The mighty Irrawaddy forms the backbone of Burma (Myanmar), several options exist for river journeys along its length that allow one to discover little visited villages that lie along its banks. These range from simple local ferries to deluxe river boats that offer all the luxuries of modern travelling. A popular trip on a modern air-conditioned local boat takes just one day between Mandalay and Bagan but spend a little longer and you can make it a two day trip on a boat with lacquered decks, rattan furniture, comfortable cabins and delicious food.
This can be extended further to a five day trip with shore excursions allowing you to see local villages and places of interest which are only accessible by boat. For the really adventurous, take one of several river expeditions offered each year that extend into the upper reaches of the river and its tributaries. These are seldom visited areas but explorations are made possible because of the low draft on the boats.
When to go
The best time to travel to Burma is from November to April which is the dry season. Owing to low water levels it is not possible for boats to cruise during this time so cruise departure dates are often outside of the dry season and are generally based on a combination of weather and reasonable water levels.