Photo: Hilltop views.

Transport



Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Loikaw.


Air

Flights to Loikaw can be a good option if your time is limited. Myanma Airways has scheduled flights out of Yangon on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, but the flight times often change and there’s always a possibility that flights will be cancelled due to low occupancy. Still, at only US$73 for a one-way ticket and a travel time of just one hour (versus 18 hours by bus), many consider it an attractive option. You cannot book tickets online, nor use your credit card at Myanma Airways; you have to book in person at a travel agency or their offices in Yangon T: (01) 373828, (09) 254 219 651 or Loikaw (09) 560 0154. Re-confirm your flight within 24 hours of booking, just to make sure the flight is still scheduled for take-off.

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Train

Trains to Loikaw run on the tracks branching off from Naypyitaw, meaning that you’ll have to transfer if you’re coming from a train via Mandalay or Yangon. From Naypyitaw, the train leaves at 20:00 and arrives the next day at 21:30 and costs only 4,000 kyat. If you are coming from Inle Lake, you can jump on board during one of its stops in either Aung Ban or Kalaw.

From Aung Ban, scheduled time is 9 1/2 hours to Loikaw; from Kalaw, the scheduled time is 10 hours. Getting to Loikaw from either Aung Ban or Kalaw should cost you 2,000 kyat by train. 'Scheduled time' is a very loose concept in Burma.

Catching the train out of Loikaw will cost you an early morning with a departure time of 05:45. The train is then scheduled to arrive at Aung Ban at 15:30 and Kalaw at 16:00; both destinations cost 2,000 kyat. If you’re going straight to Naypyitaw, the scheduled arrival time is 03:00 the follow morning and it will cost 4,000 kyat for this near-full day of travel.

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Bus

The air-con bus is most people’s preference for getting to and from Loikaw. These buses travel between Yangon and Mandalay, stopping at Inle Lake, Taunggyi, Aung Ban, Kalaw and Loikaw before getting to their final destination. At any of these places you can book a ticket to any of these destinations through a travel agent or the bus station itself.

Make sure you book a day in advance because seats can fill up fast and departure times are notorious for changing.

Getting to Loikaw from Mandalay will cost you around 11,000 to 18,000 kyat, depending on the class you choose and whether they skip the ‘foreigner fee’. This trip can take up to 16 hours of travel time.

From Yangon to Loikaw, it will cost you about the same and it can take around 18 hours of travel time.

If you hop on board the bus during one of its stops at Inle Lake, Aung Ban or Kalaw, the price will be lower and the time, obviously, shorter. See below for a rough estimate on what you should be paying at those stops to get to Loikaw.

Departing Loikaw by bus is fairly easy if you have a guide, travel agent or hotel book your bus, as the bus station is on the outskirts of town and not so convenient to get to.

Air-con buses leave around noon everyday to go to Yangon. An express bus to Yangon will take almost 18 hours and cost you 12,800 kyat.

Buses to Mandalay begin leaving at 07:00 will take up to 16 hours and cost you around 11,000 kyat.

If your next destination is Kalaw or Aung Ban, it will cost you 4,000 kyat and six hours of travel time.

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Other

There are private cars for hire leaving from destinations all the way to Mandalay. Prices vary considerably, even from the same departing location. Ask your guesthouse for a rate and compare it to a travel agency; prices can range from expensive to astronomical.

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Getting around

As there are currently very few foreign tourists visiting Loikaw, transport options for tourists are limited and getting around town quickly can be a bit of a challenge – that is to say, you'll be walking a fair bit! Try asking your hotel if they can arrange to borrow a bike from a neighbour or staff member. Taxis are almost non-existent and trishaws are hard to find, but they can be found near the market by the large bridge closer to the train station. This leaves guides-for-hire as the most often used choice.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Loikaw? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Burma_myanmar.


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