We of course are on a budget so when planning on how to get around Yangon we imagined we would mainly use buses. But we were very surprised to find that taxis were not too expensive!!! Here is a break down of how we got around Yangon.
We downloaded the Yangon City Bus (YBS) app for android. It was very helpful in telling us where the bus stops were located and what buses to take.
We did not have internet on our phones and you do need to use internet for this app. The problem was solved by using our hotel’s wifi to plan out our route and screenshot the information. It worked out very well! Maybe because I wasn’t in charge of this!
The fare is 200 kyat wherever you go. You need to have the correct money as they don’t give change. You enter through the front door, put the money in the little box next to the driver. And you exit through the door in the middle.
I had expected little trucks or something but these are proper air con buses. Some are quite old and some are a bit newer.
The driver’s are very fast and not so smooth so you need to hang on tight and we found people were not keen to give up a seat for those in need.
We were quite surprised by the cost of taxis. At night time we felt it was better to take a taxi and it averaged about 2,500 kyat or only $2!! The most we paid was when we went to Insein to have dinner with friends. They ordered us a Grab taxi (also an app) and it cost us 4,500 kyat to get back to our hotel. It was close to 20 kms and took 40 minutes so we were happy to pay only a few dollars. Particularly as taking taxis in Bangkok start at 30 baht and this was 95 baht for the whole trip. We are pretty sure it would have cost 200 baht in Bangkok.
There did not appear to be any metred taxis so we did have to barter with them. And one evening it did take a few taxis before we found a man happy to take us back to our hotel for the rate we wanted to pay.
The most economical way to get around is to walk!! You also have the freedom to stop and see things. We were happily surprised by quite good footpaths. You do have to watch for holes and betel nut spit but quite wide and safe for the most part.
The cute little suburb of Insein was really quite fun. The streets are very local!! We really enjoyed walking around here as there were sandbag footpaths and funny detours.
For example we walked from the Thai Embassy down to Bogyoke Aung San market which was 3kms and we were still carrying our backpacks. We enjoyed the tree lined streets and stopped for lunch and tea on the side of the road.
We did however take a taxi from there to our hotel as we were feeling hot and tired and loaded down with our bags. (Read about our hotel here)
The important thing to keep in mind when you are walking around Yangon and maybe Myanmar in general is – people are very friendly so we spent a lot of time smiling and saying hello and mingalabar!! It was great!!