha St, south-west / Room w. AC $5(1) or $8(2), w. AC & HW shower $7(1) or $10(2) / Breakfast / Go there for the acceptable small rooms at reasonable prices / What you may not like : the noise from the road, the somehow grotty & not so fresh atmosphere
  • Sunflower Hotel (240014), 259-264, Anawrahta Rd, corner with Shwebontha St, 300m north-west / Sgl $6, Trpl w. CNN TV & AC 10(1), 15(2) or 20(3), Dbl w. the above plus shower $20 / Breakfast / Go there to get the prices down a bit or to watch TV
  • Polo GH (241251), 30th St, just north Anawratha St / Basic room w. window $4(1) or $7(2), rooms w. AC & cold shower $8(1) or $12(2) / No breakfast / Small, not so clean & noisy rooms but prices could be reasonable during HS. 
  • Mahabandoola GH (248104), 453-459 Maha Bandoola Rd, corner with 32nd St, just south-west of Sule Paya / Basic Sgl or Dbl $3 or $5 / No breakfast / Go there for the cheapest room in town w. window & just acceptable hygiene / What you may not like : the size of the rooms & the grotty atmosphere in this decrepit building
  • Garden GH (253779), 441-445 Mahabandoola St, just south of Sule Paya / Fan room $4 per people (Sgl or Dbl), AC rooms w. shower & window $6 per people (Sgl or Dbl) / Light breakfast / Go there for the central location, the relatively big & clean rooms and the cheapest price for an all comfort Dbl / What you may not like : the busy surroundings
  • May Shan GH (252 986), 115-117 Sule Pagoda Rd, just north / Sgl or Dbl w. AC, CNN TV & bathtub $10 or $15 / Go there for the best quality price ratio for the all comfort Dbl rooms / What you may not like : the size of the rooms and getting one without window (ask to see more)
  • Beauty Land Hotel II (243952, beautyland@myanmar.com), 188-192, 33rd Street, 400m north-east / Big room on the top $5(1), $10(2) or $15(3), Dbl rooms w. AC & HW shower $8(1) or $16(2), w. window $10(1) or $18(2) / Big breakfast / CNN TV in restaurant / The above are HS prices. During LS, discounts by $1 or $2 are common / Go there for the best deal in town after discount (big, clean & comfortable rooms) and the very helpful staff / What you may not like : not getting a discount
  • Pyin Oo Lwin 1 & 2 GH (240022 & 243284), opposite each other on Mahabandoola Garden St, 150m North-East / No1 is the cheapy basic place w. Sgl or Dbl at $5 or $10. It is often full of locals (who of course do not pay the same high price) / No2 is the correct AC & shower place at $10(1) or $15(2) 
  • Zar Chi Win GH (275407), 59 37th St, 400m south-east / Basic Sgl or Dbl $5 or $10, Fan Dbl w. shower 10(1) or 15(2) / Ridiculous prices which could probably be negotiated down...

- On the east of Central Yangon :

  • Tokyo GH (287143), No200 Bo Aung Kyaw St / Sgl or Dbl w. AC $8 or $14 / Common HW shower / No breakfast / Clean but small & rather expensive
  • YMCA (294128), No263 Mahabandoola St / Room $5(1) or $10(2), w. AC $7(1) or $12(2), w. HW shower $15(1) or $20(2) / Breakfast / 5% discount for YMCA members / Acceptable small rooms but unfresh & noisy atmosphere at relatively high prices (which multiply during HS)
  • Three Seasons Hotel (293304), No83-85, 52nd St, Pazundaung Township, south-west / Rooms w. AC, HW shower & fridge $15(1) or $20(2) / Free tea & coffee / Choice of breakfast / Go there for the charming wooden house and the nice comfortable rooms / What you may not like : the price !
  • Cozy GH (291623), No26, 52nd St, just north of the above / Rooms w. AC but no shower $10(1) or $15(2) / 5 rooms share 2 bathrooms / Light breakfast / Pick up from the airport ? / Nice small & clean rooms but not as charming as the above 
  • Mother Land Inn II (291343), No433 Lower Pazundaung Rd, Bus no34 from Sule Paya (K5) / Dorm w. AC (14 on two levels) $3, small rooms $7(1), $9(2) or $13(3), rooms w. AC & HW shower $9(1) or $13(2) / Big breakfast / CNN TV in comfortable lobby / Go there for the cheapest bed with AC, the nice & clean atmosphere, the reasonable prices 


Where to eat ?

