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Myanmar Irriwaddy River

Myanmar: Classic Tour with Irrawaddy River Cruise (8 days)

Visiting Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a rare and unforgettable opportunity to experience a still-mysterious east. 

 Rangoon, Mandalay, the Irrawaddy River and Pagan are names steeped in legend. Enjoy this tour & cruise. This is a land of great beauty, whose cultures retain traditions held for millennium. The most incredible memories are of the temples and pagodas including the first sighting of Shwedagon Pagoda whose pure gold spire towers above Rangoon encrusted with diamonds, emeralds and rubies. The trip includes a 2 night cruise 100 along the Irriwaddy River from the Pagan to Mandalay. Thanks to traveller, Olga Kempo, for these fabulous photos of her trip in 2015.

2017 Departure Dates and Cost

Daily departures based on 2 or more persons from October to April for regular cruise and for RV Paukan Boutique option

See our special 15 day escorted trip with Catherine Evans April 20 - May 4, 2017

Due to extreme popularity we suggest making bookings at least 6 months in advance of intended departure.

8 Day Tour cost for regular cruise itinerary: Per person based on twin $ 2,535 USD
Single Supplement $ 595 USD
Includes airfare Bangkok/Rangoon (Yangon) and domestic flights in Myanmar

8 Day tour cost cost based on 2 pax US$ 2,690 per person in shared twin/double room
RV PAUKAN BOUTIQUE CATEGORY - Each Wednesday and Sunday from October to May
Single room supplement: US$ 640 net per person
Supplement for Upper Deck cabin at RV Paukan  US$ 145 per person in shared twin/double room.  Add $ 95 for single

Includes airfare Bangkok/Rangoon (Yangon) and domestic flights in Myanmar


Morning flight from Bangkok to Yangon. Arrive and transfer to the hotel. Enjoy an afternoon city tour including the old colonial city centre with the Sule Pagoda (octagonal golden stupa dating back 2000 years, the Bogyoke Market crowded stalls of foods, crafts, the giant reclining (72 meters) 230 foot Buddha and the royal floating barge of karaweik Hall and the Shwedagon Pagoda, sheathed in pure gold plates and encrusted in diamonds, emeralds, rubies and other precious and semi-precious stones. Dinner and cultural show. Accommodation at the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel or similar.

A morning domestic flight to Bagan where you will visit the local market and the most important pagodas and temples. A golden era of temple construction began from 1000 AD with 20 years of frenzied temple construction. The vast arid plain helped to preserve the many temples of the area. Climb Khay Min Ga temple for a spectacular panoramic view of the areas monuments, and Ananda Temple with its four huge standing Buddha and numerous seated Buddha in a gallery. After lunch visit the lacquer crafts workshop in nearby Myinkaba village. Followed by additional temple viewing. Dinner at a riverside restaurant. Accommodation at the Thzin Garden Hotel or similar.

Early horse-draw carriage ride to dhamayazika Stupa to see the sunrise. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Mid-morning transfer to the AYRAVATA for embarkation. The river journey on this nostalgic ship starts at noon. Set sail for Pakokku, observing the rich and varied river life and magnificent scenery. Stops will be made enroute at temples and villages.

The cruise continues past the Chindwin to Sameikkon. Stroll around the delightful village still housing many colonial building. There is a wonderful network of teak footbridges that connect the village to the local monastery.

Set sail to Mandalay. On arrival proceed to Amarapura to visit Mahagandayon, a famous Buddhist Monastery and the 150-year old U Bein teak bridge followed by the Sagaing Hills to enjoy a magnificent view overlooking the River with countless pagodas at sunset. Accommodation at Sedona Hotel, Amarapura.

City tour of Mandalay including the Mahamuni Pagoda, Golden Palace Monastery, and Kuthodaw Pagoda. See the daily life along the river and visit the Kalagao Taperstry workshop. Dinner and overnight Sedona Hotel.

Domestic flight to Yangon. Balance of the day at leisure to explore the fabulous 2000-year history of Yangon. Dinner and accommodation at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel or similar.

Transfer to the Yangon International airport for departure.


DAY 01 (Sunday or Wednesday) Yangon arrival (D)
Arrive to Yangon International Airport. You will meet your tour guide after clearing immigration and customs control at Yangon International Airport. Transfer to hotel.  In the afternoon, drive through the colonial style buildings downtown, the Chinatown area and the Indian quarter. Visit Sule Pagoda with its golden chedi, which makes a useful landmark in downtown Yangon. Afterwards, a stop at Bogyoke (Scott) Market (closed on Mondays and Public Holidays) gives you the opportunity to see Myanmar's wide range of handicrafts. Stop alongside Kandawgyi (Royal) Lake to take photographs over the lake towards Shwedagon. Enjoy the sunset at Shwedagon Pagoda, famous world wide - its golden stupa is the 'heart' of Buddhist Myanmar. The Pagoda is believed to be 2,500 years old and the central stupa in surrounded by dozens of intricately decorated buildings and statues. There are always many Myanmar people praying and making offerings at Shwedagon, and it's a fascinating place to spend time watching the world go by. Dinner with Myanmar cultural show at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel. Accommodation at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, Yangon. (Deluxe room)

DAY 02 (Monday or Thursday) Yangon - Bagan (B/L/D)
Breakfast at hotel. Early morning transfer to Yangon Airport for domestic flight to Bagan (approx. 0630/0750 direct). Upon arrival in Bagan, transfer to hotel and proceed on a sightseeing tour, starting with a busy local market and continuing with visits to a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples such as Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century, Gu Byauk Gyi, a temple with exquisite Jataka mural scenes and Ananda Temple, with its four huge standing-Buddha images and numerous seated figures arranged around the interior gallery. Lunch at The Beach Restaurant.

