go to content go to search box go to global site navigation

Local Transport

Larger towns in Myanmar offer a variety of city buses (ka), motorcycle taxis, bicycle rickshaws or trishaws (saiq-ka, for sidecar), horse carts (myint hlei), ox carts, taxis (taxi), little three-wheelers somewhat akin to Thai tuk-tuks (thoun bein, meaning 'three wheels'), tiny four-wheeled 'blue taxi' Mazdas (lei bein, meaning 'four wheels') and modern Japanese pick-up trucks (lain ka, meaning 'line car').

Small towns rely heavily on motorcycle taxis and trishaws as the main modes of local transport. However, in big cities (Yangon, Mandalay, Pathein, Mawlamyine and Taunggyi) public buses take regular routes along the main avenues for a fixed per-person rate, usually K200.

Standard rates for taxis, motorcycle taxis, trishaws and horse carts are sometimes 'boosted' for foreigners. Generally a ride from the bus station to a central hotel – often a distance of 1.25 miles or more – is between K500 and K1500 on a motorbike. Short rides around the city centre can be arranged for between K500 and K1000. You will likely have to bargain a bit.

Pick-up Trucks

Japanese-made pick-up trucks feature three rows of bench seats in the covered back. Most pick-ups connect short-distance destinations, making many stops along the way to pick up people or cargo. They are often packed (yet somehow never 'full' according to the driver). Pick-ups trace some useful or necessary routes, such as from Mandalay to Amarapura, from Myingyan to Meiktila, from Bagan to Mt Popa, and up to the Golden Rock at Kyaiktiyo. Unlike buses, they go regularly during the day.

Fares are not necessarily cheaper than those charged for local bus trips of the same length, and prices often go up after dark. You can, however, pay 25% to 50% extra for a seat up the front. It's often worth the extra expense if you don't want to do scrunch duty. Sometimes you may share your spot with a monk riding for free; usually you get exactly what you pay for ('the whole front'), unlike in some other parts of Southeast Asia.

Pick-ups often start from the bus or railway station (in some towns they linger under a big banyan tree in the centre) and then, unlike many buses, make rounds through the central streets to snare more passengers.