Getting Around Myanmar

At 261,159 square miles (676,398 square km), Myanmar is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia. Its eastern border runs the entire land portion of western Thailand, poking its head up in the north where it meets up with Laos and China. On the western side, it shares a border with both Bangladesh and India. 

The country is shaped like a jagged diamond with a long, narrow tail in the south that stretches down for about 600 miles (972 km). Most of the tourism, however, occurs in the central-southern portions of the main section with Mandalay in the north and Mawlamyine in the south. East to west, it stretches from the Thai border and the Andaman Sea.

Within this space, you can travel by bus, train, or private vehicle if you’re planning to go by road. However, the highways are often bumpy and slow so many travelers choose to fly instead.  Domestic airfare is cheap and the flights are frequent, making this the preferred option in most cases. 

If you do decide to travel by land, private vehicles are usually your best bet, although the private buses are surprisingly comfortable, too. All of ones labeled “VIP” have air conditioning and most have amenities like reclining seats, charging ports, blankets, and snacks, too. The customer service is fairly good and you’ll get the treat of watching the lush scenery outside the window. 

Traveling by train, although cheap and available, is not typically recommended. Unlike Vietnam or other neighboring countries, the trains in Myanmar are notoriously slow and uncomfortable. They don’t always run on time and the ride is extremely bouncy — not ideal for anyone prone to motion sickness. The upshot is that if you do take this route, the landscape out of the window is very pretty.  
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Map of How to Get from Mandalay to Bagan
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Fisherman silhouette at the sunset on the Inle Lake, Myanmar
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KALAW, MYANMAR - DECEMBER 07, 2016 : woman tribe harvesting red chili near Kalaw Shan state in Myanmar (Burma).
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Taung Kwe Paya, an unusual buddhist temple erected on big rocks. It is the most famous temple of kaya state, Loikaw in Myanmar.
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The breathtaking view of the colourful rolllings hills of the Kalaw highlands as seen when trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake, Myanmar.
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  Save Download Preview HPA-AN, MYANMAR - 19 NOVEMBER, 2018: Horizontal picture of the exterior of Sadan Cave and some traditional boats in Hpa-An, Myanmar.
Map of How to Get from Yangon to Hpa An
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Map of How to Get from Bagan to Yangon
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Kyaiktiyo Pagoda also known as Golden Rock is a well-known Buddhist pilgrimage site in Myanmar, Night view of Burmese pagoda, Golden rock, Balancing rock, Mon State, Burma, Myanmar.
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INLE LAKE, MYANMAR - DECEMBER 09, 2016 : Fisherman fishing at sunset on the Inle Lake Shan state in Myanmar (Burma)
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Ngwe Saung Beach palms coat the west coast of Myanmar.
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