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another Irrawaddy River Cruise Question


deec
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We are on Vantage cruise.

I have read that we must remove shoes when re-boarding the boats and that they are returned later. Do they get that dirty...muddy/wet getting on/off boat?

 

I am wondering if I need 2 pairs of shoes that will be durable enough for touring....will they get wet? I had planned a pair keen sandals, canvas espardrille and flip/flops for the boat.

 

How much walking will we doing?....... on the Budapest to Amsterdam I am sure we walked 5 miles most days....neither of us gained any weight thanks to the exercise!!!hoping for that again!

 

Are there any art/craft items that we should be on the look out for?

 

thanks for your help

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When you dock in most places there are NO piers. Staff digs steps out of the river bank. Most of the boats are beautiful teak boats. By wearing shoes only off the boat, it saves the wood. They do supply slippers, but I saved my sandals for wearing on board. It is truly a beautiful country. Pat

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Pat, did you wear long pants for most of the trip? I had planned on taking capris, but a Viking cruiser said that ladies MUST have their ankles covered or they can't enter the temples. I wish that Grand Circle had a dress guideline in their handbooks.

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Our shoes didn’t get wet on the river banks. The banks are sand, not sticky mud.

As well as customer service, the rigorous cleaning is to remove abrasive sand grains from grooves in the soles to protect the teak floors. Shoes we wore on the morning excursion were always ready for the afternoon foray and usually ten minutes after we returned.

We didn’t walk a great deal. We strolled through a few villages, towns and markets. I like to walk briskly but the warm humid weather didn’t encourage me to take a walk just for the joy of walking. Our only remotely challenging walk was unscheduled and because the guide decided our small group was fit enough to mount 200 steps to a hilltop pagoda and walk through the forest to the next village. Great fun, we were invited to help celebrate a village wedding on the way.

You will have plenty of opportunities to shop. We were taken to see many local artisans demonstrate their traditional crafts and, of course, to buy their works. Scott Market in Yangon is huge, lots of stalls selling local gemstones, clothes, lacquerware, straw hats etc. It has a more recent Burmese name, which I’ve forgotten but the locals know it as “Scott”. There is a Western style supermarket behind Scott market. November 2013, it was a $US5 cab ride from the Chatrium.

Mingun has a very pleasant market with many painters selling their wares. We bought a pleasant watercolour there and a delightful oil painting at Scott Market.

I wore just above the ankle trousers without question in monasteries and pagoda. My shirts covered my neck and shoulders.

One solution is to carry a large shawl or buy a cheap longyi, the long wrap around skirt worn by most Burmese, male and female, and wrap it over your trousers if they are considered too short at the entrance to the pagoda. Works for men wearing shorts as well.

Edited by HDS
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Sharon, I never wore long pants--capris were fine. Some on our trip wore skirts--normal length, just below the knee. Your trip is getting close--so excited for you to experience the remarkable country. Hope Frankie is your guide. Pat

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Just as others have stated... Keen sandals/water shoes will be perfect. You will take them off when you come back on board, but will get them back fairly soon. Ours were always waiting for us in the hallway next to the dining room. The important thing is to wear shoes that are easy to remove in the temples. Those areas are barefoot only.

 

As for pants, I wore capris the whole time. I don't remember any restrictions on length. The only clothing incident I remember was in Angkor Wat, Cambodia when a young girl in our group did not have the proper covering on her shoulders to enter a sacred Buddha area. They would not even accept the shawl she always carried. This only happened that one time.

