Many visitors will want to leave this city as fast as possible, which is not quite justified. The sunset from the top of Mahazedi Pagoda provides for an stunning view with many pagodas sticking out of the green surrounding and a Buddha lying and relaxing in between. If you are in a rush, you can still visit the main attractions within 3-4 h by hiring a motorcycle and then hop on your onward transportation.
The 1 Highway Bus Station can easily be reached by foot. If you are planning to change buses in Bago beware that you are not necessarily dropped off there but at the 1 Bus Stop close to San Francisco Hotel. This is especially true for buses from the south and also from Inle Lake in the north. There may be a someone selling bus tickets, and he will claim that Bago has no main bus station making him the only one selling you an onward ticket (at twice the price). This is not true, and you can easily walk or get transport to the main bus station where prices are more reasonable.
- Yangon– 3,000 kyat, 2h every hour from 7:00 a.m.. From the Aung Mingalar Bus Terminal but also the corner of Strand and Sule Pagoda Rd. A cheaper option is to take bus 51 to Saw Bwar Gyi Gone Bus Station near the airport, from where a bus leaves to Bago. The journey takes 1-2 h and costs 1,000 kyat.
- Kyaiktiyo– Many direct buses depart leave from Kinpun at 6/8/9:00 a.m., and 13:00. and cost 5,000 kyat (but can be haggled down to 4,000 kyat). You can also catch buses at Kyaikto, which is directly at the highway, passing by from Hpa-an or Mawlamyine.
- Hpa-An– The bus is 5-7,000 kyat, takes 4-5 h and leaves from the Clock Tower.
- Mawlamyine– AC Bus at 07:00,08:00, 09:00 nd 12:30. 5-10,000 kyat.
- Inle Lake– There are at least three buses from Nyaung Shwe, 15:30/17:30/18:30 which all arrive in the morning. They are 10-20,000 kyat.
Due to the new highway between Mandalay and Yangon, all buses coming in from the north (Mandalay, Bagan, Naypyidaw) can also be used to get into Bago. Possibly, you will have to get off along the highway and do the last 26 km by pickup.
Scam warning: if coming from the South the bus will sometimes stop about 4 km outside the city. A rickshaw man will then come on the bus and tell you that the bus can’t stop in the centre, this is a lie. Ignore him, stay on the bus and explain to the bus staff you want to go to the centre.