999 Shan Noodle Shop (No130 34th St, middle block) is the perfect place for a small (too small ?) good lunch. Their tasty noodles dishes cost K120 on average. 

On the east of the Mahabandoola Garden, a couple of basic restaurants are popular with local at night for their cheap basic draught beer (K75 a glass). 

Lots of cheap Indian restaurants can be found on Anawratha St, west of Sule Paya Rd. Nilar Biryani (between 32nd & 33rd St) for example offer quick chicken or mutton Biryani for K210 or K230 (after ordering the big dish, you can get additional small portions for K10). Just west, Minar has got a more extensive menu incl. Masala Dosa for K75. 

For Chinese & more expensive food, the best deal recommended was Palace Restaurant on the 37th Street, 300m south-west. Count on K500 for well served dishes.

Well, there are plenty of other places with a lot of exotic cuisine to choose from (Indian to fake Mc Donald's burgers) plus food stalls setting up at every corner.

Backpacker's Tips : Marineve, France (March 04)
I had a bad experience with the "White House guesthouse"-where I previously stayed in the dorm at the beginning of our trip. I'm french woman, 34 years
old, travelling with an 11 years old daughter. One of my friend, an american woman, 63 years old (the one who had recommended me this place where she had been during a previous stay) came to a similar bitter conclusion about this place. I mean, it's not just me. Or not just a bad day... We both stayed
there in Feb/March 2004 but not in same time due to a different timing. My reproaches:
I don't know why; the owner has been more than disagreable. Rude enough to disgust me and made me change my mind of staying there. He has
been specially awful with my daughter. He wasn't polite at all, he even had agressive gesture against her, and we had the greatest difficulties to take
back our staff from the safety cupboard upstairs. He argued that we had no receipt (I couldn't remember that they had given any!) and even with the
description of our two coats that we needed to go back to the cold Europe, he didn't want to give it us back. Even the old indian lady who made so many
demonstration of warm affection to Marieve during our first stay began to lie and deny when he asked her if I had let any luggage there. We weren't allowed to go up, as we were not staying in the hotel (look the board on the stairs: "only hotel guest are allowed upstairs". I promised him to send this
story on the net and I'll do!
We went to Daddy's home, 25 meters far in the same street. Much more agreable and helpful staff, more clean, with air con, and similar prices for a double room.

Backpacker's Tips : Maverick, USA (March 04)
White House,speaking of greed. I noticed a big change in the attitude this last time and found another place where I'll consider staying next time
Okinawa G.H. very close to sule Pagodfa. They have a restaurant too.I will check out Daddy's Home also. The son of the owner,whom I knew about but he
was never there when I was,was there this time. A very sour looking boy who was always on his calculator adding up the money they were making I suppose. He has been going to Hotel mgt school in Thailand. All of the ideas in the hotel are his and on the business card he is noted as president. Well the Thais are good business people but not always kind and generous. Because of the son's influence they have lost the typical Burmese kindness. It's all about greed now. They have squeezed more rooms in on the top floor,also on the 2nd floor before the dormitory there was a nice lounge. They've walled it
off to make a room. The big fan in the dorm broke before I arrived. They made no effort to fix or replace it. With hot weather and no fan it was hot. But I didn't change because I was only there a couple of nights before I left for Bangkok. They charge by the week for leaving bags so even if you leave things for 2 days you still have to pay the weekly charge.Ridiculous and greedy.

