Bagan To Mandalay By Boat: An Irrawaddy River Cruise

Tired of long bus and train rides in Myanmar? Yeah, we were too. Forgo the rickety rails and bumpy roads and book something on the slower, smoother side – an Irrawaddy river cruise! Travel from Bagan to Mandalay by boat, the picturesque way.

Traveling by boat in Myanmar is a good transportation mix up. Taking waterways lets you see new sites and a more rural way of life on the river.

How To Travel From Bagan To Mandalay By Boat

How Long is The Boat Ride from Bagan To Mandalay?

You can do this route two ways. The first route is Bagan to Mandalay by boat and the second is the the reverse, Mandalay to Bagan by boat. Both routes take a full day on the Irrawaddy river.

The Bagan to Mandalay route takes about 12 hours (you’re going up river) where the boat ride from Mandalay to Bagan takes about 10 hours (you’re going down the river).

What Is The Boat Price from Bagan to Mandalay?

Understand, there are cheaper options to get to and from Bagan and Mandalay – i.e a bus or a train.

If you are interested in looking into taking a bus or train from Bagan to Mandalay, check the latest times and prices below.

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However, if you are wanting to shake things up, this boat ride is definitely for you! A little bit more expensive that your typical overland bus or train travel but hey, if you can spare the few bucks consider taking a cruise on the water!

Bagan to Mandalay boat price is about $32 USD and that was the cheapest option we could find. We booked with MGRG Express and it was lovely and very comfortable.

The price not only includes your ride up the river but also your breakfast, lunch, and snacks. The meal looked good and was tasty too!

Food on the cruise from Bagan to Mandalay

Booking Your Bagan to Mandalay By Boat Ticket

Your accommodation can help you book your tickets or point you in the direction of an agency that can. Or, you can book directly online with MGRG Express.

Bagan to Mandalay by Boat

We advise booking at least 1-2 days ahead of time to ensure you get a the departure day you want. Why you ask? Well, the Bagan to Mandalay boat schedule is a pretty tight one. MGRG Express only offers one time slot per day.

About The Boat Ride From Bagan to Mandalay

This was a welcomed change of pace from our fast-driving, motion sickness induced Myanmar night bus experiences. The boat ride was slow, chill AF and really a great way to spend a day.

You are able to reset, catch up on journaling or writing your postcards home, etc. Hell, take a nap the entire and sip on some tea. Really and truly, enjoy the fresh air and time to yourself.

The boat is spacious with an open air deck and shaded cabin below.

You can get up and stretch your legs and head to the bow of the boat to take in the sights. Or, you can head to the back where there are lounging chairs in the sun.

MGRG Express Bagan to Mandalay by Boat

You leave Bagan’s port at 5:30 am and it is highly suggest you arrive 10-15 minutes before 5:30am. The boat really does ship off at 5:30 am on the dot. You can expect a full day cruise on the Irrawaddy and anticipate to arrive in Mandalay at 5:30 pm that evening.

We’re big on reviews so a lot of our decisions we make are based on other travelers reviews and blogs. A few wrote how boring this trip was offering “nothing to look at.”

We can understand how they could say it’s boring. You really are doing nothing but to say there is nothing to look at is a little dramatic. Sure, you’re not looking at beautiful, jaw-dropping scenery but to say “there is nothing to look at” is a lie

You cruise down the Irrawaddy River seeing locals living their life. Washing their clothes in the river, children running and playing, boats going by, local men and boys fishing. Tons of things to occupy your eyeballs and time!

bagan to mandalay by boat

As we stated above, it’s not the cheapest way to get from Bagan to Mandalay, but it really was worth the extra dollars if you have the time and are sick of buses and trains.

Where To Stay In Mandalay

  • The Luxury Inclined:  Get away from the city and relax at the Rupar Mandalar Resort outdoor pool and a spa. with clean, comfortable rooms and delicious food, your stay at Rupar Mandalar is sure to please.
  • The Budget Conscious: If you looking to save a few bucks but do not want to compromise location and cleanliness, then Richqueen Guesthouse is for you. Run by a Burmese family, be walking distance from some of Mandalay’s top attractions.
  • Something in Between: Hotel The Haven offers free bikes, on site bar, buffet breakfast and swimming pool. Plus, with it’s central location, it’s no wonder why so many book their stay at The Haven.

For more accommodation choices and places to stay in Mandalay, you can check the latest place and prices here to secure an unforgettable Myanmar accommodation.


3 Things Not To Miss in Bagan

6 Things To Experience and Do in Mandalay

5 Wonderful Things To Do In Hpa An, Myanmar


bagan to mandalay by boat pin

For more travel tips, guides and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site, follow us on Instagram @wanderingstusPinterest and on Facebook. Oh and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!

Happy Travels,

– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)

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