The 2,000-kilometre Ayeyarwady (also spelt Irrawaddy) is the most recent Asian river to become accessible to tourists after Myanmar’s (formally Burma) decades of isolation.
Certainly with a lack of hotel infrastructure a river cruise through the vast cultural and historic riches of this mysterious location is the best way to take it all in.
Sailing the Ayeyarwady from November is the 56-guest AmaPura. Newly-constructed, this intimate 57-metre river ship features 28 staterooms and suites offering full or French balconies.
Public areas include a uniquely decorated lounge and main dining room, and a gift shop, spa, pool and an expansive sun deck.
AmaWaterways has thoughtfully designed the culinary options onboard to reflect local Burmese cuisine, but with Western specialties available. Influenced by Chinese, Indian and Thai flavours, Burmese cuisine is a mix of all three.
For their inaugural season in Myanmar, AmaWaterways has developed two itineraries: the 14-day Golden Treasures of Myanmar; and the extended 16-day Hidden Wonders of Myanmar.
Both journeys operate roundtrip Yangon, but the first includes a 10-night upstream cruise aboard AmaPura operating from Pyay. The latter of the two itineraries includes a full two weeks onboard the AmaPura, sailing downstream.
Cruises include pre-cruise accommodations, complimentary house wine, local beer and soft drinks with every lunch and dinner onboard, as well as onboard cultural shows, lectures, and special Burmese historical discussions.
One of the world’s most secretive, mysterious and fascinating places, Myanmar has a unique centuries-old culture and spectacular architectural wonders, including sacred structures gilded with gold leaf and encrusted with precious gems.
AmaWaterways’ river cruises are carefully crafted to hit all the country’s highlights:
Bagan – A cultural treasure trove of more than 2,200 temples, stupas and pagodas, on par with Cambodia’s massive Angkor Wat temple complex.
Mandalay – The country’s last royal capital and second largest city, the “Golden City” of Mandalay is regarded as Myanmar’s cultural heart, renowned for its master craftsmen and its patronage of the arts.
Mount Popa – The stunning shrine perched at the top of Mt. Popa is considered the legendary home of spirit gods worshipped by Burmese Buddhists.
Ancient Royal Cities – Inwa (Ava) was the capital of the Burma for more than 400 years, Amarapura has the world’s longest teak bridge, Sagaing is famous for its tranquil atmosphere, and Mingun has many historic sites to explore.
Yangon (Rangoon) – The “Garden City of the East,” retains much of its colonial charm with cobblestoned streets, tree-lined avenues and Victorian architecture.