Burma has had its doors open for a couple of years now and what better way to discover village life than on a relaxing cruise. The Irrawaddy River flows some 2000 km through the centre of the country and is Burma’s most important commercial waterway. Its name is believed to derive from the Sanskrit word, meaning “elephant river”. Enjoy a relaxing journey on the river between Mandalay and Bagan, passing rural villages and ancient temples while witnessing local life along the riverbanks. Or go on a true adventure to the little-visited Mergui Archipelago, made up of around 800 islands, it is an area home to the nomadic sea gypsies or Moken as they are known locally.
On an Explore Tailormade holiday we have a range of cruise options from one to four nights, with a choice of comfort levels to suit a variety of different budgets. Our Asia Regional Specialists will help you choose the right option for you:
Sea Gypsy – (Authentic)
The Sea Gypsy operates on either five or seven day itineraries which sail around the island visiting sea gypsy communities, deserted beaches, wonderful snorkel spots and tiny islets where you can kayak or trek through the mangroves. The Sea Gypsy has just five open-air gazebo areas which are transformed into spacious beds with mosquito nets for the evening. The boat has shared facilities with showers, a large sundeck and plenty of space in the shade for relaxing too.
Mergui Princess – (Comfort)
The Mergui Archipelago is located close to the border with Thailand in the south of the country and has not been open to visitors for very long. The untouched coasts, beaches and coves are an excellent place to go diving or snorkelling where a huge range of fish, rays, octopus and colourful coral can be found.
Stay on the Mergui Princess where you can kayak, explore the untouched islands or jump overboard for a refreshing swim. Operating on three to six day itineraries, the Mergui Princess offers air-conditioned twin cabin, an English speaking guide plus snorkel and kayak gear.
Alternatively, if you’d rather stay on dry land, the Myanmar Andaman Resort offers air-conditioned cottages and snorkelling trips.
Irrawaddy Princess II – (Authentic)
Operating on two or three day itineraries, the Irrawaddy Princess II cruises the Irrawaddy River, stopping to see Mingun Bell, Sagaing Hill temples and Yandapo Village along the way. The boat has three decks with 18 cabins located on both lower and upper decks. Cabins are all en suite, air-conditioned and decorated in a typical Burmese design with wood panelling and Asian-style soft furnishings. There is an air-conditioned dining room, a bar and spacious sun deck with open and shaded areas to relax on. In the evenings passengers can enjoy a traditional Burmese dance on the sundeck.
Paukan 2007 – (Comfort)
Paukan is the ancient name given to the area that we now call Bagan; this vessel of the same name was built in 2007 and can accommodate up to 55 passengers, plus a friendly crew of 30. The cabins and communal areas are decorated in a colonial style with modern facilities. There is a dining room on the main deck and on the lower deck there are massage rooms to help guests wind down after a day’s sightseeing. On the sun deck there is a bar, lounge/movie room and a stage where passengers can enjoy cultural performances by the Mandalay Arts School (when available). The Paukan 2007 journeys from Mandalay to Bagan and reverse, on two day or three day itineraries stopping en route at Mingun Pagoda, Sagaing Hill and Yadapo Village, known for its handmade terracotta pots.
Amara – (Comfort)
The Amara is a teak wood cruiser built in a traditional Burmese style. It is 30 m long, accommodating up to 14 passengers in just seven cabins. With a small number of guests on board the Amara provides an exclusive and intimate cruising experience. Cabins are all en suite and the communal areas include a bar, restaurant and sundeck to enjoy the views from. The Amara offers three or four day cruises along the Irrawaddy River between Mandalay and Bagan, stopping en route at Mingun Pagoda, the peaceful temples at Sagaing Hill and Yandapo Village – where a treaty was signed between the British and Burmese in 1826.
Paukan 2012 – (Indulge)
The Paukan 2012, smaller than the Paukan 2007 is the most recent addition to the fleet. The décor on the teak wood boat is modern and elegant with a touch of Burmese design through traditional motifs, wooden figures, fabrics and paintings. The boat has 16 twin or double en suite cabins, plus two premier cabins on the upper deck, leading out to a private balcony. There is a dining room, bar, relaxing air-conditioned lounge and a shaded sun deck. The Paukan 2012 journeys from Mandalay to Bagan on two day or three day itineraries.