Bago city is a 90-minute drive northeast of Yangon, making it an easy day trip. To reach Taungoo, there is either the old Mandalay road, National Highway 1, passing through a string of Burmese market towns, or the new concrete expressway, more direct but with little of interest along the way. Running west of Taungoo, the infamous Oktwin–Paukkhaung logging road is a fragile artery through the Bago-Yoma Hills to Pyay. In the rainy season it is all but impassable, but can be tackled in chartered 4WDs the rest of the year. The main incentive to brave the trip is for the chance to overnight in forest camps, watching elephants extracting timber. Pyay is a popular start- ing point for river cruises but few visitors use it as a waystage on longer journeys north via Bagan, as onward transport is scarce. Apart from its splendid Shwesandaw Pagoda, the key attraction is ancient Sri Ksetra, centuries older than Bagan.
A fleet of beaten-up local buses and faster luxury buses run along the four- lane Yangon–Bago Highway, although most visitors based in Yangon hire taxis for the day trip. Buses run north up the Sittaung Valley to Mandalay, pausing at Taungoo. For anyone not traveling in their own chartered vehicle, transport across the Bago- Yoma Hills is sporadic and rough, limited to local trucks that depart only when full. Pyay, on the Ayeyarwady, can be reached by bus, government ferry, or train; private operators also run cruises from here.