Myanmar and Thailand
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River Irrawaddy, known locally as the Ayeyarwady River

Our 1000km cruise combined scenic interest with a study of local life and culture. From the legendary city of Mandalay with its royal palaces, we cruised to the famous historic city of Bagan and many places well off the tourist trail and well removed from modern life to finally dock at Yangon.


The Thrurgau Exotic II is a traditional two-deck flat bottomed riverboat that accommodates 26 passengers with spacious teak twin-bedded cabins and a large bathroom. During the voyage we tasted Mandalay and Thai dishes including daily delicate soups, very mildly spiced curried dishes and flavoursome salads. After our trips ashore we were greeted with a cool drink and flannel. Our shoes lined the corridor and were cleaned overnight for us. The staff were excellent, caring to our every need with a smile


During our cruise we saw 3 films and one theatre

‘The Lady’ – a story of Aung San Suu Kyi, the woman at the core of Burma’s democracy movement,  and her husband.

Sea Gipsies of Myanmar.

Life of Buddha

Puppet theatre performance


Onboard presentations:

Burmese traditions and culture

Myanmar way of life


Exotic fruits and vegetables and traditional Burmese medicine.

Cooking a Burmese curry

Preparing a traditional Tea leave salad

Irrawaddy – Myanmar’s River of Spirit

Cocktails and napkin creations


Irrawaddy Delta and Twnte Canal

As we neared Yangon we sailed to the confluence of the Irrawaddy and Yangon Rivers, then continued through the 35km Twante Canal, opened in 1883 as shortcut between Yangon and the river Irrawaddy. It is difficult to navigate due to silting but there are future plans to put in concrete embankments.

One of the most unusual sights was the amazing stone carvings at the Cliffs of A Kauk Taung - At the end of the 2nd Anglo-Burmese war, Myanmar and British toll-posts were situated side-by-side on A Kauk Taung (toll-hill in Myanmar language). All boatmen had to pay tax to both posts. All sailing boats anchored close by the hill and waited till the whirlpool ceased, which could sometimes be one week. The sailors prayed by carving Buddha images on the steep cliff during that period.


Myanmar’s River of Spirit , the Irrawaddy River, is
the principal river of Myanmar, running about 1,350 miles (2,170 km) from north to south through the centre of the country. It is about 1,350 miles (2,170 km) and is Myanmar’s most important commercial waterway. The river flows wholly within the territory of Myanmar with its total drainage area is about 158,700 square miles (411,000 square km). It is formed by the confluence of the Nmai and Mali rivers with both branches rising in the glaciers of the high and remote mountains in northern Myanmar.


About 30 miles (50 km) south of the confluence is Myitkyina the northernmost limit of seasonal navigation by the Irrawaddy steamers. It is here that there is controversy over the building of a dam, which would be the 15th largest in the world. It will flood 766sq km and 47 villages. In June 2013 it was put on hold until the next elections due to fighting in the area between the Kachin Independence Organisation and Burmese Government. There are 20,000 ethnic Kachin people and it would destroy their sacred sites. However, 700 Chinese labourers recommenced work in July and is moving ahead at a fast pace. 60% of the power will be directed into China. This is one of seven planned dams.


Between Myitkyina and Mandalay, the Irrawaddy flows through three well-marked defiles (narrow passages or gorges). The water variation is between 9.66 and 1.37 metres with the highest in August and lowest in February.