How to get from Yangon to Bagan

From Yangon to Bagan

One of the undeniable highlights to any trip to Burma, Bagan lies 620 km north of Yangon. No wonder that the route between Yangon and Bagan is well travelled. You can either fly or opt for an overland trip depending on your budget and overall preferences. Buses, trains and planes allow you to take your time, save a couple of bucks in your pocket and put up with a long journey and bumpy road or travel fast and part with some USD100+ and get closer to the mysterious temples of Bagan is just one hour. Whichever way you choose, it is always an adventure in Burma.

From Yangon to Bagan by train

A direct railway line links Yangon to Bagan. Departing from Yangon, it is the same line which heads straight north up to Mandalay, and Bagan-bound line branches off south of Pyinmana, turning southwest to Lewe and then northwest to Taungdwingyi and Kyaukpadaung before reaching Bagan Railway Station which is actually located 3 km south of Nyaung U. The railway route meandering through the countryside with occasional golden stupas dotting it here and there is quite scenic but also longer than the bus route. It takes 17 hours to get from Yangon to Bagan by train.

There is only one daily train #61 from Yangon to Bagan leaving at 4pm and reaching the train station at Nyaung U by 10am the next morning. The trains offer carriages of all classes available in Burma: the cheapest hard seats in ordinary class; slightly more comfy second class seats, soft reclining upper class seats and the local luxury, berths in a sleeping car. Prices fluctuate significantly, from MMK5,500/USD4 for a hard seat if you buy it in person at the station to MMK80,000/USD60 for a berth in a sleeping car when purchasing in advance from outside of Burma.

Sleeping cars are undoubtedly the most comfortable and enjoyable way to travel over such a long route, especially if you travel as a group of friends or a family and can get the whole compartment all for yourself. Otherwise consider upper class seats – they are less expensive than berths and more expensive than second class seats but a far way more comfortable than the latter.

Note There is no air-conditioning in carriages. Some have ceiling fans and others get their portion of fresh air from the open windows but generally it is not a problem even if travelling during the hottest months (April and May). It also pays to have some warm clothes at hand as it can get rather chilly at night.

Tip During low season train #61 offers no sleeping cars; your choice is restricted to different kinds of seats only.

Yangon Central Railway Station is located in Kun Chan Road, opposite the stadium.

Bagan Railway station lies 500 m south of the Highway bus station and about 3 km past the airport – a way from Nyaung U. Taxis are available for destinations within Nyaung U, New & Old Bagan at more or less the same price (MMK8,000/USD8). Inquire with your hotel if they provide free pick up from the train station – some of them do it for airport arrivals but you can always negotiate. Shared taxis normally ask MMK2,000 per seat for Nyaung-U. If prices offered by taxi drivers at the railway station look too high, just walk 150 m to the highway and get your ride at a cheaper rate.

From Yangon to Bagan by bus

There are several bus stations in Yangon, but the main one for Bagan-bound buses is Highway Bus Station, aka Aung Mingalar Bus Terminal. It is located well out of the city, 500 m east off Aung Mingalar Highway, between Sat Hmu Street and Sa Gaing Street; further 7 km northeast from Yangon International airport.

To get to the bus terminal, expect to pay MMK1,000 for a seat in a shared taxi or MMK6,000/USD5 for a whole vehicle.

Bus tickets can be purchased in the city from counters by the stadium, north of Yangon Central Railway Station. You will surely enjoy the process – normally nobody uses computer systems and when you need a ticket there are at least several people involved to discuss, to phone each other, to make a note in a notebook. But somehow it all functions quite ok – if you get your ticket, you will get a seat, too; do not worry.

There are several night buses from Yangon to Bagan leaving between 6pm and 9pm and one morning bus at 9am. They take about nine hours to get to Bagan, which is obviously much faster than trains do. But there are a couple of things to note before you take a bus to Bagan, though.

  • It can get freezing cold inside buses. As in many other hot countries, the Burmese tend to use excessive air-conditioning in buses. Do have some warm clothes at hand as even if blankets are provided, they are usually not enough.
  • Tickets sell quickly enough – book your ticket at least a couple of days in advance.
  • There are different classes of buses – from the very spartan and cheapest regular buses (from MMK15,000/USD11) to more comfortable VIP coaches (MMK26,000/USD19). You are unlikely to be able to have a nap in a regular bus as wooden benches instead of normal seats are not a rare case.
  • Buses usually make at least one stop en route for dinner. Expect locals to get out and eat with great appetite any time of night, be it midnight or small hours: meals are crucial!

