Yangon to Baganfrom Yangon to Bagan
Travel between Yangon and Bagan - Backpackerslee
Now that we are entering 2018, what transportation option should you pick when you embark on the exhausting trip from Yangon to Bagan? Airplane, rail or car? Yangon, once the capitol of Myanmar, is a flourishing and somewhat messy place where your suspicions of a dozy ethnic town of the same kind as Luang Prabang or Chiang Mai are tossed out the windows by the vision of the frantic tempo of community living - both on the streets and on the trails!
Bagan, on the other hand, is a quiet, ageless area that still has a certain old-fashioned charme. It' s easy to experience everything you'd hope for in Yangon (and what you did wrong). The majority of the population will want to come to Bagan to visit the renowned temple (entrance fee approx. 20 US$ per capita, as of October 2017).
Bagan's vast and extensive archaeological complex was once a UNESCO World Heritage Site, although this designation was abolished because Myanmar's government did not preserve the site as well as it should have. Though they are well known, they are not nearly as well known as those in Cambodia near Angkor or even as much loved as some of the Thai churches in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
But that' s part of Bagan's charms. But while the harm is evident, the trip to Bagan stays unhampered, and the relatively low number of visitors here offers a welcome diversion from the common masses of people in the more traditional tourist areas around. As soon as you have found a good guesthouse in Bagan, simply schedule your route for the Temples-Tramppling.
However, once you have received your Myanmar travel visas in advanced (not available to travelers of any nationalities at the date of arrival in Myanmar at the moment of writing), and once you have arrived at one of the two airport in the Philippines (Yangon or Mandalay), you will probably need to find a way to get to Bagan in the center of the state.
So, are you taking the coach, the railroad or the airplane? The flight from Yangon to Bagan costs you about 120-£200 per passenger. It is very sharp, and the Myanmar travel agencies and carriers know that. While Air Bagan is probably the best carrier, you can also select between Myanmar Airways and Air Mandalay.
Myanmar's traffic is not the most secure, and there are several deadly falls every year. While I am a big admirer of aeronautics, I did not make the flight because I was worried about these bad security documents. But there are many Myanmar residents who use local carriers, and this survey of The Points Guy gives you a foretaste of what you can get (although I think it differs from carrier to carrier).
At Bagan's Nyaung-U airport please make sure that your accommodation or your hotels are there. Night train leaves Yangon station at 16.00 every afternoons. They won't get to Bagan until 10:00 in the mornings. That is the travelling technique I chose after many researches on the SEAT 61 train.
For me the total travelling timeframe was about 17 hrs, and we got there sooner than foreseen. I' ve already bought 16,000 Kyat (about 30) for an upscale sleeping cab and I would suggest this additional plurge - even if the moves can be quite wobbly, but also very loud and warm!
When you need to get as cheap as possible, there are 12,000 Kyats in the luxury segment, while for real backpacker there are second tier seating for around 4,000 Kie. But the second grade won't be a very pleasant trip! Meals and drinks are provided throughout the trip, although they are not included in the fare, regardless of the transport category, so you will have to cover a surcharge.
An extensive and somewhat favorable description of the trip from Yangon to Bagan can be found in this Dan report at This World Rocks. Vanessa at Turnip Seed Travel offers a disadvantageous prospect of this strenuous trip by rail. Well, I don't think a trip by rail is usually this hard.
Maybe Vanessa just chose the bad date, but still interesting! Had I known then that coach trips between Yangon and Bagan took almost half the usual amount of my trip, I might have taken the coach. From Yangon city centre, these coaches leave every afternoon around 6 p.m., but seem to be arriving in Bagan around 4 a.m. in the midsummer.
Those busses are very noisy, because Burma tunes and synchronized films are on the TV until half past eight, then, thank God, someone pull the plugs so the travelers can all get a dip! Busses are a bit more costly than train journeys, but the differences are really insignificant.
Coaches are cheaper, if at all, because they offer a more convenient ride. Your experience with this night coach from Yangon to Bagan should give you a good impression of what awaits you in this mode of transportation. Finally, this paper assumes that you will come to Bagan from Yangon, as Yangon has long been the only truly global gate to Myanmar (land frontiers are sealed everywhere).
Some low-cost carriers such as Kuala Lumpur's Kuala Lumpur-based airline and Singapore's Silkair now operate direct flights to Mandalay, which is much nearer Bagan. Coming from Mandalay to Bagan is simple. Irrawaddy River connects the two towns, and for a real flavour of yesterday's Burma day, you can travel by ferry, which, although it takes at least 8-9 hrs, still offers you a beautiful landscape to explore while still enjoying the cool breezes (must be better than a coach or rail without A/C!).
When you get to Bagan, just relax and try to be like a native! It will take a long while (!) to repair the August 2016 seismic event, but I still suggest a visit just to see the area.