Does anyone know if it's possible to travel overnight from Bagan to Mandalay by bus or train, and details such as company, price, times? From the schedules I've seen they only have day routes, which tend to take more than half a day.
I'm in Bagan now and just asked at a guesthouse I was checking. They said yes, there are two night buses from Bagan to Mandalay. One leaves at 9:30pm and arrives at 04:00 am, another at 4pm which arrives at 9:30pm. Also a morning bus at 8am arrives at 2pm. All cost 7,500 kyat.
Hope that helps!
A couple of weeks ago a user posted a video and it covered the three main areas to stay at in Bagan. It'll probably help you decide where to stay.
If you're not planning on cycling it doesn't really matter where you'll be staying as you'll be doing it by car or horse & cart -- the park is way way to big to walk.
At risk of over simplifying, all the budget digs are in Nyaung U/Wet Kyi Inn, midrange is in New Bagan and high-end is in Old Bagan. Old Bagan is closest to the most ruins but still kilometres away from some, New Bagan & Nyaung U are equidistant (more or less) from different sections of the park.
The cycling isn't toooooo bad, gentle hills now and then, but predominantly flat -- heat is a bigger issue. I've been here 5 or 6 days now and my day is typically 4am-9am & 4pm-6:30pm in the monuments, rest of time doing other stuff (looking at hotels/restaurants etc) -- middle of the day the sun is just merciless -- merciless.
Hope that helps.
I am currently considering places in Nyaung U or New Bagan, but still haven't confirmed.
Wow, that's a big gap in the day. I was wondering since it's the rainy season, it would be more cloudy.
Do you also know anything about tandem bicycles? Thanks very much for your help, it's been of great use.
I usually used a bike but if it's raining or way too hot, a horse and cart is a very good alternative. Looks a bit like a tourist trap but the driver we hired one rainy day (when it was too muddy for cycling) was excellent and we had a great day out in spite of the rather dismal weather. We (3 people) paid $12 (ie $4 each) for the whole day in 2010 and it was very good value for money. Horses and carts can visit temples that cars can't get to and the drivers know places you quite likely won't find on your own on a bicycle either ... including small inexpensive (but very good) restaurants away from the main drag. Well worth doing at least once IMO. I also used that same driver to get me to the airport when I left. The airport isn't very far from Nyaung U and there are very few places in the world where you can be picked up and dropped off at an airport in a horse and cart.
@reublim I'm working - not playing, so dancing to a slightly different tune than other travellers would be, but save a patch of rain a couple of days ago, the weather has been brill, patchy cloud and bloody hot!
Re your accommodation research, bear in mind just about all prices in any guidebook will be substantially wrong and there are a lot more places here than those that can be booked online. If you'd like a specific reccy, or want an updated price on anywhere in Nyaung U, let me know.
Here's a weather sample from this afternoon
@SBE I've not tried a horse and cart yet, they look pretty uncomfortable and I've been ok with the bike so far, but I rode way too much today and will be sore tomorrow, so may give one a go -- or just get a massage
@Somtam. Nah, "uncomfortable" is the lorry they use to ferry people from Kinpun to the Golden Rock!
I've only had one massage in Myanmar (at Inle, not Bagan) and it wasn't quite as relaxing as a Thai or Bali massage. Involved a great big fat heavy bloke hanging from a roof beam and walking all over me if I remember right. I look forward to your feedback whichever you choose.