The Strand Cruise - Mandalay to Bagan
Traveling on the timeless and exotic Irrawaddy River is one of the best ways to see Myanmar. While drifting down the river you’ll see countless ancient pagodas dotting tree topped hills, thatched houses on stilts, and some of the friendliest locals with beaming smiles. There are several ways to explore the river, and if you’ve got the means, you should definitely consider the Strand Cruise. They’ve brought all the luxury and renowned service of the Strand Hotel in Yangon on to the water in the form of a cruise.
The moment you enter the cruise ship, you’re immediately greeted by the smiling and professional staff. Designed with a light and lovely color palette, the cabins have a nice leafy tropical feel to them. There are even floor to ceiling sliding glass windows to let you soak in the sights of the river. Adorning the deck are gorgeous white peacock chairs and comfortable padded sofas perfect for sipping on Strand Sours made fresh at the Sarkies Bar.
Free pressings of all your clothes to get all those suitcase wrinkles out.
Enjoy complimentery daily morning coffee delivered with a view of the sleepy Irrawaddy River.
With design cues taken from the Strand Hotel in Yangon - the bathroom is beautifully appointed with teak wood and fine marble touches.
Some of the views you’ll see from the comfort of your own room.
Or enjoy afternoon tea under the basking glow of the warm Myanmar sunset.
If the Burmese sun is a bit too much for you, take a dip in the pool.
There are framed pieces of art all over the ship, showcasing local talent.
The Sarkies Bar, with its teakwood furniture and beautiful floral rugs, will be a place you’ll find yourself in the afternoons and for cocktail hour. The bartenders really know their stuff and can make you some really fantastic drinks!
The highlight of the Strand Cruise, other than its fantastic crew, is the excellently prepared food. They have themes for each meal ranging from French, Burmese, Mediterranean, and Thai. I wasn’t expecting to have a decadent foie gras meal one night and then perfectly cooked Chilean Sea Bass the next. Also, the pastry team on the Cruise served up some of the most authentic croissants, baguettes, and apple pastries I’ve had. We couldn’t stop eating them in the mornings!
All the food served at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea is complimentary. You can also order as much as you like. Careful though - I definitely overate more than once because the food was so good!
At each stop, you’ll be taken for private tours guided by friendly and knowledgeable locals. Some of the highlights of the tours included the Mingun white temple, open air temples of Ava, the magnificent U-Bein Bridge, and the Bagan temple landscape.
There are two options - a 3 night cruise departing from Mandalay or a 4 night cruise departing from Bagan. They also offer unique cruise schedules for classical music lovers, families, and photographers. You can check the themed schedule here and the rates for the cruise here.
Hope to see you on the river drinking a cocktail at sunset!