Night Bus from Hpa-an to Dawei
We had a great time in Hpa-an but were excited to see some beaches down toward Dawei. We figured this night bus would be an adventure and hoped for the best. So far in Myanmar, the transportation has been hit or miss. We had a horrible taxi ride. A 16 hour ferry. But plenty of pleasant bus rides too.
Back at the hotel we checked out and waited in the lobby for a ride to the bus station. Two motorbike taxis arrived and we each got on one and rode to the bus station area in the center of town. Our taxi drivers showed us where to go and helped us get our tickets (which were already paid through the hotel). After some confusion we got the tickets and waited for the bus.
The first bus shows up
A bus pulled up across the street and we were directed to board. We were surprised that it was a local bus and not a comfortable night bus. A handful of other backpackers got on as well. The open windows did little to help with the heat and it was sweltering inside. As usual, nothing about this trip was explained to any of us tourists, so we were bracing ourselves for a long horrible ride to Dawei in this thing. We picked up more passengers on the way out of Hpa-an so the progress was slow.
Transfer in Mawlamyine
About an hour south we stopped in Mawlamyine and the driver motioned for us all to get off, yelling “Dawei!” They loaded us and our bags all in a truck-taxi. Lena was on the very back holding on and there was no room for me so I got to sit in the front with the driver. They took us to the local bus station where we all had to give our passports over for photocopies. Lena and I walked around and bought some wet napkins to wipe the dust from our faces and arms. The bus wouldn’t leave for another hour so we had tea at a little restaurant shack.
The last night bus I took (Bagan to Yangon) was a large bus with AC and reclining seats. I kinda assumed this would be the same affair. I was wrong. A small mini van sat waiting for us when we got back from tea. Everyone had assigned seats. All the passengers looked at each other with a reluctant sigh and we took our assigned seats.
Lena and I were behind the driver and passenger in the first row. There were two other rows of seats behind us. The seats don’t recline. Very little leg room. This was going to be a long trip.
The Night Bus begins
On the road. Everyone was tired from the day already and I almost dozed off. We stopped at a roadside restaurant, with a dozen other buses and vans out front. We ate fishy veggies, chicken and rice.
Back on the bus we all tried to sleep. The road climbed and seemed to be under heavy construction. The darkness made everything seem more foreign and strange. We came to some sort of checkpoint and they woke everyone up to get passports. Back on the road it seemed we were going down a mountain. Eventually in my half sleep I realized we were getting close. It was about 2am.
Arrival in Dawei
We arrived at the Dawei bus station and the lights came on. Outside of the van were some taxi drivers. The other passengers began to negotiate their fares. Some were staying in Maungmagan some in Dawei. Most of us did not have a room reserved for this night. Lena and I did have a room reserved for the next night in Dawei at the Hotel Shwe Moung Than. We got a cab and headed there.
The driver woke the hotel clerks up, who were sleeping in the lobby. Telling them we had a reservation for the next day, they got us a room for the night. We were so tired that paying for 25$ for a room for 5 hours of sleep was worth it.
Next Post Dawei and Maungmagan
Our transportation tally for the day:
- Two Motorbike taxis
- One Bus
- One pickup taxi
- One Van
- One taxi