Home » My Journey » Getting Around in Myanmar (Burma) – Your Transportation Options

Getting Around in Myanmar (Burma) – Your Transportation Options

Plane

The fastest way to travel. Yangon and Mandalay are the main airports in the country and you can arrive or leave from either (with flights to/from Bangkok around $60 when I went). Some travelers also fly domestically but I don’t think it’s necessary.

Train

Myanmar-Burma-train

The trains in Myanmar are slow, bumpy and are often more expensive then other options. That being said there is a track around Yangon worth riding as well as one of the best train experiences in the world, in Myanmar that are worth doing.

Boat

There are many options for boat travel in Myanmar. From my understanding, you can travel much of the Yangon-Bagan-Mandalay route by slow or fast ferry but the water was to low when I was in Myanmar for that to be possible.

Myanmar-Burma-Fishing-Boat

I did however rent a fishing boat to in Ngwe Saung to go snorkeling around Bat Island and a long boat in Inlay (Inle) lake for the typical tour.

Myanmar-Burma-long-boat

Taxi

Taxis in Myanmar are usually beat up cars without air-conditioning. Price is always negotiated before the trip.

I found taxis in Yangon to be pretty fair but taxis waiting anywhere (bus stations, airports, etc) raise their prices 3-4 times what they are for locals.

This is usually the most expensive option for travel and one I try to avoid.

Tip: Start walking towards your destination and inflated prices will start to fall

Shared Pickup

  Myanmar-Burma-Shared-pickup

Anywhere you want to go (medium to short distance) there are shared pickup routes and this is one of my favorite ways to travel. Usually costing under a dollar, a shared pickup is probably the cheapest way to get around. You’ll likely be crammed in with 30 or so other passengers but you really get the local experience.

If the sun isn’t to hot (and you’re a man) try riding on the roof. Riding on the roof of a shared pickup around Mandalay was one of the coolest experiences I had in Myanmar.

Some foreigner pricing does exist so if you can ask someone (other then the money collector) the price and pay before you get on, you might save a few cents.

Bus

Tour buses are the main transportation method for most travelers in Myanmar as they go between all of the main tourist destinations.

Every bus is different but most of them are either too hot or too cold and uncomfortable (3 seats, a plastic or fold down chair in the isle and 3 more seats per row) They play weird Myanmar movies and music and I once had a bus with windchims clanging for eight hours.

The roads are routes and often curve around mountains. Locals whom aren’t used to being in a car very frequently become ill.

Shop around for bus tickets because prices are different everywhere (for the same bus). Tickets at the bus station are usually cheapest. (there are more comfortable and more expensive tour buses with much fewer seats you can sometimes find)

On tip for Myanmar is the night buses. Very few hotels in Myanmar charge you for the night if you arrive after midnight. You may have to pay $1 if you want breakfast but you save a nights accommodation whenever you take a night bus. (I saved a weeks worth of accommodations the month I was there)

Motorbike

Myanmar-Burma-motorbike

Motorbikes, in my opinion, are the best way to explore a country and have an amazing adventure and I had a great experience motorbiking Myanmar.

Motorbikes are illegal in Yangon and in much of Myanmar guesthouses say that foreigners aren’t allowed to rent them but you can usually find a local willing to rent you their bike for around 8,000 Kyat (less then $9) a day (the cheapest I heard of was 6,000 Kyat/day).

Motorbikes are really slow in the country and usually in pretty rough shape. Make sure to check the bike over and to get a helmet.

For 10,000 Kyat you can often find a motorbike driver whom will diver you around for a full days tour. (only ~$2 more then renting it yourself)

Bicycle

Myanmar-Burma-Bike

Bikes in Myanmar usually cost around 1,500 Kyat (less then $2) for a day. They’re good for exploring smaller areas like Bagan (if the weather is nice).

Be sure to check the breaks and test drive the bikes. Be careful of traffic.

Foot

Walking on foot is free and over small distances is the best options. Walking gives you more interaction with you’re environment and the locals whom will be eager to talk with you or invite you into their home.

 Other

There are a few other options for getting around including horse drawn carts and trishaw (trishaws are usually quite cheap)

Myanmar-Burma-trishaw

Myanmar-Burma-horse-cart Myanmar-Burma-mini-taxi Myanmar-Burma-vehicle

 

4 comments

  1. Myanmar seems to call me more and more. Very interesting, very different from the European countries I am used to.

  2. This is really helpful, thanks! I’m planning to pop over for as long as possible (the visa is only a month, isn’t it) at the beginning of May this year. I’m on a really tight budget but hopefully I’ll be able to get by :) Really excited!
    How long did you spend in Myanmar?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*