How to Travel from Bagan to Mandalay

Mandalay is the former royal capital of Myanmar. It is a wonderful city wherethe famous Mandalay Palace from Konbaung Dynasty resides. Luckily for us, Mandalay is not far from Bagan. So here we are: let’s check out How to Travel from Bagan to Mandalay!

Travel On Air

As always, traveling by airplane is the simpliest method of all, and also the most pleasant. It starts from Nyaung U airport to Mandalay International Airport. The available airlines are Mann Yadanarpon Airlines, Yangon Airways, Myanmar National Airlines, Golden Myanmar Airlines, Air KBZ. All have average price of 70 $USD, except for Yangon Airways with 54 – 56 $USD. Despite of the pleasantry it may sound, take note that the flights might be delay for various reasons.

bagan to mandalay

Travel On Train

Trains are common means of transportation in Myanmar in general. However, trains are usually slower compared to buses. For example from Bagan to Mandalay, it takes about 8 hours.

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Trere are 5 train classes, but in this case we only cover 3 out of 5 since other two are not available for the Bagan – Mandalay path. So we have: Standard class – wooden chairs, unpleasant during long journey, often crowded; First class – wooden chairs with cushion, however not all trains have it; and Upper class – more comfortable, larger chairs, but not really clean. It is recommended to book Upper class (about 13 $USD) and book 2 days beforehand since Upper class are usually full with tourists.

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Based on many people’s comments, traveling by train can be really tough. So it is only suggested for those who’s low on budget or those who enjoy challenging journey.

Travel On Bus

Beside trains, buses are another common transportation and seem to be used more by locals. Buses normally departure from 8am, 9am, 4pm, and 9.30pm and take about 6 hours. The bus price is about 8 – 9 $USD, truly cheaper than any other options. But here’s the catch: these buses are always crowded with people and stuffs. Even if a bus’s full, they will try to squeeze in, somehow. As the results, even though it is a budget choice, the journey may not be pleasant at all.

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Travel On Boat

Out of all 4 options, travel from Bagan to Mandalay by boat is probably the second-most pleasant journey. Traveling by boat is not really faster than train or bus (9 hours from Mandalay to Bagan, 11 hours from Bagan to Mandalay). However, what people like about boat is the beautiful viewpoint over Irrawaddy River.

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You can easily book your boat ticket via hotels, hostels, or resorts with 50 $USD, including 5 $USD fee. This price rate was from 2013 and it seems the rate remains the same until now. The boat trip offers two meals, free water, and beers.

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Boat travel often starts from early morning (around 5:30 AM) to the afternoon (around 4:30 PM). In the early morning, travelers can enjoy the glorious sunrise, then have a decent breakfast. Another meal will be provided at 11:00, however, there are only two choices between fried noodles and fried rice. Tourists can have water for free, and Mandalay beer for 3 $USD.

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The reason why this is a pleasant trip because we don’t have to encounter problems like on train or bus. In addition we can just relax, take a good look at the commercial, and local boats, calm river, villages from afar. One thing to note though, later on the trip might get bored so it is a good idea to bring snacks or something else to cheer up. When visitors arrive at Mandalay, there will be transportation services to the hotels. But beware, the prices can be tricky.

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