Backpacker's Tips : Hans & Greet, Belgium (Nov 02)
Beautyland II hotel, only one block away from the famous and very expensive Traders Hotel. Recommended ! 10$ for double room + shared bathroom, 6 to 8$ for single with TV + bathroom. AC also possible. Also good place to change dollars in Kyats (and try to negotiate a slightly better rate than they say first).
Restaurant of the super-de-luxe Traders Hotel (sandwiches 4$). Their swimming pool (5 USD for non-residents) is also fantastic !


Backpacker's Tips : Franck Bertagnolio, France (May 02)
In Yangon, Beauty Land Hotel II is still a very good address. First day of arrival, I mistake and went to Beauty Land Hotel I instead (not as good).
Anyway, it gave me the opportunity to meet a very nice French guy who owns a restaurant in the neighborhood (200m from Japanese embassy). It is a must to give him a visit as he has been living in Myanmar for more than 5 years, is married to a Burmese woman, and can give you a lot of tips. He is a nice, helpful and interesting fellow. He was at least of great help for me. I warmly recommend the food as well and the place is quite cozy. Address: Restaurant Le SMILE, Serge Billore / Zar Ni Aung, 94, Natmauk Street Bahan, 11201 Yangon, Tel: 951-544360. Go there!

Free maps ? You can pick up a good map of Yangon at the taxi counters of the airport. The company publishing it is called DPS (Design Printing Services) and they also have good maps of Bagan, Mandalay & Myanmar ready for free distribution at their small office : No169, 1/F, Anawrahta Rd, corner with 24th St, 200m north-east). The manager is also behind the web site reference of Myanmar : www.myanmars.net . Please say Hi from Passplanet !

Internet ? For the time being, internet access is not allowed in freedom oriented Myanmar. One place however (with a single computer) allow you to send emails (not to check your emails as this would be internet) for $2 per 10 kilobytes of text. Certainly cheaper than sending fax at $4 per mn ! 3 Seasons Electro Decoration (280684), No86 Anawrahta St, just before 39th St. 

Supermarket ? Good choice of western delicacies & local products at cheap prices can be found at Royal Mart Supermarket (daily 9 to 20:30), Bo Aung Gyaw St, south of Merchant Rd

Changing money ? A good place to shop for good rates is the New Bogyoke Market : plenty of "approved" money changers. Asking in shops sometimes also give good results. Following someone in the street often results in a lower rate than the one previously announced. There have been reports of some rip off as well (short changing, false bank notes, etc.) Be cautious around the touristy spots. 


Backpacker's Tips : Lai Nam Khim, Singapore (Dec 04)
i. Prices have gone up a lot! Prices at 999 Shan Noodle is now K400 per dish instead of K120 as given. Still very reasonable. Prices at Nilar Bryani is now between K500 to K800 depending on the Bryani.

ii. Avoid changing money with the touts near Sule Paya. Don't be tempted by the high rates they quote. They will short change you through other means. I was trying to change K10,000. First they gave me 10 K500 notes! When I pointed out that it was K500 notes and not K1000, they unappolegetically said they will get some more money. They have this way of folding the money which makes it difficult to count. I insisted on counting the money myself. During the process, they tried to slipped away a few notes. All along they apply pressure tatics to hurry me and said that government officers are coming. My advice is to change in the hotels. Hotels are unlikely to cheat you because you are staying there. Further, you can take your time to count the notes.

iii. Warning about people who have US $100 notes with serial numbers starting with CB. These are not accepted in most places because there have been counterfeit notes floating around starting with CB. Only some places in Yangon would accept it for a less favourable exchange rate. I only finally managed to get it used to pay entrance fee at Shwedagon Pagoda. Similarly, don't accept $100 notes starting with CB in Myanmar. They might be counterfeit.

iv. White House guest house is still no good. I meet a couple who decided to check out after staying one night and switched to Golden Smile.
v. Beauty Land II prices have gone up. I was quoted US$12 for single occupancy.

