The Irrawaddy River

Sail the Irrawaddy River of Myanmar

Ports-of-Call on the Irrawaddy River

Here you can find a list of some of the more common river cruise ports along the Irrawaddy River as it flows through Myanmar.  These may be the most common, but there may be others that can be found on select river cruises.  Your River Cruise Artist can provide you with the full itinerary and all ports for any river cruise that you may be interested in, on any river cruise operator. Explore the Irrawaddy River further and learn more about it’s ports-of-call.



Bagan is an ancient city in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar. From the 9th to 13th centuries, Bagan was the capital of the Pagan Kingdom, the first kingdom that unified the regions that would later form modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s reign over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains. Today the remains of over 2,200 temples and pagodas still survive. Favorites to visit are the Ananda Temple, Bupaya Pagoda, the gold tipped Lawkananda Pagoda, the Shwesandaw Pagoda, and many others. The Bagan Archeological Museum and the Anawrahta’s Palace today hold countless treasures to explore.



Bhamo is a small city in the Kachin State in the northernmost region of Myanmar on the Irrawaddy or Ayeyarwady River. It lies just 40 miles south of the border with Yunnan Province, China. The population of Bhamo consists of Chinese and Shan, with the native Kachin people living in the hills around the town. Not all Myanmar River cruises reach as far north as Bhamo but if you are fortunate to explore this quaint and historic town you won’t be disappointed. This northern region of the Irrawaddy is often considered the most scenic.



Magway is the capital city of Magway Region of Myanmar, and sits on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. The Myathalun Pagoda, or ‘Jade Thorne Pagoda’, is the most prominent site in the town and is located just north of the city. The local legend is that the Jade Throne was enshrined by two ogre brothers in the ancient times. As such, the flowery patterns on the side of the pagoda are carved into faces of ogres and garlands. Magway Region is an agricultural region that is famous for its cultivation of sesame and many kinds of nuts, that you will find in the markets and farm stands throughout the town.



Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Myanmar, formerly Burma. Located north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River near the confluence with the Chindwin River, the city today has a population of about 1.3 million residents. Mandalay is the economic center of Upper Burma and considered the center of Burmese culture. A continuing influx of Chinese immigrants, mostly from Yunnan, has reshaped the city’s ethnic makeup and increased commerce with China. There is evidence throughout of colonial British occupation from the 1880’s through the 1940’s. Around the city you will find culturally rich treasures like the Atumashi Monastery, Buddha’s Replica Tooth Relic Pagoda, Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay Palace and the Mahamuni Buddha Temple.



Mingun is a town in Sagaing Township of Sagaing Region, in northwest Myanmar. The city is just a few miles north on the Irrawaddy or Ayeyarwady River on the west bank from Mandalay. Its main attraction is the ruined Mingun Pahtodawgyi. The Pahtodawgyi temple is an uncompleted stupa began by King Bodawpaya in 1790. It was not completed due to an astrologer claiming that, once the temple was finished, the king would die. The completed stupa would have been the largest in the world at 490 ft. Huge cracks are visible on the structure from the earthquake of 1839. King Bodawpaya also had a gigantic bell cast to go with his large stupa. The Mingun Bell weighing 90 tons, is today the largest ringing bell in the world. The Myatheindan pagoda is also a sight worth visiting.



Pyay, also known as Prome or Payagyi, is a town of Pyay Township in the Bago Region of Myanmar. Pyay is located on the Irrawaddy River about 160 miles northwest of Yangon. The British Irrawaddy Flotilla Company established the current town in the late 19th century on the Irrawaddy as a point for cargo transfer between Upper and Lower Burma. The hilltop Shwesandaw Pagoda, in the towns center, is one of Myanmar’s largest pilgrimage sites and offers amazing views of the Irrawaddy and its surroundings. Also found nearby is the UNESCO World Heritage site Pyu, the ancient capital of Sri Ksetra and the unique Akauk Taung, of Customs Hill, Buddha cliff carvings, also on the Irrawaddy river.



Sale of Salay developed near Bagan in the 12th and 13th centuries and is still an important religious center. Sale features 50 active Buddhist monasteries, including the Yokesone Monastery, as well as Bagan-era monuments like the Man Buddha Image. Sale is also a center for lacquerware manufacturing that you can find throughout the markets of the town. Sale is a small agricultural town on the Irrawaddy where you can interact with the local people and enjoy the peaceful and welcoming feeling that the town elicits.



Thayetmyo or Thayet is a small city in Thayet District of the Magway Region in central Myanmar. It is a port town on the right bank of the Irrawaddy River, across and just south of Allanmyo, between Pyay and Magway that you are likely also to visit. This former colonial town on the Irrawaddy is home to quaint colonial era buildings, a popular covered market area, and a war cemetery where Turkish and other prisoners of war were laid to rest. The people of Thayetmyo are welcoming and warm and the local interaction here will be a highlight of your river cruise journey.



Yandabo is a small village on the Irrawaddy River in Myingyan Township of central Burma. Yandabo is known in history as the location where The Treaty of Yandabo was signed that ended the First Anglo-Burmese War in 1826. Today Yandabo is known for its pottery making. For local villagers the pottery is a necessity in life for storing water and food. Explore this small riverside town and interact with the Burmese people and shop their pottery wares in the local markets.



Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is the capital of the Yangon Region of southern Myanmar. Yangon served as the capital of Myanmar until 2006, when the military government relocated the capital to the city of Naypyidaw in central Myanmar. Yangon is Myanmar’s largest city and its most important commercial center. The city boasts the largest number of colonial-era buildings in Southeast Asia, and has a unique colonial-era urban center. The center of Yangon features the Sule Pagoda, which is thought to be over 2,000 years old. Yangon also offers the gilded and famous Shwedagon Buddhist Pagoda which is Myanmar’s most sacred. The mausoleum of the last Mughal Emperor is located in Yangon, where he had been exiled following the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

Your Irrawaddy River Cruise Awaits!

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