Are you thinking of taking a cruise to Yangon (formerly Rangoon) Myanmar? We have got some great Q & A on helping you to select the best cruise to Yangon. Yangon is a wonderfully colourful melting pot of culture, religion and food and there’s no better way to enjoy the Yangon experience than to arrive in Yangon via a cruise liner.
Background on cruising to Yangon
Yangon is an emerging city that is developing so fast. Our recommendation would be to get there sooner rather than later (before it overdevelops) and resembles just another Asian city. For the time being it isn’t overly crowded with high-rise apartments, malls and pollution. The local people are friendly and welcoming and somewhat curious about visitors to their city.
The city is a juxtaposition of somewhat dilapidated British colonial architecture and new high rise construction. The former colonial grandeur of the city is evident when you visit a few of the reconstructed British constructed buildings. The High Tea at The Strand will leave an indelible impression about the former Rangoon’s (Yangon) history.
Of course, Yangon is best known for its array of Buddhist pagodas such as the Shwedagon. There’s plenty of pagodas to see in and around Yangon and for the more adventurous, you may like to head to Bagan for a balloon ride over one of the many hundreds of pagodas.
The city was founded by the Mon ethnic group who is one of the eight major ethnic groups in Myanmar. It has evolved from a small fishing village in the early 11th century where it was known as Dagon. By the way, you can still visit a Mon ethnic village on one of the great tours in Yangon.
Following two 19th-century Anglo-Burmese wars, the British seized Yangon and all of lower Burma in the 1850s. The Brits (as they do) turned Yangon into their seat of power in Burma, building an infrastructure that was said to rival London at the time.
Unfortunately, the city fell to Japan in World War II and entered years of political turmoil following independence in 1948. The military took power in 1962, and the repressive regime only began to relinquish control in 2010.
Yangon has an estimated 6 million residents (mostly the Burman ethnic group) and the city spreads northward from the Yangon River. It truly is a cultural smorgasbord and you won’t be disappointed when travelling to this great city.
When should I go to Myanmar by cruise ship?
Cruises typically travel to Yangon during its dry season (December to March) because of the high temperature and humidity outside of this time. If you travel between December and March the temperature range is typically very pleasant around 18 deg Celcius overnight and 32 degrees Celcius during the day. On average, July -August are the most humid months (average >80%) and January is the least humid month averaging just over 60%. So plan on a December – January cruise to Yangon if you can.
What are the port facilities in Yangon like?
Well…as we said before, Yangon is developing and so are its’ port facilities. They are quite simple and essentially are somewhere where you can disembark and embark. Don’t expect too much.
There are two locations for docking in Yangon and your cruise liner will typically be limited to its docking location based on its’ size and depth of the draft.
The Yangon City Dock
If your ship isn’t too large you’ll be able to cruise up the Yangon river and dock in the city. Ships around 190m can dock in the heart of Yangon, at Bo Aung Kyaw Jetty (or, in some cases, nearby Nanthida Jetty). It’s a great location (just below Strand Road) (Look for the label “Myanmar Port Authority” on Google Maps.)
From the dock, it’s a couple of hundred metres walk to the Port gate. Obviously if you head out on your own make sure that you carry your Ship ID documents to re-enter the port area. There is no covered terminal or services at the port so don’t have too high expectations.
Thilawa Port/ Hutchison Port Terminal
Ships of up to 260 metres with larger drafts, unfortunately, have to dock at the deeper port 25 kilometers south of the city. With the current roadworks, it can take an hour to two hours drive to the city centre so be mindful of the time when travelling. Most cruise companies will offer transfers to the centre of Yangon on the hour from Thilwa Port. Bear in mind the port has no facilities and it is an industrial port so once again, keep the expectations low.
Before you book, ask your cruise company where the ship will dock as if you’re only on a short stay, a couple of hours travelling to and from the port can be a little frustrating for some travellers.
The Yangon River is tidal and so you sailing times can vary accordingly (at low tide, you won’t be going anywhere).
Which ships offer cruises to Yangon?
Firstly over the next several months, there are a number of ships that offer cruises to Yangon including:
- The Azamara Quest which departs from Singapore;
- The Insignia departing from Cape Town or San Francisco;
- The Seven Seas Explorer departing from Dubai or Barcelona;
- The Seabourn Sojourn departing from the Maldives;
- The Nautica departing from Singapore;
- The Seabourn Ovation from Hong Kong.
- The Silver Spirit from Mumbai;
- The Silver Shadow from Singapore or departing from Yangon.
Of course, all of these wonderful ships offer a vast variety of quality experiences that will get you from your point of embarkation to disembarkation with relative ease.
One of the key motivators for which ship to take maybe your point of departure
For Australian travellers, Singapore is one of the better departure points because of its proximity to Australia. A short 8-hour flight from most Australian airports will have you in Singapore enjoying a Singapore Sling, enjoying Chilli Crab or just taking in the wonderful shopping experiences that Singapore has to offer.
Read more on Yangon cruises?
Our guest author travelled on the luxury Silversea Silver Muse to Myanmar and was delighted with the experience. You can read about the experience here.