From Mandalay Central to Bagan by Trains

Myanmar Railways
Refundable Recommended
Mandalay Central
8h ride in train #120

From Mandalay OK to Bagan by Taxis+Buses

OK Minibus
Recommended Fastest
Mandalay OK
6h journey in Taxi+Bus. All connections guaranteed
Bagan Shwe Pyi
OK Minibus
Recommended Fastest
Mandalay OK
6h journey in Taxi+Bus. All connections guaranteed
Bagan Shwe Pyi
OK Minibus
Mandalay OK
6h journey in Taxi+Bus. All connections guaranteed
Bagan Shwe Pyi

Mandalay to Bagan Schedule

Mandalay to Bagan Schedule
Transport NameRoute TimePrice
OK Minibus Minivan 08:00 - 14:00MMK 18,404
OK Minibus Minivan 10:00 - 16:00MMK 18,404
OK Minibus Minivan 17:00 - 23:00MMK 18,404
Myanmar Railways Upper Class 21:00 - 05:00MMK 12,883

How to get from Mandalay to Bagan

The road distance from Mandalay to Bagan is 180km. Buses cover it is less than five hours; trains need at least 7; and flying whisks you to the beautiful ancient pagodas in a mere hour. To add flavour to your journey, consider taking a boat from Mandalay to Bagan or detouring to Monywa which makes for a great out-of-the-beaten-track stop. If you are a rail travel buff, read carefully our notes below before buying your train ticket.

Flights from Mandalay to Bagan

The airport serving Bagan is located in Nyaung U. There are over half a dozen daily flights between Mandalay and Nyaung U airport operated by a handful of domestic airlines. The first flight of the day departs Mandalay at 8am and the last one – before 6pm. Regardless this sufficient offer, there is no competition as far as prices are concerned. Air tickets in Myanmar are nowhere to be cheap and low-cost operators still have to come to the country. Expect your Mandalay–Bagan flight to set you back from USD100 and up. During low season there are promotional fares but these ones are only 20%-30% lower than regular tickets.

But anyway, the panorama over the temples of Bagan from aboard a plane is terrific – not only it compensates partly the cost of the air ticket; it also allows you to save on hot air balloon adventure.

It takes one hour to reach Bagan from Mandalay by plane, but the stretch between the two cities is probably one of the most picturesque and can be done by boat, too – see below. So if you can spend some time on an overland journey, skip flying in this very case.

Bagan airport is located in Nyaung U, east of New and Old Bagan. The airport facilities are limited and do not include ATMs or exchange service – ensure you have enough local currency at hand. Taxi drivers at the airport ask between MMK5,000 and MMK8,000 for destinations in Nyaung U, New & Old Bagan. If you book your accommodation with one of the midrange or top hotels, check if they provide free transfer from the airport – many of them do.

Note You have to pay the entrance fee to Bagan Archaeological Zone right at the airport. You will not be let out of the terminal building without your Bagan ticket. Ticket costs MMK25,000/USD22. If by some chance you do exit without paying, you will be asked to pay at your hotel or guesthouse as the owners register ticket numbers at check-in.

From Mandalay to Bagan by bus

Mandalay has at least three large bus stations. To catch a bus to Bagan from Mandalay, head to the Highway Bus station, aka Chan Mya Shwe Pyi. As the overwhelming majority of bus stations in Myanmar it is located a good deal away from the centre – about 8km south.

There are regular departures to Bagan throughout the day operated by a variety of companies. Both prices and quality of service differ tremendously: you can hop onto a local cheapie with wooden benches and ceiling fans or opt for a more comfy air-con coach (approximately MMK8,000/USD6).

Again, as it is often the case in Myanmar, you can find quite weirdly timed departures, e.g. buses leaving Mandalay late in the evening after 9pm and arriving to Bagan after midnight. Do not be surprised as it is a very common thing in Myanmar – God knows why.

