Part of the excitement in visiting magnificent Myanmar and immersing yourself into local culture is utilizing the country’s many types of exciting transportation. From local buses, to taxis, scenic train rides, to exhilarating motorbike journeys, trishaws, bicycles and short haul plane rides, Myanmar has transport opportunities to suit every need and all types of traveller.
The most popular method of transportation throughout the country is bus. Starting your journey from hubs such as Yangon or Mandalay means you can find journeys to take you all over the country. From immersive local bus rides through villages, to cross country coaches, Myanmar’s bus network is well developed. It is culturally frowned upon in Myanmar to ask bus drivers an estimated time of arrival. You will, most probably, see notices saying this posted on the bus. A comfortable coach ride will, at most, set travellers back around 15 USD or less, distance dependent. As an advocate for sustainable travel, Take Me to Myanmar highly recommends travel by public bus as this is, by far, the most sustainable travel option in the country.
Despite being a fun, immersive and visually beautiful experience, train travel in Myanmar remains unpopular. The government have recently been working to improve railway lines, and as a result the circular train in Yangon and a visit to the train market has become a popular and highly recommended day tour. One of the most popular train journeys in Myanmar has long been the Guat htike train journey between Pyin Oo Lwin and Hsipaw. With its breath-taking views across some of Myanmar’s most stunning countryside and unique elevated journey over an ancient viaduct, it’s not hard to see why this train journey remains Myanmar’s most popular. Train fares do vary dependent on distance, but tickets remain very cheap throughout the country.
Domestic airlines in Myanmar continue to improve with the increase in demand. Although air travel throughout the country remains expensive and does have a negative impact on our environment, there are cheaper ways to obtain airline tickets if you want to travel in comfort. Usually the cheapest way to book air travel in Myanmar is by visiting a local, road side travel agent. Here, they can offer you the best prices and advice on how to make online payments by transferring money through bank accounts.
Although Myanmar is a country of many rivers and water ports, travel by boat or ship remains relatively rare. Luxury yacht cruises are available from Mandalay to Bagan and are worth taking a look at if you wish to travel by water. Mingun to Mandalay and vice versa also has a picturesque and safe boating route worth taking into account if you are seeking a river cruise.
Of course, this doesn’t apply at the magnificent Inle Lake where locals live and travel on water every day. Whilst visiting Inle Lake, enjoy your days on small boats, sailing around the lake and observing the unique local lifestyle. There are plentiful opportunities at Inle Lake to join locals on small boat trips or to join larger tours.
Some lesser known methods of transport include the interesting colonial horse and cart at Pyin Oo Lwin. Travelling through a time warp and riding by horse and cart in good weather can be a fantastic, once in a lifetime experience.
Another interesting transport method is speedboat. In Kawthaung, Dawei, you can book to be taken by exhilarating speedboat to stunning untouched beaches and islands. You can expect the prices to be relatively high for this kind of luxurious experience.
Whatever method of transport you choose, Myanmar’s vast transport system promises travellers an invigorating, culturally immersive and hassle-free journey.