Bagan to Mandalay

Bagan to Mandalay

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Bagan to Mandalay Schedule

Bagan to Mandalay Schedule
Transport NameRoute TimePrice
SmartRyde SUV 4pax Any time$ 21.85
Myanmar National Airlines Economy 13:20 - 18:05MMK 569,695
Myanmar National Airlines Economy 15:20 - 12:05MMK 585,514
Myanmar National Airlines Economy 17:35 - 08:35MMK 563,012

How to get from Bagan to Mandalay

Bagan sits only 180 km southwest of Mandalay, but travelling overland will take you a good deal of time. Buses are the fastest means of land transport – they need 5 hours to reach Bagan. Trains cover the same route in 7–12 hours, while a boat trip, though also takes time – up to 10 hours – is quite picturesque. Flights are costly but deliver you to your destination in less than one hour.

Flights from Bagan to Mandalay

The major disappointment about flying within Myanmar is the cost of the air tickets. Regardless quite a decent offer – there is about half a dozen daily flights operated by different companies between the two destinations – prices remain high. When you compare the domestic airfare in Myanmar to that of some of the neighbouring countries – e.g. Thailand with its great choice of low-cost airlines with tickets from as low as USD25 on certain routes –you will want to cry.

To get a seat on a Bagan–Mandalay flight be ready to depart with USD100 and up. You can sometimes grab a promotion ticket if travelling during the low season, but it will not normally cost you less than USD80 anyway.

Another thing to note is that flights are often delayed, cancelled or make additional stops en-route, though the latter happens less often these days.

But a big ‘pro’ point for flying to/from Bagan is a terrific panorama of the temples below your plane’s wing. It really compensates the expenses! Well, at least partially.

Bagan’s airport is located in Nyaung U, 10 km east of Old and New Bagan and about 5 km from the main tourist streets of Nyaung U proper. To get there, take a taxi – it should not cost more than MMK5,000/USD5 from Nyaung U and 8,000/USD8 from both Old and New Bagan.

In Mandalay, all flights from Bagan arrive to Mandalay International airport, aka Annisaton, located 45 km southwest of the city centre. If you have already booked your accommodation in Mandalay, it pays to ask your host whether they can help with transfer but if not, take a taxi: rates are quite reasonable for the long distance you have to cover: MMK12,000/USD10 for private taxi and MMK4,000/USD4 for a seat in a shared vehicle.

From Bagan to Mandalay by bus

Travelling by bus from Bagan to Mandalay is time saving compared to a boat trip and a train journey and money saving compared to flying, though the least interesting. The quality of buses and service vary greatly as some operators offer cramped and worn-out vehicles with wooden benches while others have air-conditioned coaches (for about MMK8,000/USD6) though even those are not the latest edition.

Note that the bus station for Bagan is located close to its railway station in Nyaung U. In Mandalay, most buses from Bagan arrive to the Highway Bus station south of the centre, Chan Mya Shwe Pyi.

From Bagan to Mandalay by train

There are two daily trains between Bagan and Mandalay. Neither of them offers sleeping carriages, but the day train #119 which departs from Bagan at 7am and arrives to Mandalay at 2.30pm is said to have upper class seats from March, 2017. The whole trip thus takes 7½ hours and can be a good option for travelling overland between the two, saving you from a bumpy bus ride.

Train #117 is not recommended: it is much slower departing at an unsocial hour of 4am and reaching Mandalay by 4pm; it also has the cheapest ordinary class seats only and while it is an extremely budget friendly option for MMK1300/USD1, it is awfully uncomfy.

Tip Trains in Myanmar have no air-conditioning. Normally you get enough fresh air from open windows and ceiling fans even during the hottest months, but if the air during the day hits +40C marks the idea of spending 7+ hours without air-conditioning may seem rather unattractive.

In Mandalay, the railway station sits at the intersection of 79 Street and 30 Street, south of the south-western corner of the park surrounding the Royal Palace.

From Bagan to Mandalay by boat

Local ferries and more luxurious cruises travel up and down Irrawaddy River. Taking a boat from Bagan to Mandalay or vice versa is a great way to experience local life and enjoy the scenery. Travelling by boat is not fast: it takes up to 10 hours and costs between USD10 and USD50 depending on the type of the boat and the operator you travel with. Read about our experience of taking a boat from Bagan to Mandalay to get an idea what it is like.

If 10 hours look a bit too much, you can still put your feet on a boat on a shorter stretch of the river. There are regular local ferries from Nyaung U to Pakokku. They take about one hour and cost MMK1000 (for locals; as a foreigner, you will most probably be overcharged – expect to pay MMK5000/USD5).

From Pakokku there are buses to Mandalay, but if you do not have strict time limits, make a detour to Monywa. For an in-the-middle-of-nowhere town of its size Monywa has a lot to offer to a curious visitor – from wonderfully authentic atmosphere of a Burmese provincial town to amazing cave temples of Pho Wing Taung and Shwe Bataung which are an absolute must-see as they are no ordinary and contemporary cave temples you may been used to in Thailand or China but rather ancient Bagan-style creations beautifully decorated with murals you do not normally expect to find in a place like this.

