The Irrawaddy River (also known as Ayeyarwady River) flows through the heart of Myanmar, with some of the country’s most iconic sights located on its banks. Here are top 6 reasons why taking a river cruise Burma on the Irrawaddy is so special, with useful tips and opinions from tourists who have enjoyed this remarkable voyage for themselves
1. A window onto real life
Now matter when you go in Myanmar, the warmth and hospitability of the locals will surprise you. However, when making a visit to remote communities along the Irrawaddy River, who may see a small number of international visitors a month, their keenness excitement to meet and interact with travelers is all the more special. Visiting these remote riverside communities, you can be sure what you see and experience is the locals’ real lifestyle – nothing is “performed” for visitors. Paul, a UK traveler, shares his own idea about this phenomenon that when you cruise Burma, you have an opportunity to explore a different side of a country. Seen from the river, where people have very little contact with tourists, the interaction with the locals (especially the children) is a much more genuine and unforgettable experience.
2. Get off the beaten track
A river cruise Burma takes you to many remote locations totally cut off from the outside world, and only accessible from the water. Cruising the Irrawaddy River allows access to the real Myanmar, and visit communities and beautiful landscapes unfamiliar to most tourists during their Myanmar travel. Places such as Yandabo, a picturesque community famous for its incredible pottery, and Hpowindaung, a unique Buddhist cave complex, are unlikely to be included in the itineraries of land-based travelers but can be easily reached from the river.
3. See the sights from a different perspective
Myanmar houses countless incomparable sights, from majestic ancient temples in Bagan, to the sparkling Shwedagon Pagoda, but few can admire these incredible places from the water. Making a river cruise Burma on the Irrawaddy enables you to gain a new perspective on these iconic sights, as Liz from USA found in her journey last year:
“The highlight in Myanmar for me was spending a day around the temples of Bagan and then getting to see them all dotted along the river banks as we sailed onwards, to see them from that perspective was really something. Plus you can view it all from the comfort of your cabin or from the top deck or even when in the pool!”
4. Spend time sightseeing, not packing
If you want to see and experience all of Myanmar, moving from place to place daily, but you have been bored to death with packing and unpacking every day, then a river cruise Burma is for you! Why you have to waste your valuable time check in and check out hotels while you can spend that time going out and exploring the charming country. On your cruises on the Irrawaddy River, these quandaries no longer happen. You just get into your ship, unpack once, and spend the rest of your time exploring the interesting destination.
5. Relax, everything is taken care of
On a river cruise Burma, you can relax and enjoy your Burma tours, feel comfortable in the knowledge that everything from touring and excursions, to meals and entertainment, is taken care of. Drinking and dining are commonly included in your voyage cost – no dashing back to your cabin to take your wallet, no deliberating over which restaurant to choose – you can just sit back and what the go by from the riverbank.
6. Get to know your hosts
Instead of moving from hotel to hotel and contacting totally strange staff, on a river cruise you will get to know the on-board crew and staff by the end of your journey. Not only will you quickly be on first-name terms, but they will be able to serve perfect services without even asking, from knowing your favorite wine, to being able to recommend a dish from the menu which they think you might be interested in.
Are these reasons enough for you to cruise Burma on the Irrawaddy? In fact, once you travel to Myanmar, you will realize that too many reasons are not necessary as the only reason that Myanmar is so enchanting is enough persuasive.