Great boat trip down this picturesque and as yet unspoilt river, (the Burmese president having recently suspended the controversial Myitsone Dam project), and well worth the early start for the superb dawn views as we headed down the Irrawaddy from Mandalay.
According to the Burmese powers that be Aerawaddy is a closer transliteration to the Burmese, (or Myanmar), pronunciation so they have recently changed the Anglicized spelling though since we reckon that’s being a little bit pedantic we’ll stick to Irrawaddy. Incidentally many Burmese still refer to Thailand as ‘Ayuthaya‘ – a rather absurd hangover from the 17th-century and somewhat along the lines of calling modern Germany Prussia!
Boats are good too with air-con interior sitting areas or cane chairs on the upper deck, a friendly, chatty crew and oodles of free coffee and tea. (The beer wasn’t too over-priced either.)
Boat departed from Mandalay at 7.00 and arrived in Bagan around 2.00 pm but with plenty of river and riverbank activity and sights to see time went pretty quickly. Also gave us a chance to catch up on some reading too and we saw other passengers using their relaxation time to write a few postcards.
Exact sailing time will vary throughout the year anyway, depending upon water levels and in dry season things can get a lot slower as the craft negotiate the then shallow river’s sandbanks. The various boats plying the route also have differing engine capabilities while fortuitously the one we were on had a useful depth sounding device.
We have on one occasion arrived in Bagan at sunset but then there’s no hurry and the unexpected views were an added bonus.
Great trip and you can see the full itinerary for our Discover Burma (Myanmar) tour at this link. Cheers!