How To Get From Mandalay to Bagan
If you are wondering how to get from Mandalay to Bagan in Myanmar (aka Burma), You have several options with varying levels of costs and comfortability. If you want to save money then you can take the bus, if you want to save time you can take the plane, if you want to be more comfortable and just enjoy the countryside then you should take the train. In this post, we will cover some the options you have for getting from Mandalay to Bagan.
When I went to Burma it was a real eye-opener, as I had already been living and traveling in Southeast Asia for 9 months at the time I felt like I was pretty comfortable with things and didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. Burma however, was not the case for “Normality”, and if I were to compare it to another country I would say it’s like Cambodia in regards to the cleanliness of the cities and general lifestyle of the people. That’s ok though because there is a curfew anyways and most businesses close pretty early so don’t plan on having many late nights out.
After acclimating myself out of my Bali and Thailand mindset I ended up really enjoying myself going around sightseeing in the city before heading off to Bagan. I will cover some of the local things to do in Mandalay in another post but for now, I will cover some of your transportation options from Mandalay to Bagan.
Taking a bus from Mandalay to Burma is probably the most practical way to get there. You can either ask your hotel to order one for you and have you picked up on site or you can go to myanmarbusticket.com, get dropped at the bus station. All the departure times are listed on this site and you can get tickets for $8 USD. Depending on if you get JJ Bus or OK Bus services you will have some different options.
I know that you can pay for your ticket online at jjexpress.net and then in the comments leave your hotel and time or give them a call if you can. OK Bus only has a Facebook so I would recommend taking one of the other two options.
This trip is about 180 km and takes about 5 hours. The trip honestly isn’t that bad but as you will soon find out, the data sims in Myanmar only work in the cities so bring a book and don’t plan on being online much while on the road in between Mandalay and Bagan.
If you don’t have time to waste or just don’t want to be crammed on a bus or a slow train then flying might be your best option. You can fly to Bagan from Mandalay to Nyaung-u then take a cab to Bagan for around 10,000 Burmese Kyat. The plane only takes just over a half an hour but will cost you around $50+. One good thing is that the airports are very small so you won’t have to worry about arriving super early. You can check for flights and times here at flymna.com.
Taking the train to Bagan is another option, which takes up to 7 hours and can be rather bumpy but will provide a unique experience and views of the countryside. Unlike the bus, you will have more freed to move around and enjouy yourself than being crammed in the other option as they typically even load up with boxes and other goods to transport from one location to the other. If you want to book a train to get from Mandalay to Bagan then you can go here.
Cab or Private Driver
The last option I will mention is taking a cab or private driver, which can provide some benefits like being able to leave at any time, stop at multiple locations along the way and travel with as many or as few people and things as you like. A private driver can get you to Bagan in as little as 4 hours depending on the times and traffic but will cost you over $70+.
Thank you for reading my post about how to get from Mandalay to Bagan, I hope you found the information helpful and that you enjoy your trip! If you have any questions you can leave a comment below or follow me on Instagram @nomadicnava and send me a direct message. If you want to read more of my blog posts you can find them here. Thanks!