By John Roberts
I insist on keeping up a workout routine no matter where my travels take me.
But I was wary of how I would be able to keep on track during a river cruise in Burma.
Maybe we would work up a sweat running from poisonous snakes. I expected I would be happy enough to not emerge from the trip with malaria or typhoid.
Turns out, I was able to keep up my daily regimen just fine on my recent cruise with Avalon Waterways on its brand-new Avalon Myanmar.
The boat cruises the Irrawaddy River and was specifically built to navigate the shallow waters of the muddy-brown waterway that splits through the heart of Burma, also known as Myanmar.
The river boat, Avalon Myanmar, is the smallest cruise vessel that I have sailed on. To accommodate just 36 passengers, each of the 18 spacious and luxurious cabins has a great view of the river and scenery outside a window that makes up the fourth wall of the stateroom. Floors throughout the boat, including in the small gym on Deck 3, area gorgeous Burmese teak wood.
The bottom line is that Avalon Myanmar looks wonderful and offers luxurious style and decor fitting for exploring Burma. But it was built for comfort and to offer a brilliant travel experience and not constructed with daily workouts in mind. Even so, there are ways to make it work in Avalon Myanmar's fitness center and during your cruise overall.
The gym offers small dumbbells that go up to 6 kilograms, an exercise ball and a roll-up floor mat. A treadmill, elliptical machine and two small hands-free mini-steppers make up the cardio offerings.
Colleen and I were able to keep up our exercise program just fine with a daily run, as well as stretching and work on the resistance bands.
The cruise was an active one, with daily walking tours that had us easily tallying up to two miles or more. Some days, like a sunrise hike up temple steps in Bagan or an hour of hiking in a teak forest to visit an elephant camp, delivered a very satisfying amount of physical activity.
We also were able to eat a healthy diet of Burmese cuisine on Avalon Myanmar. The daily meals were loaded with options like fresh local fruits, nuts, seeds, eggs made to order, juices, chilled and hot soups, lean proteins and fish.
We also did a fair bit of walking in bare feet when visiting temples and other sacred sites.
Avalon Myanmar's outdoor decks (front of ship on Deck 2 or aft on Deck 3) are ideal spaces for fitness programs that use yoga, stretching or body-weight workouts, so you can watch the fog lift on the river as the sun rises and mornings come to life on shore. Spy Burmese farmers emerging from straw-roofed homes and tending oxen in their rice fields or villagers and fishermen ferrying goods to and from shore on flat-bottom boats.
See! Even in the most-secluded and exotic reaches of the world, you can always find a way to travel fit. And we saw no snakes!
Thanks for reading,