The Irrawaddy is the crucial artery which connects Burma’s main cities, snakes through its glorious countryside and reaches as far as the border with China. Cruising along it is not only an incredibly leisurely way of getting from A to B but an enriching experience too. Just in case you needed convincing, we’ve compiled our top five reasons to cruise in Burma.
Once off limits to visitors, Myanmar has recently dusted off the cobwebs of its hidden past, opening its doors to reveal a country steeped in cultural splendour, natural wonder and historical intrigue. For us, Burma is the land of lotus flowers, horse drawn carts, traditional tea houses and an exquisitely leisurely pace of life; Burma is a land where a traditional way of life prevails. The landscape is a glittering exhibition of gilded pagodas, the culture is an intoxicating blend of influences from across Asia and its cities are abuzz with spiritualism.
Magnificent temples abound in Burma, dotting the horizons of its verdant landscapes up and down the country. From the temple studded lands of Bagan to the glittering pagodas of Yangon, the holy sites of Burma are simply mind boggling both in size and beauty. Whilst stupas are solid temples, said to house remains of Buddhas or monks, Pagodas are open to enter for worship. Having evolved from the shape of a stupa, the two often look similar yet their significance is marked by their history.
Aside from its stunning scenery, fascinating history and amazing culture, Burma is all about its people. They are some of the kindest and most compassionate people you will ever meet. One story that we can’t tell enough is that of the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp in Burma. At Green Hill Valley, love and care for animals is at the very heart of everything they do. We interviewed Htun and Maw, founders of the camp, to give you an insight into their commitment to caring for these magnificent animals.
We have a selection of guidebooks to some of our most popular countries in Asia. Written by our specialists, they detail destination information, a wildlife guide, some suggested itineraries and plenty more to inspire your holiday. Fill in the form below and if you live in UK, your guidebook will arrive by post within the next couple of days. For those who live abroad, we will send this via a PDF to your email.
Best for: Culture History, Luxury
The Chatrium Hotel is a well located hotel blending traditional colonial architecture and modern amenities in the heart of Yangon. Those wanting superb amenities and a quiet base for exploring Yangon’s attractions will find the Chatrium a great option.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Located on the edge of royal Kandawgyi Lake in the heart of Yangon, and just fifteen minutes’ walk from the remarkable golden Shwedagon Pagoda, the Chatrium has a tranquil atmosphere and conveniently located for exploring the city’s cultural charms. The hotel’s 301 rooms and suites are extremely generously proportioned, the smallest being 40 square metres, and feature a wood-accented colonial décor with traditional fabrics and locally crafted furniture. Lake-facing rooms have superb views of the Shwedagon Pagoda, which becomes even more impressive when lit up at night. With contemporary amenities such as separate shower cubicles and luxurious bathtubs, the Chatrium feels like a home away from home.
The Chatrium prides itself on providing superb service to its guests in the form of traditional Asian hospitality. The facilities offered are second to none, from boutique shopping to the Lilawadee Spa and health club. There are a multitude of authentic and delicious dining options. Kokaku is one of the top Japanese restaurants in Yangon, while Tiger Hill serves a formidable range of Cantonese cuisine and delicious dim sum dishes. If you fancy a taste of home, the chefs at the Emporio Steak House won’t disappoint. For drinks, the lounge bar makes a great place to unwind in its gallery-like atmosphere. A large swimming pool and lush garden setting enhance the hotel's colonial ambience.
When to go
The best time to visit Burma is during the dry season from October to April. At this time the warm and sunny days are ideal for sightseeing throughout the country. March sees temperatures start to rise followed by the wet season from June to September. Although monsoons cause some regions shut down during this time, the wet season is well suited for exploring some of Burma's more remote areas on a cruise along the Chindwin or Upper Irrawaddy River.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Things to do
A Taste of Yangon
Discover the finer side of Yangon’s culinary culture on this evening food tour, taking in some of the city’s best dining spots including a rooftop cocktail bar.
Art Galleries of Yangon
Explore a selection of Yangon’s finest galleries a local guide, learning about the development of Burma’s burgeoning art scene as you browse paintings, sculptures, photographs, antiques and drawings from the tradition to the modern.
Full Day Yangon City Tour
Discover the diverse culture and history of Yangon on this full day excursion. Tour the streets of downtown, take a break in a local tea shop and visit glittering pagodas, including Burma's most revered Buddhist monument.
Yangon Downtown Delicacies
Sample delicious local delicacies and the vibrancy of downtown Yangon at night whilst you cruise through the streets on a pedal powered trishaw, enjoying a three course meal split across some of the city’s most authentic local restaurants.
Morning in Yangon: Monks, Markets & Mohinga
Immerse yourself in local daily life on this morning tour of Yangon, taking you to hidden markets, to join pilgrims at Shwedagon Pagoda and enjoy a traditional Burmese breakfast of Mohinga in a local tea shop.
A Family Day in Yangon
A great option for families, this full day sightseeing excursion takes you explore vibrant markets, the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda and Yangon's central park, ending with a visit to a local sweet shop for ice-cream.
Yangon For Foodies - Half Day Food Tour
Treat your taste buds to a tour of Yangon, visiting some of the city’s best food stops and sampling the treats and local delicacies from the market stalls.
Yangon Sunset Cocktail Cruise
Float on the waters of the Yangon River on a sunset cruise, the perfect way to relax after a busy day exploring the city.
Walking The Blessings Trail
A fascinating walk through Yangon's downtown streets to discover the diverse religions and cultures of Yangon, unveiling a side of the city rarely explored by tourists.
Cooking Curries in Yangon
Visit a local Burmese food market to pick up ingredients before trying your hand at preparing an authentic meal with the aid of a chef.
Cycling the Backstreets of Yangon
Explore Yangon’s alleys and side streets on two wheels, pedalling past markets and pagodas before heading into the lush greenery of Kandawgyi Park.
Discover the highlights of Bago, exploring the glorious temples and gilded pagodas with your guide.
Yangon's Circle Train - Half Day
Board Yangon's city circle train, a train line running from the main station in a circle round the city through various neighbourhoods on the outskirts of town.
Holiday ideas including a stay in this property
From the awe-inspiring temples of Bagan to the floating gardens of Inle Lake, this varied and good value itinerary takes in some of Burma’s most iconic sights, ideal for those wishing to explore this enchanting country but are short on time.
Discover life along the banks of the Irrawaddy River in the comfort only a cruise can offer on this 16 day itinerary, combining must-see highlights and hidden onshore gems culminating with a relaxing beach break on Burma’s west coast.
Discover Burma’s lesser known delights alongside the must-see sights on this three week itinerary, taking you from leafy Yangon to culture-rich cities and the temple-strewn plains of Bagan before continuing to sleepy hill towns dotted with ancient relics.
This in-depth itinerary is perfect for those looking to really get under the skin of this enigmatic destination. Enjoy culture-rich cities, former British hill stations, balloons over Bagan, an Irrawaddy River cruise and the beautiful beaches of Ngapali.
This active itinerary is a great option for those looking to explore Burma’s culture rich cities alongside its rural treasures. Roam Bagan’s temple strewn plains by mountain bike, trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake, and cycle the streets of Yangon and Mandalay.
With biking in Bagan, kayaking in Inle Lake and elephants in Kalaw, this adventurous two week itinerary is a fantastic option for families looking to explore some of Burma’s most celebrated destinations accompanied by energetic teens.