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Gordon Leung

Travelled to 9 countries / regions

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I went to visit Myanmar in December 2018

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Asia > Myanmar > Mandalay > Useful Info
Submitted on Mar 07, 2019 Useful Info

Best way to get to Mandalay from Yangon

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There are 3 ways you can get to Mandalay from Yangon (flying, train and bus). I recommend flying if you don't mind the cost, or the sleeper train if you're on a budget


Flying (best way):

  • Flying is great because it's short. The flight time can be as short as 55 minutes (can range up to an hour and 20 minutes to 2 hours)
  • The cost is about $130 USD each way, and $200 USD round trip
  • I used Skyscanner to find flights. I thought it was very good for Myanmar (I compared it with Google Flights and it had more options for sure)


Sleeper train (best if you're on a budget):

  • Trains take 15 hours to get from Yangon to Mandalay, so it's a very long journey
  • But, it's very cheap at only $18 USD each way
  • As of 2019 there are 3 daily trains from Yangon to Mandalay:
  1. 6am from Yangon -> 9pm in Mandalay (this is a day train, not a sleeper train)
  2. 3pm -> 6am
  3. 5pm -> 7:45am
  • I think taking the 6am-9pm train is a terrible idea as you waste an entire day in transit. The night train is a great way to travel and save money on both the transportation and save on the hotel cost for 1 night
  • Each of these trains have ordinary class (regular seats), upper class (larger seats with incline), and sleeper (4 bunks per compartment). If you book online you can only book upper class or sleeper. If you book in person you can book ordinary seats. I don't know how cheap ordinary seats cost but I imagine it's much cheaper than $18 USD because these seats primarily cater to locals for whom $18 USD is a lot of money
  • The nice thing about the trains between Yangon and Mandalay is that they're all air conditioned. Other trains in Myanmar don't have AC.
  • I wrote more about how to buy train tickets in Myanmar here, but basically you can book in person or online at 12Go or MyanmarTrainTicket.com. You need your passport to make the booking
  • The railway stations in both Yangon (located here) and Mandalay (located here) are located smack in the middle of the city centres, and easily accessible by taxi to your hotel for no more than $2-$3 USD


Bus (avoid):

  • The final way to get to Mandalay from Yangon is by bus, this is a very popular way for locals to travel
  • Buses take 9 hours to travel and cost around $15 USD
  • Day buses have the same problem as day trains insofar as they waste your valuable travel time. Night buses are worse than trains because of its discomfort since you don't get a nice bed like you get with the trains. And the buses aren't even that much cheaper than trains. For these reasons I don't recommend taking the bus
  • All buses depart from Aung Mingalar Bus Station in Yangon, located here, quite a distance away from the city centre (even farther than the airport). They arrive at the Chan Mya Shwe Pyi Bus Station, located here, also quite a distance away from the city centre. You need to taxi to both of these bus stations from your hotel
  • There's no need to book ahead of time you can easily get a ticket on the day of your travel at the bus station
  • Note that unlike few years ago where you can pay in USD, buses now only accept cash Kyat for payment. So make sure to have enough local cash with you
  • Also you need your passport to book bus tickets too
  • You can also use 12Go to look up bus schedules and book ahead of time