Our journey by riverboat from Bagan to Mandalay was one journey we were really looking forward to.
We chose Malikha River Cruises for the journey down the Ayeyarwaddy River to Mandalay.
Up at 4.30am for our departure from our hotel in Bagan – The Bagan Umbra. The boat was due to depart at 6am.
We arrived at an empty field before the sun rose where we could see our river boat in the distance. The crew jumped out of the boat to take our luggage up the wooden gang plank. In the field a small shop was selling snacks and drinks for the journey, we stopped and picked up a few bags of snacks and some water.
The boat departed early at 5.30 with 5 passengers only on board – no locals just 5 tourists. There seemed to be more crew than passengers on this journey.
The website stated that a continental breakfast would be served on board after departure. Our breakfast turned out to be a cup of coffee only.
As the sun was rising we had the spectacular view of seeing the hot air balloons of Balloons over Bagan take off and soar over the temples of Bagan. We had travelled with them a few days before and would recommend this trip if you are ever in Bagan.
The journey down the river is slow, rhythmic and very calming. Five of us sharing 100 seats meant that we could be inside the cabin during the hottest part of the day and outside at sunrise and sunset. Having less passengers made it easier for us to take photos from all angles.
Stupas, bamboo huts, orchards and beautiful scenery line the banks of the river. The river comes to life with dug out canoes and fishing boats that mingle with other more luxurious steamers that sail past us slowly with passengers raising their hands in greeting.
Lunch was cooked by the crew and a choice of two dishes were available. Jane is a vegetarian and neither of the dishes were meat free, luckily we had stocked up on a few snacks. The cost of the dishes was 3000 kyat each. (USD3.00)
Out of three toilets on board only one worked, it wasn’t a problem for the five of us but we are not sure how the system would have coped with a lot more passengers.
We arrived into Mandalay at sunset but it took us a further hour to reach the riverbank where we disembarked. There was a scramble by taxi drivers to offer their services. Our taxi driver grabbed our two bags, carried them up the high bank and loaded them in the back of a utility vehicle. There were two seats in the front cabin which were taken up with the driver and one of his children. We were told to jump into the back with our suitcases for the very dusty and dirty ride into town to the Smart Hotel. Our taxi ride was 15,000 kyat.(USD15)
Cost of our Journey from Bagan to Mandalay
Cost of the river boat USD40 per person
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