(Axel Boer) #1



Boats to Mandalay go from either Nyaung U or
Old Bagan, depending on water levels. The Ny-
aung U jetty is about half a mile northeast of the
Nyaung U market.
The government-run IWT ferry (aka ‘slow boat’)
heads to Mandalay on Monday and Thursday at
5am ($10, two days) and overnights near Pak-
okku. Meanwhile the south-bound government
ferry leaves weekly to Magwe ($5, two days) and
Pyay ($9, three days). If open (unlikely!) the IWT
offi ce, about 300yd inland from the jetty, sells
tickets; alternatively book a ticket through your
hotel or one of the agencies listed above, who can
also secure tickets for the faster Malikha 2 ($32;
11 hours) boat to Mandalay.
From the Nyaung U jetty, small local boats leave
for Pakokku (K4000, 2½ hours) a few times daily
(at research time: 6am, 9am and noon), the last
returning to Nyaung U at 2pm. To charter a private
boat to Pakokku costs about K10,000 one way.

The main bus station serving Bagan is on the
main road in Nyaung U.
During peak season, it’s wise to book bus
tickets for Mandalay, Taunggyi (for Inle Lake)
and Yangon a couple of days in advance. You
can call %60743 for information on the Magwe,
Mandalay and Taunggyi buses, but it’s better to
drop by the offi ce at the bus station.
Note, some Mandalay-bound buses go via
Myingyan, others via Kyaukpadaung and Meik-
tila; if you want to get off at these intermediate
stops, you still pay the full fare to Mandalay. The
Yangon-bound service goes via Meiktila and Nay
Pyi Taw. Services:
Magwe (K6500; four to five hours; 7am; minibus)
Mandalay (K6500; seven to eight hours; 4am,
7am, 8.30am, 9am, 7pm; local, no air-con)

Meiktila (K6500; three to four hours; 7am,
9am, 7pm; local, no air-con)
Myingyan (K6500; three hours; 4am, 8.30am,
8am; local, no air-con)
Kalaw (K10,500; nine to 10 hours; 4am; Taung-
gyi bus)
Taung g yi (K10,500; nine to 10 hours; 4am;
Yangon (K15,000; 11 hours; 5pm; air-con)

Pick-Up Trucks
The lone daily pick-up service to Mt Popa (K3000
each way, one hour) leaves at 8.30am from in
front of the south entrance to the market, and
returns at 1pm. From the bus station half-hourly
pick-ups go to Chauk (two hours), where you can
connect via pick-up to Salay (one hour).
Pick-ups between Nyaung U, Old Bagan and New
Bagan run along the main street, starting from the
roundabout outside the Nyaung U market.

Ta xi
As Bagan has limited bus connections to other
major destinations, many travellers hire share
taxis – often quite old cars, some with open
backs, most without air-con and seating up to
three people – to destinations around the coun-
try. Ask at Ever Sky (p 119 ) or at your hotel. Some
sample taxi fares: Inle Lake ($170, 12 hours),
Kalaw ($150, 10 hours), Magwe ($70, fi ve hours),
Mt Popa ($35, 1½ hours), Salay ($35, two hours),
Mt Popa and Salay ($55).

The Bagan train station is about 2.5 miles south-
east of Nyaung U. The shop Blue Sea (%60949;
Main Rd) sells tickets and charges a $2 com-
mission. The train to Mandalay takes eight
hours and departs at 7am (ordinary/upper class
$5/10), while the train to Yangon takes 16 hours
and departs at 4.30pm (ordinary/upper class/
sleeper $30/40/50).


‘It was a pretty nice boat – part of the outside deck is open and part is covered. There’s
also an upstairs and downstairs inside part that is air-conditioned. The boat left at 6am
(promptly!) and the trip upriver took about 11½ hours. There is free coff ee/tea and
toast/jam available for a few hours after departure, which was nice. Halfway through the
morning, they come around and take your order for lunch – fried noodle or fried rice for
3000K. It was actually quite good food! There is also beer/pop/water available for sale.
‘Our boat was maybe half full, so it was quite comfortable. There was outside seating
available for pretty much everyone who wanted it, either in a chair or on the benches
around the back. When you buy your ticket, you are assigned a seat inside the air-
conditioned part. We were told by someone to go outside immediately and lay claim to
a chair to ensure we got one – good advice because there aren’t enough for everyone,
especially if the boat is full. The boat has a capacity of 129, and if you choose to sit
inside, you certainly can see outside – the windows are fairly large.’
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