When looking at how to get from Bagan to Inle Lake you’ll have several options. You’ll have to see which one fits your Myanmar budget and time schedule. Traveling around Myanmar takes time as the roads are not the best, going 150 miles can easily take 6 hours.
We’ve put together this list of options on how to get to Inle Lake from Bagan to help you see what’s best for you.
$1 USD= 1,400k (February 2021)
How To Get From Bagan To Inle Lake
Bus From Bagan to Inle Lake
During our two weeks in Myanmar, we traveled from Bagan to Inle Lake by bus with the bus company JJ Express a VIP bus and often referred to as the best bus company in Myanmar. JJ Express is the only big style bus that travels from Bagan to Inle Lake.
The bus was super spacious and comfortable. All the other buses are actual minibusses or shuttle vans where you’ll be crammed in with no space with a usually crazy driver.
- Price: $11 -$18
- Duration: 8-11 hours
- Distance: 205 miles /328 kilometers
- Departs: several day & night departures
- Book Tickets Online here
*BONUS: JJ Express offers free hotel pickup in Bagan
If you want to take the JJ Express VIP bus, make sure to book tickets a few days in advance as the bus sells most days. Call, or have your hotel call, JJ Express (their number is on your ticket) the day before to request the free hotel pickup.
They picked us up at 730am at our New Bagan hotel for the 8:30 am bus to Inle Lake. We booked our ticket online here, the company emailed us a payment link and then our bus tickets. This saved us 12,000k which is what a taxi from New Bagan to the bus station would have cost.
The bus drops you off right in Nyaungshwe, where most Inle Lake hotels are. If you are staying at a hotel, not in town, we suggest having dinner in town before heading to your hotel.
We ate at Innlay Hut Indian Food House which we highly suggest – message them on Facebook to make a reservation. We stayed at Amata Garden Resort which was right on Inle Lake. The owner of the Innlay Hut restaurant arranged a taxi for us from Nyaungshwe to our hotel for 20,000k.
Bus Tips: We suggest wearing warmer clothes or having a jacket with you because the bus gets super cold when the air conditioning is on. Also, bring some snacks and drinks for the 8 hour trip to Inle Lake. Our bus did make a 30-minute stop for lunch at a local Burmese restaurant however, we didn’t want to risk our stomachs with a roadside restaurant.
Related Article: Myanmar Travel Tips
*When looking for the best price and biggest selection of hotels in Inle Lake check prices on Booking.com, we’ve found they are the best option and have a great cancelation policy.*
Flights From Bagan to Inle Lake
If you are looking for the fastest way to get from Bagan to Inle Lake then there are flights available between Bagan and Inle. There are now daily flights from Bagan to Inle Lake.
The nearest airport to Bagan is in Nyaung-u (NYU) which is one of the three main cities to stay in when visiting Bagan, there are several Bagan hotels here as well as some of the best restaurants. The nearest airport to Inle Lake is Heho (HEH), which is 40 minutes away from Nyaungshwe – which is the main town and where most Inle Lake hotels are.
- Price: $70+
- Duration: 30 minutes
- Distance: 124 miles /198 kilometers
- Departs: several daily departures
The following airlines have direct flights from Bagan to Inle Lake: Myanmar National Airlines and Myanmar Airways International. We stayed at Amata Garden Resort which was right on Inle Lake and a taxi to Heho airport was $40USD, bookable through the hotel.
Taxis from the airport to Nyaungshwe are said to be around 30,000k. If you’re on a Myanmar honeymoon we highly suggest flying because there is nothing romantic about buses & trains in Myanmar.
Train From Bagan to Inle Lake
There are no trains from Bagan to Inle Lake. The only way to travel to Inle Lake by train is from Yangon. So if you are in Bagan, you’d have to take the train to Yangon first (17.5 hours) and then the train from Yangon to Shwenyaung (1 day 6 hours). Traveling to Inle Lake by train is not common or suggested.
Related Article: Mandalay to Inle Lake
Inle Lake is one of the best places in Myanmar to visit and we suggest staying at least 2 nights in an Inle Lake hotel. If your budget allows, stay at a hotel on the lake for a more peaceful stay, it’s great waking up to the sunrise over the lake.
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Sunday 10th of March 2019
Hello! Any thoughts on riding a scooter from Bagan to Inle? Considering it this April.
Saturday 30th of March 2019
Hi In the process of planning Myanmar trip in June. I will be travelling from Yangon to Inle Lake by flt or bus (undecided) and then onto Bagan. Can I assume the info you wrote about JJ Express bus happens in the reverse direction? Do you know if there is a reduction in services in the ‘off season’? Cheers
Monday 11th of March 2019
You might have trouble finding a scooter to rent in Bagan because tourists are generally only allowed to rent e-bikes to visit the temples. The drive itself would probably be fine, I just wonder if you could find someone to rent you a bike. Maybe there is, I haven't personally looked though.
Tuesday 15th of January 2019
Hi Thanks for all the input. Insightful and helpful. Question: I noted from your commentary regarding buses from Bagan to Inle Lake that JJ Express picked up passengers at their hotel for the morning route. When trying to book a JJ Express ticket online to Inle Lake I could only get a bus out of Bagan at 22:00. Are you able to clarify and verify that there are morning buses to Inle Lake with JJ Express? If there is such a bus which site dos one use to book on this route.Thanks. Mel
Monday 4th of February 2019
We find the JJ express website hard to use and not great. We booked our ticket on the ground. There were more times than the 22:00 for sure. We are not aware of any other sites selling these tickets.
Friday 6th of July 2018
Hi - 'We booked our ticket online here, the company emailed us a payment link and then our bus tickets.' - can you please let me know where online you booked?
Tuesday 31st of December 2019
we got a private car from new Bagan to lake inle. was 135,000 khiat... driver suggested a stop at My Popa for an added 20,000 did it. good hike up to temples in top. taxi was booked at hotel. out experience has been that they get best rates as did private taxi from Mandalay to Bagan as well...was90,000 but had been quoted 120,000 and 100,000 when called people found on internet searches. all the best Boyd and Family (4)
Sunday 8th of July 2018
We like 12goAsia, https://12go.asia/en/travel/bagan/inle-lake/?z=196379
Monday 21st of May 2018
Very good article! Thanks a lot. I'm going to Myanmar in November but when checking JJ Express bus routes, the bagan to inle lake ends in Taunggyi. Do they stop before in nyaungshwe? Thank you
Monday 28th of May 2018
Yes there are routes that go from Bagan to Nyaungshwe. You can book in Bagan, just make sure to do it in advance to ensure a seat on the time you want.
Thursday 21st of December 2017
can you help mi find cheap ferry from mandalay to bagan?
Thursday 21st of December 2017
We have another article on how to get between these cities https://www.gettingstamped.com/how-to-mandalay-to-bagan-boat-bus/
Thursday 21st of December 2017
Sorry but cheap and Myanmar transport don't go together. The cheapest option would be the public buses.