Bagan bus station is located next to its railway station, also in Nyaung U. Tuk-tuk drivers meet all the arriving buses, but if you want to save a couple of bucks, use shared taxis (MMK2,000) or exit the bus station, walk to the highway and flag down a car or a tuk-tuk to your destination, be it Old Bagan, New Bagan or Nyaung U (from MMK5,000).

From Mandalay to Bagan by train

Yes, it is possible to get from Mandalay to Bagan by train. There are, though, a couple of things to take a note of.

Note 1. There are two daily trains between Mandalay and Bagan: the night train #120 which departs Mandalay at 9pm and brings you to Bagan early the next morning by 5am, completing the route in less than 8 hours, and the day train #118, which leaves at 7.20am and reaches Bagan by 7pm, taking thus almost 12 hours.

Note 2. Train #120 used to have ordinary class seats and first class seats, but recently Myanmar Railways reported they had upgraded certain trains, #120 included, and now it has upper class seats, too. This still has to be confirmed – if you travel this route, let us know.

Train #118 offers ordinary class seats only. There are no sleepers in either train.

In terms of comfort first class seats do not differ much from ordinary seats – they have padded bottom seat but it does not help too much. Upper class seats are a step forward – they are soft reclining seats and are obviously a much better choice for loner journeys.

From Mandalay to Bagan by boat

Unless you are very short of time, we seriously recommend you to consider this option. Travelling from Mandalay to Bagan by boat is an adventure in itself. Depending on how much you are ready to invest, you can choose between ordinary commuter ferryboats (USD10) to more luxurious and speedy options (up to USD50). It is possible to travel between the two in the both directions – upstream or downstream. For more information and our personal experience about taking a boat along the Irrawaddy River read our Bagan–Mandalay cruise article.

Tip Using local ferries you can get from Mandalay as far as Yangon. Local ferries and luxury cruises travel from Mandalay to Bagan and some local ferries proceed further to Pyay where you have to change onto another boat bringing you up to Yangon.

Detouring to Monywa

There is a nice detour you can consider while travelling from Mandalay to Bagan. 130 km west of Mandalay lies Monywa. Very few visitors make it till here though the city can be easily reached by bus from both Mandalay and Bagan.

Whilst even the most tourist inhabited areas in Myanmar still feel very authentic, Monywa is a quintessentially Burmese place with locals living their daily lives without thinking much about catering to the needs of the guests what is actually fantastic.

Golden pagodas of Monywa, especially its glittering Shwezigon Paya, are spectacular, but the two main attractions both not far from the city are a stunning Buddha ‘skyscraper’, Bodhi Tataung, towering 130 m high 20 km southeast of Monywa and a vast complex of cave temples about 10 km west of the western banks of the Chindwin River, Pho Wing Taung and Shwe Bataung. The latter is even dubbed Burmese Petra, and though we wouldn’t go that far, the caves with endless stone niches, murals and Buddhas are very impressive.

It takes around 3 hours to get from Mandalay to Monywa by bus; a bit longer – up to 4 hours – from Monywa to Bagan (170 km). To Continue your trip to Bagan you can take a bus from Monywa to Pakkoku – they depart more often than Monywa–Bagan buses and take about 3 hours. From Pakkoku there are slow ferries to Nyaung U. It takes an hour to reach the environs of Bagan by boat and costs MMK1,000/USD1 only but foreigners are usually overcharged: expect to pay – to be asked to pay – around MMK5,000/USD5.

Why travel to Bagan

Well, it is not a secret that people come to this temple heavyweight exactly for temples. You are going to see plenty of them: small and big, inconspicuous and highly imposing, abandoned and full of worshippers. You will have temples for breakfast while trying to catch the best sunrise view of Bagan from the white Thatbyinnyu pagoda; you will have more temples for lunch while counting countless bumps with your bum in a horse cart touring the sights; and obviously another helping of temples at sunset – this time desperately climbing Shwesandaw pagoda; and finally temples again for dinner, this time dining really at one of the modest restaurants with its own paya in the yard. To sum it up – be ready for a serious temple overdose!

Onward travel from Bagan

If Bagan is your last port of call out of the Big Four group, you can easily get back to Yangon from there. There is one daily train to Yangon, a good choice of flights and all day bus departures.

