From Yangon to Naypyidaw
Most overland travellers who end up in Naypyidaw are there as a way to break up the journey between Yangon and Mandalay. They arrive in the city by bus or by train. Both are good options. If you are on a strict budget then the bus is the cheapest and fastest way to get there. If you’ve got a bit more time and want to stretch out your legs and watch the countryside slowly pass by your window then hop on a train. Flying takes less than an hour but it is not recommended unless you’ve got extra money to spend and are really set on visiting Naypyidaw. Otherwise, spend the same amount of money and fly from Yangon straight to Mandalay.
Flights from Yangon to Naypyidaw
Flying to Naypyidaw is not really necessary. For most travellers, it’s not a destination in itself. It’s a city to pass through onto more interesting places like Mandalay. So you may as well take the bus or the train for a lot less money. If you have the extra money and are set on visiting this rather unusual city then here are the details about how to get there by air.
As Naypyidaw is the capital city, there are regular flights leaving daily from Yangon. From Monday to Friday you can fly direct with Air KBZ for USD111-131. Myanmar National Airlines have flights leaving throughout the week for USD103-128. Make sure to check that you are getting a direct flight as some of their flights stop in Mandalay.
Flights take close to an hour. However, for both cities, you will need to factor into time getting to and from the airport.
Getting to the airport in Yangon can take from 45min to an hour from the city centre. The fastest way to get there is by taxi which should cost around MMK8000. You can also get there by public bus which is much cheaper but will cost you extra time. Ask at your hotel for departure times for the public bus because the schedule can change.
Once you get into Naypyidaw be prepared to spend a lot on taxis. Distances between sites are far and there are no options for public transport. The taxi from the airport takes about 30 min to get to the hotel zone and costs around MMK15,000.
From Yangon to Naypyidaw by bus
Taking the bus to Naypyidaw is one of the better transport options. It’s inexpensive and not an overly long trip. If you are making your way up north to Mandalay then taking the bus to Naypyidaw to break up the trip is a good idea.
The bus to Naypyidaw takes around 6 hours. The buses that serve this route are fairly modern and comfortable and the roads are in good condition. Overall, this makes for an easy trip. There are many bus companies to choose from.
Mandalar Minn has an express bus that leaves daily for USD6. It departs from Yangon in the afternoon and at night. There are washrooms on board, A/C, and a snack offered. Most buses take a break at a rest stop where you can grab some water, food, and stretch your legs.
Most buses (including the Mandalar Minn) depart from Yangon from the Aung Mingalar bus station. The bus station is about 20 km from the city centre so give yourself some extra time to reach it as traffic in Yangon can get pretty jammed.
The cheapest way to get to the Aung Mingalar bus station is by public bus. Ask at your hotel for departure times as the bus schedule has recently been updated. Keep in mind that the public buses can be stuffed to the brim and not many people on them will speak English. So make sure to give yourself lots of extra time if you are attempting public transport. A taxi to the bus station is more convenient, faster and costs around MMK8000.
Arriving in Naypyidaw, the bus station is close to the Hotel Zone. There are no public transportation options from the bus station but a taxi should only cost around MMK5000 to most hotels.
From Yangon to Naypyidaw by train
Travel by train is slow but is there any better way to really see the country you are traveling in? Once you leave the bustling city of Yangon the train makes its way through grassy fields and rolling hills giving you glimpses into rural life in Myanmar.
The route between Yangon and Naypyidaw is fairly well-trodden. So you can expect a pretty comfortable train ride as compared to travel between some of the other popular destinations in Myanmar. However, like all trains in Myanmar, some sections of the ride are a bit bumpy. The total duration of the trip is 9 hours.
The upper-class and sleeper sections are the most comfortable and are the recommended options for this trip. The ordinary class can get crowded and has hard wooden seats which may be doable for a shorter trip but is not recommended for a 9-hour journey.
The train station in Yangon is in walking distance from the city centre. Trains #3,5,11 & 31 head to Naypyidaw from early morning to early evening. Upper-class tickets cost around USD18. If you want to take the sleeper train you will have to take train #5 departing Yangon at 5pm. There is no current information about the cost of this train to Naypyidaw. Ask when you purchase your ticket and prepare to pay a little bit more than upper-class ticket.
The downside of taking the train to Naypyidaw is the long distance between the train station and the Hotel Zone. Expect to pay around MMK15,000 to get a taxi ride to your hotel. There are no options for public transport.
Why travel to Naypyidaw
Naypyidaw is an odd city to say the least. The government built the city to replace Yangon as the capital in 2005. It’s massive, modern and sprawling but for the most part empty. There are huge 20-lane highways but no traffic. There is a large selection of business hotels for foreigners but most are empty. Getting around the city can take hours as it covers a massive space. All of this has made some travellers name Naypyidaw as one of the most bizarre capital cities in the world.
There’s not much to see in Naypyidaw and not a great selection of restaurants. There is a large golden pagoda, a fountain, a zoo and a scattering of malls. Besides these somewhat mediocre sites what the city does offer travellers is quick high speed internet. A rarity in Myanmar! So you could make a stop off in Naypyidaw to catch up on emails, break up the long train ride to Mandalay and witness one of the strangest capital cities in the world.
Onward Travel from Naypyidaw
If like many travellers you entered the country in Yangon and are slowly making your way up to Mandalay, then don’t waste too much time in Naypyidaw because there are still a lot of country highlights to visit.
Mandalay is one of them. There are a few impressive temples in Mandalay and a lot of sites nearby worth your time. Catching a sunset U Bein bridge – the world’s longest wooden teak bridge- is an experience you won’t soon forget. Buses and trains leave daily to Mandalay. Flights leave less frequently so make sure to plan ahead if you want to fly.
Because Naypyidaw is not a tourist destination there are only regular bus connections to Mandalay and Yangon. If you want to check out the historic temples of Bagan it’s best to organize this through Mandalay or from Yangon.
It is possible to get the train to the beautiful Inle Lake if you don’t mind switching trains in Thazi. The train ride there is slow-going but quite scenic. If you have the stamina, another option is to get off early in the town of Kalaw and take a couple days to trek your way to Inle Lake. This is reported as a highlight for many travellers. Check our Mandalay to Inle Lake page for more information.