Burma is a land of hazy blue mountains, glittering pagodas and golden green rice paddy. The air is filled with the scent of jasmine and the soothing tones of temple bells and everywhere you go red robed monks and a serene smiling people will enchant you with their grace and hospitality.
The Irrawaddy River is the life blood of Burma. Rising deep in Burma’s Himalayas, it tumbles through forested mountain gorges and fertile farmland, across dry and dusty plains to the many mouths of an expansive delta, from which it spills into the Andaman Sea. Running 1,350 miles right down through the center of the country the river is entirely Burmese, from its source all the way to the Bay of Bengal. It is Burma’s main trading route and gateway to the interior, and its waters irrigate expansive paddy in the delta making one of the great rice bowls of Asia. The first kingdoms of Central Burma were established on its banks and their glittering monuments still line the river’s shore. Today the river’s fertile floodplain supports the majority of Burma’s population, and as always the river is an inextricable part of their daily lives. To feel the rhythm of this wonderful river is to touch the hearts of its gentle smiling people.