The Irrawaddy is becoming increasingly popular as Burma (or Myanmar), the new hot spot, opens up more to tourism. Flowing relatively straight north to south through Burma, the Irrawaddy is sometimes referred to as ‘The Road to Mandalay’, after Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem. River life is vibrant, from rare Irrawaddy dolphins to locals producing candy from the sap of toddy palm trees, and the landscape along the riverbanks is dotted with charming villages and thousands of pagodas and stupas, particularly across the plains of Bagan. Popular cruises sail between Mandalay and Yangon (Rangoon), and the best time of year would be between November and March.

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