Note that buses leaving Yangon in the evening arrive to Bagan early in the morning, between 3am and 5am. Try to buy a ticket for a bus leaving as late as possible to get to your destination at a more reasonable hour.

The new Highway bus station sits close to Bagan railway station, some 2.5 km past the airport. Shared taxis to Nyaung U are available for under MMK2,000, but you can as well walk 100m to the highway and flag down passing by transport. All the arriving buses are met by taxi drivers ‘Burma-style’ shouting out their prices and pushing you to get a ride with them. Prices offered tend to be ridiculously inflated. As in case with the airport and the railway station, your host can help to organize transfer at a better rate (about MMK5.000/USD5 per Nyaung U, a bit higher for New and Old Bagan).

Flights from Yangon to Bagan

A handful of airline companies offer direct daily flights between Yangon and Bagan. Airfare is far from being cheap: tickets cost from USD110 and up for a one-hour flight. In low season, you can grab promotion fares offered by some travel agents (Yangon-Bagan for about USD80). Flying saves you a cheap bumpy bus trip or a devastatingly long train journey though.

Tip Views of the Bagan temples from above during landing (or taking off naturally) are amazing. It is really a good idea to ask for a window seat.

In Yangon, Yangon International airport lies 17 km north from the Central Railway Station. It is not served by public transport – to get there you have to take a taxi (MMK8,000/USD8). You still can cover the major part of the distance between the city and the airport by public bus – look for any bus heading to Sel Maing Kone or Maha Si (ask locals, otherwise you are unlikely to figure out which bus is ok for you) and then walk up Yangon Airport Road – it is 2.5 km to the terminal building. A taxi from the stop should cost you about USD1.

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.

Onward travel from Bagan

Buses to Mandalay take 5 hours and cost MMK10,000/USD9. Train to Mandalay takes 7½ hours and departs daily at 7am. A much more scenic way to get to Mandalay from Bagan is to take a ferry going upstream along Irrawaddy River. Ferryboats take longer – from nine hours up – but let you avoid a bumpy bus ride. Note that there are different types of boats – from very slow ones (USD10) to more luxurious and speedy options (USD50). Opinions vary: some travellers rave about this boat journey between Bagan and Mandalay, others consider it too expensive, not so spectacular and boring.

Monywa, half way between Bagan and Mandalay, can also be reached by direct bus or via Pakokku.

There are buses to Kalaw and Taunggyi (for Inle Lake) from Bagan, too (from MMK12,000/USD10). The ride is extremely bumpy and winds its way through mountainous area in certain parts. If your bus has a lot of locals on board, do not be surprised to find half of your fellow passengers vomiting constantly. At the stop you will then find them dining with great appetite, though. ...And vomiting again afterwards! If you can afford flying, taking a plane is your best bet for travelling between Bagan and Inle Lake.

There are no direct buses for Sittwe or Mrauk U: you have to change at Magwe.

Yangon to Bagan @ train, bus, flight Sep 27, 2017

8 trips (THB 582 — 7,547)

From Aung Mingalar to Bagan by bus

08:00
Aung Mingalar, Yangon
18:00
Bagan Shwe Pyi
10h
฿ 582
× 2 = ฿ 1,164
 
19:00
Aung Mingalar, Yangon
05:00
Bagan Shwe Pyi
10h
฿ 582
× 2 = ฿ 1,164
 
20:00
Aung Mingalar, Yangon
06:00
Bagan Shwe Pyi
10h
฿ 764
× 2 = ฿ 1,528
 
21:00
Aung Mingalar, Yangon
07:00
Bagan Shwe Pyi
10h
฿ 728
× 2 = ฿ 1,456
 

From Yangon Central to Bagan by train

16:00
Yangon Central
09:35
Bagan
17h 35m

From Yangon Airport to Bagan by flight

06:30
Yangon Airport
07:40
Nyaung-u Airport, Bagan
1h 10m
Instant
฿ 3,596
× 2 = ฿ 7,192
 
07:45
Yangon Airport
09:05
Nyaung-u Airport, Bagan
1h 20m
Instant
฿ 7,547
× 2 = ฿ 15,094
 
08:00
Yangon Airport
09:20
Nyaung-u Airport, Bagan
1h 20m
Instant
฿ 7,547
× 2 = ฿ 15,094
 