 

Enjoy your trip!!! Ours remains one of our most memorable!!! :)

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I wore knee length shorts some days 3/4 and long pants other days - guide always told us requirements for following day. We each had a longhi - my husband needed his knees covered in Mandalay at one of the temples (ladies were not allowed into this area). At one of our town stops in the market area there were seamstresses that would sew a ladies longhi - buy your material for a couple of dollars and make for another dollar or so in the hour. It was cooller to wear your longhi on the open deck during the humid day. I wore thongs/flipflops on shore excursions/siteseeing - easier to slip on and off (sometimes 3 and 4 times each excursion) and had a bag to carry them around the temples -sometimes you would not use the same entrance and exit:)

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Just returned on November 6th from fabulous Myanmar. I have attached two links to videos that were taken throughout the entire trip. I will share a couple lessons learned from this trip. The ship is not owned by Vantage it is leased, WFII is not readily available, tips for the crew has to be made in cash, if you are going to buy anything in US dollars all bills must be new without any marks or wrinkles even if you are exchanging it for local currency. Also you must walk bare footed in all temples. Sanitary conditions in some are lacking. The bus trip to and from the ship is approximate 7 hours depending on traffic and road conditions. There is usually 2 stops for toilet breaks but facilities are poor. Crew, Tour directors and local guides are outstanding, food was good and plentiful, excursions were great and you will be definitely amazed by the country. Lastly the hotels were 5 star and above

 

1 Bangkok till Monywa ;

 

2. Mandalay ; http://youtu.be/tLOHiKIe_dse

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Hi Srg. Pepper,

so glad to hear from a recent Vantage passenger...I have a few questions (well maybe loads of questions)...

 

What did you think of the new ship (I am surprised that it is leased but not sure that matters much)? Was there enough room on the outside decks for everyone...pictures did not look like there were many chairs/chaises?

 

 

Could you charge the final bill (except tips) ? How expensive were cocktails or wine at times other than dinner? we are not in a deluxe suite and am wondering the cost of laundry. We are in cabin 201...can you get to the bow of the ship from that level?

 

I know it is a hard question and very individual but how much cash did you take for shopping and using in the markets? Did you ever get money from an ATM? Did you take a mix of large and small bills ( I know to get new and unmarked and uncreased).

 

Did you take the evening optional excursions and were they a good use of time? Was there much free time in either Bangkok or Yangon ...it is hard to tell from the itinerary so I don't know how much to try and plan before we go.

 

would love to hear any other information/hints about the trip...we arrive in Bangkok very late hopefully it will not be difficult to locate the Vantage rep.

 

Thanks so much for sharing...

will watch your videos in the morning!!!

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DeeDC,

 

We were on the 4th trip of the new ship. They had some major problems prior to our trip. With the exception of WIFi everything was perfect. There are decks outside of your room. They have floor to ceiling French doors that open up. There are two chairs in the room that you can use to view the scenery passing by. We used this many times to take pictures of the activities on the shore line. You can charge all shipboard expenses to your credit card including bar, massages, laundry. Free wine and beer were free flowing at dinner time. Beer and soft drinks were available at lunch. All local wines, beer and hard liquor was free during cocktail hour and up to the time the bar closed. Top of the line drinks and wines you paid extra. I don't recall the cost of laundry but if you travel in Europe it was about the same price. Unless you are planning on buying jewelry, silk products or any high dollar items you can get by in Burma with about $100 for the local markets. The evening tours were great. I was in Bangkok before and did the evening tour and decided to do it again this time because it was so good. We definitely enjoyed the evening tour in Yangoon. They keep you busy all the time yet there was enough down time to do whatever you liked. ATM's were available in the hotels whatever local currency we had left over we used it for the crew tips.. We were in cabin 205 which was an ideal location since the dining hall was on that level. Room 201 is right at the bow of the ship. This is were we usually disembarked for the shore excursions. Your tour director will send you a personal email outlining your arrival arrangements. Our plan was delayed 4 hours in SF. We were able to email him with our new arrival times. He responded to our emails within 15 minutes or sending it. He also had someone at the airport to meet us. I will say this about the tour directors especially Steve. They bent over backwards and went out of their way to make this trip one of the most enjoyable Vantage journeys that we have taken.. Don't worry you are in great hands.

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THANK YOU....great re-affirming info that Vantage will be a great way to travel.

 

Our First river cruise was this fall on Viking Budapest to Amsterdam and we had a terrific time....I know this will be so much different and am looking forward to the cultural education. My husband was in Bangkok while in the Navy ( 40 years ago) but this will be my first time!

 

Anything you forgot to take with you?

