Irrawaddy River Cruises is Myanmar luxury travelWhen visiting the country a Irrawaddy cruise should be on the agenda. For Myanmar people this is one way to reach large parts of the country since the road and train system is even less than lousy.
Today for tourists this has another dimension and that is called luxury travel on a river vessel. E.g. probably the best of those had been floated the half world around from the Rhine in Germany to become the "Road to Mandalay". There are some more cruiser and even old ones from colonial times where resurrected and renovated.
Irrawaddy at Sagaing Around Mogok In the Delta
River Pictures Ayeyarwady at Bagan River Life Tributary & Sources
Around Mandalay Other Waterways
This is one of the great waterways of Asia
flowing through the country for around thousand miles. From the sources in the mountains of the north and uniting with many tributary, finally pouring through the delta into the Andaman Sea.
|Myanmar mountains of the north|
|Irrawaddy river map|
Some time ago the authorities defined the the confluence of the N'mai and Mali River as the source.
The British were very active to find a "real" source but nobody can do that because there are too many.
|The source in the mountain|
|Irrawaddy river water near Mandalay|
|Chindwin is the biggest tributary|
Also the water is very badly used by people who have no idea about management. A good example is the so called "dry zone" in the center, where there is no need
|Dry Zone of the center at Bagan|
at all that anything is dry since this stream runs through. It could be a "Garden of Eden effectively it's a semi desert why? Because the laziness is extremely widespread and nobody does anything to get "Mother Earth" a fresh cover.
From the luxury steamer of today such as the "Road to Mandalay" travelers can see local color and more for the insight into the life of the people in the villages along the brown water and watch the smaller Ayeyarwady cargo boats, bamboo and teak rafts.
|Road to Mandalay is typical Myanmar Luxury Travel|
from the real world beyond people are help the wide bamboo and teak wood rafts to navigate downstream. The river vessels with the foreign travelers leave Mandalay the center of "upper Burma" for the hardly 2 day voyage down to Bagan. It is an interesting encounter between the modern age and a countryside still stuck in colonial time.
|Golden temples on the Sagaing Hills|
|Local cargo and passenger ships|
|Huge bamboo rafts|
The little problem on this sampan cruises is they wont take foreigner as passenger, they are very afraid what could happen in case of an accident. This deliberation makes sense because the Yangon river here is about one kilometers wide, it is a lively waterway and not even life jackets in the boat are.
There are 3 main companies in the luxury segment,
one is Orient Express which also operate the train in Europe and one between Bangkok and Singapore plus two high end ships which are the "Road to Mandalay" and 'Orcealla" plus a high end boutique hotel "Governor's Residence" in Yangon. That is a converted colonial style
|Luxury beach resort at Ngwe Saung|
villa. Another local hotel provider operates the Treasure beach resort at Ngwe Saung and a few other high end lodges at Inle Lake and Mandalay. They also own Bagan Air and Kandawgyi Palace Hotel which is probably the most idyllic in Yangon right at the lake.