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Planning a trip from Yangon to Naypyitaw proved to be one of our best travel challenges yet. There is almost no information online about how to undertake this route and so we stepped into this adventure with very few resources.
Happily however we are sitting in Naypyitaw right now, writing this article, enlightened by our journey and ready to share our discoveries and personal experience to anyone who might benefit from it.
Where to start:
The first task in the journey is to make your way in Yangon to the Aung Mingalar Highway Bus Terminal. This will require taking a taxi, in our case from the airport as we arrived, but from anywhere you find yourself in the city. The airport ride is around 7km and can take 30 minutes in traffic. The taxi cost we negotiated was $4 USD.
Aung Mingalar Bus Terminal
This is the gathering spot for buses to all over Myanmar. There are several companies providing bus routes to Naypyitaw such as JJ and Elite Express. Bus schedules can vary from company to company. We went with JJ since they were leaving next. One of the tour operators sold us the seat tickets. We had been informed we could purchase with dollars no problem in the airport. However they said they were not accepting dollars. We went around the corner to the exchange office, but it was closed. We came back and asked very nicely and they accepted our dollars for payment. (Take note to have new dollars with you in Myanmar, people will not accept old or marked bills.) Our luggage was ticketed, put under the bus and we went to our assigned seats.
The bus was modern and air-conditioned and the ride takes around 5 hours total. There is a half hour stop at a roadside restaurant complex after 3 hours. There is no bathroom on the bus. Music videos and movies are shown and bottled water is provided.
Arrival at Naypyitaw
Once the bus turns off the main highway you can see Naypyitaw spreading out in front of you. There are some small stops at which passengers get out and a few taxis and tuk tuks are waiting. Unless you have specific directions you should not get out here, but at the main stop which is Myo-Ma-Zay Market Gate ေ္နၿပည္ေ္တာ္္ၿမိ႕ိဳေမစ်းဂိတ္။
Here there are many other taxis and tuk tuks waiting to take one to their hotels and Nawpyitaw destination.