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Water Rides to Float Your Boat – Tourism Myanmar
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Water Rides to Float Your Boat

Water Rides to Float Your Boat

By Regina Sharpe


There are many ways to explore a country. You could go about by foot, car, train or boat – the last of which being one of the most romantic methods of getting to know new cultures and locales. This is especially true for countries like Myanmar, where the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin Rivers stretch right through the centre of this booming nation, allowing for long tours across the country at a tranquil pace. After all, there’s nothing more relaxing than the calm rocking of the boat to accompany your sightseeing along these massive rivers.


With so many boat tours available in Myanmar, travellers get to pick from a host of different excursions, ranging from the quick rides aboard motorboats in Thandwe to week-long luxury cruises that drift from one end of the Ayeyarwady to another. If you’re done plying the Yangon Circular Railway or you’d like to take a break from the fun-but-tiring nature treks in Chin State, perhaps hopping aboard a water vessel is in order.


Here are some of the ways you can travel through Myanmar by boat.


Take It Slow

Slow boats make for a great way to immerse yourself in the daily lives of the locals, especially if you board the local ferries, where the sights on board are just as interesting as what you’ll see on the riverbanks – such as entrepreneurial commuters somehow balancing heavy plates of wares atop their head as they make the challenging walk up the planks to the boat to sell, with the grandeur of golden temples serving as a backdrop to all this action. You can even buy refreshments from these locals during the ride.


If you’re travelling between cities, such as from Mandalay to Bagan or the other way round, prepare to travel for 10 hours at a time, so make sure you’ve cleared your schedule for the day. But aboard these boats, it really is all about the journey and not the destination.


The other thing you’ll need to prepare is a layer of warm clothing, as the boats leave early in the morning (between 4am and 6 am) and it can get particularly chilly on board. The locals often carry blankets along for this very purpose.


Not sure where to start? Myanmar’s Inland Water Transport runs ferries along the river, so that’s a good lead when it comes to picking a ride that offers a raw glimpse into daily happenings along the shores. At just a few dollars depending on your route of choice, you’ll have a day’s worth of travelling and a lifetime’s worth of memories to take home with you.


Treat Yourself

If you feel like a multi-day voyage is more up your alley, then just take your pick from the unending selection of river cruises that come replete with private bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, queen-sized beds and even swimming pools. Expect to fork out a couple thousand US dollars for an average cruise time of five nights, which is a pretty good deal, all things considered.


While the public slow boats do have hawkers to keep your thirst quenched, these luxury cruises will most probably come with bars on deck, with a selection of cocktails available for order throughout the day.


If you’re in Myanmar for your honeymoon and you’d like something special to remember it by, then look no further than a cruise. With all these luxurious amenities on hand, you could even travel from Yangon to Bagan and still feel like it’s the shortest trip you’ve ever been on. Expect the typical cruise duration of 10 days to pass by in a blink.


The fun part is that these cruises often make daily stops so you can deboard and explore the surrounding areas with a professional guide. River cruises are a growing industry in Myanmar, so expect comprehensive price lists and itineraries to be just a click away.


Zooming Through

Want to cover large distances over water in the shortest amount of time? Then get yourself a speedboat, be it public or private. Those who opt for these faster water vessels typically have somewhere to go, such as to Mrauk-U so that they could proceed to Chin State and hike through the remote area. Another reason to hire a speedboat is to be able to customise your stops so that you can tick off the boxes in your itinerary with the least amount of fuss.


A lot of these rides also come in the form of guided tours, which are a great way to explore the sights while spending the least amount of time on water. Fares range in the hundreds of US dollars for a day trip, and that includes chauffeuring services from your hotel to the riverbank. Mandalay is a great place to stay and start your trips if this is what you’re looking for. It’s common to head out for sunset boat rides too.


Moored on the riverbanks of Inle Lake are little motorboats that also provide day tours at minimal cost. For around USD10 to USD20, you can have your very own private boat take you around to watch the leg-rowing fishermen at work, explore the floating villages, and even make a quick stop at the local goldsmith’s or textile workshops!


Not To Be Missed

Be it by public ferry, chartered cruise or a metre-wide motorboat, you’ll have to give travelling by boat in Myanmar a try. After all, how often would you get the opportunity to loll about one of the most iconic rivers in Southeast Asia and watch the daily life unfold? No matter what you have planned for your vacation, a boat ride will definitely round it up and turn it into an amazing getaway.


ရုံးအမှတ် (၃၃), ဟိုတယ်နှင့် ခရီးသွားလာရေး ဝန်ကြီးဌာန, နေပြည်တော်မြို့, မြန်မာနိုင်ငံ

+၉၅ ၆၇ ၃၄၀ ၆၄၅၈,

+၉၅ ၆၇ ၃၄၀ ၆၂၄၇, +၉၅ ၆၇ ၃၄၀ ၆၁၂၉