You can take a slow boat ride up the river to Mandalay or like now we prefer to fight in direct to Mandalay. Many years ago in my first trip to Myanmar to took a night train from Yangon. It was one of the most memorable train ride but certainly not in the most comfortable way. It was a long long train ride taking more than 10 hours in a old rocky train with wooden seats and windows that you cannot close. It was freezing from night to early morning as we were travelling towards end of December.
Now you can travel in comfort and fly straight into Mandalay. Here are some pictures of the 2 days we spend in Mandalay before heading to Bagan.