Backpacker's Tips : Matthew Woelfle, USA (Nov 02)
Just wanted to warn those who try to buy a long distance bus ticket in front of the train station to avoid Rubyland Tourism, and in particular a dark skinned, portly Indian fellow with his wiry haired, toothless partner in crime. They stung me on the price of the bus ticket, the exchange
rate on kyat, then short changed me on top of that.  While all of this is certainly my fault, this is merely a warning to others. The kyat was exchanging at around 1200k per US$1, although my taxi driver, on the way to the airport, claimed it had now reached 1300. Make sure you do a little homework before changing money.

Backpacker's Tips : Matthew Woelfle, USA (Nov 02)
Just wanted to warn those who try to buy a long distance bus ticket in front of the train station to avoid Rubyland Tourism, and in particular a dark skinned, portly Indian fellow with his wiry haired, toothless partner in crime. They stung me on the price of the bus ticket, the exchange
rate on kyat, then short changed me on top of that.  While all of this is certainly my fault, this is merely a warning to others. The kyat was exchanging at around 1200k per US$1, although my taxi driver, on the way to the airport, claimed it had now reached 1300. Make sure you do a little homework before changing money.

Backpacker's Tips : Jean-Marc Delatre, France (Sept 00)
80 % of my postcards never arrived, though I posted them at the main offices in Yangon and Mandalay !  


A busy & sportive day in Yangon ?

Start the day by imitating Myanmar people : get up at 4am ! Then become more original : walk toward Shwedagon Pagoda (note that the upper part of Shwedagon Pagoda Road is closed to foreigners before 6am), a 45mn walk from Sule Paya.

Take off your shoes, get up the stairs and visit as fast or discretely as possible : the game is to see before be seen. Indeed, if the ticket kiosks officially open at 7am only, some patrols around the Stupa start their shift earlier. And, being the only westerner, you are spotted easily ! As you obviously will not have the badge, they will either collect your $5 (they have tickets) or ask you out. I was controlled at 6:10, just after going round the Stupa. The earlier you visit (it opens at 4am), the safest, I assume. It is also possible to sneak in during the day, taking advantage of the crowd, but you might get stopped as early as the stairs.

If you are shown a way down, there are three other stairs to go up again (some connected to each other by a circular path at mid-way level). The Stupa is a risky area so you should concentrate first on the more discreet outer compound and its 82 buildings. The south entrance would rather be used to leave. 

One of the nicest & most venerated Buddha figure is just on the right of the east entrance. Some good wooden figures are also in the area. Beside them, it is Myanmar as usual : rather kitschy & modern looking Buddha ! So, as a whole, if the global compound is certainly impressive, I found the details disappointing. Some people might however disagree...

 << Discover the sacrest Temple of Myanmar


Eventually out of the complex, walk around it ! The area indeed offer parks, temples, water pounds and charming old houses :

Assuming you took the South  stairs to leave, start by visiting Maha Wizaya Paya : it is kitschy as well but the setting is original with concrete trees (named by their scientific name), sculpted wood panels and great paintings of all the most famous Temples of Myanmar. A good place to check what you will see or what you may have missed. 

Then walk west and turn right at U Wizara Roundabout & Monument. Theingoattra Park is just next to Shwedagon's west entrance. On the opposite side of the green road, People's Park is probably not worth the fee ($3 plus $3 if photo camera). 

North of Shwedagon, you will find the basic Memorial to the Fallen Heroes, a small lake plus the nice north entrance with nice wooden sculptures. Walk up the stairs until mid-way then take the path toward the east entrance, where you can feed pigeons.

Then walk straight ahead toward Kandawgyi Lake. There are a few charming old houses around Kyar Taw Ya St plus a great & gold Buddha figure at a Temple by water ponds. 

