I’m leaving from Hpa-An to Mawlamyine by bus as I found the boat to be an expensive option, and also cause that wasn’t my final destination. I’m heading from Hpa-An to Dawei, but still not sure how.
Bus from Hpa-an to Mawlamyine
But, I can’t leave before buying a typical Karen piece of clothing. Karen is the name of the people that live in Kayin state. Its capital is Hpa-An. Karen clothes are so colorful and playful and fancy and beautiful. I love how colorful and cheerful they look. They are clothes for happy people, so I must buy one. Choosing one was the problem as I like 80% of the designs I see. For that reason, I spend some time at the shop before going to the bus station. The locals will indicate to you where is the bus station, don’t worry. It is a proper bus station, so you will not miss it. I’m going from Hpa-An to Mawlamyine by local bus. It costs 1200 kyats and departs in between 10 am and 10.30 am. There are hourly buses, so don’t worry, you will never wait too long. Surprisingly, there are two other foreigners planning to go onboard and the funny thing is that they are also heading to Dawei.
We didn’t wait for long. The bus departed at about 10.15 am and reached Mawlamyine at 12 pm. I feel like the journey could be shorter as we found a big traffic jam due to some event. But it was fun to listen to their music.
Now I have two travel buddies and our mission is getting from Mawlamyine to Dawei. As we are not sure where is the bus to Dawei, we leave in the last stop. Wrong move. The bus from Mawlamyine to Dawei doesn’t depart from the main station, but from another one 5km away. The local bus stopped nearby, but we didn’t know that we were supposed to hop on the bus to Dawei there, so we proceeded on the journey. Luckily, for about 1000 kyats, some motorbike riders took us to the correct bus station and led us to the place where we can buy our tickets from Mawlamyine to Dawei.
Bus from Mawlamyine to Dawei
In the beginning, it was kind of confusing because they were telling us different departure hours, so I wasn’t sure if they were trustworthy. But after some discussion between them, they finally tell us that we can go at 1 pm and the journey will take 5 hours (only in their dreams).
The timing was perfect as it would be just enough for us to have lunch and depart to Dawei. They told us that there are no buses available, only Minivan. – Ps: I have seen a local bus going to Ye
The price to get to Dawei was about 12000 kyats.
Not surprisingly, the minivan only showed up at 1.30 with a surprise. There were no more passengers besides us 3. The rest of the van, that looked brand new, was filled with corn. Yes, bags and bags of corn up to the ceiling. The only vacant place was the 3 front seats for us. At first, we laugh and found it funny that we are traveling with loads of corn. But we could smell it all the journey because the driver decided to open the windows annulling the fact that AC was on. It was a hot journey and much longer than expected. We only reach Dawei at 9.15 pm completely exhausted from the journey. The driver was extremely slow!
When we saw that our travel companions will be bags of corn, we laughed not thinking how weird was that. There is a brand new minivan going all the way from Mawlamyine to Dawei with 3 tourists and corn. Weird. Just the fact that they use such a good transport to carry loads of corn it’s weird, but we only started to think about it when we stop on the street for a checkpoint and need to hand our passports.
A brand new van filled with corn and 3 tourists. After 10 minutes of waiting, we started to think about how weird was this journey. Besides that, we don’t have another local traveling with us, so we can be blamed for anything found on that van. We stayed there for about 30 minutes with the police checking the corn bags, moving them, and a lot of talking that we don’t understand. We have no idea what is going on and why are we taking so long… We start to make up conspiracy theories, maybe they are drug dealers and they will be able to blame us as there is no one else traveling in that van. All of a sudden our minds are filled with questions such as why the hell are we traveling with corn. Why are there no other passengers with us? We start to stress for a bit…
But, luckily, after long minutes waiting, we are ready to go and apparently everything is fine. We take a deep breath of relief and continue the journey. It was such a long and painful journey… I think that due to the fact that the minivan was so loaded, the driver couldn’t even try to go faster… It took so long!! Damn!
The place where the bus stops is a bit far from town, so we take a tuk-tuk to go to our hostel. Not before an arguing between one of the guys I was traveling with and the driver. The foreigner ate the driver’s popcorn that was at the back. What a stupid thing to do. I don’t get these travelers… if the popcorn weren’t theirs, why the hell did he eat them?! Well, that pissed off our driver so only after a few minutes arguing in different languages we were able to finally go to our hostel. We only checked-in, went for dinner and slept. It was an exhausting day!