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We' re planning an organized trip through Burma next year. We' d also like to go back to England via Hong Kong so we can see our subsidiary. It is best to travel from November to March when the climate is mild, with maximum day temperatures around 28°C and average low temperatures at 15°C at night. 2.
We' re not all going to be able to respond, but we' re going to do our best.
The Irrawaddy River, Burma: Journey of a lifetime
The Irrawaddy in Burma (Myanmar), also known as Ayeyarwady, has an exceptional timberline. Irrawaddy halves Burma, rises between the Himalayas' ice caps and flows 1,348 leagues through a vast flood plains into the Indian Ocean. The majority of our cruise trips begin in Mandalay and go either southwards to Bagan or northwards to Katha.
But when the rapids are high and racial tension is low, some vessels continue to Bhamo near the China frontier. Every time on the riverbank begins with the sounds of chants from the abbeys by the water, certainly one of the most wonderful wake-up cries in the run. The Irrawaddy is a good half metre in width and only a few metres in depth in its centre, its water whirls around sandy isles, where peanut and seeds are planted by peasants and their women hurl the family's laundry against the sheer cliff.
Closer to the bank, the paddleboats romp around like wooden boat. Mandalay-Bagan is a route full of culture riches, among them several former imperial capital cities. One of the most imposing World Heritage sites in Asia, Bagan is the Great Finale: more than 2,000 churches, convents and palagodas that have been constructed by delusions of grandeur since the 9th cent.
Fewer visitors drive upriver from Mandalay, but there is much to be rewarded, with more quality travel to towns like Nwe Nyein, where potter with the lightness of years of practicing make 50 gallon pans on hand-turned bikes. Upstate is Katha, the scene of the Burmese Days, George Orwell's devastating assault on the Imperium, built on his days here as a police officer.
Across Katha the stream constricts to flow through a row of "defiles" echoing with the babbling of fowl and gibbon in seldom orchid-tree. When you are fortunate, you will see a few dolphins that play in the backwaters of the boat. Exploring this headwaters means travelling back in history.
October-March is the best period when the flow level and air moisture are lower. 30 hrs, arrival in Yangon at 8.50 hrs; travel about 15 hrs via Bangkok. Probably the most frequented part of the stream is from Bagan to Katha. Travel agencies can adapt the lengthening of the cruises.
From Mandalay you can reach the Sagaing, Inwa (Ava) and Amarapura cities by cab, if you are not interested in cruises on rivers. Choose the Bagan and Upper Irrawaddy route, which includes the villages of Burma and Orwell's Katha in addition to the classical sights: From £3,595 per night full fare per adult onward.
Magnificent 40-cabins to Mandalay via Belemond Road (0845 077 2222; belemond. Booking a trip on either of the two Belemond ships before the end of October will entitle you to a free two-night stay at Yangon's best resort, the Belem Governor's Residence, and a $100 (£65) balance on the boat. From £2,795 b&b per night per person, per three-star accommodation, UK included.
Between Mandalay and Bagan there are daily ferries. The Irrawaddy's long distances are often congested and get bogged down on sandbanks. Rivers flow quickly, especially in the fall, so the choice of a down stream ferry gives more choice at the locations. Before your stay, you should reserve a warm aeroplane over Bagan to secure a place.
On all departures from Pandaw and Belmond Road to Mandalay there are no additional staterooms. Thant Myint-U's River of Lost Steps explores Burma's past. The Burmese Days of George Orwell are inspired by his experience in Katha. The Sacredites of Burma by Donald M. Stadtner is an excellent introductory guide to the Buddhist places along the Irrawaddy.