Wondering what’s the best way to get from Yangon to Bagan?
Yangon is an exciting city with streets full of colonial heritage buildings to explore and exciting culture to get stuck into. But when you’re done, most people head off to one of the greenest and most fascinating spots in the country, where you can hop from pagoda to pagoda, watch marionette shows and cruise along the Irrawaddy River. Bagan is a fascinating place, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the perfect stop on any Myanmar Itinerary. But with a few ways to get there, what’s the best way to travel from Yangon to Bagan?
Of course, any of these routes will also work just as well if you’re traveling from Bagan to Yangon.
Read More: The Best Places to Visit in Myanmar
The Fast Way – Yangon to Bagan by Plane
Undoubtedly the fastest way to travel between the two cities is by plane. You can be in Bagan one hour and twenty minutes after leaving Yangon which is pretty impressive considering it takes ten hours by bus.
Unfortunately, you do pay for this premium. There aren’t any budget airlines in Myanmar at the moment so you’re looking at a minimum of $60 but if you’re short on time and just want to see the magical spot than is Bagan, it’s more than worth it.
I found the flight very comfortable, the airport was straight forward to organised and we even got a small meal on the plane which, considering the short time, I wasn’t expecting. They also weren’t fussy about my luggage considering I had bits and pieces all over the place at one point.
Of course, you can also expect amazing views of the temples as you land which honestly is almost worth the cost fo the flight alone.
Book in advance and be as flexible as possible with which day for the cheapest flights.
Note: you can actually fly directly to and from Bagan with Bangkok Airlines now which is a perfect way to extend your trip.
Book your transfer to the airport:
The airport is just under an hour from downtown Yangon, you can book an easy transfer in advance.
Yangon to Bagan by Boat
You won’t be able to take a boat as Bagan is on the Irrawady River whereas Yangon is on the Yangon River. If you’d love to arrive in Bagan by boat specifically then consider travelling to Mandalay first and then going on to Bagan by river.
Read More: How to Get From Mandalay to Bagan
Yangon to Bagan by Bus
This is the most popular choice for getting from Yangon to Bagan, it’s the perfect budget option and is comfier and offers more departure times than the train. Yes, it takes ten hours but you can watch the wonderful scenery go by and have a snooze.
You can also get the night bus which is a popular option for saving on accommodation and time. You’ll find blankets on board but wear a jumper because they love to crank that AC right up. Bagan Min Tha and JJ Express are the two most reputable companies and you can also upgrade to VIP options for a slightly comfier ride.
You can book your bus tickets to Bagan here.
Yangon to Bagan by Train
Catching a train in Myanmar is a wonderful experience you should have at least once (if you have time in Yangon, ride the circular railway) but maybe Yangon to Bagan isn’t the best time to try that. The journey takes a whopping seventeen hours and really isn’t the most comfortable journey, seriously it’s an incredibly bumpy journey.
However, the scenery is gorgeous, the experience is unique and there’s wonderful cross-section of society on the trains. The trains themselves, normally old Japanese trains are a sight in themselves.
During the low season, you probably won’t be able to get a sleeper car so bear that mind if you were hoping to get some shut-eye. Depending on which class you choose, this will be the absolute cheapest option available so if you’re on a budget and have plenty of time, why not?
You can book train tickets online here or you can go to the station a few days ahead and pick one up in person. You need a paper ticket to board no e-tickets which could be an issue.
Read More: Books to Read Before You Visit Myanmar
Yangon to Bagan by Car
You can absolutely drive to Bagan from Yangon but bear in mind that rentals for foreigners are currently not allowed so unless you have a designated local driver then this probably isn’t an option.
You can hire a private taxi, however, and at 620 kilometers (390 miles) the journey will take about nine hours. Hiring your own driver will cost you around $60 so it isn’t the cheapest but can still be cheaper than flying and will keep you in relative comfort.
They drive on the right in Myanmar but you’ll notice a lot of the cars are left-hand drive as many are imported from Japan. They’re phasing these out slowly but that does make the roads somewhat challenging and people often have an assistant driver to help them watch the roads properly. It’s a fact worth bearing in mind before taking to the roads yourself!
Read More: What to Wear in Myanmar (+Packing List)
Where to Stay in Bagan
We’ve covered all of your hotel needs in our Where to Stay in Myanmar post, from hotels to homestays you’ll find your perfect Bagan accommodation right here. Hotels are relatively cheap in Bagan and many are located in the middle of the archeological zone so it’s the perfect place to splash out or save some money.
Jess is the creator and editor of Books and Bao. She's passionate about the world, its literature, food, culture, and people. She enjoys sharing her travel tips with others and capturing those perfect moments.