How were the reading lights in the stateroom should we pack booklights?

Trying to limit the weight....the cruise documents indicated only 44 pounds and 11 for carry -ons during the intra/country flights.

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Sorry More Questions.....Thanks so much for your help

 

Is there a retractable clothesline in the shower?

How many electrical outlets in stateroom....

The description of the staterooms indicated there was a Iphone Docking Station in the $$$suites....did you have an alarm clock in the room?

 

I enjoyed the videos thanks for posting...

 

I have the read that we should not bring anything for the children....is this true or would some things be welcomed...stickers/ pencils ( ( prefer not to give them candy)...how about the crew...or just be generous with our tips?

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We were not on a Vantage cruise - but local guide emphasised not to hand out to the children - they do not want the village children to become beggars or dependent on handouts like in other countries. We did carry extra biscuits/fruit and gave to Monks if they were out collecting alms of a morning. There are already children that have their hands out in some of the places. Guide also arranged a quick visit to a local school whilst we were in town and we were able to leave a donation/gift.

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Sharon, I never wore long pants--capris were fine. Some on our trip wore skirts--normal length, just below the knee. Your trip is getting close--so excited for you to experience the remarkable country. Hope Frankie is your guide. Pat

 

Pat, we received our email from our two PD's.

Pretrip is Arand and cruise part is Patrick.

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There wasn't a retractable clothesline in the bathroom. Plenty of receptacles in the room, one in the bathroom, one near the flat screen tv and one at the desk. You will be visiting a school and before you go the tour guides will take up a collection to either buy sports equipment or school supplies. I did bring some candy with us. I found on our past trips the crew enjoy it. It something they don't have in their country. Crystal Delight was a big hit in Cambodia. I agree with the other post about giving handouts to the children. You will see once you get close to Mandalay that a majority of the local vendors are children and they do not take no for answer. They can down right get annoying to the point you won't enjoy the tour. The easiest thing to do is don't look at them or show any interest in what they are selling. Last resort is to ask your tour guide tot tell them you are not interested and to leave you alone. One tip for the ladies is bring some extra toilet paper with you on your tours. Most rest stops are not up to our standards.

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We donated cash to the schools and medical clinics we visited. Pandaw subsidises schools, medical clinics, old people's homes and other projects in several villages along the river. We were happy to donate to this fund as well. Some passengers brought pencils, exercise books, sports equipment to give to the teachers at the schools.

We did (with the help of our guide) buy lottery tickets for the crew and presented them at the crew parade on our final evening. We had seen crew members buying these in some of the towns. The tickets cost us very little compared to the crew's pleasure in anticipating a big win which would make an enormous difference to any one of them.

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  • 3 months later...

We are considering doing the Irrawaddy trip next winter. We are not sure which way to travel boat o land tour any suggestions?

Also, can anyone tell me which Riverboat company they suggest. The itineraries are so different. Is it worth going to Bangkok first?

thanks for the info.

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I posted a review of our Pandaw cruise from Yangon to Katha on this board which shows up if you put "HDS Pandaw" in the "Search" box top right. We spent time in Yangon, Mandalay and Inle Lake pre and post tour, flying between the centres using a local travel agency to arrange air, some hotels, guides and transfers.

Roads, with the exception of that between Yangon and the new parliamentary capital, are narrow and rough. I expect a "land tour" would mean flying between destinations.

We didn't consider the Bangkok option because we have been there several times.

We chose an itinerary that went beyond the Yangon-Bagan-Mandalay tourist strip and did not focus entirely on temples.

Edited by HDS
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http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1941897&highlight=irrawaddy

 

Unfortunately this great info is in the "roll call" section and a little hard to find....but you will get many good opinions/info here.

 

We loved our cruise with Vantage in December 2014

 

I would really suggest doing river cruise as you can cover a fair number of sights/cities and yet unpack much less and be comfortable with sleeping and eating arrangements.

 

Bangkok was interesting. I don't need to go back but am glad we had an opportunity to see it. Sorry we did not get a chance to go to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Maybe if we ever do Mekong trip.

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