Myanmar is an exciting country to visit, and a trip to Southeast Asia wouldn’t be complete without it. Its capital city of Yangon is a bustling metropolis that combines all the beauty of traditional Burmese culture with all the conveniences of a modern city. Bagan, to the north, is an incredible scenic region home to over 2,000 temples.
If you’ve never been there, planning your travel can be a daunting experience. Even for seasoned travelers, planning a trip to new places can be stressful. If you’ve never been to Myanmar before, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered! Getting from Yangon to Bagan is easy, and there are several options you can take.
Yangon to Bagan by Bus
Cost: $11-$20, depending on the bus company and ticket type
Length of trip: 9-10 hours
Leaves from: Aung Mingalar Bus Station, Thudhamma Rd.
Taking the bus to Bagan is a popular choice and is one of the easiest ways to get there. There are several different options for bus companies, and they differ in terms of price and comfort. JJ Express Bus is one of the most popular, given that each seat comes with amenities like blankets and pillows, snacks, and bus-wide wifi. The downside is that these tickets often sell out, so you’ll have to book in advance for a guaranteed seat.
To take a bus from Yangon to Bagan, you’ll first want to book your ticket. While this can be done at the station, it’s much easier to do it ahead of time online. Flymya offers an easy booking service on their site, making it simple to purchase tickets before you go.
Once you have your ticket, you’ll make your way to the Aung Mingalar Bus Station. It’s roughly 13 miles from downtown Yangon and 5 miles from the airport. Leave at least an hour for transit to the bus station from wherever you’re staying in Yangon, as traffic can be slow. If you’re taking a taxi, mention the name of your bus company to your driver, since the bus station is big and you’ll want to be dropped off in the right area.
After a ten-hour ride later, you’ll arrive at the Bagan Shwe Pyi Bus Station (the only bus station in town). Lots of taxis will be waiting for you, so you should have no trouble getting to your hotel or next destination from there.
Bus companies that make the trip: Khine Mandalay Express, Famous Express, Elite, Shwe Mandalar Bus, Mandalar Min Express, Bagan Min Thar, JJ Express Bus
Read: Where to Stay in Bagan
Yangon to Bagan by Train
Cost: $4 for upright seat tickets, $17-$28 for sleeper car tickets.
Length: 17-19 hours
Leaves from: Yangon Center Railway Station, downtown Yangon
Most travelers have less-than-ideal things to say about taking the train from Yangon to Bagan. But if you’re an experienced traveler and know what to expect, it can be an easy way to go. The train departs from downtown Yangon, making the pre-travel arrangements a little easier. If you’re staying in the city, it’s pretty simple to get to the station, located just 3 km from the Shwedagon Pagoda.
Taking the sleeper train is definitely the most preferred option. But if seats aren’t available, you may be forced to sit in an upright seat for the entire 17-hour journey. Though that can definitely be a good way to meet people along the way!
The train is slow but usually steady, and if you’re in a sleeper car it can be pretty comfortable, too. The train will arrive at the Bagan Railway Station, located about 10 km from New Bagan. Myanmar Railways is the only service provider that makes the trip.
Yangon to Bagan by Plane
Cost: $90-$150 (varies depending on season)
Length: 1h20m for a direct flight
Leaves from: Yangon International Airport, located 30-90 mins north of the city center, depending on traffic
If you don’t want to spend 10-20 hours on a trip to Bagan, traveling by air might be the choice for you. While the price is a lot higher than train or bus tickets, it’s worth it if you’re in a hurry. A direct flight is less than an hour and a half, and is certainly a lot more comfortable than a 15 hour train ride.
Keep in mind, though, that you’ll have to take into account travel time to the airport and wait times before your flight. The airport is located not far from downtown Yangon, but with traffic, it can take up to an hour or two to get there. Make sure you plan accordingly and leave on time!
There are plenty of airlines that make the trip from Yangon to Bagan. You can buy tickets at the airport or from a local travel agent, but your easiest option is just to buy them online. The earlier you book, the more likely you are to get a good deal!
Yangon to Bagan by Private Car
Cost: $60-$100 per day (varies greatly on driver and bartering skills!)
Length: Around 10 hours, depending on stops
This travel method can be a bit tricky. In Yangon, car rentals aren’t allowed for foreigners except with a driver. Getting someone to take you to Yangon can be convenient if you don’t want the hassle of riding in a packed bus with lots of other people. The best way to go about this is to ask about hiring a driver at your local hotel or guesthouse. Many tourists have had success just talking to their taxi drivers! You can also book drivers/guides online.
While the cost will certainly be higher than a bus ticket, hiring a private driver can be a great option if you also want a guide and local expert. Drivers will be able to take you to sites you might miss if you travel by bus or train.
In order to hire a driver, you’ll first want to figure out how much you can afford to pay, how many days you’ll want the driver, and if you’ll be making a return trip. Expect to pay more for a one-way trip, especially if you’re going as far as Bagan. Most travelers end up paying anywhere from $40-$100 per day.