Burma is a land of rivers, as well as plains and mountains. In its history, rivers have provided the arterial routes of access through the land. The Irrawaddy, or Ayeyarwaddy, River is the country's main river flowing southwards from the north of the country to its delta as it joins the Andaman Sea. Its main tributary is the Chindwin, following close to the border with India through lands still quite remote and undeveloped. Comfortable deluxe river cruises now operate on both rivers, with journeys both short and long, providing a unique way to explore this intriguing land.
Mandalay to Bagan/Bagan to Mandalay
3 nights upstream/4 nights downstream
The most popular river cruise linking the former capitals of Mandalay and Bagan. Spend time exploring the temples of Bagan and the historic sights of Mandalay.
Explore the upper reaches of the Irrawaddy, through the dramatic scenery of the river's defiles, or gorges, walk in the footsteps of George Orwell in Katha, the real-life setting for his "Burmese Days".
Sailing through the heart of ‘Middle Myanmar’ we pass through a varying landscape – from the lush teak plantations around Prome to the desert country south of Bagan. These places are remote from the modern world and offer a glimpse of a timeless, lost Myanmar.
The Irrawaddy Delta covers an area of over 1000 square miles as the river flows towards the sea. Originally a vast inhabited wetland and jungle, much of it was cleared and cultivated by the British from 1855. There are seven main channels, forming a complex labyrinth of waterways reminiscent of Kerala's backwaters. Contrary to expectation these great wetlands have plenty of interest in the form of pretty towns, markets, temples, churches and mosques, with profuse bird life in the less populated areas.
8 nights or 11 nights
Several options to explore the less-visited Chindwin river, starting in either Mandalay or Monwya. From its confluence with the Irrawaddy close to Bagan, the Chindwin winds its way north close to the Indian states of Manipur and Nagaland. The highest navigable point on the Chindwin is the small town of Homalin and on the portion of the river between this rural outpost and Monywa the river provides virtually the only route between the two. As such, all cruises on the Chindwin are voyages of discovery and exploration and, although relaxed and unhurried, retain a pioneering spirit.
Named after the founder of the Pagan (Bagan) empire, the Anawratha has 23 elegant and luxurious cabins and suites on three decks of a 214 feet long craft built to resemble a British colonial paddle steamer. All cabins have large windows with private balconies, and are furnished with original handicrafts, locally carved wood panels and richly textured fabrics. A bar, restaurant, lounge and spa complete the facilities.
Pandaw has a number of boats ranging from 16 to 30 cabins, with two or three decks. Lovingly built as replicas of original designs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries for the colonial era Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, the boats are smartly fitted up with teak and brass trims. Lounge, restaurant and bar complete the facilities.
Sanctuary Ananda has 21 spacious suites on traditionally styled boat. All suites have floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies. The sundeck has its own outdoor pool.
Explore the amazing country of Burma with the help of our English-speaking guides. Here are other tours that we offer: