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How to Choose an Irrawaddy River Cruise

  |   Myanmar

No matter how desperately you are in need of a vacation, the prospect of all the planning and preparation that is required to organize travel to a remote and emerging destination such as the Irrawaddy River one can be seriously off-putting. But, what if there was a way to circumvent this whole ordeal? What if you could go on the vacation of a lifetime without stressing about logistics and bookings beforehand? Rainforest Cruises has made booking a cruise along the Irrawaddy River as simple as possible, allowing you to save your precious energy for the adventure that’s to come. 

If floating along the peaceful Irrawaddy River in Myanmar sounds like the perfect vacation, follow our simple guide to turn your dream into reality. 

Irrawaddy River Cruise


Step 1: Choose Your Cruise Style

The first thing you need to do is assess your finances and your travel needs and align yourself with a cruise style that caters to both. Rainforest Cruises offers the following:


Luxury: Our most opulent cruise style is the luxury cruise, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Aboard a luxury cruise you will find first class accommodation, boasting huge windows from which you can enjoy panoramic views of the Irrawaddy River. The food is mouth-watering and there is plenty of communal space to mingle and relax when you’re not in your cabin. The Irrawaddy Voyager, Irrawaddy Voyager II, The Strand and Sanctuary Ananda are great options.


Superior: Those who want style as well adventure will love our fleet of superior cruises. Superior cruises are for those with a mid-range budget and offer a high level of comfort for their guests to enjoy. With spacious accommodation, plenty of public spaces, and a crew ready to attend to your every need, what more could you want? The Paukan 2012 is a great option.


Charter: Are you traveling in a big group or with your colleagues on a company team-building trip? If so, you might want to consider a charter cruise. Throughout the duration of the cruise, the only people on the boat will be your friends or family and a team of highly trained, experienced crew members.  


Irrawaddy Cruise Itinerary Bagan

Step 2: Choose Your Itinerary

First you should choose whether you want to cruise upstream or downstream. Your start and end locations should coincide with your onward travel. Next you should consider how long you wish to spend cruising along the Irrawaddy River. Depending on your budget and how long you can escape the office, your cruise could last anywhere between three and ten days. Peruse the different offerings and see which itinerary suits you best. 

Traveling Upstream means starting your cruise in Bagan and sailing up to Mandalay. Whereas when traveling downstream, you start in Mandalay and end your cruise in Bagan. A few longer itineraries may begin in Yangon going upstream to Mandalay or vice-versa.

Rainforest Cruises has a wide range of itineraries available. For those looking for a short cruise, why not try the 3-Day Irrawaddy Voyager II. Other cruises like Sanctuary Ananda offer 4-Day, 5-Day and 8-Day cruises. For those who really want to explore the area, the Irrawaddy Explorer offers 10-day itineraries and the Anawrahta offers a 12-day cruise.

Myanmar Tours



Step 3: Choose Your Add-Ons

If you want to make the most out of your trip to Myanmar, you may want to add on an extra trip either before or after your cruise. Rainforest Cruises offers excursions to Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city at home to the Shwedagon Pagoda, the stunning Inle Lake or you can opt-in for a hot air balloon ride over breathtaking Bagan. All add-ons include transfers, accommodation, select meals, entrance fees, domestic airfare and an English speaking guide. 

Irrawaddy Cruise

Step 4: Choose Your Dates

Myanmar has three seasons: hot, cool, and rainy. The hot season runs from March to May and it’s extremely dry in the entire country. During this time of year, you will often find that the popular destinations will be less crowded and you may even find better deals on hotels and airfare. The cool season, November to February, is generally the most popular as it is warm and dry during the day and cool in the evenings. However, this season is the busiest and most expensive.

The rainy season, also known as the monsoon season, runs from June to October. This period is known for having the most intense rainfall. The heaviest rains occur between June and August, with intermittent rainfall in September and October. While these conditions would appear not ideal for river cruising, the increased rainfall and rising level of the river create a lush, green landscape and allow cruises farther north into the shallower Chindwin River. The ideal time for a Chindwin River cruise, the largest tributary of the Irrawaddy, is from July to September. During this season the river level will accommodate itineraries that would otherwise be inaccessible due to water levels other times of the year.

Choose the dates that best suit your timetable and travel needs and book your trip accordingly. 

Myanmar Cruise

Step 5: Lock it Down

Once you’ve got the details sorted, contact us so we can help reserve your trip. Trips to this part of the world may take extra planning, so be sure to let us know ahead of time. Contact Rainforest Cruises for more information, or call 1-888-215-3555.


About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises, Galapagos Islands tours, and Southeast Asia cruises. We provide you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Panama and Southeast Asia. As travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure.

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