Getting Around in MyanmarEdit This
There are 3 companies in Myanmar, and 2 of them have a website where you can check schedules:
Mandalay Air (their server is not always online) Yangon Airways
Sometimes you need to take a plane because you don't get a permit over land. There are about 60 airports in Myanmar, but you cannot get to all of them. Currently a new international airport is being built in Bago. Here are some examples of prices, but it's just to give you an idea because they change frequently:
Yangoon-Mandalay: 100-150 US$
Yangoon-Bagan: 100-150 US$
Yangoon-Sitwe: 100-120 US$
Mandalay-Bagan: 100 US$
There are conflicting reports whether you can buy cheaper tickets at the airlines themselves or at a travel agent.
Domestic boat trips
Myanmar has a lot of transport through its rivers, but it's not often used by tourists. The boat from Mandalay to Bagan is the most famous. There is now a fast boat connecting these 2 cities. It leaves at 6 am and arrives at 4 pm. There's a bar and a small restaurant. The trip from Bagan to Pyay should be great, but no one could tell us when the boat would arrive or leave. There's also a boat from Yangoon to Sitwe, but it's usually fully booked and passengers are chosen like in a lottery.
Long distance bus The roads in Myanmar are very bad, so transportation by road is hard and long. There are several big buscompanies doing the touristic route: Yangoon-Mandalay: it takes 13 hours with 3 stops. Price is about 2000 Kyat pp with Leo express. Mandalay-Inle Lake: there's a big bus with Honey Express. It costs 1300 Kyat and it takes 8 hours. The pick-up takes 10 hours and costs 700 Kyat, several companies offer this trip.
In all the cities, you can find small pick up trucks going to another town. For small trips (less then 4 hours) this can be OK, but for longer trips it'll be much harder. These pick ups are extremely crowded taking about 30 to 40 passengers while normally only 15 are allowed. Some companies don't allow foreigners on the bus because they don't have a licence to do so.
Public transport in the cities Public transport in the cities is also done with pick up trucks. It's very uncomfortable, but it's a great way to get to know the local people. One thing to remember: women are not allowed on the roof if there's a monk on the bus.
The train system in Myanmar is old, slow, noisy, crowded, but also cheap and great to meet the local people. On many touristic routes, prices are fixed by the government. For Yangoon-Mandalay, they charge an incredible 45 US$. Trains to non-touristic spots are very cheap: 2 US$ for the 2 hour ride to Bago. There are 2 classes: high and ordinary with respectively soft and hard benches.
Only around Yangoon you will find taxis. They are very cheap. Either they have a meter, otherwise you should make a deal on the price on beforehand. Taxi from the airport charges between 1 and 3 US$. You can also rent a car with driver in Yangoon to go into the country. For a trip of 14 days, this will cost you 350 US$, but this does not include the price of the food and lodging of the driver.
Renting a bike
In small villages, the bike is the most important means of transportation. At Inle Lake and Bagan, we rented a bike and it's a really great way to explore the country. Don't forget to take plenty of water. Expect to pay about 100 Kyats for the day.
You'll find rickshaws in every city. It's very cheap, but always set your price on beforehand. Count on 50 Kyat for 15 minutes. Your driver can also be a good guide. We rented a rickshaw in Mandalay for the whole day for 500 Kyat.
A lot of horsecarts are still riding in the country. In Bagan, you can rent one for 800 Kyat for 6 hours.
Renting a car
It's better not to rent a car. A car with driver will be hardly more expensive, and you won't have problems with safety, finding the way etc... A van for 7 passengers with driver for 7 days should cost about 300 US$.