How to Get Around Myanmar
How to Get Around Myanmar
Myanmar Transportation Guide serves you detailed transport information and introduces fights to Myanmar, Myanmar high-speed trains, Myanmar trains, Myanmar Cycling, Myanmar bus, Myanmar taxis and ways of getting in and around Myanmar. Don’t get caught off guard by rough roads and challenges navigating your way around Myanmar. Plan ahead to make getting from A to B easy with these tips.
Four Best Ways of Traveling Around Myanmar
Transportation in Myanmar is not as cheap or even as efficient as other southeast-Asian countries. The four best ways of traveling around Myanmar are by air, boat, bus or rail. Flying between cities is popular among westerners, while cruising is enjoyable. Buses are cheaper, simpler and faster than trains. Train travel may be exciting for younger travelers; both terrific and (possibly) terrifying.
Flights – Fast and Best-Value
There are ten airlines operating in Myanmar nowadays: Myanmar Airways, Air Bagan, Air KBZ, Air Mandalay, Apex Airlines, FMI Air, Golden Myanmar airlines, Mann Yadanarpon Airlines, Myanmar National Airlines and Yangon Airways. Flying in Myanmar is almost comparable to taking a bus in western countries. It is fast and cheap to travel long distances, such as between Mandalay and Bagan or Yangon. A beach holiday can always be arranged at the other end of a flight.
Note: All April flights are booked early because of the Thingyan Water Festival and Myanmar New Year. It is wise to book with a travel agent well in advance. Of course, it could be said that any air travel comes with a certain degree of risk. As such, it’s still a very popular means of transportation in Myanmar.
Boat – Relaxing and enjoyable
There are all sorts of boats in Myanmar. There are liveaboard boats in Myeik, engine-powered canoe-like boats in Inle Lake, ferries in Yangon, a luxury ship that goes from Bagan to Mandalay…the list goes on. Boats are never particularly efficient means of transport, but can be a fun way to see otherwise overlooked villages along the way.
Notes: Fewer boats are available during the dry season (March to May) on the Irrawaddy River. Always book in advance. Bagan has two wharfs, located in Old Bagan and Nyaun-U. Boats will be docked in different wharfs according to the water levels.
Bus- Cheap and Convenient
Although buses are slow (no more than trains in most cases), you can reach almost any destination – while you might have problems by plane or train. Buses are generally okay, and for popular routes, you have the chance to purchase upper-class bus tickets. This will be more expensive than the train journey.
|Destinations||Bus Type||Availability||Travel Time|
|Yangon–Bagan||48-seat AC / 27-seat VIP||early / overnight||9 hours|
|Yangon–Mandalay||48-seat AC / 27-seat VIP||early / overnight||9 hours|
|Yangon– Inle Lake||48-seat AC / 27-seat VIP||early / overnight||11 hours|
|Mandalay–Bagan||48-seat AC / 19-seat medium-sized||early / overnight or day-time||5 or 6 hours|
|Inle Lake–Bagan||48-seat AC / 27-seat VIP||early / overnight||9 hours|
Train – Interesting and Cheap
Train travel can be interesting, with a lot of the railways running along very narrow tracks – and sometimes, in suspicious maintenance conditions. The ride can be rough in some areas due to the rugged terrain. One of the most interesting train routes for tourists is from Hsipaw to Pwin Oo Lwin, with the train passing by the Goteik Viaduct – an impressive viaduct 250 meters high, built more than 100 years ago, and considered an architectonic masterpiece for its time. The main advantage of traveling by train is without a doubt the cost, making it one of the cheapest ways to travel in Myanmar.
- The quality is generally poor, and even upper classes aren´t extremely comfortable. For more in-demand routes, like Yangon–Naypyidaw or Yangon–Mandalay, the quality of the trains and railways get better.
- Upper-class tickets are free for Myanmar monks, who are interesting to converse with.
- During the Thingyan Water Festival in April, all trains are fully booked. Book as early as you can for that period.
- Since 2014, railway tickets have been paid for in kyat at the same rate for both locals and foreigners.
Other Recommended Ways of Traveling Myanmar
By hot air balloon: Hot air balloon rides in Bagan are what draws most people to Myanmar. There is nothing like that landscape of hot air balloons over the sunrise. It’ll cost about 400,000 to 550,000 kyat (US$300–400) for an hour-long ride in Bagan, and about the same at Inle Lake.
By trishaw: Trishaws are a traditional mode of transportation dating back centuries – they’re very fun to ride, but only great for short distances. There is a man on a bike, a sidecar with two seats, and another wheel holding the sidecar up. Do it for the experience, since it only costs a couple of dollars.
By car: Another way to get around is by hiring a car. If you are travelling around Mandalay and its outskirts, it is easy to rent a car for the day and split the costs with family or friends. There is a lot to see outside of the city; a day trip to the picturesque town of Pyin Oo Lwin is a popular option. Depending on the car and number of people, this journey shouldn’t cost more than 100,000 kyats (US$73) for the entire day – and can be far less if you do half-day trips.
By motorbike taxi: Motorbikes are not allowed in Yangon, besides a few who slip under the radar with an electronic bike. For strange political reasons, this has been banned. However, Mandalay is a much larger city, more spread-out, and it is possible to ride motorbikes here. Motorbike taxis are cheaper than car taxis, so a typical ride between two destinations in the city should come to less than 5,000 kyats (US$3.50).
By foot: Exploring Yangon is often best done by walking. Though it isn’t exactly the most pedestrian- or bike-friendly city, downtown Yangon is accessible and there are many attractions to see within a few blocks.
Visit Myanmar with Trans Asia Discovery
To find out more about practical issues, including how to get to specific places in Myanmar and up-to-date transport timetables, go to individual destination pages; we also have a detailed guide to arriving and departing overland. To find out more about the politics and history of Myanmar, please contact us. Air, bus, train and boat journeys, as well as car hire, can be booked online here. We will do our best to provide you with the best service
Regardless of how you choose to get around, knowing which methods are safer and which should be avoided will help you to plan your trip accordingly, and we will get you where you need to go without any issues.
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Edited by Lynette Fu/Fu Yunrui