Passenger reviews out of total 261 passengers 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 though we are closely monitoring services, we are still an agency marketplace - meaning we focus on ticketing service and route availability / coverage rather than on factual seat recline angle you got today ^_^

★★★★★ Sep 10, 2017 (bus VIP, JJ Express) :
This was our first time ever in Myanmar, and kept real low expectations about the service. When we got to the station at Yangon, we were quit disappointed, the station looks really bad, but once we stepped in the bus, it blowed our minds!!!! The chairs were soooo comfy, and it got legs cushions that you could lift. Also, each seat got its own screen, although the options were limited, it was un expected. It got 2 hostess at the bus and they spoke in burmese and english. It departured on time and arrive exactly at 6:00 am at Bagan bus station. They also provided clean blankets, water, snacks and sodas for each traveler. The experience was great!
★★★★★ Aug 20, 2017 (bus Express, Mandalar Minn)
★★★☆☆ Jul 30, 2017 (bus Express, Mandalar Minn) :
Good driver. However the lights were left on most of the time (it was an overnight bus), and the announcements on what stop we were at were also very unclear. I was told to bring my own food (which i did) and then was told we wernt allowed to eat on the bus and had to buy from the restaurant.
★★★★☆ Jul 7, 2017 (bus VIP, JJ Express) :
The attendant on the bus was very nice to all of us and did her best to communicate in English, but we were not able to understand most of her announcements. Maybe a there could be to hand out sheet in English for her announcements? Also, although we did love the box of food during the trip, it would have been good to get at least one thing savoury instead of all sweet. Overall, a pleasant trip. Booked two more trips with JJ express around Myanmar
★★★★★ May 30, 2017 (train #61 Sleeper, Myanmar Railways) :
Tremendous trip. 12go.asia booked a compartment for our family of four on the Sleeper train # 61. We had four nice beds and plenty of sitting room plus a private bathroom just for our compartment. Windows were open, but had pull down windows and pull down shades if we need them, but we kept windows open all the way. Contrary to previous comments, it was not cold, very pleasant with a rotating fan in the center of the ceiling. All lights worked too. Each bed came w one clean sheet and one clean pillow. Best to take water, beer and food with you, no restaurant car and stops were very short with only a limited moment to buy food / drinks from people running up to the train. Finally, all the other'S comments about the ride being rocky and bumpy are bunk. It was a delightful ride. If you want rocky and bumpy, go ride a train up or down the Nile. Thanks to 12go.asia we had a great trip. Tom Driskill, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
★★★☆☆ May 15, 2017 (bus Express, Mandalar Minn)
★★★☆☆ Mar 31, 2017 (train #61 Sleeper, Myanmar Railways) :
The trip from Yangon to Bagan is really for hard core railway travel fans only. I initially liked the idea of going by rail for the option of being able to walk about the train. However, this is not the case at all. We were in a sleeper car with no access to the rest of the train, no dining car, no aircon. The ride is bumpy, to put it mildly. Despite horror stories of frequent multi-hour delays, we arrived in Bagan within 30 minutes of schedule. At Yangon, the train staff and tourist office staff were very welcoming and helpful. The journey was an interesting experience -- an adventure -- but one I wouldn't repeat.
★★☆☆☆ Mar 28, 2017 (train #61 Sleeper, Myanmar Railways) :
The train is value for money and you get amazing views of the countryside, but I didn't get any sleep at all, so was a waste of time.

News

Bagan Archaeological Zone builds new sunrise viewpoint

Local administrators at Myanmar’s Bagan Archaeological Zone say a new view platform will be opened later in August. Spokesperson Soe Tint said Nyaung Lat Phat Kan viewpoint is on top of a hill and can accommodate up to 1,000 people at a time.

04 August 2017

Myanmar authorities set to ban visitors from climbing Bagan temples

Myanmar’s Culture Ministry says it is set to reintroduce a ban on tourists climbing the temples at the landmark Bagan archaeological complex. The ministry’s Archaeology Division deputy-director says the ban is necessary as the structures are up to 1,000 years old.

07 July 2017

Myanmar and Cambodia to launch joint temple promo campaign

The tourism authorities of Myanmar and Cambodia are working on a plan to collaborate on the promotion of their historic temples.  In Cambodia, deputy-director In Thoeun confirmed the tourist boards were working on a proposal which will see the temples of Angkor promoted alongside those of Bagan in Myanmar. 

05 July 2017