Bus may be fully booked unless you book a few days in advance & there might not be any buses leaving at night & it is a long ride .. at least 8.5 hours to Bagan. The bus stations are not down town either so you would need to get a taxi . . taxis are very cheap in Myanmar .. & then take a chance on getting a ticket.
A flight might well be a better choice .. I would go with the flight as you are a bit pressed for time.
8.5 hours is the shortest time by car .. it is 12 hours by bus & they seem to leave from Aung Mingalar Station at 8:00 & 18:30
Have you considered getting a Myanmar visa from a consulate in Asia? I got my visa quickly at the Myanmar consulate in Hong Kong. There was no line. The consulate took applications from 9 a.m. to noon; and returned passports between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
To save time, fly to Bagan. Flights leave early in the morning.
This is is official e-visa site. I applied for mine a week before entering the Mae Sot/ Myawaddy boarder, and it was approved via email by the time my girlfriend completed her application. Very quick and easy although I imagine a few days is reasonable waiting time. Cost 50$ US.
You should get an approval via email so if you have not yet received anything I would cast my doubts on the site you used. Sorry to say.
In regards to taking the bus to Bagan I happen to have just arrived at my hostel from yangon this morning. Bus ride was actually very nice. I would suggest a night bus to arrive early. If you can sleep through the ride (it's bumpy but the bus is really nice) (17$/AC/water/stop with washroom/and seats that feel like a cloud) then you would be able to check in to your room early and then head over to the sights. We got here at roughly 5am. A note though that the cabs are pricy at that time but if you can share the cost all the better.
[ Edit: Edited on 18-Mar-2017, at 17:20 by Thecradds ]
Thank you for that ! Really appreciate the feedback. Yep ! Just awaiting on the visa now. Positive thinking !
Thats what I was hoping for actually. Just to catch the night bus and be there just before sunrise . Is there a particular bus I should as for ?
Did you exchange into their currency when you got there ? I went to exchange some today but they don't haven't kyat
ATMs exist. Kyats generally are not convertible outside Myanmar, though an article last year in Myanmar Times reports that some licensed currency exchange places in Bangkok are beginning to accept them.
I flew twice from Yangon to Bagan so I can't advise you on buses.
We got the bus booked from our hostel (little yangon hostel. Really nice dorms and low key atmosphere@14 $ canadian/night) tickets were 17$ each for the cheap bus. Which is what we got. 27$ for the high end one. I can't even imagine what that would entail as our bus was state of the art.
The ticket I have here says Mandalay express, although I am not sure how to choose companies. You can probably ask your hostel.
Also: they suggest getting a cab to the bus station two and a half hours in advance. Traffic can be pretty slow.
Ahh, I was going to stay there too but ended up booking little monkey hostel instead. I don't even think I'll be staying if I end up getting the bus that night anyway !
You've been so helpful. Thank you !
Now to see if my visa actually arrives thouggh ... lol
There are few bus booking sites on line.
Here are some that will give you an idea of schedules & prices .. I have never used one so cannot give a recommendation.
Traffic in Yangon can be very, very slow depending on the time of day but should not be too bad from the airport to the Aung Mingalar Highway Bus Station .. I doubt it would cost more than $7 US