Travelling east to Inle Lake rely on direct buses and flights. You can also travel to Inle Lake via Kalaw: take a bus to Kalaw, spend a day in the town and continue your journey to the Lake by bus or train. Or better take a two-day trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake – it is a highlight of any journey to Myanmar!

For destinations southeast of Yangon including Thaton, Hpa-An, Mawlamyine, Myawaddy, Ye and Dawei connect via Yangon.

For Mrauk U or Sittwe connect via Magwe.

There is no direct service to Ngapali Beach (Thandwe): instead take a bus to Pyay and from Pyay to Thandwe or fly via Yangon. There are direct flights from Yangon to Thandwe (one hour; from USD110).

Mandalay to Bagan destination reviews

82 customer reviews
62% of 82 travelers were happy with this destination
bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Aug 25, 2019
The Bus is small and makes stops to pick up locals and packages. However since is a small trip (5h) you have to embrace the circumstances and make ir part of rhw experience.
bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Aug 20, 2019
Transfer desde Mandalay hasta Bagan salio perfecto. Hora de salida 10am y 15 minutos antes pasaron por mi hotel. El viaje total demoro como 4hrs y media, lo cual es bastante bueno considerando que hace varias paradas. The transfer went perfectly. The hotel pick up was at 10am and 15 minutes earlier the driver was there. In total the trip took 4 1/2 hours considering several stops. Highly recommended!
train #120 Sleeper, Myanmar Railways, Aug 3, 2019
12GoAsia service was excellent. The tickets were delivered to our hotel without the need to go before to the station or the local office. But, the trip was terrifying: is difficult ti sleep even 5 minutes.
bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Jul 18, 2019
They picked me up quite late. As mentioned in other reviews, they stop a lot of times to let passengers in. I was lucky to have a seat on the right side so I was sitting alone. It's definitely not the most comfortable ride, but you get to your destination. We had a short washroom break. We arrived early around 12pm, that was a plus. But be aware of the taxi guys at the bus station. They will rip you of like crazy since you've no options. It's better to ask your hostel/hotel to tell them where you want to be dropped of. To give an idea of a 'normal' price, from Nanda restaurant to the bus station is 6.000 kyatt.
train #120 Sleeper, Myanmar Railways, Jun 27, 2019
not too bad, but no communication from train staff make it difficult to understand where you are.
bus Minivan, OK Minibus, May 27, 2019
Overall it’s a fine trip. In case it’s not clear, this is a local bus that deal seeking back packers can make use of. I’m 6’2” and had just enough leg space to make it work. What surprised me was the drive from Mandalay to Bagan takes about 2.5 hours. The actual drive took 4.5 because of frequent stops, picking people up (locals on the side of the road) and going well south out of the way. Overall it was still 1.5 hours short than expected (the listing said 6 hours). So not that bad. Download a movie on Netflix and relax. Bring some snacks. Go to the bathroom before hand since we only had two long stops (10 minutes for gas 20 minutes later on for food at an outdoor restaurant. The food I wouldn’t advise eating. Maybe it’s fine but not worth the risk to me. You only come to bagan once so I didn’t want to get sick. The air conditioning worked. I’ve heard it’s supposed to be very cold and bundle up. It wasn’t. So better advice is to have layers available and come in short and a t shirt. As far as 12goasia, the communication was quick and easy and they’re customer support emails have been very responsive for other rides I’ve taken when needed.
train #120 Sleeper, Myanmar Railways, May 6, 2019
12GoAsia service was excellent. The 3 (sleeper) tickets for the Mandalay-Bagan night train were delivered to our hotel on the day we arrived. The 8h journey was extremely tiring. The trains and tracks are very old, which is why the journey takes so long. Myanmar would do well to modernise its infrastructure - with the help of the international community - as train should be a faster, safer, cleaner (i.e. environmentally friendly) and more pleasant way to travel.
train #120 Sleeper, Myanmar Railways, Mar 12, 2019
1. The online price is much difference to the local office. 2. The train is not to good which shake too much. You can’t sleep during your trip. 3. I prefer to use bus next time rather than taking this train. 4. The train is very old school; dirty and some insects. Conclusion, It’s good to explore something new, but for the next time i will take a night bus. It