It takes about 3 hours to get from Pakokku to Monywa and the same time to reach Mandalay from Monywa with buses departing regularly throughout the day.

Why travel to Mandalay

Gold leaves-clad Buddha images, wide lanes and boulevards, and a wealth of historical towns like Mingun, Inwa, Sagaing and Amarapura dotting the environs of the city make Mandalay a great stop in your Burmese itinerary. Well, even the only name of the city is intriguing! Mandalay – oh, are you serious? Does it really exist? Yes, it does! You may find the views from Mandalay Hill less scenic than those over the endless pagodas of Bagan from atop of one of its temples; the city itself less meditative than Nyaungshwe by the Inle Lake; and less hectic and lacking that colonial heritage Yangon is proud of. But Mandalay definitely offers enough activities to keep you busy for days: witness daily washing of Buddha’s face at Mahamuni Paya; take a stroll over the cult U-Bein bridge and watch the locals hurrying up on their daily routine over the bridge at sunset; admire an amazing puppet show Mandalay-style; or learn to cook those mouth-watering Burmese curries during the cooking class in Yoe Yoe Lay Guesthouse – and your own road to Mandalay will add a zest to your whole Myanmar trip.

Onward travel from Mandalay

An easy one-hour flight brings you from Mandalay to Yangon, also easily reached by bus or train. Connect via Yangon for all destinations southeast, including Thaton, Hpa-An, Mawlamyine, Ye and Dawei. To visit the Kyaiktiyo Mount, take Yangon-bound buses or trains – they all pass via Bago.

The easiest way to reach Inle Lake is to fly to Heho airport, though buses do a good job, too, reaching Taunggyi and Shwenyaung in about 10 hours.

Buses to seaside destinations like Sittwe and Thandwe (for Ngapali Beach) are also available. They depart from Hlaing Thar Yar Bus Terminal in Mandalay. Note that the journey is quite long and bumpy and takes from 15 to 17 hours. Buses to Sittwe pass via Mrauk U, the 15-century capital of Arakanese Kingdom. Do not miss it, if old temples are your thing.

In recent years a handful of international flights from Mandalay have been introduced, and now there are direct air links to Chiang Mai and Bangkok in Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong from one to seven times a week depending on the destination.

Transportation from Bagan to Mandalay

Facts about the transport from Bagan to Mandalay

Cheapest Transport$9
Fastest Transport30m
Earliest Departure8:00 AM
Latest Departure9:00 PM
Departures per day7
Distance25 kilometers
Transport CompaniesMyanmar Airways Intl, Myanmar National Airlines, SmartRyde

Bagan to Mandalay Destination Reviews

This trip included an open vehicle rounding us up from hotels and delivering us to the bus for the trip. Bus stopped a couple times for restrooms and lunch. Great price, good service...
Bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Mar 25, 2020
The bus came on time and picked me up from my hotel. The drive took 5h and was quite ok. We got a bottle of water and we had two breaks on the way, one 20min for lunch. In Mandaly I was dropped off at my hotel. Very good driver and nice staff. Fully recommended - Big OK from me:-)!
Bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Feb 20, 2020
nobody came 30-90 minutes before taking me to the hotel! the bus with which I also left came directly at 13:25. the place on the bus is extremely crowded.
Bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Feb 20, 2020
It was quite comfortable just don’t recommend for long journeys or night journeys as we did pick up a lot of locals and they just sat in the middle row on plastic stools. We did almost 6 hours and it was alright though
Bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Feb 10, 2020
The bus pick up on time in our hotel, it doesnt't space enough for the luggage. The e tickets by email is really late, even if you buy it one month before your trip. I receive the e tickets for my return Bagan to Mandalay two days before and we were a big group and the company said us " if we do 't have space on the bus we can help you for another alternative". What's that? If you buy in advance!
Bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Feb 5, 2020
The bus is small
Bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Feb 1, 2020
Thank you for the quick and safe journey to Mandalay :)
Bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Jan 31, 2020
For me it was the funniest bus ride ever in Myanmar. Yes, it was crowded with people and luggage. For that I could witness how it is handled with the buses here. People stand at the side of the road and wave. The bus driver then asks what to take. Guitars, car parts, parcels, letters or even the people themselves. There was always room for something or someone. The bus driver and co-pilot were super friendly. There was water and I was dropped off directly at my hotel in Mandalay, an hour earlier than planned. For this experience I like to do without comfort times.
This review was autotranslated
Bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Jan 31, 2020
Main thing is for the price you get picked up from your hotel in Bagan and dropped directly to you hotel in Mandalay so no complaints there. Only problem is there is no space on the bus for luggage so all bags and cases are stuffed down the aisle meaning people have to climb over these bags when getting off and on for toilet stops.
Bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Jan 29, 2020
Was given no message to say there would be a hotel pickup, so we nearly missed it. Bus was cramped and stopped continuously for people on the road.
Bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Jan 24, 2020
111 customer reviews