Want to know how to get from Bagan to Inle Lake? In this post, we’ll share a summary of the two ways to get there and compare each option on duration, costs and level of comfort. For each option, we go into more detail to help you decide which transport provider to book with and where to buy your tickets.
What to expect when visiting Inle Lake
Surrounded by high hills, Inle Lake is a travellers highlight for its floating villages and towns inhabited by the indigenous Intha people. Inhabited by almost 70,000 people of the Intha ethnic group who subsist primarily from its waters at its’ 22-kilometre-long lake.
The lake hosts several floating markets, a monastery, handicraft workshops, and the famous Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda visited by Buddhist celebrants from across the country.
2 ways to get from Bagan to Inle Lake
There are two ways to travel the distance of 340 km (211 miles) from Bagan to Inle Lake: by bus* (7-10 hours) and flight (45 minutes). The journey takes between 45m - 10h and the quickest way is by flight. The lowest priced tickets start from $11 for the bus*.
UPDATE: Following the COVID-19 pandemic and with the still ongoing civil war in Myanmar, there is limited availability for land travel around the country. The last time we checked (September 2023), bus operations from Bagan to Inle Lake were suspended. Please click the link provided to see if anything has changed.
Taking the bus is a good option for travellers on a budget. There are several bus companies operating from Bagan to Inle Lake.
A standard minivan ticket from Bagan to Inle Lake starts at $11, while VIP buses with more comfortable seats can go as high as $17. Travel time can take from 7 to 10 hours depending on the bus company and the type of bus.
OK Express (Standard Minivan)
Departs from OK Express Bus Stop located 12 kilometers from Old Bagan (hotel pick up is available)
Arrives at Famous Express located in the town of Nyaungshwe
OK Express provides a shared 16-seater minivan for the Bagan to Inle Lake route. There is air conditioning, water, and towel provided.
Bagan Min Thar
Departs from Bagan Shwe Pyi Highway Bus Terminal located 10 kilometers from New Bagan (hotel pick up is available)
Arrives at Bagan Min Thar Bus Station in Yone Gyi Street in the town of Nyaungshwe
Bagan Min Thar provides a 29-seater VIP bus service for its passengers. They provide amenities like free toothpaste, toothbrush, drinking water, and towel to all passengers.
JJ Express (VIP Bus)
Departs from Bagan Shwe Pyi Highway Bus Terminal located 10 kilometers from New Bagan
Hotel pick up is available
Arrives at Odyssey JJ Express located in the town of Nyaungshwe
JJ Express provides a VIP (2+1 Seat Layout) bus service from Bagan to Inle Lake. A bottle of water, snacks, and a blanket are included. It’s best to book in advance because tickets sell out early.
Note: Aall international tourists are required to pay $10 Inle Zone fee.
Bagan to Inle Lake by Flight
Duration: 45 minutes
Starts from: $75
Duration: 45 minutes
The fastest way to get from Bagan to Inle Lake is by taking a 45-minute flight from Bagan Nyaung-U Airport to Heho Airport (1 hour from Inle Lake).
Air KBZ and Myanmar Airways International each operate one flight every week. Both flights depart at 08:45 in the morning on Fridays.
It’s worth noting that given the ongoing civil war in the country, there aren’t as many flights as they used to be. The last time we checked (September 2023), flights from Bagan to Inle Lake were only available on Fridays. Before the civil war, up to 10 flights operated on this route daily.
From New Bagan, it is a 20-minute ride going to Nyaung-U Airport. A taxi should set you back $5.
From Heho Airport, it is a one-hour taxi ride to Inle Lake. The current taxi rate is between $20 – $26 to go to Nyaungshwe, the main town in Inle Lake.
Inle Cottage Boutique Hotel is located in Nyaung Shwe, 15 km from Inle Lake. The hotel is super helpful and will organise a tour of Inle Lake for you. The hotel feels traditional and modern at the same time, offering a very comfortable stay.
The rooms are individual bungalows with a private balcony surrounded by lush greenery. There’s also an onsite bar and restaurant where you can enjoy your delicious complimentary breakfast every morning.
Staying at Innthar Lodge will be an unforgettable and unique experience. Have you ever slept in a stilted house above water? Here you’ll find simple but comfortable bungalows with nothing but water underneath you. It’s unbelievably calming.
The family who runs the lodge take your stay to another level, cooking you some of the best food you’ll taste in Myanmar and taking you on tours of the lake. This is a truly local experience.
If you want to experience ultimate luxury during your trip to Inle Lake, Novotel is the place to stay! Set right on the lake, you can enjoy lake views from the swimming pool or your private balcony.
The spacious suites and villas boast a contemporary style with a touch of traditional Myanmar. And wait until you see the size of the bathtubs! You have everything you need at the hotel. There’s a delicious onsite restaurant, bar, fitness centre and spa.
Ela is a storyteller, content producer, solo traveller and a mermaid-in-training. When she’s not in front of her laptop, you will find her barefoot and living her best tan on some island in the Philippines… Or exploring the depths of its seas as a budding freediver. An island girl at heart, she’ll be happy anywhere there is sea, sand, sun and coffee.
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.