Bagan to MandalaySailing in Bagan to Mandalay
Travel between Bagan and Mandalay - Backpackerslee
He is both frantic and enchanting, Bagan is overslept and has its collections of hypnotic shrines and palagodas, while Mandalay is the biggest and most important city in Myanmar in history. Bagan is one of the last large "unexplored" areas of Southeast Asia for many human beings.
Fifty years ago, the bulk of the temple and couples here is what Angkor Wat must have been like if our grand -parents had been doing a backpack! Obviously the tourist industry is on the increase here, but Bagan is still a very dozy city, where the standard is the marauding journey by car and on horseback from side to side.
However, many travelers want to get more out of Myanmar, and assuming you have already come from Yangon, the next obvious place to go is the old Mandalay. From Bagan to Mandalay you can take a coach, rail or the Irrawaddy River by ferry.
Nyaung-U and Old Bagan's and Nyaung-U's stuffy streets will soon be a faraway reminder when you take the bustling motorways (or railways!) northbound towards Mandalay. Mandalay is at least 6 hour drive by coach and there are Bagan sailings at 8am, 9am, 4pm and 9am. It should be about $8-9 per passenger, with halfway renowned coach operators like OK Coach, Aye Chan Maung and Pyi Taw Aye.
Remarkably about my coach ride between Bagan and Mandalay is that there is no such thing as a "full" coach - when all seating is occupied, the rider simply stopped, took some rubber seat out of the trunk and distributed it to other people.
All of them say on their small wooden seat in the center of the small corridor for the remainder of the trip! While I don't think this is particularly certain, the country's population doesn't seem to bother! Except in case of an collision on the way (!) you arrive at the bus station Kwe Se Kan in Mandalay, from where you need a brief cab trip to the city centre (6.000 Kyat).
There' s one daily from Bagan to Mandalay, leaving at 7am and reaching Mandalay around 2.30pm I am advised that this is a very rough and unpleasant ride - but it is only $13 per uprider. Unlike the Mandalay International Airports, which is over an hours away, the really nice thing about getting to Mandalay by rail is that the railway is right in the center of the town, just a few minutes walk from Mandalay Palace and some of the most famous floating palazzo.
The Irrawaddy between Bagan and Mandalay can be 25,000 kyats per passenger (minimum 12 hour cruise), but these are more recommended than the slower craft (which can take up to 2 nights according to current levels ), which are ratty old ships with three-legged wooden seats and inadequate lavatories!
Most travelers seem to say that all means of travel from Bagan to Mandalay are worse than on the Yangon to Bagan itinerary. On the way to Mandalay, whether by coach or rail, it seems more and more bumpy and hellier. This may be because budgeted backpack tourists tend to jump over Mandalay completely (see only Yangon and Bagan before they fly out again), so the need to raise the standard of air travel on this trip is not yet evident.
Luxurious travelers are usually those who are traveling between Mandalay and Bagan, and they use mostly privately-owned vehicles provided by high-priced tourist agencies (such as Voyages Jules Verne) rather than shoddy state coaches. So why should Myanmar businesses be too concerned about the standard of services when relatively few use them?
Yangon -Bagan is now so loved that more diligence and attentiveness is required from travel agents as it is a competitively priced deal to make the $ of tourist (Joyous Journeys are the best choice for the Yangon-Bagan itinerary, but from early 2016 they will no longer travel from Bagan to Mandalay).
Once you are in Mandalay, you will find yourself in a historical town with many historical sights (including the amazing U-Bien Bridge at the gates of the city). Moreover, the Myanmar population is very kind to overseasers and there are few to no frauds to beware of - unlike in Yangon!