Burma/Myanmar river cruises

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#2
Greenville, SC, USA
51,264 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We have not taken the reiver cruise, but did spend a week in Myanmar in 2010 on a land tour. It is a fascinating country. We visited Yangoon, Bagan and Mandalay
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Paul
#3
Ontario, Canada
220 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
I haven't done a river cruise in Myanmar/Burma, but recently returned from a Mekong cruise on a Pandaw ship (in this case leased to Viking). Pandaw began its operations on the Irrawaddy and their ships are quite comfortable and a pleasant way to travel. Based on my experiences on the Mekong, I am considering a trip with Pandaw in Burma. They have a number of interesting itineraries.

https://www.pandaw.com/index.php
#4
214 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
My wife and I took a river trip on the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar a few years ago. The ship was called the Road to Mandaly and was booked through A & K (Abercrombie & Kent) travel services. In essence, it was a magic carpet ride, and we highly recommend this unique experience. Our first few days were spend in an old but magnificent hotel in Rangoon (Yangoon) prior to boarding the ship which went all the way up to close to the Chinese border and back. We visited temples, small villages, and were privy to special experiences only available to this trip and A & K travelers. As I remember, the trip was somewhere between 1-2 weeks. The people of Burma were wonderful, and I would suggest you visit this country now since it appears that the government is encouraging more tourism and, as a result, might lose some of its charm and uniqueness. Safe, enchanting, gourmet food, special tours and events. I would be glad to attempt to answer any specific questions.
#6
214 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
I do not know when you are planning this trip; however, please be aware that the news is reporting sectarian/religious fighting in western Myanmar.
#7
786 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by HDS
Can anyone relate experiences of river cruises in Burma/Myanmar?
I did with a 15 year old Grandson in 2010 the Pandaw Mekong river cruise and it was outstanding. and had been waiting for the political climate to change which it has and have booked in July, 2013 the 14 day Yangon (Rangoon) to Mandalay on Pandaw. It is a totally different experience from European or even the Yangtze River in China as you will be getting on and off the ship where there is no dock and scrambling up a river bank at times. Pandaw ships are unique but practical and comfortable.
#8
UK
2 Posts
Joined May 2011
Just returned from 18 night trip in Burma, cruising on Pandaw II Prome to Katha and all stops inbetween.The boat is in the old style of teak and brass, spacious cabin, lots of storage, walk in shower etc. Kimono style dressing gown and slippers provided.Two wicker chairs outside your cabin to watch the amazing views along the river.On the top of the boat is a social area, with lounger chairs.The staff on the Pandaw made our trip quite amazing, to drinking champagne on Lake Taungthaman to mooring on a sandbank in the middle of the Irrawaddy River for a cocktail party quite incredible.We visited villages along the way without another tourist insight, villagers came out to greet us, smiling and waving.The crew were extremely helpful, as getting up the banks of the Irrawaddy can be difficult for some less able bodied passengers, but they did it with a smile everytime. The food was excellent, lots of choices and beautifully presented.We had no complaints a trip of a lifetime.Problems in Burma are on India/Burmese border, nowhere near where we travelled on Irrawaddy.
#9
florida
3,649 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by laverendrye
I haven't done a river cruise in Myanmar/Burma, but recently returned from a Mekong cruise on a Pandaw ship (in this case leased to Viking). Pandaw began its operations on the Irrawaddy and their ships are quite comfortable and a pleasant way to travel. Based on my experiences on the Mekong, I am considering a trip with Pandaw in Burma. They have a number of interesting itineraries.

https://www.pandaw.com/index.php
have a question about ships.Photo doesn t show windows on website and states,no private balcony.How was your Pandow ship cabin?
#10
Phoenix
622 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Hi,
I haven't done the Burma cruise yet, but I am doing an Irrawady River Cruise solo with Grand Circle Travel in December. The cruise is on a new, chartered Pandaw ship and looks wonderful. The tour begins in Bangkok and then you are flown to Yangoon (Rangoon). I'm very excited about the trip, and am also doing the pre-cruise trip to Ankor Wat. Should be a trip of a lifetime!
GCT always does an outstanding job of organizing their tours.
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ciao for now, travelinjudy


Treasured memories:
GCT - Angkor Wat & Myanmar- Irrawaddy River Cruise -12-3-13
Azamara Journey -Singapore to Hong Kong 2-03-14
Celebrity Expedition Galapagos Islands 4-06-14
Celebrity Infinity - Buenos Aires to Valpariso to Ft. Lauderdale - 3-01-15 - B2B(cruise #55 -headed towards 60!)
Azamara Quest - Bali and Barrier Reef -12-22-2015
Azamara Quest - Cairns to Sydney -1-05-2016
Azamara Quest - Sydney to Auckland - 1-15-2016
Azamara Quest - Southhampton to Montreal -09-09-16
Azamara Journey-Chennai to Singapore - 11-17-16 #60!

