Luxury Cruising the Irrawaddy Between Bagan and Yangon or Bagan and Mandalay
For anyone heading to Myanmar, a stop to Bagan is definitely a must. Known as the land of ancient ruins and pagodas, this city in the Mandalay region is frequented by many. Last month, Myanmar was chosen as one of the 15 hottest destinations billionaires are traveling to in 2019 by Business Insider. And, one of the highlights mentioned there, in addition to the historic Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, is the luxurious boat trip along the Irrawaddy River between Yangon and Bagan.
Several luxury boats travel the upper and lower reaches of the Irrawaddy River as well as the Chindwin River. The price rates usually include all meals and excursions from the boats. Depend on the package you choose, the trip can be either 1 day, 3 days or even longer than 10 days. The longer the travel time, the more villages you will stop by in between. If you have plenty of time and want to enjoy your stay in Myanmar to the fullest, we recommend you to take one of those luxury boat trips to Bagan, instead of by air, by bus or by train.
There are quite a number of cruise companies running the business and you can check the available dates on their own websites. Some route options are: Mandalay–Bagan, Mandalay–Bhamo, Bagan–Bhamo, Yangon–Bagan, and Yangon–Mandalay. The starting point for most of the trips is either Bagan or Mandalay, but occasionally itineraries originate in Yangon. Some high-end cruises even include an on-board swimming pool, a fitness and wellness centre, and boutique.
Irrawaddy sunset cruise with cocktails
If you don't have enough time for overnight boat trip, but still want to experience it while you are in Bagan, sunset boat ride on the Irrawaddy River is for you. After a long day of walking or biking around temples, there is no better way to end the day than by watching the sunset by the Irrawaddy River.
Pass by Bagan’s shoreline, catching glimpses of pagodas and seeing the spires of distant monuments on the horizon, kids playing in the cool water after school. The river oozes a timeless charm and as the boat moves further upstream, you will pass by small villages inhabited by farmers and fishermen. In just this short stretch of the 2,000-kilometer-long river you will get a sense of how vital the waterway is to the lives of Myanmar’s residents.
This kind of boat trip usually includes transportation from your hotel/hostel, a cocktail of choice and a few light snacks and refreshments. Unlike the popular pagodas in the main area of Bagan, you can also stop by one of the riverside temples which offer a different view from the usual ancient ruins.
When you finally do make it Bagan, simply enjoy the laid-back lifestyle and try to live like a local. Rent a bike to explore the pagodas, or hire a horse-drawn carriage to experience the sights of the plains. And most importantly of all — do not disturb the monks.
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