Bagan is the jewel in the crown on the Myanmar gringo trail, everyone wants to get there and see what the fuss is about. The infrastructure is getting a lot better and there are lots of choices to reach Bagan from all the major hubs whether its by plane, bus or train.
Remember, with all modes of transport in Myanmar you need to be flexible. Flights often get cancelled and buses often break-down, overheat or get stuck at check points.
Here is a quick summery of how to get to and from Bagan from the major hubs along the tourist track..
NB: Before you ask which airport for Bagan? It’s Nyaung U.
Bagan to/from Yangon
There is a bus, train, or you can fly. Plenty of bus companies to choose from on the Bagan to Yangon bus route, both local and VIP so depends what you want to pay. Leaving daily, the journey takes approx. 10hours.
The train is honestly not worth it, rickety, slow and uncomfortable.
Air Bagan have daily flights from Bagan to Yangon, it’s a quick 1hr and 20 mins. You can check out their schedule here.
Bagan to/from Mandalay
It’s under 200km from Bagan to Mandalay on the bus, a quick 3-4 hours.
I recommend the Bagan to Mandalay bus, it’s the quickest and cheapest way to get between the two cities. A small mini-bus will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel each end. Alternatively you can take a boat to Mandalay from Bagan up the Irrawaddy River, this is a full day trip and takes approx 8 hours.
Bagan to/from Inle Lake
There is a local bus, or increasingly more ‘tourist VIP buses’. Both take the same amount of time, around 8-10 hours and run daily. If you are in a rush around the country, take the overnight bus or it is also possible to fly. The local airport to Inle Lake is Heho.
Bagan to/from Kalaw
See Inle Lake, and then add on another couple of hours down a windy road to Kalaw.
Bagan to Mt Popa
The only way to Mt Popa from Bagan is by shared taxi or local bus. Don’t even think about cycling there, it is far!
Bagan to Ngapali beach
In peak season there are daily flights between these popular tourist spots. Ngapali local airport is Thandwe. There is no direct bus route from Bagan to Ngapali or vice-versa and you would have to take 2 different buses and go on a horrendous road.
Bagan to/from Bangkok
There is no direct flight from Bagan to Bangkok or vice versa. If you are flying you will need to first go to either Mandalay, Yangon or Nay Pyi Taw and then take transportation from there.
Same applies for bus and train, there is nothing direct and so you must go to a bigger city in order to get to Bagan from Bangkok.
A privet taxi will cost around $300 and take 30 hours, but its unlikely you will find someone to take you the whole way.
Please remember the E-visa is not yet applicable at land crossings, only by air.
Bagan to Chiang Mai
Myanmar is changing quickly, if you have any info about travel you would like to share that would help out anyone reading the blog please do leave a comment below.