Cross Bahan Rd and head toward the swimming pool and the Agriculture Museum (rather interesting presentation of all the country's productions from silk or soybean to carpets, free, open daily except Monday & holidays 9 to 16). Just before the museum, a lotus bridge lead to plant, fruits & flowers nurseries as well as to Bogyoke Park (K10). There, you watch lovers, make another photo of Shwedagon (K50 if not discreet), climb a ladder to an observation platform on a high tree, play toboggans, spot the "Royal Barge", rent pedalos in season or, simply, relax !

If you wish to go round the lake, you will unfortunately have no choice but to join the traffic on Nat Mauk Rd. Otherwise, head back and go south the lake toward the zoo via another garden (another K10). 

The zoo cost K25 for locals but $5 for tourists. I did not ask the rate for backpackers but it would certainly be much too costly for what is probably not the finest zoo in the world (even so it was built by the British). If you visit anyway, best to do it on Sunday as there are some shows. Opposite, the aquarium cost only K5 but is not really worth more. If the mammals in the zoo live in the same conditions as the fish in the dirty aquariums, they should feel real depressed if not drown already...

And that's it for Shwedagon's area. The above circuit should take a good morning. From there, you could continue south the lake on Kan Yeik Thar Rd toward a sport ground and Mingalar Market, then head south toward disappointing Shwe Pon Pwint Paya but interesting small surrounding streets. 

Then walk west Bogyoke Aung San Street and turn south at Theinbyu Street : School, Cathedral & good looking Ministers' Offices on the right. At the YMCA, continue south to Merchant Street then turn east. There is a nice mosque worth a quick look after 52nd street. 

Then head south to Botataung Paya. This is a busy and interesting temple with a maze of mirrors around a Buddha's Hair Relic and other precious religious objects. You can then follow Strand Rd back to Sule Pagoda's area.

 << Discover a few other sights



Leaving by Bus ?
Most buses leave from the Highway Bus Center near the airport (Bus No51, K20, 45mn) but quite a few companies also have an office south of Aung San Stadium (near the Train Stadium) where it is convenient to buy the ticket (it is possible to reserve a seat by phone but you will have to collect it before a certain time)
Hsimmalaik Bus Station (south Narnattaw St) deal with buses to Pathein & Chungtha Beach, Kyaikto & Mawlamyine, as well as pick-up to Bago (buses leave from the Highway Station). It is a bit more tricky to reach by public transport so a few bus companies have free transport from their office near Aung San Stadium.
On some destinations and at some time of the year (the most notorious being the Water Festival), it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find a seat on short notice. All year round, it is advisable for long distances to reserve at least one day in advance.

Leaving by Boat ?
To Pathein, it is possible (but not recommended) to take the Government Boat : 16 hours, leave at 3pm & 5pm, $7 for deck of 100 people or $42 for cabin of 2 only.

Bus or Trains Schedules >> See Transports from Yangon


The trip to Thandwe/Ngapali : SSS then night / L&R then up / K2000 / 14.5 hrs / windows

I was originally planning to go south to Pathein, then Chaungtha beach and from there go up the west coast toward Ngapali beach. But I was in Myanmar so, obviously, nothing went as expected ! First, the recommended private bus company was full for two weeks, until the end of the water festival. Second, I learned from a westerner who had just wasted his morning at Hsimmalaik Bus station that foreigners were not allowed at this very moment (it could change tomorrow) to travel with the other morning bus (6 to 10, every 30mn, K500, 4 hours). Third, that the road between Chaungtha & Ngapali was closed. Three good reasons to change the itinerary, as I did not fancy spending 16 hours on the government boat. So I decided to head straight toward the nicer beach of Ngapali. 

I had managed to get the last seat available (No13 !) for the next day departure by calling the company. The bus would leave at 4pm but I was requested to show up at the Highway Bus Station before 9am to buy the ticket. So I woke up early and jumped straight away on the jeepney No51 for a crushy yet fluid 35mn ride (K15) to the station. There I was introduced to our bus : an old natural one with no AC nor fan but open window and acceptable looking seats. Why was it so expensive (luxury AC buses make the trip to Mandalay for the same price) ? Two interesting reasons were advanced : 1/ the road is bad and AC buses can not use it (implying that AC buses are cheaper to run ?) 2/ the water festival is approaching and buses are full so we were right to increase the prices (by K500). The other company (with some seats left) had increased the price by K1000 for a longer journey on a worse bus so it was not such a bad deal after all...

