Top useful tips for choosing the best Myanmar River Cruise

Over the last 10 years, Burma has becoming more and more popular for travelers worldwide. The country has been famous for its magical beauty of thousands of temples, stupas, and monasteries. Moreover, it is the land of shimmering lakes, mythical rivers and authentic villages which have been unchanged for centuries. If you are excited to relish Myanmar’s beauty to the fullest, river cruise is just right for you. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about Myanmar river cruise, from the best time to visit to our top-picks for cruises.

River cruise in Myanmar

Luxury River cruises in Myanmar are touring in two rivers which is Irrawaddy river and Chindwin River. Irrawaddy river is the longest river, flows from North to South and connecting the famous cities Mandalay and Bagan with Yangon. Chindwin River is the largest tributary of Irrawaddy river. Most rivers run through beautiful scenic landscapes and flow through mountain ranges and dense forests.


Myanmar river cruise
Sunset on Irrawaddy river in Mandalay, Myanmar.

Best time for your cruise trip

There are three things you should consider when planning a river cruise. They are monsoon season, heat, and water level. The monsoon season in the heat of summer weather from May to September is not a good time for cruising around Southeast Asia in general and Myanmar specifically.

Water level is another factor that would affect your experience. Due to low water level toward the end of the dry season, itineraries (especially for smaller rivers such as Chindwin River) may change.

In summary, the best time for a river cruise is between September to April for cruises from Mandalay to Bagan.

Irrawaddy river cruise itinerary

The most popular river cruises in Irrawaddy river travel between Mandalay and Bagan. Normally the cruise trip will last from three to four nights. The cruise will give a superb taste of amazing Myanmar and its serene river. There will be a lot of time to explore the cultural, historical sights as well as to experience the life of Burmese people. The second most popular itinerary is a 7-night one which offers a journey from Bagan to Yangon and vice vera. Beside the most popular sites, this voyage allows people to visit lesser-known places such as Magwe with its famous Myathalon Pagoda.

However, The 7-night cruise is not the longest itinerary. Some companies even arrange 11-or-12-night voyages to remote areas which are close to Chinese border or India border.

If your budget and time do not allow an overnight cruise, you can consider a day cruise. A day voyage from Bagan to Mandalay, from Mandalay to Bagan, and a sunset dinner cruise on Yangon are some good options for you.

Luxury Myanmar river cruise

Here are some luxury Myanmar river cruises that you can consider for your upcoming trip:

Pandaw river cruise in Burma

Pandaw River cruise is one of the biggest cruise companies which offer voyages through many countries in Asia. The ship is very sophisticatedly decorated with a large deck that offers a panoramic view of the area. Also, it is small scale so that guests do not feel overwhelmed on the cruise. One of the special things is that they normally explore the remote and authentic areas to give guests a real local touch of the country.

In Burma, the cruise runs many itineraries with different durations from 4 nights to the very long cruise of 17 nights. Its most popular routes are operated from Bagan to Mandalay and from Mandalay to Yangon (4 nights or 7 nights). Besides, the cruise runs several trips that go off the beaten track with routes from Chindwin Monywa to Homalin or from Homalin to Kalewa. Even with the popular routes, the cruise also reach to remote destinations that other cruises rarely visit. 


Pandaw river cruise
Pandaw river cruise

Scenic Aura Cruise

Scenic Aura is a ship with 22 cabins and was launched in Irrawaddy Rivers in 2016. The cruise was designed specifically for cruising in Irrawaddy River’s shallow waters. The ship also offers interesting on shore excursions with insightful enrichment programs. Passengers will have a chance to deeply experience the past and present of Myanmar via onboard entertaining activities. As a result, they can further explore the indigenous culture of the areas.

There are different itineraries from Mandalay to Yangon and vice versa with different durations of 10 and 13 days.


Scenic Aura river cruise
Scenic Aura river cruise

Anawrahta Cruise

This cruise belongs to Heritage Line, a well-known cruise operator in Southeast Asia. Being built in 2015 with 23 spacious cabins, Anawrahta Cruise takes inspiration from a bygone elegance in Myanmar history. Its cruise name is of the Great King of Myanmar who had unified the country. Its design is aesthetically historical with gleaming white rails, polished lacquer, intricately carved woodwork and shining brass. The normal route is a 5-day-4-night one between Bagan and Mandalay. Also, there are 7-night itineraries from New Nyein to Bagan and 11- night itineraries from Moktaw to Bagan.

>> Suggested Itinerary with Anawrahta cruise


Anawrahta River Cruise
Anawrahta river cruise

Myanmar River Cruise Tips

  • Visa: Only some countries in Southeast Asia are exempted from Visa to Visa within a 15-day stay. The others need a Visa to visit Burma which can be obtained through local consulates or online with E- Visa. For more information, please visit our travel blog about completed guide Myanmar Visa 
  • Bring cash with you on cruise: Beside local currency Kyats, US dollar is a popular currency in Burma. Small notes would be useful for souvenirs in remote villages. 01 US dollar would cost around 980 Kyats. 
  • What to wear on cruise: Remember to wear clothes that cover your knee and shoulder when visiting temples and religious places. Also, sandals are much better than shoes as you will be required to take them off before entering religious places. During summer with high humidity and heat, light material clothes are highly recommended. Don’t forget your sun hat, sun cream, and sunglasses. Long sleeves also offer better sun protection. From October to February, it can cool down at night so a light jacket is always useful. 


Irrawaddy river bank
Local people working on Irrawaddy river bank

I hope this information will be useful for your Myanmar travel!

Happy traveling!


Van Do – Travel Specialist

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