“Come you back to Mandalay. Where the old Flotilla lay: Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay? On the road to Mandalay, Where the flyin’ fishes play.” – Rudyard Kipling
Launched in 2015, the Strand Irrawaddy River Cruise incorporates the impeccable standards of the historic Strand Hotel in Yangon into a private cruise which transports up to 56 passengers between Mandalay and Bagan along the mystical waterways of the Ayeyarwady River. With itineraries of three or four nights, the cruise offers all the features passengers would expect from the Strand, from flawless service and gourmet cuisine to comfortable accommodation and daily excursions along the way. The cruise continues the Strand’s tradition of serving as a meeting place for explorers and raconteurs.
Kipling was a regular guest at the Strand in Yangon. If the Strand Cruise would have been on offer during Kipling’s time I think he would have enjoyed it immensely, as did we.
The Strand Irrawaddy River Cruise
After several relaxing days at the Strand Yangon, we took a quick flight up to Mandalay to meet up with the Strand Irrawaddy River Cruise team for our departure.
The Irrawaddy is described as Myanmar’s lifeline. The river starts its journey at the top of the snow-capped Himalayas then flows through roughly 960 miles, passing through the center of Myanmar, finally throwing itself into the Andaman Sea. Hundreds, if not thousands, of temples, stupas, and nats line its banks, many keeping the legends and folklore alive of how the waterway came to be.