Getting around Myanmar (Burma) Chose the perfect method of transportation
Get excited – you are going to Myanmar! A country embossed by magnificent and acient buddhist temples, lively rivers, gorgeous mountain ranges, vivid cities and stunning beaches. This country has just so much to offer and I truly hope you will fall in love with it, just as I did.
Now figuring out how to get around Myanmar is an important part of planning your trip, as the country is big and there is a lot to see.
There are several ways of getting around Myanmar:
Overnight buses are probably the most popular way of getting from A to B. There are several bus companies and as tourism is growing rapidly, the buses are becoming more and more comfortable, as well as reliable. You can easily book your bus ticket locally. Hotels and hostels will help you book or you can purchase them at any local tour company.
A trustworthy bus company is JJ Express
The trains, the trains... if you are looking for an unforgettable and adventurous experience → chose the train! The main advantage of traveling by train is the cost. Traveling by train is one of the cheapest ways to get around Myanmar.
Be warned though: the quality is generally poor, and even first class seats aren't extremely comfortable (mostly you will encounter hard wood benches). Also, trains move extremely slow, as not only the locomotives are old, but also the tracks are in bad condition. So if you do chose the train make sure to have enough time.
If you would like to experience a train ride afterall, one of the most interesting routes for tourists to take is from Hsipaw to Pwin Oo Lwin (or vice – versa). The train passes by the Goteik Viaduct – an impressive viaduct 250 meters high, built more than 100 years ago, and considered an architectonic masterpiece for its time.
As generally known the road infrastructure in Myanmar is still bad and you might find yourself in a situation, where taking the plane is advantageous. Flights within Myanmar can be a bit frustrating and confusing. It starts when booking the flights: it may be difficult to make a purchase online. The easiest way is to buy your ticket is once you are in the country. Any hotel will help you book the flight; either by doing it themselves or arranging a travel agent.
I traveled twice with KBZ. From Heho to Ngapali and Ngapali to Yangon, both on KBZ. My expectation was exceeded and I would recommend the airline for inland travel. Flights were on time and I felt safe. Before booking I researched a lot of flights and I quickly noticed that prices per leg cost around 100 USD.
An alternative method of transportation is the boat. The most popular routes follow the Irrawaddy River. The river flows from north to south midst through the country. The Irrawaddy is the countries' largest river and the most important commercial waterway.
A popular ride to do by boat is from Bagan to Mandalay (about 11 hours) or Mandalay to Bagan (about 9 hours). There are several boat companies offering express and local rides. Check out MGRG's homepage for more information and bookings.
Unless you have a private plane this is definitely the most upscale and expensive way to travel in Myanmar. The cruises take place on the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers. This is a very luxurious way of travel. Food will be provided, tours arranged and you will have your own beautiful cabin.
For more information on length and dates go to tourradar.com
and now my personal Nr. 1 choice
→ by car, private drive
I landed in Yangon and was picked up by Mr. U Htun Tun Oo, well for us westerners Tony!
I had arranged a one week tour with him beforehand via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
My week in Myanmar with Tony as my driver, guide and new friend
We started in Yangon and drove to Bagan. We stayed in Bagan for two nights and toured the city. The trip continued to Mandalay and the surrounding areas including U Bein Bridge, Sagaing and Mingun. After two nights in Mandalay, Tony drove us to Pyin Oo Lwin – a scenic hill town north of Mandalay in the Shan Highland. On the way we visited the Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall (also known as Anisakan Waterfall) and Pwe Kauk Falls. After sightseeing in Pyin Oo Lwin and an overnight in this gorgeous town we drove down to Kalaw. Kalaw was the end ouf our trip as I had plans to hike from Kalaw to Inle Lake (read my post on the must see attraction: Inle Lake, second largest lake in Myanmar and simply gorgeous and unique)
This is the short version of my great trip with Tony. I could not have been happier with my experience. Thanks to Tony I had a far better experience connecting with the locals. Also driving from place to place, I was able to get the most out of the amazing scenery this country has to offer.
Tony really made my trip unique and absolutely unforgettable.
The great advantages of having Tony as a driver / guide:
you have your very own personal driver, as well as guide. Tony has been working in the travel industry since 1993. He knows so much about the history of his country. You can ask him anything and if he, for some reason, does not know the answer he will look it up and let you know the next day
you never have to worry about miscommunication / translation as you have your interpreter
it is safe and reliable, Tony is a responsible driver and very sensitive to needs of the guests he drives
(e.g I am a vegeterian. It is not easy to find veggie food in Myanmar. Tony knew some great places – thanks Tony!)
Tony will bring you to the best sights, he knows at what times to avoid certain locations as it is peak hour
you will safe a lot of time and you will see way more than you ever could without a local guide
you will make a friend
I “only” traveled with Tony for one week. You can book all kinds of tours with him. Simply e-mail him directly on email@example.com and let him know what your places of interests would be. He will make an offer with an itinerary including how many nights he would spend in which city. You have the option of booking your hotels yourself (which I did), or let Tony know your budget and he will arrange it all for you. If there is anything you would absolutely like to see, let him know and he will make sure to take you there. The price for his services is more than fair and all bridges and taxes, as well as his accommodations are included.
Please visit for all additional info:
You can, just like me, easily travel part of your trip with a driver and part of it on your own. Thanks to traveling the first part of my trip with a local, I was able to learn a lot about Myanmar culture which helped me understand the country's people a lot better, adapt to their customs and interact with them.
If you have any further questions on any transportation method in Myanmar please do not hesitate to contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
These are the ways of traveling convenient for tourists. The locals have their very own method of traveling =) check out some more awesome pictures I was able to take on my trip!