Flowing from north to south, the Irrawaddy River is Myanmar’s largest and most important commercial river and empties out to the Andaman Sea. Used by the British Empire after it colonized Burma, the river has been essential for trade and travel since the 6th century. Today it is just as important, being used for transport of goods and irrigation to rice paddocks. One of the best ways to explore the Irrawaddy River is by a boat cruise such as Sanctuary Ananda, a small, luxury boat that can run a 3 day itinerary from Bagan to Mandalay, stopping along the way at small riverside villages. Whether it’s relaxing on the top deck, or sitting on your private balcony taking in the river life as you cruise past, it’s a unique part of Myanmar and a great way to see some untouched regions of the country.

Rhiannon Taylor traveled on Abercrombie & Kent’s Myanmar & the Irrawaddy tour as part of AFAR’s partnership with the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, and peace-of-mind to destinations across the globe. For more on Rhiannon’s journey, visit the USTOA blog.

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