Myanmar: On the Road to Mandalay

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Mingalarbar! I’m now on a wonderful river cruise run by Pandaw. The boats are flat bottomed to allow for the shallow river during the dry winter months (Oct to Mar) and are made of teak in Myanmar. They are based on the original boats used by the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company (est 1865) and were the main transport vehicles used on the river in what was then British Burma – hence the Irrawaddy or more correctly Ayeyarwady, was called the “Road to Mandalay”. The river starts in Kachin State, with its longest inlet and source coming from the Himalayas in south-eastern Tibet. It is about 2170 kms long and bisects the country from north to south, eventually empting through nine deltas into the Andaman Sea and Indian Ocean. We travelled upstream; departing from Yangon and slowly made our way north to Mandalay.

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