No road to Mandalay: bus tickets sold out ahead of Thingyan

Buses at Aung Mingalar bus station, Yangon, Myanmar via WikiCommons
Buses at Aung Mingalar bus station, Yangon, Myanmar via WikiCommons

If you’ve been a little slow in planning your road trip out of Yangon for the upcoming Thingyan holiday, you might be fresh out of luck at this point.

Bus tickets headed from Yangon to Mandalay, Naypyidaw and Mon State between April 10 and April 12, three days before Thingyan, are completely sold out, according to bus operators and ticket sellers.

“Right now, because of the high demand of the seasons, we don’t have any tickets left for those three days,” an employee from the Myanmar Bus Ticket, an online ticket distributor told Coconuts Yangon.

JJ Express, an express bus company servicing Naypyidaw, Mandalay, Taungyi and Bagan, had all but four seats left on one bus on April 10, headed to Mandalay.

“All of our buses are full except on April 10 for Mandalay. There are only four seats left that day. Everything else is booked,” a JJ Express employee told Coconuts Yangon over the phone.

Buses don’t run frequently during the water festival, meaning those without tickets at this point are likely either stuck in Yangon for the break or forced to take the train.

“Trips going back to Mandalay, Mon state, Naypyidaw … were sold out from the second week of March. There are still tickets available for April 7 and 8 and the prices remain the same,” an employee from Mandalar Minn Express told the The Voice Myanmar.

Employees at the Aung Mingalar Bus Terminal also told The Voice that other bus lines have also sold out tickets for those three crucial days before the Thingyan break.

But are those tickets all going to actual passengers? Some feel its scalpers that are making them a scarce commodity.

“You can’t buy tickets going to Mandalay anymore. Every year there are people who resell tickets at a higher price. People should do something about this practice,” an Aung Mingalar Bus Terminal employee told the Burmese language outlet.

The Yangon Region Transport Authority pays close attention to the buying and selling of ticket sales because of the risk of ticket scalping during a period where everyone is scrambling to get their plans in order.

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