The trip back to central Yangon took 10mn longer for K5 more but it was an AC bus : we were crushed in cool comfort ! For the afternoon trip, the AC bus had forgotten the meaning of C : it was pulsing hot air ! But I had an interesting & very open discussion with a passenger about traveling Asia, in general, and Myanmar, in particular so I nearly forgot how much I was sweating...

Back at the station, a nice surprise : the floor of the bus was covered with bags and the alley full of tubes. Legs would have to travel in an upward position ! The staff explained me that, due to the poor roads, this was a better way to travel but I admit that I was not really convinced. Then they showed me how to extend my legs on the pipes : great indeed ! I did not regret getting my No13 alley seat !

But between theory and practice came three or four passengers without proper seats : they sat on the pipe in the alley so the legs' extension theory had to be a bit updated. 

The bus departed 15mn late, a good performance by Asian standard. But then we stopped soon after in a "Total Shop" for a big barrel of petrol. The tank was manually filled up in less than half an hour...

And then we really left, for a nice non stop ride in the countryside (that is before dark) until the acceptably priced dinner (B200 for tasty but greasy meat with tons of rice plus soup & veggies) at 20:45. A few hammer sounds later and we were off again. At this time, the bus was turned out into a disco. But seeing nobody dancing on the tubes floor, I asked the driver whether he could turn the stereo off at 10:30. To my stupefaction, he could ! 

At 11:30, we stopped : a bus has had the great idea to change its flat tire in the very middle of the road. All traffic was paralyzed for 45mn but, as said a guy from the other bus, there was no problem. So we left again, stopping a few times to switch on the lights, let passengers & bags down and make a few short stereo tests. 
At 5:30, lights were definitively switched on as we were an hour away to destination. The stereo followed soon afterwards, to make sure all passengers would get of the bus awaken. Because, yes, I forgot to notice it but I managed to sleep a bit...

At Thandwe, I wasted quite some time trying to figure out how to go to Pyai, which allowed me to use the bus of the Ngapali's guesthouse at 9am. Otherwise, frequent jeepneys do the 30mn trip for K40 or K70.


The trip to Mawlamyne :
night then SSS / L&R / K1200 / 11 hours / AC

The only good thing about Leo Express for this trip, beside arriving on time (which I reckon is already quite a performance), was the free transfer from their office by the train station to Hsimmalaik Bus Centre. 
Otherwise, it was really nothing special (or actually it was special) : the bus was rather old & dirty with narrow seats, cold AC and bad TV & video system (the kung fu movie kept jumping like the actors). As for the service, the snacks promised turned out to be two candies...

We left at 8pm but stopped 1.5 hours later for dinner. After the end of the two third of the movie (the video estimated we had seen enough violence already and refused to go further), I managed to have the driver switch off the music and get some sleep. But at 4am, it was on again and at full power for a great Buddhist prayer ! The fact that most of the passengers were Hindu did not seem to bother the driver too much : we had to wake up anyway for the passport / ID check up at 4:30. After clearance, the light stayed on but the prayer took a break until 6am. A final identity control at 6:45 before entering the city and we finally reached the bus station. 
As soon as off the bus, pedicab & taxi drivers jumped on me for the K400 ride toward downtown, about 5 km away to the north. But the main road was 5mn walk and buses do the trip from there for K10... Finally spotting a guesthouse, I got off before terminus at the level of a square (on the left). But off course, that GH did not have the license for foreigner ! Fortunately, Strand Rd and its Breeze Rest House was only 10mn away...


See also the trips from Inle Lake / Bago