The International Steam Pages

Luxury Irrawaddy River Cruise, 2006

A gentle cruise down the Irrawaddy from Katha to Mandalay evokes all sorts of romantic images:

The reality depends on whether you have 'been there, done it and got the T-shirt'.... Alas, I have seen thousands of beautiful pagodas (complete and ruined) and almost as many beautiful sunsets. I have seen clear night skies from the summits of volcanoes in Java and from the comfort of our country house near the Great Wall north of Beijing. However, I do confess that a fleeting glimpse of a pair of Irrawaddy dolphins as we passed Mingun (second picture above) was rather special.

Take one modern boat, lovingly built to the highest possible international standards...

and ask the Burmese to road test it and make a few modifications to make it suitable for local conditions:

State of the art sonar depth detector to avoid the sandbanks:

Special roll on/roll off freight facilities:

Flexible access for passengers, extortionately priced cabins for the lucky(?) early bookers above:

Well designed 'open plan' seating and sleeping space:

Hygienic kitchen, with rapid waste disposal:


Snack bar:

Self catering facilities:

Even install a library:

Snake's eye view of the well used toilet:

Seriously, what cannot be shown is the friendliness of the people (especially the crew) on the boat, one of whom searched high and low to produce two well worn blankets when it was clear we were not sufficiently prepared for the cold nights on the river. Breakfast was a snip at U$0.30 each:

Please, never lose your sense of humour even if the boat turned up originally 32 hours late and you have just been told you will spend a second night attached to a sandbank.  As the brochure would say, three days and two nights for just U$ 7 each (food and drink extra) is a bargain. I will spare you the bruises on my back from trying to sleep 3mm above a vibrating steel plate ....


More like this of my oddball lifestyle?

Click here for Another Luxury Irrawaddy River Cruise

Click here for Climb Every Mountain.

Click here for a House in the Country.

These are the individual (stationary steam engine) pages from the 2006 trip:

Read more about our travels in Burma:

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson