Best Mandalay to Bagan River Cruises

Bagan and Mandalay, two of the most gorgeous highlights of Myanmar, and the hotspot for all the Irrawaddy river cruises. As you reach our website, you will most likely take a look through the itinerary list and wonder: “Why are there so many itineraries of the same route from Mandalay to Bagan boat trip and back?” Well, in this post, we will answer this question for you and it will be a guideline for those who is looking to have this particular trip in the future.

1. Mandalay to Bagan with The Strand Cruise

This particular cruise is the epitome of the classic Burma river cruises. With this itinerary, you will focus on the best highlights of the two places with gorgeous sites like U Bein Bridge, Mahamuni Pagoda, Ananda Temple, Shwezigon Pagoda. Definitely one you should try if you are a first timer to Myanmar. Furthermore, if you do not have the much time to spend, there is the option of 2-night cruise instead of 3 night. With the 2 night cruise, you will still be able to see all the best sights between the two cities in the comfort of The Strand. Some of the popular sights, you will have the chance to visit are U Bein Bridge - perfect backdrop for pictures - Mahamuni Pagoda - one of the most well-known Buddha Images in all over the world completely cover in gold - and, of course, Bagan - a UNESCO heritage site well deserved for their out-of-this-world arrangement of thousands of pagodas.

Also there is the option of doing 4-night cruise in opposite way upstream from Bagan to Mandalay if you want to indulge in the colonial comfort of The Strand and further learning of the Burmese culture.

U Bein Bridge

Mahamuni Pagoda 


2. Bagan to Mandalay with Anawrahta Cruise

Anawrahta brings some more spices to the usual classic itinerary with their itinerary. Aside from the classic sites, you are able to make a detour to Yandabo and Pakokku which are two villages that are usually missed by the usual tourists with their travel. Also with this itinerary, passengers can have the choice of either 2, 3 or 4 nights also with the trade-off of missing some highlights of course but at a discount. 

One thing that makes the itineraries of Ananwrahta stand out is the take you to visit some less developed towns and villages by the river. Yandabo is a riverside village that specialize in making straw hats and water urns, you will make a brief visit there and maybe help contributing to the local people. Another notable site is the Pakokku town. It is more developed and one special product that is being produced there in high quality is the famous cosmetic - Thanaka.

Pakokku Market

3. Mandalay and Bagan with Sanctuary Ananda

This itinerary is very special as it is the combination between the two itineraries: 4-Night from Mandalay to Bagan & 3-Night from Bagan to Mandalay. However one note with this particular cruise is that it is a round trip from Mandalay to Bagan and back and vice versa. With this specific route, you have the opportunity to take a deep dive into the culture and history of the people with places that not many other cruises do like Sin Kyun Village or Tant Chi Taung Mountain. Take part in the philanthropy approach of tourism of the cruise. Take a visit to a sponsored school to learn about the local life and the hope that they receive through the education that Sanctuary Ananda brings.

A few times a year, Sanctuary Ananda also has some special itineraries that take you to less visited destination such as Monywa, Chindwin River or Upper Irrawaddy.

A typical village by the bank

4. Mandalay to Bagan with RV Paukan 2007

The shortest cruise of all for those who want to explore the experience of what it feels like to be on an overnight Burma river cruises. The cruise doesn’t actually start in the heart of Mandalay but in Sagaing jetty which is around 20 to 30 minutes of driving from the center. With this itinerary, you could have the chance to visit some typical village on the bank to understand more about the local life by the vein of Burma. Furthermore, if you take on the cruises with Paukan (RV Paukan, RV Irrawaddy Voyager I, Irrawaddy Explorer...) you are contributing directly to local business and furthermore help the life of the people in the country.

Sights along the river

Though despite being the top selling itineraries on our website, the cruise between Mandalay and Bagan is definitely not the only one that is worth doing. There are various others that you should definitely consider because the longer the cruises the better as you will surely enjoy every moment on board and time surely flies by. 

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