Travelling from Mandalay to Bagan By Boat Along the Irrawaddy River

To experience the Myanmar countryside, we decided to travel from Mandalay to Bagan by a 10 hour boat ride through the company MGRG Express (also known as Pioneer Cruises Travels & Tours).  I really don’t prefer boatrides because I’m squeamish about getting seasick, but eveything I read prior to booking suggested that the sailing was smooth.

Myanmar Flag at the Back of the Boat
Myanmar Flag at the Back of the Boat

We made our initial bookings via email a month before the trip and confirmed via email.

We have operate February is daily.Price is $42(per person). Including Breakfast, Lunch, Evening Coffee with snack. Check in 6:30 am, Departure 7:00 am. Arrival time to Bagan is may be 4:00 or 4:30 pm. You can book by e-mail. Please let me know your hotel in Mandalay. We have ticket delivery service.We accept Dollar or Local Money(Kyat).

When we arrived at our hotel in Mandalay,  we let our reception desk know we were expecting.  We gave them USD, although the local currency of Kyat is also accepted, and everything was taken care of.

Boarding the Boat to Bagan from the Jetty in Mandalay
Boarding the Boat to Bagan from the Jetty in Mandalay

The next morning, departure was 7am in the morning from the jetty in Mandalay.  There wasn’t assigned seating so passengers who arrived first reserved their seats by putting their jackets or books on the chair.  We were fortunate to get seats together, even if it was the very back of the boat, without a roof over our heads.  Because we were at the back of the boat, it was super windy. My boyfriend ended up bringing his sleeping bag to our seats and covering his entire body with it!

The view was good, the sailing was smooth, but ten hours is a long journey!  I probably should have spent more time talking to the other passengers but instead I spent a lot of time reading my Lonely Planet Myanmar book – especially that section in the front about the history of Myanmar.  The simple meals they served broke up the monotony of the trip.  A breakfast box was served with a banana, pastry and hardboiled egg.  Lunch was simple and typical Burmese cuisine: chicken, rice, and vermacilli.

Views Along the Irrawaddy River
Views Along the Irrawaddy River
Burmese Cuisine: Chicken, Rice, and Vermacilli
Lunch was Typical Burmese Cuisine: Chicken, Rice, and Vermacilli.

All the passengers on the boat seemed to want to be on the upper deck, but down below, there were actually big, comfy, reclining seats.  We spent the last two hours of the trip down below reclined on the seats and napping.

When we finally arrived at Bagan at around 4pm, we were happy to be back on dry land and begin the next portion of our trip!

If you have an extra day to spare in and want to take a break from flying or bussing, I recommend the Mandalay to Bagan boat trip with MGRG Express.  We paid $42 USD per person, and the trip included breakfast, lunch, and tea and coffee.

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