Ideal for those who want to see the highlights of Myanmar with a river cruise at the heart of their trip; pack George Orwell’s Burmese Days for those lazy evenings as you sail down the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River, watching the sunset. The key sights of Burma are all on the river including Mandalay and its nearby ancient capitals – as well as Bagan – and it’s a great way to cut down on flights. We have selected a boutique five-cabin cruise for this tour but we work with plenty of other boats too (so please ask us about boat options and private charters). After a 4-night cruise you will visit Inle Lake and see the highlights of Yangon with a private guide – you could also add a few days on the beach at the end.
After meeting your private guide and driver at the airport, you will visit some fascinating sights on the way to Mandalay. Start with a visit to the snake temple in Paleik, which has 3 pythons that sleep at the feet of Buddha, before seeing one of the largest monasteries, the famous Mahamuni pagoda and the old capital of Amarapura. As the sun sets, walk over U-Bein Bridge and take a boat ride. Check into the Hotel at Red Canal (Rakhine room)
This morning you will board your full board, four-night cruise on Discovery Cruises’ boutique five-cabin river boat. Your river location is perfect for today’s excursions; with your cruise companions you will visit the religious centre and monasteries of Sagaing Hill, which was the ruling kingdom from 1315 to 1364. After, you will visit Ava, which is steeped in history and today forms a magnificent site of ancient temple ruins (side cabin).
After breakfast you will disembark to visit Yandabo, a small rural village famous for its handmade terracotta pots produced in a traditional way. Then you will continue sailing to Mount Thantgyi, which has a pagoda on top of it. You will have the opportunity to climb to the top to see the view over Bagan on the other side of the river bank. After, enjoying a BBQ in the middle of the river on a sand bank (depending on water levels).
Today you will be jumping off board to visit the exquisite monastery of Yoke-Sone-Kyaung, on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River, which is famous with its spectacular woodcarvings. Then you will continue sailing downstream towards Bagan where you will dock for the night and enjoy dinner on board.
After breakfast, you will disembark to visit the highlights of Bagan, home to more than 2,000 temples, pagodas and stupas. Your guide will show you some of the highlights of the area including Dhammayangyi, Shwezigone Stupa, Gubyaukgyi Temple as well as Nyaung oo Market and a lacquerware workshop. In the late afternoon you will take a horse cart to Shwesantaw Stupa for sunset before returning to the boat for the evening.
Bid your cruise companions farewell as you checkout this morning. We have not planned anything for you today so you can explore Bagan at your own pace – but we can arrange a driver and guide to be on hand for you if you prefer, as well as a picnic lunch or hot air balloon ride if you wish. This evening you will stay at the Hotel @ Tharabar Gate, which is in the heart of Old Bagan (deluxe room)
This morning we will fly you to Heho and drive you to nearby Kalaw, home to the Elephant Conservation Project. Your specialist guide will take you for a rewarding day in the forest – encountering elephants, their mahouts and local people. A delicious lunch with local specialities (often from Nepalese origin) will be served and you will also help the mahout wash and feed the elephants before checking into the colonial Amara Mountain Resort (deluxe room).
This morning your scenic 3.5 hour train journey will begin at the colonial train station in Kalaw and take you over the mountains and through the valleys towards Inle Lake. A unique local experience that offers great views and a glimpse of local life in the Shan hills. It is not unusual to be delayed when you stop at local hill tribe villages to on or off load local goods – a colourful sight! You will then be then escorted to Inle Lake View hotel by boat and car (deluxe room).
Enjoy a full day private boating tour around the lake. Highlights include the colourful rotating five-day markets frequented by the Shan and Pa O people, the famous Intha fisherman rowing in the one-legged style; and visits to Phaungdaw U Pagoda, and a local cheroot factory (Burmese cigar). We will walk about 1 hour to enjoy a fantastic view over the lake. A home-made cooked lunch is served in a local house.
This morning we will fly you to Yangon where you will enjoy an early evening tour of the shimmering, sparkling Shwedagon Pagoda. We will give you the full history of the pagoda and a deeper insight into Buddhism and also take you around the area, including a stop for local snacks and drinks and a walk through the night market – so you can experience Yangon like a local. Tonight you will check into the historic and colonial Savoy Hotel (deluxe room).
Get ready to bid your farewells to this beautiful country (and maybe plot your return!) After a leisurely breakfast we will will escort you to Yangon Airport by private car where you can catch your international flight home. Safe Travels!
This itinerary costs from £2,640 per person B&B based on 2 sharing and including all private transfers but not international flights.
You can get flights from as little as £500 per person return and do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.