Want to know how to get from Yangon to Mandalay? In this post, we’ll share a summary of the three 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 Mandalay
Mandalay is Myanmar’s second-largest city and last royal capital. Founded by King Mindom in 1857, the city is known for its unique architecture and white pagodas. Interesting fact: More than half of the country’s monks live in Mandalay and surrounding areas!
It’s a must to visit the Hsinbyume Pagoda, the U-Bein Bridge, the Kuthodaw Pagoda, the Mandalay Palace, and the Zay Cho Market. Head up to Mandalay Hill — a pilgrimage site famous for its panoramic viewpoints — for the best views of Mandalay.
3 ways to get from Yangon to Mandalay
There are three ways to travel the distance of 630 km (391 miles) from Yangon to Mandalay: by bus (7h-10h), train (16h30m-18h) and flight (1hr 25m). The journey takes between 1h25m - 18h and the quickest way is by flight. The lowest priced tickets start from €7.50 ($9) for the bus.
There are several bus companies operating from Yangon to Mandalay. Standard buses are usually cramped with limited leg space, although several VIP/Elite buses with 3 seats per row also serve the route and are recommended when travelling by bus.
Travel time usually takes between 8-10 hours, with departures as early as 09:00 and as late as 22:30.
Buses all depart from Aung Mingalar Highway Bus Station about 15 kilometers from Yangon Downtown. To get to the bus station, you can take Local Bus Line 36 for $0.10 or a taxi for roughly $7.
Buses all arrive in Chan Mya Shwe Pyi Highway Station (also known as Highway Bus Station) located about 4 kilometers from central Mandalay.
A taxi ride to the town centre of Mandalay costs about $4. If you are looking for an even cheaper option, you can take a motorbike taxi for as little as $2. Alternatively, you can walk out of the bus station for several meters and hitch a ride in the back of one of the pick-ups that goes to town. Fare is normally only $0.30 per person.
See the schedule of the most popular buses for the Yangon to Mandalay route below:
Upper-class seats cost roughly $18, while upper-class sleeping carriages cost around $24. Considering, the long journey, we recommend booking a sleeper berth in train #3.
All trains depart from Yangon Central Railway Station located in Kun Chan Rd in Downtown Yangon. Arrival is at Mandalay Central Railway Station located at 78th St, Downtown Mandalay.
To be fair, the journey is not very scenic, but it will give you insights into daily life in Myanmar. You can witness foraging buffalos, buy snacks and trinkets from vendors peddling their wares at each station, and catch glimpses of local children excitedly waving to the passing carriages.
Yangon to Mandalay by Flight
Duration: 1hr 25m
Starts from: €75.00 ($90)
Duration: 1hr 25m
Cost: €75.00 ($90)
The fastest way to travel from Yangon to Mandalay is by taking a 1 hour and 25-minute flight from Yangon International Airport to Mandalay International Airport.
A handful of airline companies serve this air route including Golden Myanmar Airlines, Myanmar National Airlines, and Air KBZ. These airlines operate up to 10 flights daily. A one-way ticket starts at around $90.
To get to Yangon International Airport from the city, there are several YBS airport shuttle buses that run from the airport to the centre of Yangon. These air-conditioned buses run 24/7 and you can hop on the bus for only $0.30.
See here a list of the 16 designated bus stops:
Yangon International Airport
8 Miles Junction
Kabar Aye Pagoda
Hnin Si Gone
Shwe Gone Dine
Yangon Railway Station
Alternatively, you can take a taxi to the airport, but beware that some drivers may charge exorbitant rates.
When you land at Mandalay International Airport, you can take a bus parked near the exit gate for $4 to the city centre. Another option is to flag down a taxi with a fixed rate of $10, available outside of the baggage claim area.
Set 500 m from The Mandalay Palace, Ostello Bello Mandalay is in a great location and also the perfect place to meet other travellers. With its rooftop, bar and restaurant fellow guests gather together after a day of exploring. Grab one of the hotel’s board games and have a fun games night!
The hostel has both dorm rooms and spacious private rooms available. And whatever you need, the staff are more than willing to help.
If you fancy more of a hotel than a hostel but are still on a budget, check out 79 Living. It’s set in a perfect location, only a 5-minute walk from Mandalay Palace.
The rooms boast a simple and traditional Myanmar design. The star of the hotel has to be the rooftop restaurant that offers incredible city views. The restaurant serves European, Thai and Chinese cuisines, plus a free breakfast every morning.
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.