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From Bagan to Mandalay by train

Mandalay Central
7h 30m
Instant Refund

From Bagan Shwe Pyi to Mandalay by bus

Bagan Shwe Pyi
Mandalay OK
Bagan Shwe Pyi
Mandalay OK
Bagan Shwe Pyi
Mandalay OK

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.

Passenger reviews out of total 190 passengers who traveled with us on this route.

At 12Go our operators offer three types of service:

Cheap, Fast, Good - but you can usually pick only two of them!
Cheap & Fast won’t be Good. (e.g. buses from/to Khao San Road, local buses or 3rd class trains)
Cheap & Good won’t be Fast. (e.g. VIP trains in Thailand)
Fast & Good won’t be Cheap. (e.g. private limousine services, or VIP24 buses vs Express buses)

Make your choice! Please remember that while we are closely monitoring the services, we are still an agency marketplace. That means we focus on ticketing services and route availability & coverage rather than on the factual seat reclining angle you will get on the bus today.

Jun 23, 2018
train #119 Upper Class, Myanmar Railways
I would not recommend train travel in Myanmar, unless you're super keen to get a very local, uncomfortable experience. Train was swaying, bumpy, slow, dirty, and there were mice! It's fun to see the local villages you otherwise wouldn't see, but I think a bus would have been much quicker. (And more comfortable!)
Jun 16, 2018
bus Minivan, OK Minibus
Great and friendly staff. Dropped me off right in front of my hostel!
Feb 15, 2018
train #119 Upper Class, Myanmar Railways
It was a great trip!
Jan 21, 2018
train #119 Upper Class, Myanmar Railways
The trip was lovely! I really enjoyed the trip from Bagan to Mandalay, very relaxing and I loved getting to see the country side! The upper class section I was in was full of teenagers, they were all so nice and shared their food they got from the stops with me!
Jan 3, 2018
train #119 Upper Class, Myanmar Railways
Everyone said: do NOT by any chance take the train. Well it wasn't that bad. The chairs were comfy but old. We couldn't adjust the back rest and the windows were a bit tricky. But since everyone had the windows always open there was no need to try and close them anyways. It was pretty cold when we started the trip at 7 am but once the sun came up it was warm and just nice. I really liked the view. Not particularly pretty but interesting to see the simple life of the farmers. I enjoyed the ride for about half the time: it took us 8 hours!!! and that was a bit too much for that distance (~180 km). We had far worse bus trips in Asia (unlikely to be killed by a train driver), hence 3 stars.
Dec 4, 2017
train #119 Upper Class, Myanmar Railways
I provided my Hotel address when I booked with the remark I have no access to my email address (security reasons) - yet the ticket was not delivered to the Hotel. I got an sms without the option to reply (info sms) - I opened Service tickets but the answers came to my email and I was not able to read them. The alternative email address I gave was not used.
Sep 11, 2017
train #119 Upper Class, Myanmar Railways
WONDERFUL train ride from Bagan to Mandalay!!! We are two Americans traveling the world, and we LOVED our train! The upper class seating was SOOOO comfortable, and the breeze blowing in the windows felt great. The fan was nice and cooling too! Make sure you bring water with you for the 7 hour ride, although there will be locals who come on board selling water and snacks at a few of the stops. The train conductor was an expert driver, and the scenery through the farmlands of Burma was BEAUTIFUL!!!! Thank you so much for a PERFECT train journey!!! The way of life that we saw throughout our 7 hour trip will remain in our hearts forever.