Burma, or Myanmar, is in Southeast Asia and is governed by an oppressive military regime. However, the government sometimes eases restrictions on tourism, so intrepid travelers may enjoy the sights of the country. The two largest cities in Burma are Mandalay, in the central part of the country, and Yangon (also known as Rangoon), near the southern coast. Travel between the two cities can be difficult as the nation’s transportation infrastructure is either inefficient or non-existent.
Take a ferry. The Myanmar government operates the Inland Water Transport (IWT) ferry service, which has ferries between Mandalay, Pyay and Yangon. Travelers taking the IWT will need to change boats in Pyay for a Yangon-bound ferry boat. This trip takes between five to eight days.
Cruise the river. Numerous private touring companies offer river cruises between Mandalay and Yangon. These trips are much more expensive than the ferries; however, food and accommodations are included in the price. Cruises take between three to 14 days, depending on the tour and the number of stops along the way.
Hop on a bus. A range of bus services are available from short-trip vehicles that can be rather rustic to luxury air-conditioned buses for longer travel. While it is only about 400 miles between Mandalay and Yangon, the trip by bus will likely involve at least one, if not two, overnight buses. Buses frequently do not have bathrooms on board; however, the drivers should make numerous pit stops for travelers’ comfort.
Hire a car and driver. If you don’t want to take public transportation, hire a private car to drive you between Mandalay and Yangon. Hotels and travel agencies in Mandalay will help you hire a driver. The fare should include gas, all expenses for the driver and tolls. Check what is included prior to your departure so you don’t get stuck with extra charges.
Ride on a train. The government runs the train lines and operates tracks between Mandalay and Yangon. A train trip takes about 15 hours. The trains are fairly comfortable and frequently have sleeper and dining cars. Seats are set aside for foreigners, who should try to purchase tickets at least a day in advance at the train station.