When I was researching for this trip, I read about OK Express and that it was a good service. They do door to door so they pick you up from your hotel in Mandalay and drop you off at your hotel in Bagan or vice versa. If I had known this, I could have traveled at night without any worries. Anyway, it costs 9000 kiats or $9. They have maybe 3 trips a day. I took the earliest one at 8am.
My experience with OK Van Express from Mandalay to Bagan was very pleasant. I was the first person they picked up in this make shift small truck vehicle. They actually use these set up as Taxis in Mandalay. They also have cars but those are more expensive, these are what the usual Taxis look like.
Then we had to pick up other guests. We stopped by the infamous backpacker place of Dreamland Guest house to pick up a couple of French travelers.
We picked up a few people along the way until we were dropped off at a junction and we were riding our van finally. It had maybe 18 seats. Your seat number is on the ticket. Two thirds of the guests are foreigners and the rest are locals. The locals are not used to air conditioning or maybe they don’t like the feeling of being in an enclosed space so the assistant also gave barf bags. I actually saw the lady next to me use it. If windows can be opened, they would open it. I’ve seen this a few times on different transports, not on OK Express. It’s not fun because the AC goes out the window and it gets so hot.
They give out bottled water and a towelette.
The journey was about 5 hours in total. We stopped at a rest stop which had the traditional squat toilets. Also, traditional Myanmar food.
This is what our van looks like from the outside.
At Bagan, we stop again at a Tourism office. They ask the foreigners to go out and pay for the compulsory ticket.
You have to pay out $20 for it. Make sure you have cash.