As I’m doing the opposite way everyone usually does, be aware that is also easy to find a bus from Kalaw to Bagan. Actually, this bus is coming from Nyaung Shwe, Inle Lake area.
I got my bus ticket at the Golden Lily Guesthouse. Usually, the hostels provide this type of service of bus ticket selling that includes pick up from the Hostel. In case you want a little bit cheaper ticket, you can walk until the bus stop, but the price difference is not that high. I have paid 15000 kyats (8€) with pick up from the GuestHouse included. Most of all, the previous day I wouldn’t really walk to get anything, so I’m very glad they provide the service here. My feet are still not totally recovered, but at least I can walk. As usual, I paid extra 5000 kyats for the bicycle, but they were trying to charge me 8000 kyats (half the bus ticket price). Of course, I complain and explained that I’m always paying extra 5000 kyats (3€) every time I take the Ympek bicycle with me on the bus.
My pick up time was at 9 A.M. but the bus stop is a 5 min walk from the Guest House. I wait there for the bus from Kalaw to Bagan until 11:30 A.M. This is normal. Don’t start panicking if your bus isn’t coming on the expected time. It’s not because they forgot about you, it’s really because that’s how things work here. So, don’t stress because the bus is late, the sooner or later it will appear.
I arrive in Bagan around 5 P.M, so riding this bus was all I have done this day, but I’m already used to it. The distances between places aren’t so high, the problem in Myanmar are the streets. Yes, believe it or not, the streets are very bad. They are full of bumps and usually, only one car fits at a time. This is the reason why bus trips in Myanmar take so long. Especially when you are going through the mountains like this case. Kalaw is a mountain area, so the street is extremely curvy. If you usually get sick on the bus, this is a ride you will not enjoy. From the picture below you can have a sneak pick of what I mean:
The bus is going on this type of street for hours, and that’s what makes this trip not so pleasant. However, the view in the mountains is pretty cool. But this bus doesn’t look very prepared for the trip… The engine stopped working at least 20 times, or more, the whole journey. I was seriously thinking we will not gonna make it from Kalaw to Bagan with the same bus. Anyway, the bus driver was able to make it work again every single time, so this bus from Kalaw to Bagan was the same the whole journey. But I’m sure someone will suffer the consequences very soon. I have heard many stories from other travelers that had broken buses on their trips in Myanmar, but luckily I never had this problem.
The bus stop in Bagan is still far from the city center, so you will need to pay a taxi to get to your hostel. My hostel is around 6km away, so I pack my bag on the Ympek bicycle and cycle until the Hostel where I’m staying. The street is good, so I was ok with it. It took me approximately 30 min ride. I was thinking that maybe this way I could skip the Archeological zone fee of 25000 kyats (14€) because I’m entering the area in a non-conventional way, but they still spotted me lol.
Finally, I get to the Hostel when it is already dark night, completely sweaty and tired. I just have a shower, dinner, and sleep.