Getting around in Myanmar

Getting around Myanmar can be a bit of a challenge. Trains are slow and bumpy, and often late, while buses range from luxury air-conditioned coaches to local minibuses.
If you want to get around the country quickly, flying is one option. There are services from Yangon to Mandalay, Nyaung U (for Bagan), and Heho (for Inle Lake) as well as Thandwe (for Ngapali Beach).

Most long-distance buses run overnight between large out-of-town bus stations. On the main routes, there will be at least one and more often a couple of rest stops allowing you to grab some snacks and use the toilets. You'll also get to be an expert on local movies, which play all night on most buses. Shorter trips usually involve a minibus, sometimes full of sacks of rice as well as passengers - a really different way to experience Myanmar.

Narrow-gauge trains run between Yangon and Mandalay, and also to Mawlaymine, Pyay, and Shwenyaung (just north of Inle Lake), and an express line connects Bagan to Mandalay. The Yangon-Mandalay line is the one most tourists take, but the overnight trains are extremely bumpy - you'll get a great travel experience but not a good night's sleep.

Or you could take the slow boat up the Ayeyarwady. Cruises between Mandalay and Bagan take 4-5 days (depending on direction) and are a relaxed and enjoyable way to see the country if you have enough time.

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