A detailed guide to the cost and availability of transport around Myanmar
Information on transport around Myanmar is quite sparse and hard to find, most of which is out of date due to recent changes, road improvements new laws and other changes. This information is correct as of 18th December 2016, as we travelled across Myanmar independently of tour groups and guides.
We will also cover how long the journey time was, what it was like and getting around in towns once you arrive at an area.
- The free Air Asia bus no longer operates
- A replacement bus exists which can take you to Mandalay for 4000 Kyat or $4USD. This includes hotel drop off in town, the same company can take you to nearby villages such as Monywa. There is no need to book this service in advance, collect your baggage walk toward the exit and you will see a 3 meter sign saying bus service $4. Within half an hour you will be on your way.
- An airport transfer by taxi will cost you around 12,000 Kyat if booking through your hotel but anything up to 24,000 depending on how much money the cab driver thinks you have. Remember you can’t get Kyat from outside of the country and they only accept clean crisp USD with no marks to do money exchange. The larger the bill IE $50 $100 the better exchange rate you will get. Rates in the airport are lower than in banks in town.
Getting Around Mandalay
Taxis can be very expensive around town especially if you want sunrise tours or have special requirements; these are some prices we gathered from our hotel, which was on west of the palace, in old Mandalay.
- 7000 Kyat for a 6km short hop across town
- 45,000 Kyat U-Bein bridge for sunrise Inwa temples and village
- 24,000 Kyat Daytime Mandalay hill
Pushbikes can be rented in and around town, these would be useful to pedal to the base of Mandalay hill or to the Mandalay palace, pagodas or other attractions but not for U-Bein bridge, Inwa, Mingun or the flower city which are all too far.
- 3-6000 Kyat per day or sometimes free from your hotel.
Motorbike was our mode of transport, the best company is called Manday Motorbike hire on 80th Street, between 33 and 32nd run by Zach who is American with new, good motorbikes.
- 10,000 Kyat gear through bike
- 15,000 Kyat fully automatic bike
From Mandalay to Inle Lake
Plane after your plane ticket you will be approximately one hours taxi ride away from Inle lake, which could set you back as much as 24,000 Kyat.
Bus was our mode of transport, we booked through our hotel Royal Yadanarbon (see attached pricing) we had some hiccups along the way I.E ours was meant to pick us up on the way but didn’t and also drop us at the hotel bus didn’t, but the hotel got us transport to the depot to get the bus in time. Although the bus was meant to take 6 hours expect it to take far longer. Ours departed at 9Am and arrived in Nyaung Shwe at around 5PM with two 20 min stops along the way. The road has improved in recent years, the first half is smooth and fast and second a little bumpier but not too bad as it winds up the mountains, cooler climate at Inle. You will need to purchase your Inle Lake area pass just before reaching the town at 12,500 Kyat per person, a couple minutes aft er this you will be in the village. I would advise against the night bus as you wont get much sleep on it with the turns bumps and horns. We got the mini 10Pax Toyota Commuter.
Share taxi from research online it looks as though a lot of people are organizing their own taxis and splitting the cost, this should be cheaper than flying and then getting a cab on arrival, from trip advisor threads, not my own experience you should expect a cab to cost around $200.
Getting around Inle
Bicycles can be found everywhere in Nyaung Shwe. We checked 4 places for our prices. You will not see much of the lake by bike, most operators have a suggested route down the right of the lake down as far as the wooden bridge then to pay for a boat across to the other side and back to the town. Boats will cost anything from 4-8,000 Kyats to cross the water. We found you didn’t see much by bike taking around 24 KM round trip but it did allow us to visit the bridge and Bamboo Hut restaurant, the no.1 rated in the area closely followed by our favorite, Inlay Hut Indian food.
- 1,500 Kyat for 1 days hire of a standard single speed city bike
- 1,000 extra to keep it overnight on top of the day hire
- 7,000 half day carbon fiber duel suspension mountain bike for half day
- 14, 000 for a full days hire for mountain bike
Full day tours by car and boat can be found everywhere, this place is aimed a lot more towards tourists than Mandalay its self. Boat is the only real way you can experience the Lake and see it well, large boats are motor run and tours will usually include the regular generic tour routes including commission based stops at markets, gold and silver crafts and weavers.
