The reason why I go to Taungoo is Thandaunggyi, a pagoda in the very top of a wonderful mountain above the clouds. Basically this was the reason why I wanted to go from Loikaw to Taungoo. Also, I wanted to head south, and from Loikaw the only options available are Taungoo or Yangon and I wasn’t feeling like going to Yangon again. But I ended up going.
Taungoo was very hard for me, I couldn’t manage to do anything I wanted. And all I did in this town was wandering around trying to get information on how to go to the places I want. There isn’t much on the web about this place and connections to this place. Without the help of my accommodation, I am lost.
Getting to Thandaunggyi mountain
My first mission on the day I arrived in Taungoo was to try to understand how to get to Thandaunggyi mountain. The girl at the reception can’t help at all because she doesn’t speak English. So I start to ask people on the street. After a few divergent directions, I realize that I have no idea who is telling me the accurate information, so I have no other option but to be frustrated by not being able to figure out where to go. I didn’t have much time left that day so I start to stress out. I will not be able to access the right information on time. I’m definitely not spending 18 more Euros in Taungoo for another night. Unfortunately, my attempt to go to Thandaunggyi mountain was a failure. I was so super frustrated. I hate Tuangoo.
Please stay in a place where people can speak English, cause that will be your only source of information. Nothing is accurate on the internet. After hours of walking around, I gave up on the idea to visit Thandaunggyi. I decided to go to the train station to try to get the train schedule for my next destination: Hpa-An. I could go to Bago by train and then by bus to Hpa-An. But no one was at the counter. Again, no one to ask for accurate information. This was the most frustrating thing in Taungoo. I wasn’t able to get information in English and I didn’t have much time to keep on searching for it talking to random street sellers. It would be way easier on a motorbike, but I’m depending on public transportation. Of course, I could go by car to Thandaunggyi and everything was easy that way, but that was out of the budget for me. With another traveler to share the costs, I would go, but I wouldn’t pay for the trip on my own.
Trying to buy a bus ticket from Taungoo to Hpa-An
Getting closer to sunset time, I decided that I’m not going to Thandaunggyi mountain. Then I head to several bus companies to check if there is a bus to Hpa-An. The first one tells me they don’t sell the ticket and tell me to go to spot x, spot x tells me to go to spot y and so on and on until I gave up again. How is that possible that everyone is telling me to go to a different place??? Taungoo was so frustrating. This is clearly a place not for tourists and this is how I realize how hard it is to travel Myanmar if you get off the beaten track.
I conclude that there is definitely a bus going to Hpa-An, but I have no idea how to hop on it. I also believe that the bus is coming from another place and it stops in the middle of the road to pick up more passengers, just like I use to see locals doing all the time. But, I have no idea where is that place and I also don’t have a ticket. This is a moment when a local that speaks English would be very helpful, but unfortunately, I found no one with that skill.
Buying a bus ticket from Taungoo to Yangon
After the most frustrating day ever, I finally decided that I will have to go to Yangon to go to Hpa-An. Going to Yangon was super easy, every bus company sells the ticket and there are many daily buses departing. Yes, visiting the most touristy places is not hard at all. After unsuccessfully trying to figure out how to get where I really wanted, I’m tired and frustrated enough to follow the easiest option. The bus from Taungoo to Yangon costs 5000 kyats, departs at 11 am and reaches Yangon at 3 pm.
Impressions of Taungoo
Taungoo itself, besides the fact of being frustrating to get information, was the city in Myanmar I liked the less. It is so dusty, decadent, and with nothing interesting to do… I can’t tell exactly why I don’t like it, maybe it is because it looks ugly, dirty, dusty and busy, but the best of it for me was being able to eat a burger at KFC. Honestly, don’t bother visiting Taungoo unless you are able to reach Thandaunggyi that looks wonderful! Of course, I could have gone there for a high price, but I’m not even sure how high would that be for a solo traveler. This way, going by car was never an option for me, and I have no idea what time and where is the local bus. But, I’m sure there is one.
After all, what I did in Taungoo was basically wandering around trying to get information I needed…