Hpa-An Myanmar is something I find mysterious, a different experience compared with Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake. I left Yangon with a heavy heart as I booked a night bus ticket to Hpa-An Myanmar. Wondering what would happen to me as the travel companion and I decided to separate due to misunderstandings. But that’s another story. Now, let’s just focus Hpa-An Myanmar.
How to Get to Hpa-An Myanmar from Yangon?
Booking a night bus ticket to Hpa-An, Myanmar
I booked a night bus ticket to Hpa-An Myanmar for 14,000 Kyat from my hostel near Sule Pagoda. From my hostel, I walked to the mini-bus station near Yangon City Hall. A mini-bus cost 1,000 Kyat to Aung Mingalar Highway Bus Station.
Are you interested to stay more than two weeks? Check this out on how to apply a Myanmar tourist visa good for 28 days.
Aung Mingalar Highway Bus Station Experience
There are several bus companies going to Hpa-An. Upon arrival at Aung Mingalar Highway Bus Station, you have to find the terminal. I can say that the bus station is kind of chaotic. You need to walk and asked a local, show them your ticket the name of the bus company and they will help you where it is.
The Night Bus Experience to Hpa-An
I forgot the name of the bus company to Hpa-An. The bus provides a bottle of water and a blanket you can use to keep yourself warm and sleep. The bus left at 9 PM and arrived in Hpa-An at 3 AM.
As a small woman traveling alone, fortunately, a Myanmar woman helped me to talk to the driver in case there is a lost in translation. She made sure that the bus will drop me off at the Clock Tower in Hpa-An. We exchanged WhatsApp numbers in case I have questions. She thought I was Thai. When I told her I’m from the Philippines, she told me that she used to work in Manila.
Where to Stay in Hpa-An?
Soe Brothers Guest House
The cheapest guesthouse in Hpa-An is Soe Brothers Guest House. I stayed in the second guest house since the first one is always full. The first guest house is one near the Clock Tower. The second guest house is near the river.
Since I arrived at 3 AM, the staff who was sleeping in the common area opened its door for me. I decided to sleep on their sofa looked so tired. The owner woke me up and offered the room for me in the morning so that I could sleep again and I woke up again at 12 Noon.
Soe Brothers Guest House offers day tour around Hpa-An and the cost depends on the number of people who are joining the tour.
DIY Motorbike Tour in Hpa-An Myanmar Itinerary
You can also rent a motorbike from the hostel or from the hotel of your choice for 8000 Kyat a day. Since I woke up at 12 Noon, I did the half day tour on my own but never got the chance to get a half day motorbike rental so I paid like I was renting for a whole day.
This happened around 12 Noon to 6 PM so I’ve only been to two spots. Part of this trip was I always get lost so you can see how time-consuming it was. My map never worked so I asked some locals to find the way.
I asked the receptionist at that time which places are good to visit in a small span of time so she recommended seeing the caves.
Kaw Ka Taung Cave
Going to Kaw Ka Taung Cave was easy as I just need to follow the national road. Visiting the cave is free.
I got lost going there so I asked some locals where to find this as my map didn’t work. You need to pay 1000 Kyat for the entry and 2000 Kyat for the boat ride to end this spot.
After Saddan Cave, I got caught by the rain. Good thing that I brought my raincoat with me since the month of September is the rainy season of Myanmar.
I woke up at 8 AM for breakfast but started my next adventure at 9 AM. Just followed the maps and discover the spots on my own.
A foreigner needs to pay 4000 Kyat to get in.
From Lumbini Garden, you have the choice to climb up Mount Zwegabin so I dared myself going there alone. It wasn’t easy but I made it. My legs were sore after. Here’s an article about Hiking to Mount Zwegabin with a Broken Heart.
Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda
After Mount Zwegabin, time to visit Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda. Coming here was very relaxing.
I was driving again going to Bat Cave. You have to pay 500 Kyat to see the bats going out at 5 PM or during sunset. I went to this area around 3 PM so I wasn’t able to pay anything.
A cave with a lot of Buddha images. I went here and got lost. During my re-fueling of my motorbike, I am so touched that the Myanmar woman gave me a bottle of cold water for free because I look so exhausted.
I paid 3000 Kyat for an entry here. Another cave of Buddha images.
I left Hpa-An for my next destination going to Mawlamyine with a bus for 1200 Kyat only.
- If you don’t know how to drive a motorbike, better get the day tour offered from your guesthouse.
- Motorbiking on a wet season, always bring a raincoat with you and a dry bag.
- Wear a pair of slippers with you for it’s easy to take off when visiting temples.
- If you’re alone and found a travel buddy, better share hotel to split the cost.
- If your travel buddy knows how to drive a motorbike, better, and split the cost of the rental and gasoline.
- Always eat your breakfast offered from your guest house. Sometimes, I have my second meal in the evening.
Budget or Expenses in Hpa-An
14,000 Kyat – bus from Yangon to Hpa-An
$18 through Agoda online payment on accommodation day 1
24,000 Kyat accommodation day 2 paid in the guest house asking for a discount
8000 Kyat – motorbike rental on day 1
8000 Kyat – motorbike rental on day 2
1000 Kyat for 1 Liter of gasoline x 5 = 5000 Kyat
2000 Kyat – food budget per meal or you can splurge if you like with drinks but I spent 8000 Kyat already
1000 Kyat – Saddan Cave entry
2000 Kyat – Saddan Cave boat
4000 Kyat – Lumbini Garden entry
3000 Kyat – Yathaypyan Cave entry
500 Kyat – Bat Cave entry
So far, traveling alone to Hpa-An was relaxing for me as I don’t feel any pressure from somebody about getting lost and being a slow traveler. I love the motorbike experience here. To be honest, this is the first time I drive a motorbike in a different country without a driver’s license.
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Roxanne is an aspiring digital nomad. A virtual assistant since October 2009. She is a hobbyist blogger, photographer and travels a lot.