There are a few ways to get around from city to city in Myanmar. You can hire a driver and depending on where you are going, your travels could take an entire day. You could take the romanticized route and take the train. Unfortunately the trains are not as efficient as those in Europe and the journey can take 12 to 18 or more hours. These trains are not the equivalent of the Orient Express either. The trains are old and bare bones. I really contemplated taking the train for one of our legs, but did a bit more research and found that the leg I was really reviewing often took 24 to 36 hours and that would be utterly awful.
We decided to fly, which was the recommendation from our local guides. I was and little nervous about the domestic carriers in Myanmar because they had some safety issues historically. Those issues are all but gone now. There are a couple of carriers you can choose from. Most of our flights were on Air KBZ.
I had never heard of Air KBZ before, but this Myanmar based carrier operates a series of flights on various circuits. The flight starts in Yangon, goes to Bagan then continues on to Heho (serving Inle Lake) then back to Yangon. There are other circuits too. These routes are operated by ATR-72 (both 500s and 600s). The ATR-72 600s are brand new and the 500s are not that old.
We flew Air KBZ twice, once from Yangon (RGN) to Bagan (NYU) then next from Bagan to Inle LAKE (HEH). Both of these flights were less than an hour and were really nice. It doesn’t compare to EVA Royal Laurel Business Class or Thai Royal Orchid First, of course, but the planes were new and clean (ahem….I’m looking at you, United) and the strive onboard was quick, efficient and friendly.
You don’t have many options for you intra-Myanmar flights, but I’d highly recommend Air KBZ for these shirt hops. Unfortunately, you can’t credit your miles to a mainline western air program, but it’s OK to skip the miles from time to time.
Have you traveled through Myanmar before? What was your preferred mode of transportation? Did you have the long romantic train ride through the countryside or did you do as we did and hop on the nearest plane, which provided quick, inexpensive travel?