On the horizon:

Azamara Quest - Miami to Barcelona - 04-02-2017
Azamara Journey- Fjords and the Arctic Circle - 06-23-2017
Azamara Quest -TA-11-4-2017
Azamara Quest - Caribbean- 11-20-1017
Azamara Quest - Miami to Lisbon - 4-07-2018-#65
Azamara Quest- Singapore to Perth -12-06-2018
AzamaraQuest -Perth to Melbourne 12-22-2018 -
#11
florida
3,649 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by travelinjudy
Hi,
I haven't done the Burma cruise yet, but I am doing an Irrawady River Cruise solo with Grand Circle Travel in December. The cruise is on a new, chartered Pandaw ship and looks wonderful. The tour begins in Bangkok and then you are flown to Yangoon (Rangoon). I'm very excited about the trip, and am also doing the pre-cruise trip to Ankor Wat. Should be a trip of a lifetime!
GCT always does an outstanding job of organizing their tours.
will order a brochure. Was always leary of that company ,had a few bad reviews in past. Hopefully,its changed. Can you use a TA to book(or just from them?).
Just got back from Ankor Wat(on AMA Vietnam/Cambodia cruise).It was GREAT,but very physical.Lots of stairs,climbs,heat,etc.So be prepared.Some chose NOT to do whole thing,and just wander around base and meet up later.PS.get on that stair climber hahaha.
#12
Phoenix
622 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by alexandra cruiser
will order a brochure. Was always leary of that company ,had a few bad reviews in past. Hopefully,its changed. Can you use a TA to book(or just from them?).
Just got back from Ankor Wat(on AMA Vietnam/Cambodia cruise).It was GREAT,but very physical.Lots of stairs,climbs,heat,etc.So be prepared.Some chose NOT to do whole thing,and just wander around base and meet up later.PS.get on that stair climber hahaha.
Hi Alexandra,
Thanks for your tip about Ankor Wat--I'd better start the stair climber now!
GCT is really an excellent company. I've talked to many people who have taken numerous tours with them and have loved it. I know a few who have gone on 12 or more GCT trips! I don't think you will be disappointed. Their communications with me have been outstanding, so far.
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ciao for now, travelinjudy


Treasured memories:
GCT - Angkor Wat & Myanmar- Irrawaddy River Cruise -12-3-13
Azamara Journey -Singapore to Hong Kong 2-03-14
Celebrity Expedition Galapagos Islands 4-06-14
Celebrity Infinity - Buenos Aires to Valpariso to Ft. Lauderdale - 3-01-15 - B2B(cruise #55 -headed towards 60!)
Azamara Quest - Bali and Barrier Reef -12-22-2015
Azamara Quest - Cairns to Sydney -1-05-2016
Azamara Quest - Sydney to Auckland - 1-15-2016
Azamara Quest - Southhampton to Montreal -09-09-16
Azamara Journey-Chennai to Singapore - 11-17-16 #60!

On the horizon:

Azamara Quest - Miami to Barcelona - 04-02-2017
Azamara Journey- Fjords and the Arctic Circle - 06-23-2017
Azamara Quest -TA-11-4-2017
Azamara Quest - Caribbean- 11-20-1017
Azamara Quest - Miami to Lisbon - 4-07-2018-#65
Azamara Quest- Singapore to Perth -12-06-2018
AzamaraQuest -Perth to Melbourne 12-22-2018 -
#13
Brisbane, Australia
143 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by alexandra cruiser
have a question about ships.Photo doesn t show windows on website and states,no private balcony.How was your Pandow ship cabin?
Pandaw boats are as pictured on their website. Outside "prominade deck" each cabin opens off this with a sliding glass door and sliding louvre door and curtains. Two rattan chairs and table outside each cabin on the deck. Upper deck usually undercover with outdoor furniture. We actually had a window as we were in first cabin at the front.
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Past cruises
2010 Mekong Explorer, Siem Reap - HCMC Cambodia Vietnam
2011 Orient Pandaw, Rajang River, Malaysian Borneo
2012 Victoria Anna, Yichang - Chongching, China
2013 Pandaw II, Irrawaddy River, Myanmar
2014 Crystal Serenity, Istanbul - Venice
2015 Ichobezi Houseboat - Chobe River, Namibia
2016 Azamara Quest - Norwegian Fjords
2016 Avalon Tranquility II - Christmas in Germany

