Belmond Road to Mandalay

On the water

bagan myanmar

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At a Glance

Choose from 3, 4, 7 or 11-day itineraries that take you up and down the Irrawaddy River, allowing for you to see parts of Myanmar normally off-limits (or very difficult to reach on land).

Indagare Loves

  • Great on-board lectures
  • Seeing smaller villages along the river
  • The excellent food prepared on the boat, including many local specialties


One of he best ways of exploring Myanmar is along its biggest river and commercial waterway, the Irrawaddy. There are several boating companies that offer cruises, but the best is the Bemond–run Road to Mandalay. Its 82 spacious cabins occupy two of the four decks; they range from cozy rooms with double beds (perfect for friends traveling together) to the lavish Governor’s Suite, which comes with a separate sitting room. Interiors are lovely, with beautiful fabrics, comfortable beds and spacious bathrooms. The upper deck has a lovely, al fresco lounge, as well as a small swimming pool. The buffet-style lunch changes daily (from Burmese and Thai to Chinese and European cuisines) and the food is generally excellent.

But beyond the very comfortable lodging, what really sets the Road to Mandalay apart are its excursions, led by excellent guides and generally kept to about 10-12 people. In Bagan, touring included the main temples and sites, but our guide was also eager to get us off the beaten path, for example by taking us on a lengthy bike tour to lesser-known spots. The culture is also brought close to travelers through a series of on-board lectures and post-dinner performances, including traditional puppetry, folk dancing and Burmese music.

The Road to Mandalay offers several cruise options, ranging from a classic Highlights of Myanmar itinerary (3 nights) to an 11-day exploration that travels into the wild northern region close to the Chinese border. Many of the Road to Mandalay’s cruises fill up well in advance, so finding the right journey requires some flexibility.

Who Should Stay

Anyone traveler who has time for a multi-day cruise up the river.

Written by Simone Girner

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