If you enjoy coffee, long walks in the park, and are feeling a bit hipster-y, then the most recent addition to Kandawgyi Park’s slew of cafés might be worth checking out.
Established five months ago by a brother-sister duo, the Yangon Bus Café is exactly that: a café inside a bus.
When we arrived, we had to make a decision between sitting outside on the patio and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, or sitting inside a bus. Obviously we chose the latter because, well, that’s the whole point of the bus café.
The menu is a mix of restaurant and café food. While the table beside us seemed to be content with their chicken wings, we decided that we didn’t want an entire meal.
We had initially just ordered a hot chocolate and a mocha, but with the cake stand outside directly in our line of vision, we opted for a slice of matcha cake as well.
The drinks tasted okay — the bus foam illustration on the hot chocolate earned it bonus points — but nothing spectacular; to be honest, it was about the same quality as something we could’ve whipped up at home ourselves. We also would’ve preferred them a bit hotter — perhaps they shouldn’t be prepared directly underneath the ceiling suspended air con — because by the time we were three quarters of the way through, they were lukewarm and starting to veer towards cold.
The cake too was average, but given most Myanmar bakeries’ penchant for overtly sweet frosting, it was a relief to not bite into a layer of pure sugar.
There’s no Wi-Fi available, which is a shame because it would actually be a nice place to get some work done, especially under the outside canopy if you’re looking for a quiet workspace with minimal distractions and access to fresh air.
We briefly chatted with one of the owners, Ko Phyo, who told us that he’d decorated the bus himself. Its engine and steering wheel are even still functional, should they ever decide to turn it back into a regular motor vehicle, or make it a moving café on wheels.
Our biggest disappointment with the café was when the bill came — we actually let out a small gasp upon the realization that our two hot drinks and a slice of cake had amounted to MMK10,500.
Ultimately, what you’re paying for is that Brooklyn/Shoreditch-esque vibe, complete with oil barrel seats and framed vintage Myanmar magazine covers. While some of the décor is a bit odd (see: the framed poster of the Success Kid meme), props such as the metal registration plates and the gramophone blasting pop hits from two years ago make it all very Instagram-worthy.
If you’re after the best coffee and pastries in Yangon, you can give this place a miss. If, on the other hand, you want to impress a date or fulfill your lifelong dream of eating chicken wings inside a bus, we’d recommend the Yangon Bus Café. It should be added that it also felt nice to go to a cool café that’s not located in the Yaw Min Gyi Café Zone.
The Yangon Bus Café is located inside Kandawgyi Park (there’s no real address, just ask for directions to the bus café at the park entrance), and is open every day from 10 am to 10 pm.