Future Cruises

2017 African Queen, Thames River, UK
2017 Sun Princess, Australian Getaway, Brisbane - Sydney
2018 Angkor Pandaw, Halong Bay and Red River, Vietnam
2018 Song Xahn Sampan, Mekong River, Vietnam
#15
Arizona
188 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Viking has mover into this market in 2014. We are going on a 14 day cruise/tour with them in January 2014 that starts and ends in Bangkok. I believe that they leased their ship from Pandaw. Viking named it the Viking Mandalay. This ship has only 30 cabins, 60 guests. I have been fortunate to see China in the 80's and want to visit Myanmar before it becomes too westernized.
We have also scheduled four days in Siem Reap prior to the Viking trip.
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Upcoming
Azamara Journey Singapore-Bali January 14, 2018
Azamara Journey Bali-Sydney January 21, 2018
Azamara Journey Sydney-Auckland February 8, 2018

Been There
Azamara Quest Panama Canal San Diego-Miami February 2017
Azamara Quest Sidney-Auckland January 2016
Azamara Quest Cairns-Sidney January 2016
Azamara Quest Bali-Cairns December 2015
Azamara Quest Singapore-Bali December 2015
Azamara Journey Norwegian Fjords June 2014
Viking Mandalay Bangkok-Mayanmar-Bangkok January 2014
Uniworld River Queen Budapest- Amsterdam August 2013
Regent Seven Seas Mariner Athens- Barcelona Oct 2011
Azamara Quest Singapore-Hong Kong January 2011
Viking Fontane Cities of Light July 2010
Oceania Regatta Baltic June 2008
NCL Pride of America Hawaii March 2006
#16
Australia
537 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Another question to those who have cruised on the Irrawaddy. Did any of the cabins, eg on the lower deck have noise or vibrations from the engine?
#17
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
11,354 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by Arizonasunshine
Viking has mover into this market in 2014. We are going on a 14 day cruise/tour with them in January 2014 that starts and ends in Bangkok. I believe that they leased their ship from Pandaw. Viking named it the Viking Mandalay. This ship has only 30 cabins, 60 guests. I have been fortunate to see China in the 80's and want to visit Myanmar before it becomes too westernized.
We have also scheduled four days in Siem Reap prior to the Viking trip.
I went on a one day tour from Macao into China in 1981. We had four guys at the back of the bus that were likely from the secret police.
Many people wore the black pajamas and we saw water buffalo in the fields. There were very few cars on the roads. Amazing how much China has changed.
#18
Newport Beach, CA
1,142 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
We did this trip on the Irrawaddy 10 years ago. The boat was Orient Express owned and the service is the best we have ever had on any trip. Fascinating Country. The temples of Bagan and just magical. The Burmese people are lovely.
We went before it was politically correct to go and were very glad we did. We had no problems and felt very hopeful that the country would improve which it subsequently has.
#19
Arizona
188 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by 4774Papa
I went on a one day tour from Macao into China in 1981. We had four guys at the back of the bus that were likely from the secret police.
Many people wore the black pajamas and we saw water buffalo in the fields. There were very few cars on the roads. Amazing how much China has changed.
That is exactly why we are going on this cruise. I did business in China in the mid 80's. Still not many cars, no credit cards, cash only, official start date of winter when they can turn the heat on. Fantastic scenery, great people. I had bright red hair in those days and remember a time when we were stopped in traffic with a bus along side. I got out of the car and the people in the bus all moved over to the side I was on to look at me. I guess a person with red hair was pretty strange to them. We want to see Myanmar before it changes.
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Upcoming
Azamara Journey Singapore-Bali January 14, 2018
Azamara Journey Bali-Sydney January 21, 2018
Azamara Journey Sydney-Auckland February 8, 2018

Been There
Azamara Quest Panama Canal San Diego-Miami February 2017
Azamara Quest Sidney-Auckland January 2016
Azamara Quest Cairns-Sidney January 2016
Azamara Quest Bali-Cairns December 2015
Azamara Quest Singapore-Bali December 2015
Azamara Journey Norwegian Fjords June 2014
Viking Mandalay Bangkok-Mayanmar-Bangkok January 2014
Uniworld River Queen Budapest- Amsterdam August 2013
Regent Seven Seas Mariner Athens- Barcelona Oct 2011
Azamara Quest Singapore-Hong Kong January 2011
Viking Fontane Cities of Light July 2010
Oceania Regatta Baltic June 2008
NCL Pride of America Hawaii March 2006
#20
Scotland
530 Posts
Joined May 2007
I am particularly attracted by the Pandaw boats. The old style elegance is so much more atmospheric than a modern one with balconies and all hermetically sealed against the world outside. The idea of a couple of rattan chairs outside our rooms to just watch the worls sail by sounds absolutely perect to me...........
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Previous cruises: QE2 X3, Viking Pride X1, Arcadia X1, Avalon Scenery X1, Avalon Creativity X1, QVX1. Viking Douro X1