Yes, by boat. A good transportation mix up, when traveling, is always a good thing. It lets you experience things differently and provides you a better understanding of how you prefer to get around.
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How Long Does The Boat Ride Take?
You can do this route two ways. The first route is Bagan to Mandalay and the second is the the reverse, Mandalay to Bagan.
What Is The Cost of The Boat Ride to Mandalay?
Understand, there are cheaper options to get to and from Bagan and Mandalay – i.e a bus.
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 travel but hey, if you can spare the few bucks consider taking a cruise on the water!
The cost from Bagan to Mandalay, by boat, was $32 USD (Feb 2017) and that was the cheapest option we could find. We went and 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.
I mean this looks like a pretty good meal to us!
Where Do I Get The Boat Tickets To Mandalay?
Your accommodation can help you book your tickets or point you in the direction of an agency that can.
We advise booking at least 1-2 days ahead of time to ensure you get a spot. No need to book online – you can book once you get into the town of Bagan.
About The Boat Ride 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, just take a nap the entire time and sip on some tea.
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.
You leave Bagan’s port at 5:30 am (be on time – they really did ship off at 5:30 am on the dot) and 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 could NOT disagree more! Sure, you’re not looking at beautiful, jaw-dropping scenery but to say “there is nothing to look at” is complete BS.
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 time!
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.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)