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Joanna
Metro Manila

Myanmar, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake

Getting around Myanmar

Hi everyone,

My friends and I are going to Mandalay later this year and I wanted to get your opinion on how to go around. We intend to go to Bagan and Lake Inle just for the duration of the trip but unsure of which mode of transportation to take. Any suggestions on cheap but comfortable options would be really appreciated!


4 Answers

top answer by
Anthony from New York City

I'd personally recommend the train from Rangoon to Mandalay for the experience.

It is a night train, but you probably wont sleep as it'll be bouncing up and down (rather aggressively!) all night, however despite the speed being slow - 18 hours - you see so much you'd miss on the airports.

Otherwise, I took a flight from Mandalay to Old Bagan and again from there to He Hoe (for Inle Lake) and down back to Rangoon.

You can probably get a ferry from Mandalay to Old Bagan if you have the time and the river is high enough - unfortunately too low for me in May 2013.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rangoon (city)
  2. Mandalay (city)
  3. Old Bagan (city)
  4. He Hoe (city)
  5. Inle Lake (attraction)
6 thanks


answered first by
Bridge from San Francisco

Getting around Myanmar / Burma isn't necessarily the easiest thing.

My friend and I went from Mandalay to Bagan and then Bagan to Rangoon, so I can't speak to Inle Lake, but in general:

  • The infrastructure -- both roads and for booking -- is not great.
  • Once in the country, we found for flights, you needed to go to a travel agent, which had pretty limited hours (e.g. 10 - 4, some open late) but with a long siesta.
  • They also had random closings or the systems would be down all day. You cannot book a flight at the airport.
  • Your best bet is to get help from your hotel (or another hotel) for any type of booking.
  • We were there had challenges with booking just a day or two in advance (everything was sold out) for flights & boats. This was in early Jan, so may have been peak season.


Generally, your options are:

  • Flight
  • Bus (long and not direct)
  • Private Car
  • Boat (From Mandalay to Bagan) - takes most of day, is supposed to be pretty scenic


*Even with some of the challenges with booking, Myanmar is one of my favorite places that I've visited so far.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Myanmar (country)
  2. Mandalay (city)
  3. Bagan (city)
  4. Rangoon (city)
  5. Inle Lake (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Ján from Bratislava

In cities (especially in Mandalay), the best choice of transportation is motorcycles. There are many drivers everywhere and will even give you a helmet. It's fast and cheap. They will also offer to take you to the 3 ancient cities (Min Kun, Sagaing, Amarapura) for a daily round fare of about 15USD, which is fair price in my opinion. You can of course take the local mean of transport to get to these cities - mini vans. But, be aware it's pretty complicated to find the correct one as there aren't any specific stops. And you will have to wait till it's full of people. Nevertheless, it will be an interesting local touch to your stay in Mandalay.

Your overall best bet on getting around Myanmar are buses. Absolutely. They're cheap, fast and comfortable. And there's many more of them as compared to what guidebooks list.
Avoid trains. They're terrible, looking like they will derail any second and slow as heck. The only exception is the train from Hsipaw to Pyin Oo Lwin, just because of the scenic Goteik Viaduct.

From Mandalay to Nyaung-U (Bagan basecamp) take a boat down the mighty Ayeyarwady River. It's pretty slow (it took us 12 hours in the other direction), but it's a nice ride. From there, take a bus to Inle Lake.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mandalay (city)
  2. Min Kun (city)
  3. Sagaing (city)
  4. Amarapura (city)
  5. Myanmar (country)
  6. Hsipaw (city)
  7. Pyin Oo Lwin (city)
  8. Nyaung-U (city)
  9. Ayeyarwady River (attraction)
  10. Inle Lake (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
sandar from Yangon

Greetings from Myanmar. Travel by flight in Myanmar can be pricy but it is better to choose flight for some sectors. For trip from Yangon to Bagan and to Inle Lake, there are also overnight express buses ( fully airconditioned and convenient) but it depends on your availability how many days you have as travel by bus take more time . The price is much cheaper compared to flight. You may book and purchase both flight or bus tickets at our travel agent. ( see at www.joynpeacetravel.com). 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Myanmar (country)
  2. Yangon (city)
  3. Bagan (city)
  4. Inle Lake (attraction)




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