train #120 Sleeper, Myanmar Railways, Feb 25, 2019
Everybody was really Nice and helpful. From the 12go helpcentre, lady who gave us the tickets and the personal on the platform and the train. The train was clean and we slept okey.
train #120 Upper Class, Myanmar Railways, Feb 4, 2019
Ride from Mandalay to Bagan was very uncomfortable, our seat cushion had an issue where it could not stay out. I keep having to readjust it every 1 - 2 hours or so. We even switch the cushion that was slightly better but don’t expect too much with the “upper class” ticket. Train was dirty and dusty. We had to wipe down the arm rest since that was so sticky and our wet nap turned brown, no joke. It was much worse with the loud kids in our train laughing and talking loudly all night. Sadly there are no quiet hours even though our train was 2100 - 0500 arrival. On the way back to Mandalay from Bagan we booked a private driver, trust me it will be your better choice if it’s within your budget
bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Feb 2, 2019
The bus driver did the job of delivering you to the Bagan bus terminal (yes, not to your hotel as you need to pay extra or hire private taxi for that, it was clear from the tickets). But there were no regular toilet breaks/stops , when asked, the driver was quite unwilling to stop for pessengers' pee time, except for lunch time where the driver and his staff needed to have lunch, where there were 3 toilets next to the road side restaurant. The food wasn't as bad / unclean as most described, I've eaten at these sort of places for the past 3 days and I'm still in one piece. Being seated at the back has the disadvantage of getting out as corridor is filled with passengers' luggages (there was no special compartments for luggages apparently). Also, our hotel located on the 78th street in Mandalay, the bus came at 10:40 (for a scheduled 10:00 bus time), even the hotel staff told us they're regularly late and it is "normal". We sat at the hotel lobby for to hours due to the scare on its terms & conditions that they'd leave if they do not find us there when the bus arrives. Other than the lack of toilet stops and little space in bus, I'd say the company did its job, although journey was bumpy and the driver drove hellish, but yeah, for that price, what else could I ask for. I'm still alive to be able to write this review.
bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Jan 16, 2019
We did not eat our lunch at the bus stop bec. We felt that the food is not clean & the restaurant missy and dirty, hopefully this will improve for the safety of your costumers. Also the driver and his relatives are so noisy in the bus talking with a loud voice we cannot sleep in the bus
train #120 Sleeper, Myanmar Railways, Dec 30, 2018
Thank you so much for your assistance. The ticket for a sleeping car from Mandalay to Bagan was delivered to my hotel by the time promised and the travel was completed with no problem. Excellent quality of service.
train #120 Sleeper, Myanmar Railways, Dec 25, 2018
The train should seriously be cleaned (sleepers wagon). The washroom facilities aren’t convenient. Missing a mirror and a wider space to wash.
train #120 Sleeper, Myanmar Railways, Dec 25, 2018
Probably better to take a day train for sightseeing. The night train departs at 21:00 and arrives in Bagan very early at 5 a.m. Also very cold during the night. Can't sleep well.
bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Nov 6, 2018
Bus, quite snall. Made too many stops in order to get locsls in so they csn sit on small plasic chairs in the aisle. My bag and athers bags were also put n the aisle.
train #120 Sleeper, Myanmar Railways, Nov 5, 2018
Service from is great. But the train condition is really bad
bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Oct 30, 2018
Driver was driving like crazy and would be considered illegal in other countries... also on halfway of the trip they did business with local people to probably earn some side income and people will try to sell you stuff while youre in the bus..
train #120 Sleeper, Myanmar Railways, Oct 8, 2018
Manager informed me with new adress in the last email, but before adress was wrong. Train was okay.
bus Minivan, OK Minibus, Oct 6, 2018
Will arrive before estimated time. Minivan isn’t a Transit, it’s a minibus, but everything in order!! Great people like all Myanmar.

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