- 17,000 – 18,000 per boat for a day tour starting between 7:30 and 8AM – 3PM (see breakdown of places to visit. ) or for sunrise at 5:30am
- 24,000 to include Indeain Pagodas in the trip
- 7,000 – 10,000 sunset cruise
Mopeds cannot be hired in the area but you may be lucky enough to find electric bikes for hire, we did not see any of these when we visited though we didn’t seek them out specifically.
Inle Lake to Bagan
Bus routes operate between Inle and Bagan daily, book one day in advance.
- 10,000 – 12,000 Kyat for the Minibus by ‘Shwe Man Thu’ 7-9 Hours.
- 20,000 – 22,000 Kyat VIP Night bus with recliners with ‘JJ Express’ 9-10 hours.
Fly – flights can be organized through local operators or online, check Air Asia.
Mini bus experience to Bagan
Our mini bus picked us up from our hotel in Inle lake, the company was called Rainbow busses and we booked along the main high street. Shortly after we departed at 7:30 we made various stops for other passengers, then beetle nut and other things im not sure what by the driver. In the fist 1.5 hours of the trip we had travelled less than 20KM from Inle Lake.
The route winded up mountains and back down, we made stops for fuel, hand washing (yes) the van for 15 minutes and 30 minutes for lunch. The lunch menu stated as follows: for “prices” please ask. A list of dishes were on the menu, with we can only presume tourist rates and local rates. We arrived in Bagan and were dropped off at our hotel at around 5:15PM. On route we brought our tickets from the ticketing office (21.170363 94.920563 coords on MapsWithMe), the price as of december 2016 was 25,000 Kyats for 5 days including day of arrival. We prebooked our hotel (Shwe Nadi Guest House) for $20 US per night including breakfast, clean rooms soft bed AirCon and good, filling breakfast included located in Nyaung-U village.
Getting Around Bagan
Pushbikes are around1,000 Kyat per day and can be rented in the main towns, take plenty of water and a hat, as when you explore the quiet dirt tracks you may find it a while before you bump into a retailer.
E-Bikes can be hired just about anywhere in the town although we rented ours from our hotel for convenience of knowing they will not close for 7,000 Kyat per day we saw prices from 5,000 Kyat per day. They hold enough power to scoot two people around for the best part of a day.
On foot Dependent on your location there are still lots of things to do if you wish to have a day locally after a day on bikes. We stayed in Nyaung U and spent one of our days without transport. To start we visited the local market, which sells fresh produce such as fruit, vegetables and fish, it’s a great way to see local life. You can also visit the Shezigon Pagoda and see the monks early in the morning. For a chilled afternoon with minimal effort, have lunch at Weather Spoons then take a walk to the river and Nyaung U jetty. You can always walk a little further to Shwe Leik Too temple for sunset where you can climb to the top of the pagoda, or other pagodas a little closer to town.
If you are staying in New Bagan, take one of the local cooking classes in the morning including a walk around the market, then later after you have ate your lunch, take a walk to Lawkananda Paya for sunset.
Hot air Ballon Taking a hot air balloon for sunrise is around $400 US per person for approx 30 mins flying time and champagne breakfast. Baskets hold 12-16 people per trip, see Balloons in Bagan website.
Bagan Pyin oo Lwin
Mini Bus There is a direct bus to Pyin oo Lywin from Bagan, it is a Toyota Sprinter and advertised as a 6 hour bus with hotel drop off and pickup. This bus costs around 13,000 Kyat.
Taxi to this area would be very expensive with a distance of 230KM from Nyaung U.
To Mandalay Airport from Pyin oo Lwin
We went through our hotel in Pyin oo Lwin to book our private taxi it was 35,000 Kyat to Mandalay international airport through Zor Group. I belive we paid local prices as the manager was loking after us after food poisoning I caught in Bagan prevented me from leaving the hotel room or seeing the city. PLEASE NOTE: There is NO currency exchange once you are inside the gates of the airport, change your money before you go through, you cannot change Kyat up outside the country so it will be useless!
I hope this guide will help you with your future travels, check out our other blogs and reviews of Myanmar!
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