In the afternoon, we then visit to a lacquer craftsman's workshop in nearby Myinkaba village by horse cart. Sightseeing continues with visits to Manuha Temple, built in mon style in 1059, Nanbaya Temple, a unique sandstone monument that is said to have been the palace of King Manuha, and Myingaba Gu Byaukgyi Temple (under the protection of UNESCO), noted for its ancient mural paintings. Board a small local boat late in the afternoon for a sunset cruise on the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River. Dinner at Sunset Garden a riverside of local restaurant. Overnight at Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort, in Bagan. (Deluxe Garden View room)

DAY 03 (Tuesday / Friday) Bagan / RV Paukan Cruise to Mandalay (B/L/D)
Breakfast at hotel. This morning, transfer to Aye Yar Jetty. The embarkation is 11.00 hrs (RV Paukan 11.30 hrs). Welcome Cocktail in the Saloon. The Cast off time is at 11.30 hrs (RV Paukan 12 noon). Lunch will be served at 13.00. In the late afternoon stop in a typical river village. Dinner and overnight on board. (Main Deck cabin). The newly constructed RV Paukan is a boutique category ship that holds 55 passengers in 29 cabins.

DAY 04 (Wednesday / Saturday) Cruising To Mandalay (B/L/D)
Cruise all day with stops enroute in the morning to visit Yandabo, a typical river village specializing in Pot-Making, where the peace treaty of the First Anglo-Burmese war was signed on Feb.24,1826. Moor overnight nearby a village (Ywar Thit Gyi or Pauk Myaing Pauk Taw) few miles away from Ava Bridge. Dinner and overnight on board. (Main Deck cabin)

DAY 05 (Thursday / Sunday) Mandalay (Sagaing *Thu* - Gawein *Sun*) (B/L/D)
Enjoy the sunrise. After an early breakfast, the passengers will disembark at Sagaing Jetty (Thursday only) or Gawein jetty (Sunday Only) at around 09.30/10.00 hrs. Upon arrival at Mandalay Airport proceed directly to Amarapura. Visit Mahagandayon, a famous Buddhist monastery, where more than a thousand monks live and study. Then continue to the 150-year-old U Bein teak bridge, built in 1851 at the time when Amarapura was the royal capital. Proceed to Sagaing Hills, a retreat for Buddhist devotees, to enjoy a magnificent view over the surrounding area. Lunch at Sagaing Hill Restaurant.

An afternoon of comprehensive sightseeing in Mandalay includes Mahamuni Pagoda with its spectacular Buddha image covered with thick layers of gold leaves, a visit to a craftsman's workshop to see Kalaga tapestries being created, Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung (or Golden Palace Monastery), a superb example of a traditional wooden building, and Kuthodaw Pagoda (known as the world's largest book), consisting of 729 marble slabs engraved with Buddhist scriptures. See a sunset from Mandalay Hill. Dinner and accommodation at Sedona Hotel, in Mandalay. (Deluxe room)

DAY 06 (Friday / Monday) Mandalay - Heho - Inle Lake (B/L/D)
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Mandalay Airport for domestic flight to Heho. Transfer from Heho airport down into the valley to Nyaungshwe on the edge of Inle Lake and board your own local boat to take you to your hotel. Lunch at Ann's Restaurant. In the afternoon, we enjoy another boat tour to Indaing, at the western end of the Lake. The boat takes you through a long channel where you watch the farmers cultivate their produce. This ride is one of the most scenic boat tours on Lake Inle. Dinner and accommodation at Inle Lake View Resort, in Inle Lake.

DAY 07 (Saturday / Tuesday) Boat tour on Inle Lake (B/L/D)
Breakfast at hotel. Today, enjoy a boat trip on Inle Lake - a photographer's dream, its calm waters are dotted with floating vegetation and fishing canoes, to which scenic high hills provide the perfect backdrop. See the lake's unique leg rowers - the Intha people row standing up with one leg wrapped around an oar. Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State. Visit the boat construction workshop at Nampan village. See traditional handicrafts - silk weaving on wooden handlooms, umbrella workshop and a blacksmith shop. Lunch at Nampan Restaurant.In the afternoon, pass endless floating gardens, where fruit and vegetables are grown. Continue by boat to visit Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries on the lake. One can see ancient Buddha statues which are more than 200 years old. Dinner and accommodation at Inle Lake View Resort, in Inle Lake. (Deluxe room)

DAY 08 (Sunday / Wednesday) Inle Lake - Heho - Yangon (B)
Breakfast at hotel. Leave your hotel by boat/car and transfer to Heho Airport for domestic flight to Yangon (approx. 0935/1045 direct). Upon arrival in Yangon, the tour guide and car remain at the client's disposal for further sightseeing or shopping Yangon around until your International departure flight.

What our clients say...

I have just returned from your trip to Myanmar and felt obliged to call. It was memorable, fantastic, one of the best trips I have done and I travel alot. J. Redento

The images and experiences of being at Swedagon return to haunt me in my dreams - in a very nice way. C. Smith