Burma River Cruise Yangon to Mandalay, probably with APT

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#21
Toronto, Canada
855 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
My understanding is the reason the Irawaddy is a major transportation route is that the land-based transportation infrastructure is poor. That isn't to say that you can't do independent travel using the river.
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Nomi


Aegean Odyssey, Istanbul to Venice, 2015
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Uniworld, Vienna to Basel, 2011
Uniworld, Tulips and Windmills, Antwerp to Amsterdam, 2010
#22
VA, MD & FL
6,264 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Originally posted by gnome12
My understanding is the reason the Irawaddy is a major transportation route is that the land-based transportation infrastructure is poor. That isn't to say that you can't do independent travel using the river.
I was in Myanmar 6 months ago. Compared to much of Africa or South America their roads are not bad (note the comparison). On the Amazon there is lots of people transport up and down the river. While I saw cross river ferries I don't recall seeing long distance people transport (there was freight traffic, just as on the Mississippi). I didn't look into rental cars do I can' t comment, but there are buses, trains and guides with cars that could get you anywhere in central Myanmar.
#23
Wirral, England
1,804 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by gnome12
My understanding is the reason the Irawaddy is a major transportation route is that the land-based transportation infrastructure is poor. That isn't to say that you can't do independent travel using the river.
No there are flights between Yangon and Mandalay, both of which a can be arranged for more distant places like Bago from Yangon or Bagan from Mandalay (or plenty of info on TA regards reliable local companies which can be arranged before we go). There is a tourist ferry along the river to Bagan (takes 9 hours though) and it seems there is a nice hill town which is 90 min drive from Mandalay - forget what it was called, but TA shows some rather nice hotels there for an overnight. We often keep a main hotel base, but go off for an overnight or two from there, so could do that in Myanmar. There are flights to other parts of Myanmar as well e.g. Inle Lake, though we do not fancy that as it is apparently very touristy.

That can be done far more cheaply than a river cruise or a group tour and we would have flexibility to do things over a longer time with relaxation in between at hotel pools. The cruise appeals and would be less hassle to arrange, but we would want more time independently in hotels in Yangon and Mandalay, even if we do a cruise.

Will think about it more, we are still undecided at present.
#24
VA, MD & FL
6,264 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Originally posted by tring
... There is a tourist ferry along the river to Bagan (takes 9 hours though)...
I didn't know this, but my research never went further than looking off the deck. I think that DIYers always have options (says Thom who has crossed Africa and South America in the back of trucks that passed for buses).
#25
Wirral, England
1,804 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by TravelerThom
I didn't know this, but my research never went further than looking off the deck. I think that DIYers always have options (says Thom who has crossed Africa and South America in the back of trucks that passed for buses).



Lamentably my joints and bladder would not cope with that sort of thing now. Plans have to be made around stops ever hour and a half or so.........
#26
VA, MD & FL
6,264 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Originally posted by tring

Lamentably my joints and bladder would not cope with that sort of thing now. Plans have to be made around stops ever hour and a half or so.........
I turned 71 this week, so I am not as young as once. One great thing about the third world is if you really need to go, tell the driver, he'll stop. You are not the only one. Women on the left of the vehicle, men on the right (or vv).
#27
Wirral, England
1,804 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by TravelerThom
I turned 71 this week, so I am not as young as once. One great thing about the third world is if you really need to go, tell the driver, he'll stop. You are not the only one. Women on the left of the vehicle, men on the right (or vv).
I remember that from Gambia. I have heard it described as the most hygienic method as well and that sounds about right to me.

I have a few years to catch up then - 67 last month. Not going to stop us travelling for a while though

Cheers,

Barbara
#28
Wirral, England
1,804 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
We have made our decision regards this and have booked a one week river cruise (Mandalay Pagan Package, upstream), with Pandaw, who have been offering river cruises in Asia for many years and seem to have some good reviews. The cruise covers the Bagan to Mandalay stretch and a bit beyond each end, their boats have a very shallow draught so there should be no problem with the water level on that stretch of river in early January.

They are also able to book internal flights and hotels, so we may well get Pandaw to book those for us (looking at a few days in Yangon, flight to Bagan and one night hotel pre cruise - we could get a flight to Bagan on the day of the cruise, but would prefer to be more rested at the start and they have suggested a really impressive looking hotel on the river in Bagan, so will likely treat ourselves ).

We want to do our own flights from the UK as we intend to stay in SE Asia for a month or so. We are not going until January 2019, but there are reports of pollution problems with burning as you get into February (and especially March/April) in Myanmar and Northern Thailand (where we intend to travel afterwards), so have booked the cruise for Jan 12th 2019 so we can get a good price and travel out early January, as soon as the international flights loose their pricing premium after the Christmas season. Will be early next year before the flights go on sale of course.

Thanks again for all who have posted here, I have put this post on as there is so little details of cruises in Myanmar, that I thought the info may be useful to some people.