Last updated: 09:00 AM ET, Wed June 29 2016

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  • Art Kramer | June 29, 2016 9:00 AM ET

    6 Reasons To Experience Myanmar By Boat

    6 Reasons To Experience Myanmar By Boat

    PHOTO: As you cruise the Irrawaddy, visit remote communities where you can be sure what you see and experience is how local people really live.

    The Irrawaddy flows through the heart of Myanmar, with some of the country’s most iconic sights lining its banks.

    Here, Insider Journeys shares our top 6 reasons why experiencing Myanmar by boat is so special, with insider tips and insight from our teams who have enjoyed this remarkable journey for themselves.

    1. A window onto real life

    Wherever you go in Burma, the warmth of the local people will astound you. However, when you visit remote communities along the Irrawaddy, who perhaps see only a handful of Western visitors a month, their excitement and keenness to meet and interact with travelers is all the more special. When you visit remote riverside communities, you can be sure what you see and experience is how the local people really live – nothing is put on for visitors. Paul, from the Insider Journeys UK office, explains this phenomenon:

    “Cruising shows you a different side of a country. Seen from the river, where people have far less exposure to tourists, the interaction with the local people (especially the children) is a much more genuine and memorable experience” – Paul, Insider Journeys UK

    2. Get off the beaten track

    There are many remote locations in Myanmar totally cut off from the outside world, and only accessible from the water. Cruising the Irrawaddy allows access to the real Myanmar, and to visit communities and sights unreachable to the majority of tourists. Places like Hpowindaung, a unique Buddhist cave complex, and Yandabo, a picturesque community famed for its incredible pottery, are unlikely to make it onto the itineraries of land-based travelers, but can be reached from the river with ease.

    3. See the sights from a different perspective

    Myanmar is home to countless incredible sights, from the temple-strewn plans of Bagan, to the glittering Shwedagon Pagoda, but few get to see these incredible places from the water. River cruising enables you to gain a new perspective on iconic sights, as Liz from Insider Journeys USA found when she visited last year:

    “The highlight in Myanmar for me was spending a day around the temples of Bagan and then getting to see them all dotted along the river banks as we sailed onwards, to see them from that perspective was really something. Plus you can view it all from the comfort of your cabin or from the top deck or even when in the pool!” – Liz, Insider Journeys USA

    SEE MORE: The Insider Experience

    4. Spend time sightseeing, not packing

    If you want to see and experience everything Myanmar has to offer, moving from place to place daily, but equally you dread the thought of packing and unpacking every day, then river cruising is for you! Why waste valuable time checking into and out of hotels, when you could be out exploring the country? On an Irrawaddy cruise, these quandaries disappear; you unpack once, and spend the rest of your time getting under the skin of your destination.

    5. Relax, everything is taken care of

    On a Myanmar river cruise, you can relax and enjoy your vacation, safe in the knowledge that everything from touring and excursions, to meals and entertainment, is taken care of. Drinking and dining on board our cruises is included – no dashing back to your cabin to grab your wallet, no deliberating over which restaurant to choose – you can simply sit back and watch the world go by from the riverbank.

    6. Get to know your hosts

    Instead of moving from hotel to hotel, on a river cruise you will get to know the on-board staff and crew personally by the end of your stay. Not only will you quickly be on first-name terms, but they will be able to deliver impeccable service without even asking, from knowing your favorite aperitif, to being able to recommend a dish from the menu that they think you might enjoy!

    This blog originally appeared on Insider Journeys’ website.


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Art Kramer More Than a Vacation

Art is a veteran travel writer.
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