Flowing for more than 1,300 miles through central Myanmar, the Irrawaddy River is the historical, cultural, and economic heart of the country. From its source in the awe-inspiring Himalayas, it meanders peacefully through jungle-shrouded land and sun-drenched plains to its mangrove-dotted delta at the Andaman Sea. More than 90% of the Burmese population are practising Buddhists, so it’s not surprising that the pagoda is an iconic yet natural part of the landscape as you sail serenely past.
Myanmar is rich in plant and wildlife, and if you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the rare Irrawaddy dolphin. However, it’s the people who will capture your heart as you get a glimpse into the lives of locals. Visit a farmer in his home and spend time with children at a village school. See how people make a living from creating the famous 50-gallon Martaban pots, or make candy out of toddy palm tree sap.
Taking an Avalon Irrawaddy river cruise affords a short-lived opportunity to experience the country before Western influence alters its culture, land and people.
Highlights of our Irrawaddy river cruises
See some of the most important pagodas in the country, including the golden Shwezigon. Of the 13,000 temples, monasteries, and pagodas that were built between the 9th and 13th centuries, 2,300 still stand today.
Formerly known as Rangoon, the city is home to Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s most sacred Buddhist pagoda.
Visit the revered Mahamuni Pagoda, whose Buddha statue is estimated to be covered in more than 6 inches of gold leaf.
A visit to U Bein Bridge affords a memorable sampan ride at sunset.