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Fabulous Avalon Waterways Irrawaddy trip
We just returned from a wonderful Myanmar, Irrawaddy river cruise with Avalon. This was top notch, first class, and beyond expectations. We did the Southern trip flying to Bhamo from Yangon and ending in Yangon. Incredible crew, tours of villages (some very primative), lovely rooms with wall if windows. Great food. The boat was made for Irrawaddy, so could handle the low water levels etc. Burmese people are wonderful. The political situation is difficult, but having said that the people in the villages we visited were from many minorities. There was not a military presence in that area.
Date of Posting: 03 January 2018
Posted By: PalmSpringsReb
RV Paukan 2012 - Surpassed my expectations
Whilst the exact mooring point, in Mandalay, seemed unclear my guide found it pretty quickly and my bags were whisked away as I was ushered on board.
The ship immediately struck me as being beautifully constructed and I settled in, with welcome drink in hand, and looked forward to the 2 day/night trip ahead, to Bagan.
I was delighted by my spacious cabin. It was comfortable and very pleasantly decorated. The bathroom, too, was very nice and the shower cubicle made mine, at home, look very plain! I was also pleased to see that the toiletries were in dispensers rather than little plastic bottles.
The staff were extremely friendly and helpful, quickly referring to me by name. I was impressed by the food, both in terms of variety and quality, with dinner being a highlight.
The excursions and on-board entertainment were diverse and very professionally organised.
I left the ship feeling that the trip had been all too brief and I pondered whether to seek out a longer trip with them in the future.
Date of Posting: 20 December 2017
Posted By: rthomp4435
London, United Kingdom
Loved the Paukan 2012!
Amazing! We had hoped to get on the Orient Express (Belmond) boat but the dates didn’t work for us so we chose the Paukan instead. 3 days from Mandalay to Bagan.
We were so delighted with the boat and the trip and really pleased with our choice. It’s not the luxury level of Belmond but is every bit of the experience we were after.
Fabulous boat. Rooms are lovely and extremely comfortable. Bar area a lovely place to hang out outdoors with shade. Top deck a lovely place to get sun and/or full 360 views.
Surprisingly good wine selection - 3 sparkling, 6-8 whites and the same reds. Tried most of them and nearly all were excellent and well priced.
Amazing food (except the bread). Best local salads of the trip. Overall everything great choice and variety.
Thaw is a great host and tour guide. All staff super friendly and helpful.
We were lucky as there were 13 guests and more than double the staff on board.
Great excursions including Mingun and Sagaing.
Would highly recommend this to anyone!!!
Date of Posting: 20 December 2017
Posted By: il1ke2travel
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
We enjoyed a 10-day cruise from Mandalay to Prome/Pyay (followed by a drive to Yangon). It is one of the most fascinating and unforgettable experiences we have had. The boat takes you to parts of Myanmar you otherwise wouldn't see. Of course the cruise includes amazing Bagan - but equally memorable are the pot-making and weaving villages, the off-the-beaten-track Buddhist sites - and the people - everywhere we met we were met with smiles and waves and offers of snacks in people's homes - how heartening this was when compared to our busy, bustling, glued-to-mobile-phone Western existence. (We were unfortunately disappointed by the actual boat experience - the Irrawaddy Explorer - way below par - but that's another story)
Date of Posting: 16 April 2017
Posted By: IntrepidHector
Granada, Spain
1 Night cruise from Mandalay to Bagan with Paukan Boats
We enjoyed our 24 hours on Paukan.
Boarding and disembarking was a bit of an adventure, given that the rise and fall of the river over a year, precludes permanent jetties. But it was like being transported back in time, to tramp across an expanse of river sand, then enter the boat via a rickety gangplank.
The boat is very comfortable and the cabins, though small, are perfectly agreeable for the night.
There is plenty of public space to relax in during the day, or you can just sit on your bedroom balcony and watch the scenery drift by . I should say that the scenery is "bland" as the river is just winding across a very wide plain.
The one criticism I had was that there was only 1 table for two people, the rest were all larger shared tables. A little planning could have yielded up 4 or 5 tables for 2, which would have been much more acceptable to the passengers.
There was one stop at a village where they made pots for water.That was interesting
And after dinner we watch the film "The Lady" about the life of Aung San Su Kyi. I enjoyed this, but only about 10% of the passengers watched it.
This cruise was a good way to enter Bagan and made a change from road trips across Myanmar. I have no idea how this company compares with other river cruise boat operators, but I happily recommend Paukan
Date of Posting: 02 April 2017
Posted By: moraira
RV Paukan 2012 - Mandalay to Bagan
We spent two nights on the boat cruising down from Mandalay to Bagan with various stops in between. The boat is lovely and the staff were extremely helpful. The food on board was exceptional at all meals with a wide range of choices.

