See the highlights of Myanmar with a river cruise sailing down the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River. The key sights along the river include Mandalay and Bagan. 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.
DAY 1 - WELCOME TO MANDALAY!
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)
DAY 2 - BOARD YOUR CRUISE: AVA & SAIGANG
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).
DAY 3 - VISIT YANDABO VILLAGE & ENJOY A SANDBANK BBQ
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 Thanthi, 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).
DAY 4 - VISIT A TEAK MONASTERY AS YOU CRUISE TO BAGAN
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 wood carvings. Then you will continue sailing downstream towards Bagan where you will dock for the night and enjoy dinner on board.
DAY 5 - EXPLORE THE CULTURAL WONDERS OF BAGAN
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, Shwedagon Stupa, Gubyaukgyi Temple as well as Nyaung oo Market and a lacquerware workshop. In the late afternoon you will take a horse cart to Shwesandaw Stupa for sunset before returning to the boat for the evening.
DAY 6 - DISEMBARK AND EXPLORE BAGAN AT LEISURE
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)
DAY 7 - A DAY WITH ELEPHANTS IN THEIR NATURAL SURROUNDINGS
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).
DAY 8 - TAKE A TRAIN THROUGH THE SHAN HILLS TO INLE LAKE
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).
DAY 9 - ENJOY A DAY ON THE LAKE!
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 Phaung Daw 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.
DAY 10 - SHWEDAGON PAGODA & YANGON AFTER SUNSET
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).
DAY 11 - BON VOYAGE!
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!