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River Cruisesin Myanmar

For centuries the grand Ayeyarwaddy River has played as large a role in the Myanmar national consciousness as the Nile does in Egypt and the Amazon in South America. Snaking its way south like a winding spine, the Ayeyarwaddy has been a central highway for trade and transportation across the region since the 6th century, and was once home to the largest private armada that the world has ever seen: the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company.

Since the poem by Rudyard Kipling, the Ayeyarwaddy has been doused in a romantic gloss and has come to be known affectionately as ‘the Road to Mandalay’. Today, there are few ways to explore the ‘greener, sweeter Land’ of Myanmar than by tracing the route the old flotilla once trawled in a luxury cruise ship.

Which Cruise?

Depending upon the length of journey chosen (between Bagan and Mandalay visitors can opt for a river cruise lasting from 2 to 11 nights), there will be the chance to disembark to visit the towns and villages that lie on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy. During these luxury river cruises, extensive day excursions can be made inland to locations such as the pagoda-speckled Sagaing Hills and the U-Bein Bridge at Amarapura, the longest wooden bridge in the world.

There are also luxurious cruise ships sailing up the Ayeyarwaddy to Bhamo, stopping off in Katha, the setting for George Orwell’s novel Burmese Days. On this cruise passengers will also be able to witness a Buddhist novitiation ceremony and interact with Kachin fishermen.

One can also opt for a river cruise up the Chindwin River to Homalin. On this trip passengers will have the chance to stop off at Monywa, where one can visit the mammoth twin Buddha images at Bodhi Tataung. Passengers will also be able to view the local life at the town of Mawleik, formerly the administrative seat of the Bombay Burma Trading Company

Aboard these luxury cruise ships, top class dining can be anticipated, featuring both western dishes and a selection of local Burmese recipes with ingredients sourced from riverside markets passed on the way. Passengers on these luxury ships can recline on observation decks as well as take advantage of spa treatments, gym facilities and an array of onboard entertainment.

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