Irrawaddy Luxury River Cruise

Sightseeing on the mighty stream. 

When visiting the country a voyage on the mighty Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) river should be on the agenda. For local people this is one way to reach large parts of the country since the road and train system is even more 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.

At Sagaing with pagodas and the Irrawaddy and the river vessel
  • The Irrawaddy at Sagaing is flowing through the old center of the country with several old capitals around, on the other side is Mandalay the last last capital before the British took over. Today this is a beautiful stretch at the water with countless pagodas and temples around, read more.
The Irrawaddy river around Mogok north of Mandalay
  • The stream around Mogok north of Mandalay was the main traffic lane until the British came into the country since there were no roads at that time. Actually not much has changed since then since the regimes since WW2 did nothing for any development. They only collected the rubies and other precious stones and gave back nothing, read more.
houses on stilts in the delta east of Yangon
  • The Irrawaddy Delta is a vast stretch of wetland covering around 20% of the country in the upper south. The best to see this is when you approach Yangon by aircraft just look out by the window. It's very flat and green although in February it gets brown and becomes green again with the monsoon, read more. 

fishing for irrawaddy dophines

  • Here are some River Pictures  to make a better understanding and this is for sure. They tell among other, who poor the people are after the past sixty years they really have to start at zero again. See the water at the source in the mountains with eternal glaciers all the way where it pours into the Andaman Sea, read more.    

Ayeyarwady at Bagan  is the life support for the city but the water is badly used.

River Life is often quite busy.     

Tributary & Sources are not known very well even the British already tried to figure them out but failed.
Around Mandalay the stream becomes very busy because most upcountry traffic runs through here.  

Other Waterways are many the British run a network on them known as the "Irrawaddy Flotilla Company" of about 4000 km lenght.

This is one of the great waterways of Asia. 

The Irrawaddy is the virtual lifeline of the country, if no water from the stream large part would have a very arid climate. Flowing through the country for around thousand miles. From the sources in the mountains of the north, uniting with many tributary and finally pouring through the delta into the Andaman Sea, read more.

one of the sources in the mountain

Irrawaddy river sources in mountains of the north

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 river flood near Mandalay to water paddy fields
irrawaddy cruises attraction

Boarding at Bagan

The Chindwin is the biggest tributary it comes from the north west.
irrawaddy river life

Irrawaddy River Delta at Pathein

Also the water is very badly used 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 in 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.

The present-day travelers are different one.

They are the tourists who try to peep into the past of famous Burma using the great highway under very pleasant conditions with wide and long river ships mainly cruising between Mandalay and Bagan both cities where "Myanmar kings" ruled.

Irrawaddy river in the 19th Century

In the 19th Century for waterway was navigated by steamers of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, most of which have been well equipped with the comforts of civilization. Today because of poor maintenance only very limited distances can be navigated by bigger ships

The river vessel at Sagaing

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 Myanmar Luxury Travel

Villages are regular stops

Some villages are regular stops on the journey and they do a little show to explain the real rural Myanmar and sometimes bathe in the cool river. At small hamlets at the steep banks secluded 

small hamlets at the steep banks

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.

The journey has a great start and end. 

The start is at Bagan and at the other end the the white an golden temples close to the Sagaing Hills opposite Mandalay.

golden temples on the Sagaing Hills
Irrawaddy River cruises at Mandalay

Local cargo and passenger ships around Mandalay
huge bamboo rafts floating down from the north
irrawaddy cruises in the delta

cruises in the delta
collecting flowers in the delta
Irrawaddy River Cruises at Yangon Harbor

Harbor ferry in Yangon
Yangon Harbor River Cruise

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 are in the boat the tourists of today have a continuous changing panorama on a visit to Myanmar from a different perspective read more.
Myanmar Luxury Travel on board the Orcaella

There are 3 main companies in this luxury segment. 

The first is the Orient Express Comp. 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. Which was converted into a colonial style villa.

luxury beach resort at Ngwe Saung which is in the Irrawaddy Delta

  • Another local luxury 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 read more.

Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in Yangon

1 comment:

  1. What about a river cruise? This is quite expensive with the big river vessel but cheap by renting a boat and float downstream after moving upstream. That can be done at many places just visit the pier.