One of the more unique ways to see Myanmar is to travel along the great Irrawaddy River. Also known as the Ayeyarwady River, it is the longest river flowing from north to south, right across Myanmar. The Irrawaddy River is essential to the country. It was the main throughway for trade and transport during the sixth century. Another important waterway is the Chindwin River, located at the west of Irrawaddy River. The two rivers converge just after the province of Bagan.
Today, luxury cruises drift by these rivers so tourists can see and appreciate the natural beauty of Myanmar. These cruises typically start at Mandalay, following the river’s currents. A popular route is the Mandalay-Bagan route. There are also cruises that cross the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers.
One of the most popular tours is the Road to Mandalay luxury tours. You would be provided with the 7-day Mandalay-Bagan cruise in Orient Express luxury and style. It offers spacious cabins with its own personal safe, satellite television, telephone and bathroom. While waiting for the next walking tour, you can enjoy the sun and cool waters from their outdoor pool.
Their cruise boasts of on-board Asian and European buffet from an observation deck overlooking the river. You are also offered ala carte dishes in their indoor restaurant and a variety of European wines to be enjoyed in their Piano Bar. The Road to Mandalay also offers spa services such as facials, manicure and pedicures, and aromatherapy massages. There is also an indoor gym with a healthy snack bar in their Deluxe Deck.
Another popular tour that takes on the Mandalay-Bagan route is the RV Paukan 2007. It is considered a cruising botique hotel decorated in modern and traditional motifs. It takes on 55 passengers staying in suites and cabins with their private bathroom and showers.
The RV Paukan 2007 provides European and Asian cuisines in their restaurant. They also offer vegetarian dishes if you give an advance notice. Every night, you can enjoy cultural performances in the sun deck and have drinks in the indoor bar and lounge.
If you want to experience Myanmar culture while on the cruise, the Amara River Cruises may be for you. They use a traditional Myanmar river boat to navigate through the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers. Each cabin has its own bathroom and shower amenities. Laundry service is offered too. Tropical fruits, Asian and European dishes are freshly prepared by the on-board staff.
While on a cruise, you can bask in the country’s diverse tradition from the comfort of your ship. Take walks along Mandalay’s pagodas, archeological explorations along Bhamo’s ancient villages, and go shopping in the exotic products of Bagan: colourful fabrics, rattan goods, and wood carvings await you. From a Mandalay-Bagan cruise, you can take another cruise to visit the agricultural villages and pagodas along the Chindwin River.
Or if ever you get tired from the water, you can always try a hot air balloon ride at Bagan and view the country you just cruised right from the sky.