Getting to Mandalay from Bagan or Yangon can be done by plane, train, bus or river boat. Several trains a day travel between Yangon and Mandalay, with both government and private operators. Most trains are overnight, as is the bus service.
If you have plenty of time, the river is an interesting option for travel from Bagan to Mandalay (or vice-versa). Both 'slow' and 'fast' boats are available, although the fast option still takes nine hours.
Airlines Serving Mandalay
Mandalay sports a new, state of the art airport, which is practically deserted. Only a few airlines actually serve the city, as shown below.
- Air Mandalay
- Air Mandalay flies twice daily between Yangon and Mandalay, via Bagan. They also operate a seasonal service between Chiang Mai, Thailand and Mandalay.
- Air Bagan
- Air Bagan also flies between Yangon and Mandalay, via Bagan.
Mandalay International Airport
The new international airport is about a one hour drive from the city. Arrival at this new airport can be a somewhat surreal experience. The massive new terminal is fully fitted out with dual jetways, international arrival hall and large luggage carrousels. Unfortunately, the jetways are designed for aircraft far bigger than the small ATR planes that currently use the airport, and since there is rarely more than two or three flights a day, most of the lights in the baggage claim area are turned off.
Taxis are not readily available at the airport, so it's best to arrange transport to and from there through your hotel.