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Getting there & away

Getting there

When entering Bagan you pass through a ticket booth where you present your passport and purchase a US$10 ticket valid for your entire stay (July 2010). These passes are also needed for accommodation as hotels and hostels take down the ticket number when you check in.

Staff at the ticket booths round out their salaries by selling pirate copies of George Orwell's Burmese Days for around US$5, though if you negotiate you can get them down to $2.

By plane

You can fly to Bagan from Yangon on Air Mandalay [1], Air Bagan [2] or Myanma Airways [3]] for about US$ 65. Air Mandalay and Air Bagan also fly from Mandalay. (Yangon airways ceased operations for a while, but say they will resume operations on 16 October 2011).

From the airport to New Bagan, it takes about 15-20 minutes by car, and usually this will cost around 7000-10000 kyat. Most midrange and luxury hotels will give you a free pickup from the airport.

Airlines flying to Bagan

Myanmar Airways
104, Strand Road, Kyauktada Township, Yangon
Tel : 274874, 277013

Yangon Airways
166, MMB Tower, Level 5,
Upper Pansodan Road, 
Mingalar Taungnyunt Township, Yangon , Myanmar.
Tel: (+95-1) 383 100~106, 383 383 (Ext: 501, 502)
Fax: (+95-1) 383 109

Air Mandalay 
146, Dhamazedi Road, Bahan Township, Yangon
Tel : 501520, 525488 (Head Office) 720309, 652753, 652754 (Airport Office)

Air Bagan
No.56, Shwe Taung Gyar Street, 
Bahan Township, 
Yangon, Myanmar.
Tel: (+95-1) 514861, 513322, 513411, 513422
Fax: (+95-1) 515102

By train

Overnight trains run daily from Yangon, departing at about 4PM and arriving in Bagan at about 9AM the following day, at prices ranging from a few thousand Kyat (a few dollars) in second class, to US $50 for a "luxury" sleeper.

There is a direct train service running from Mandalay to Bagan with two departures daily. Tickets are available directly at the railway station and cost about US$6 one way. The journey takes about seven hours.

Most train routes in Myanmar are fairly nice, however when going on the Mandalay-Bagan route expect the train to be incredibly crowded. You will also have limited room to store your stuff, as well as cramped uncomfortable sitting conditions.

By bus

Comfortable bus links from Mandalay are available for US$8 one way. Night buses from Yangon leave in the afternoon and arrive early in the morning, and cost 18000 kyat at the ticket counters north of the Yangon train station.

By boat

A daily express ferry service runs down the Irrawaddy from Mandalay to Bagan taking about five hours. One way tickets are US$ 25.

A (very) slow ferry covers the same route frequently and costs 10$. Takes anything from 14 to 17 hours, but is a great opportunity to mix with the locals. Plastic chairs are available to rent on board. Otherwise, bring something to sit on and a cover for the early hours (leaves around 5am) and evening. Locals will be grateful to share theirs if you ask or if they see you shivering.

Get out

  • From Bagan, you can do a day trip to visit Mount Popa by shared minibus for around $10 USD per person. This attraction is a temple on a cliff. You walk the stairs up, about 100 metres), although barefoot as the place is considered holy. The stairs have not been very clean because of the presence of large numbers of monkeys, but are now being cleaned by a local society. The views from the top are good.
  • The Shwe See Kone bus station for Bagan is in the town Nyaung U.
  • Local (non-A/C) bus to Monywa costs 3500K (June 2014) at the new bus station (that's the locals price, haggle!), at hotels they charge you about 5000K. The bus starts at 9:00, then 10:30 and 12:30, and takes about 3-4 hours, including several stops.
  • A local bus to Pyay departs at the bus station at 1:30pm. Every second day you can catch a non-A/C bus for 11000kyat, which takes 10h and is a unique experience. Every other day there is an A/C bus for 13000kyat (March 2014).
  • The bus service to Inle Lake used to be one of the worse in the country but road conditions dramatically improved. note that the last part of the journey goes through the mountains, when many locals and some tourists fell bad and puke. There are 2 large buses per day at 7:30 am and ~19:30 (this bus arrives in the middle of the night), costing 11,000 kyat. It takes 7 hours to reach Kalaw and ~8,5 to reach Nyaung Shwe for Inle. The bus stops at the entrance of Nyaung Shwe.
  • There are several buses to Mandalay leaving at 8:00am, 8:30am and an afternoon departure. Buses are air conditioned (or, at least, have that capability in theory) and cost 15,000 kyat (Nov 2013).
  • It is nowdays possible to go bus to Mrauk U by changing in Magwe and catching the direct bus Mandalay-Sittwe without going South to Pyay. The whole trip takes 20-30h. See Mrauk U.
  • Ask for busses to Taunggyi, Mandalay and Yangon at JJ express bus Nyaung U, Shwe See Kone bus station, Tel: 09 3211528 60 ~ 61 ~ 62.