The Irrawaddy River is the spine of Myanmar. Pretty much dividing the country in half and emptying into the Andaman Sea, people east and west of it are highly dependent on it. A considerable amount of goods and traffic move up and down the river and its waters provide irrigation for farmers and fish for fishermen. And don’t forget the abundance of plant and animal life around the river, including being the home for the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin (yes, you made the connection between the two).
Let’s throw in some numbers and facts about the river, so you can get a slight grasp of its importance to Myanmar and its people. It practically flows in a north-south direction, totaling about 2,170 kilometers in length. Its drainage area covers about 413,000 square kilometers covering over 60% of the entire country. The Irrawaddy originates at the confluence of the Mali Hka and N’Mai Hka rivers in Kachin State. Both rivers owe its existence to the mountains of the Southeast Himalaya Range. The biodiversity of the river is not yet fully realized, but a discovery of over 70 fish species, four known endemic bird areas in the basin and a new species of hill stream catfish was discovered not too long ago.
First thing’s first. Don’t get confused! If you see signs mentioning the Ayeyarwady River, it is the Irrawaddy River. It’s just another way of spelling it. Just cruising along the Irrawaddy and observing the slow and laid back pace of the villagers and farmers is enough to make you feel relaxed as well. You’ll also see children running up and down the banks and swimming in the waters, family women going about their daily riverbank routines and oxcarts cultivating the rice fields. This is how the Burmese live.
Your exploration of the Irrawaddy also include cultural and historical sites. See temples and pagodas majestically rise above the nearby green trees. And the cultural/historical experience does not get much better than this when you approach Bagan via river cruise.
Looking to explore Burma? There’s not a better way to do it than with an Irrawaddy River journey. Exotissimo’s Irrawaddy Exclusive Cruise tour is your ticket to an exclusive experience on this scenic river and a memorable Myanmar experience.
Get it touch
Take adventage of