Discover the mystical kingdom of Myanmar and uncover its hidden wonders in style. One of the finest ways to appreciate the stunning scenery and ancient Burmese culture is to do it from the water: travel aboard luxury cruisers and stylish liveaboard yachts to see Myanmar from a different angle, as you glide along her rivers, lakes and coastlines.
Myanmar riverboats have been traveling the Irawaddy since Burma’s colonial days, and these two are the premier luxury options for discerning travelers.
Strand Cruise Myanmar
“There are those who travel but never really arrive. Those who visit a place but never know the people. Travel is so much more when you get closer to life and how it is lived.” With Myanmar Shalom Travels you will be able to experience an authentic experience of Myanmar.
The oldest colonial-era hotel launched its own luxurious cruises of the Ayeyarwady River (sometimes referred to as the Irrawaddy River) in 2016. The vessels look like traditional riverboats but they’re outfitted with all the amenities any discerning luxury traveler could ask for, including a spa and wellness center.
These well-appointed cabins will be your floating home on itineraries that range from two to four nights. The three-night cruise from Mandalay to Bagan begins with a tour of the U-Bein Bridge, the longest and oldest teak wood bridge in the world, before moving on to explore some of the area’s most scenic and historic monasteries and pagodas.
ABOVE: Heirtage Line - Myanmar - Anawrahta - Pool Deck 3
The second morning begins with a horse-cart journey to explore the ruins of the royal dynasty of Ava, which ran from the 14th to the 19th century.
Back on board, an Asian-style lunch is the order of the afternoon as the boat wends its way towards Bagan while guests can soak up the scenery, chill out by the pool, or watch performances of local music and dance. To cap off the day guests can enjoy a sundowner on the deck and dinner in the boat’s Strand Restaurant.
ABOVE: Myanmar, Sanctuary Ananda
Named after a king who ruled centuries ago during the era of Bagan, Anawrahta’s boat is a visual déjà vu of the bygone paddle steamers. The barge-shaped vessel is huge – almost 65-meters long – and has three different decks, with only 23 cabins, which guarantees that vacationers will not come down with a case of cabin fever.
Each cabin, decorated with vivid fabrics and earthy hardwoods, comes with a private balcony. For those in search of more exorbitance and exclusivity there are Junior, Executive and Royal Suites. The latter boast private Jacuzzis.
Such cruises can be as physically relaxing as intellectually invigorating thanks to onboard lectures about the country’s turbulent history and ongoing rifts between different ethnic groups,
embellished with demonstrations of folkloric arts and crafts in danger of dying out in the digital era.
The company’s most popular cruise takes visitors through the Irrawaddy River’s second defile, a narrow gorge endowed with memorable vistas. For historians and literary buffs, a particular high point of this trip is the chance to explore the town of Katha, where a young George Orwell was stationed as a British colonial policeman from 1922 to 1927. The town became the backdrop for his novel “Burmese Days,” which is still one of the most defining, expat-authored books about Southeast Asia.
Some of that past is still present in Myanmar, a nascent democracy handicapped by 40 years of recent military rule. Near the town is an elephant logging camp that looks much the same now as when Orwell lived there.
There are many others cruises on Irrawaddy River ranging from day cruise to a couple of day with various different prices.