How to get to and from: Ye

How to get to Ye

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Though we did see an airport marked on certain maps this refers to an old World War II airfield constructed and used by the Japanese. It’s now abandoned so you can ride up and down the landing strip if you have a bike and try and imagine the Zeros taking off to seek out Allied shipping in the Indian Ocean. It’s on the left of the highway just before Banana Mountain.


The good news is that Ye has daily trains both south to Dawei and north to Thanbyuzayat and Mawlamyine. The bad news is that the former is officially the slowest train in Burma and the latter is not a lot better.

Dawei is around 8 hours 30 minutes away and Mawlamyine is around 6. We couldn’t get verbal confirmation but according to signs costs are 1,000 and 1,200 kyat respectively while ‘VIP’ class ought to set you back around 3,000. Ye station at the far western end of May Yu Street does actually still function -- occasionally -- and if you get there at the right time of day there may even be a ticket seller.

Times are: 10:30 to Dawei and 06:00 and 14:00 for Mawlamyine -- though needless to say please check!


Ye has at least 10 departures per day heading north and stopping at all major towns to Yangon including Thanbyuzayat, Mawlamyine, Thaton and Bago. The earliest we found was 06:00 and the latest 16:00. Buses leave from outside their respective offices, spread along the central stretch of May Yu Street between the KBZ bank and Shwe San Daw Pagoda.

Heading south we managed to find only two daily departures for Dawei, leaving at 06:30 and 21:00. The solitary company selling tickets for the south is down a narrow lane one block west of the market.

The reason? Between Mawlamyine and Kawthaung there is only one road, linking Myeik, Dawei and Ye with buses and minibuses departing from all these towns and Yangon as the terminus, dropping off on the way, or Yangon as the starting point. They will drop off but not pick up en route. So south to north travel in south Burma is straightforward and easy, as any town will have a stack of departures for Yangon and you can just jump off wherever you want to. However in the opposite direction, once you are outside of Yangon it’s a different matter. As of early 2016 this was the situation, though of course it may change (we hope!)

Dawei costs 9,000 kyat. Northbound buses are 3,000 for Mawlamyine and 8,500 for Yangon. Most of the buses are fan -- check at the ticket office to see which are the air-con departures; they’re the same price. (The company we checked had 07:15 and 16:15 air-con buses). Air-con buses are modern and comfortable and stop once at Thanbyuzayat for a break during the four hour, 155 kilometre drive to Mawlamyine. Dawei is slightly further at maybe four and a half hours, but is the more scenic drive of the two.

If you’re arriving from Dawei, then buses will drop you on the main highway east of Ye town. They will not pick-up passengers from here. A moto-taxi into town costs 1,000 kyat.