Irrawaddy river cruise, Burma

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

This holiday starts with two nights at the Savoy Yangon which was the first hotel in Myanmar to cooperate with RecyGlo Myanmar. RecyGlo are committed to making Myanmar a greener place and they provide environmentally friendly recycling solutions to Yangon and the surrounding areas. Founded in 2017, their mission is to process materials in a safe, non-hazardous manner with an aim to keep the world environmentally clean. RecyGlo Myanmar believes in promoting smart recycling habits in order to achieve long lasting results. Savoy Yangon is also part of the ‘Refill Not Landfill’ campaign, which aims to reduce the use of plastic bottles and their impact on the environment across Asia and the hotel offers free water refills to guests.

On this holiday you’ll spend seven nights on board the Belmond Road to Mandalay ship. Belmond Ltd. is a hotel and leisure company that operates luxury hotels, train services and river cruises around the world. The company deeply respects its communities and their surroundings, and they aim to make a positive contribution to the many destinations where they operate. They’re also very aware of their responsibility towards natural resources and the environment, especially at locations close to World Heritage Sites. All of their river cruises run initiatives to support the places and people that surround them and as part of their “Think Global, Act Local” approach they purchase as much food as possible from sustainable sources and they follow sustainable practices to reduce the impact of their operations on the environment and to ensure energy efficiency.

The Impacts of this Trip

This holiday features seven nights on board the Belmond Road to Mandalay. Belmond introduced river cruising to Myanmar in 1996 and over the years the company has developed strong relationships with the local communities along the river. The Belmond Myanmar Foundation is a locally based non-profit organisation, which strives to improve education, healthcare and poverty within Myanmar. The Foundation started with a modest aim and the inspirational efforts of our ship’s doctor, Dr Hla Tun, and its first project in Myanmar was to build a nursery school for local children in Shwe Kyet Yet–the port town base of Belmond Road to Mandalay. Twenty years on, their commitment to Myanmar has seen the development of a further twenty schools and a free health clinic in Bagan, as well as pop-up clinics wherever possible. Guests on board the Belmond Road to Mandalay can make donations to the Foundation to help them continue their work.

This river cruise features visits to ancient pagodas, and local markets and villages where there will be plenty of opportunities to take spectacular photographs, however we ask our clients to be respectful when taking photos, especially of monks, older people and children. It is polite to ask for permission first and if they indicate that they do not want you to, please respect this. We ask that you refrain from offering money in exchange for a photo and do not push the issue. The people of Mynamar are very friendly, polite and non-confrontational and although they may not object to being photographed, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re comfortable with it. We ask our clients to remember that monks, farmers, children etc. are real people and not just photogenic ‘images’ to be ‘snapped’. We also our clients to ensure that they do not take photos or disturb monks whilst they’re praying as it is extremely disrespectful. In remote communities, the local people consider filming to be very intrusive so we ask our clients to avoid recording if they’re visiting rural villages.

As a general rule we advise our clients on this Myanmar holiday to avoid giving gifts, money or sweets to children in or even buying anything from them as it encourages begging. We encourage our clients to simply play or interact with children and if possible support a local or international NGO.

We suggest that our clients travel with a phrasebook and make an effort to learn some key words and phrases. If you know some basic words such "minglalaba" (hello) and "jeh-za-beh" (thank you) will be rewarded with many smiles from the friendly locals who you come into contact with during your holiday in Myanmar.


1 Reviews of Irrawaddy river cruise, Burma

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 05 Nov 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Attention to detail. This allowed for us to totally relax and get the maximum from our holiday.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Always make sure you have plenty of small notes for tips. Generally long trousers for temples.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. No pressure. But visited local crafts stores, use of local staff, horse cart drivers and the cruise funding local clinic.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Perhaps the best organised holiday I have been on. Pick ups, food, accommodation and the staff just perfect.

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