This is a great way to see Burma and how life goes on around the River. With several interesting stops and excursions this was a real highlight of the trip.
Date of Posting: 29 March 2017
Posted By: Derek D
Lechlade, United Kingdom
Rv Paukan 2007
We cruised from Mandalay to Bagan along the Irrawaddy river. This boutique hotel on the river is beautifully furnished. We had one night aboard the vessel which included all meals and complimentary cocktails before dinner. the maximum number of passengers is 55 and these are looked after by 30 crew. After lunch we disembarked at Yandabo village to see pot making in progress
Date of Posting: 25 March 2017
Posted By: ioan_wilson
Newtown, United Kingdom
RV Paukan 2012 :- Wonderful cruise boat from Mandalay to Bagan
This is a beautiful boat belonging to the Ayravata Cruise Company with only 18 cabins and a crew who could not have been more friendly. We cruised from Mandalay to Bagan and were sadly only on the boat for one night. This cruise ship has a delightful old fashioned flair to it but has every possible amenity. The cabins were spacious and the bathroom a masterpiece of maximum comfort in minimal room. The food served in the old fashioned dining room, was divine, some of the best I have had in Myanmar. In the evening the film The Lady was shown about Aung San Suu Kyi which was an excellent way to bring to those, who did not know much about Myanmar's history, a basic idea of what this country has been through. During the night the boat was moored and the following morning we arrived in Bagan. I could easily ahve spent several more days on this boat and on the Irrawaddy River
Date of Posting: 23 March 2017
Posted By: Hitchcock2
Avalon Myanmar Bagan to Bhamo
This river cruise really does deliver beyond expectations.
The Avalon Myanmar is only 2 years old and was designed especially to cruise the Irrawaddy and with a draft of only just over a meter it can go where others fear to venture. It is comfortable bordering towards luxury and the staff are a joy. Fun attentive caring and ever watchful. Whilst guests are disembarking along sometimes steep steps sometimes uneven or muddy river banks they will always have an eye out and a helping hand. We made many stops along the river wandering up to markets monasteries villages and multiple Pagodas Buddha's and the amazing Bagan. Always with a view of the ever changing life along the river. Elephants working the teak, bamboo rafts with people living on them as they pass down river, wash day, fishing boats, teeming local life.
The boat wasn't full on our cruise only 25 it will take 36 but it is spacious with plenty of room in the lounge dining room and sundeck you never feel comprised for space.
The food was good with an interesting mix of local dishes and western cuisine. I tended towards local as the kitchen seemed more confident with these but all were good quality ingredients and the wines flowed freely. Once again the staff in the dining room were exceptional. Many highly qualified in sciences business and languages but apparently the money is in hospitality.
Mark our cruise director a New Zealander has been working with Avalon for a number of years developing new routes had designed the basis of this cruise and with Dorothy the local guide (obviously not her real name) had a wealth of information and local contacts that enabled us to visit homes workshops villages schools monasteries and take us really off the tourist track. We also watched a couple of good films about recent history and events in Myanmar in the ships lounge popcorn included giving a good background of the uprising leading to the current democratic elections. Dorothy could act as our interpreter and chat to local children stall holders and families. The people are very friendly and quite curious both of the boat and the foreign visitors. She even helped out with the erratic ATMs that were rare and often out of order.
We saw some stunning sights sunset over Bagan. A wealth of golden Pagodas we rode in oxcarts travelled in the local lorry transport watched monks visiting the village houses collecting alms and in the North the effects of the proximity of the Chinese border.
A wealth of unforgettable experiences that we could never have achieved on our own all from the luxury of your floating hotel.
incidentally the Hotel in Yangon where we had 3nts before the cruise was the Shangri-La a good chain and perfect base to see the city.
We were the only Brits taking this cruise Canadians Hong Kong and mainly USA If you interested in Myanmar and the East don't miss this marvelous experience.
Date of Posting: 12 March 2017
Posted By: lj4312uk
Frinton-On-Sea, United Kingdom
Avalon River Cruises in Myanmar
Just Returned from travelling south to north on an Avalon River Cruise. Our cruise director Dorothy was truely amazing. She embraced the Burmese culture and shared with us her natural therapies and many other wonderful things. She also did a lot of translating when we needed to know something or to buy handcrafts etc.
From the moment we boarded the ship until the day we left we all had the best time ever. Unbelievable sights to see as you cruise along the river from the comfort of a brand new purpose built ship that had every imaginable comfort you could want. I also loved the Loccotane product they had on board. What made the trip so enjoyable was the amazing staff on board. Thank you Avalon for one of the best river cruises ever
Date of Posting: 13 January 2017
Posted By: HelenOppy
Sydney, Australia

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