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Cruising the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers is a sublime way to see the sights and sounds of Burma.
A cruise on the Irrawaddy and/or Chindwin is perhaps the most pleasurable way to see Burma and understand its history, as the rivers remain the country's lifeblood. Ferries, bamboo rafts, barges and fishing boats, all ply their trade along these waters at the gentle and relaxed pace that is prevalent in most of the country aside from the cities.
From the boats passengers will see children waving and running along the bank after the boat and oxen ploughing paddy fields much as they done for centuries, while pagodas poke through the forest canopy.
The shortest voyages last three nights, and visit Mandalay, the centre of Burmese culture, Sagaing, famous for its silversmiths and the awe-inspiring plain of Bagan where more than 2,000 temples and pagodas dot the misty plains. The longer cruises take in other areas along the rivers, including Shwe Kyet Yet, Shanlay village (considered to be the living centre of the Buddhist failth in Burma), the beautiful hill station of Maymyo and Bhamo.
The boats themselves have spacious and comfortable en suite cabins spread across different decks with wonderful views across the river and surrounding countryside. There are a large number of dining options on board, including Burmese, Thai, Indonesian, Chinese, Indian and European delicacies served in a number of restaurants.
Passengers can watch the world go by from the top deck swimming pool.
Miranda, Original Traveller