There is something romantic about a river – whether it’s the tree canopy of the Amazon, bearing birds and reptiles, bending low to kiss the water, or the never-ending hard current of the Mississippi, moving boats and men and ink from the pens of Twain and Faulkner.
Travelers have been drawn to them for thousands of years, and while looking at a river from its banks is lovely, to live on the currents for a week or more is the journey of a lifetime.
Here are seven of the world’s best riverboat journeys:
The Irrawaddy, aboard The Road to Mandalay
Rudyard Kipling penned the poem “Mandalay” without ever actually going to Mandalay. You can go now, however, thanks to the ease in tension and rise in tourism for Myanmar. The most iconic way to visit this tropical country of temples is to cruise the Irrawaddy River with The Orient Express. The Road to Mandalay is an 82-passenger ship, built in 1964. The world-renowned vessel has a feel of timeless luxury – from afternoon tea service on the piano deck to the elegantly appointed cabins with stunning, hand-cut jade tilework.
The Orient Express offers multiple adventure packages for Myanmar and allows for additional port stops. Rise early to wander the markets of villages like Shwe Kyet Yet, take in the breathtaking history of Bagan’s sprawling temple complexes and dine on traditional, Shan cuisine. The sunsets off the deck silhouette ancient pagodas, and while you are guaranteed a great gin and tonic, if you are lucky you might also catch a glimpse of the rare Ayeyarwaddy dolphins splashing along the stern.