Yangon (the country largest city), Bagan (home to a multitude of Buddhist sites), Mandalay (one of the former royal capitals) and Inle Lake (natural wonder) are 4 places you’ll definitely want to visit in Myanmar. A lot of international visitors arrive at Yangon first and then travel to the others. Similar to the journey from Yangon to Bagan (we have mentioned in other articles), you can travel Yangon to Mandalay by air, train and bus (and even taxi but not common). The flowing is details about their main options.
Travel Yangon to Mandalay by bus
Yangon terminal: Aung Mingalar Bus Station
Aung Mingalar bus station is the main bus station in Yangon and located at Thudhamma Road, North Okkalarpa Township, Yangon, Myanmar. It is about 13 miles (about 50 minutes by car in normal traffic) from downtown and about 5 miles (about 30 mins by car) from the airport.
Mandalay terminal: Kywe Se Kan Highway station
Kywe Se Kan Highway station is the biggest station in Mandalay, 8 km from the city center
Service provider(s): JJ Express, BOSS, Mandalar Min, Academy, Khaing Mandalay, etc
Bus Time: 10-11 hours (sometimes it will take closer to 12)
Ticket price: US $12-17 for normal buses and $20-22 for VIP buses.
Ticket booking/purchase: at bus stations, local travel agents
An air-con night bus trip is a popular choice for visitors during Myanmar travel thanks to its cheap price and acceptable condition. Buses leave Yangon 5 times daily (17:00, 18:00, 19:00, 21:00, and 21:30). The buses aren’t bad but the road condition is! It’s a bumpy journey; normal buses do not have any toilets but they do stop several times per trip. It’s faster than the train and the night bus can save you a night accommodation rate.
Travel Yangon to Mandalay by train
Yangon terminal: Yangon Center Railway station, located in the Yangon downtown, 3 km from the Shwedagonn Pagoda.
Mandalay terminal: Mandalay Railway Station, located the Mandalay downtown, 2.7 km from the Mandalay Royal Palace
Service provider(s): Myanmar Railways
Train time: 16-18 hours
Ticket price: US $15 for ordinary class/hard seats and $50 for air-con sleepers
Ticket booking/purchase: at the advance booking office in Bogyoke Aung San road (note that you cannot buy the tickets at the main railway station in Yangon)
There are several trains daily from Yangon to Mandalay. The tracks are old and, in some cases, the carriages may be old, and the journey is extremely bumpy. You will have to cope with noises and shakings during your trips, and even you chose sleepers, it’s impossible to sleep as most of the journey is made on extremely bumpy rails. However, the journey allows for some awesome landscapes through the Burmese countryside.
Travel Yangon to Mandalay by air
Yangon terminal: Yangon International Airport
Yangon International Airport (Mingladon) is approximately 30min north of city center. Allow 2 hours during the rush hours. It will cost about $7-10 to travel from the airport to the city center.
Mandalay terminal: Mandalay International Airport
The airport is far from the city, 45km on a modern toll highway. Pricing (2016) from the airport to hotels in central Mandalay is US $10 or 12,000 kyats (private taxi), or US $4 or 4000 kyat (shared taxi/minibus).
Service provider(s): Air Bagan, Air KBZ, Air Mandalay, Asian Wings Airways, FMI Air, Golden Myanmar Airlines, Mann Yatanarpon Airlines, Myanmar Airways International, Myanmar National Airlines, Yangon Airway
Flight time: 55m – 1h05m for a direct flight and 1h45m – 1h55m for a non-direct flight
Ticket price: $110-125 (economy class, one-way, low season, no promotion)
Ticket booking/purchase: at local travel agents or booking online via the websites of the airlines
Taking a domestic fight is the easiest and quickest way to travel from Yangon to Mandalay during your Burma tours. However, many travelers complain the ticket fee is too expensive. If you have a large budget of time, it’s better to choose others rather than the flights. In high season (November to February), the ticket price is normally $10 than that in low season.
Above are three options to travel Yangon to Mandalay (650-kilometer journey). No matter which transportation means you choose, prepare carefully for your trip. Spend several days on travel and tour in Yangon, and then freely head to the north.