Majestic Myanmar: Journey by Land & Luxury River Cruise12 days & 11 nights,
Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay & Irrawaddy River
Travel in stylish luxury as you explore the golden land of Southeast Asia and a landscape famed for its abundance of white pagodas. Explore local villages, as you meander along the Irrawaddy River. Begin in the capital of Yangon with the precious and sacred Shwedagon Pagoda, whose golden dome dominates the city's skyline. Explore the 2,500-year-old Sule Pagoda, regarded as the geographical center of the city. Next visit the temple plain of Bagan, one of the most majestic ancient sites in Asia before heading to Mandalay and embarking on your cruise for the next 7 nights as it passes through the most dramatic, less visited yet most scenic part of the Irrawaddy.
Day 1Arrive Yangon
Upon arrival in Yangon, you will be met and privately escorted to your hotel for the next two nights, Relax, refresh and enjoy the balance of the day at your leisure.Belmond Governor's Residence or similar - 2 Nights
After breakfast today embark on a full day exploring the city highlights of Yangon, with its old world charm and its modern development standing side by side. Begin with Sule Pagoda, a 2,000-year-old golden temple, see the Mahabandoola Park and the beautiful Central Post Office dating back to 1908 then on to Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, known for its 70m (230ft) Reclining Buddha.Belmond Governor's Residence or similar (B, L)
After lunch at a local restaurant you will visit the National Museum, home to priceless ancient artifacts including the jewel-encrusted throne of the last king of Myanmar. Bogyoke Market and the Indian Quarter next, then finally end your day of sightseeing at the impressive and awe-inspiring Shwedagon Pagoda, one of Buddhism's most sacred sites.
After breakfast you will be escorted to the airport for your short flight to Bagan. Upon arrival you will be met by your private guide for your explorations of this beautiful pagoda dotted area. The ancient city of Bagan in central Myanmar, was formerly known as Pagan and where more than 4,000 temples and pagodas. Today there are 2,200 still remaining.Bagan Lodge or similar (B, L)
You will first visit Shwezigon Pagoda, with its gilded stupa, followed by Ananda Temple with its four standing Buddha images. You will also visit Anauk Pwa Saw Village where you can see cotton weaving, and Minanthu Village which produces cooking oil from peanuts.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you will head to your hotel to check in and refresh. Later, your program will continue with a visit the largest and best preserved 12th century Dhammayangyi Pagoda. End your day savoring a beautiful sunset view from one of the most scenic spots as you look out over the plains of Bagan.
Onward this morning after breakfast with a private transfer to the airport to board your short flight to Mandalay. Upon arrival you will be met and escorted directly to your hotel where you can enjoy lunch prior to checking into your room.Mandalay Hill Resort or similar (B)
After having time to relax after lunch, begin your sightseeing program of Mandalay accompanied by your private guide. First stop will be the Golden Palace Monastery, Shwe Kyuang, built between 1857 and 1859 as part of King Mindon's founding of the new royal capital city of Mandalay. Continue on to Shwenandaw Monastery, a masterpiece of wood carving built by the last Myanmar King Thibaw in the year 1880, then head to Kuthodaw Pagoda, famous for having the world's largest book with 729 marble slabs inscribed with the teachings of Buddha. Last stop of the day will be a drive up Mandalay Hill for a panoramic view of the sun setting over the city of Mandalay.
Day 5Mandalay- Nwe Nyein-On board the "Anawrahta"
You will depart after breakfast to embark on your river cruise, home for the next 7 nights.River Cruise Anawrahta - 7 Nights (B, L, D)
Sailing will begin by heading north through the Dolphin Sanctuary. There will be a morning lecture on Myanmar culture entitled "Myanmar Ways of Life" and a Myanmar Traditional Dress demonstration early in the afternoon. In the cooler air of late-afternoon you can visit the pottery village of Nwe Nyein, to see traditional techniques still being used to produce a wide variety of decorative pots. This evening enjoy a welcome longyi cocktail party.
Begin early today with a morning yoga/meditation session. After breakfast, you will sail through the hills of the Third Defile. Passing bamboo and fishing villages. You can also enjoy a Cooking Demonstration in the morning and a Burmese language lesson in the afternoon. Upon arrival in Dagaung you can embark on an afternoon sightseeing tour, to witness the life along the riverbank.River Cruise Anawrahta (B, L, D)
Once again you can partake in an early morning yoga/meditation session and then enjoy meandering along the river until reaching the colonial town of Katha in the early afternoon, which is the setting for George Orwell's book, Burmese Days.River Cruise Anawrahta (B, L, D)
See the collection of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company's ship's bells, as Katha was the final resting place for much of the old flotilla. You can follow the locations mentioned in the book, and imagine how removed life was for the British Empire during that period of history.
Day 8Katha & Shwe Gu
You can visit Katha's colorful and bustling market this morning, then visit an elephant logging camp in the hardwood forest that surround the town. Lunch will be back on board before heading upstream up stream to Shwe Gu. Afternoon tea will be served before a lecture on Myanmar history and current affairs.River Cruise Anawrahta (B, L, D)
Day 9Shwe Paw Kyun & the Second Defile
An early start this morning to enjoy a tranquil walk through the rarely-visited island of Shwe Paw Kyun. Back on board, watch as the ship passes through the dramatic Second Defile. This will take about two hours, depending on the force of the current.River Cruise Anawrahta (B, L, D)
Upon reaching the turning point of Sinkan Bridge, the ship will begin its return journey. Just a short cruise before reaching the mooring point for the evening.
Just a short cruise to reach Thagara, where you can disembark if you are feeling energetic and climb the hill to reach a majestic Reclining Buddha gazing serenely southwards. After lunch another relaxing afternoon perhaps enjoying the facilities of the ship, maybe taking in one of the Spa treatments in the Swedish-style sauna.River Cruise Anawrahta (B, L, D)
There will be a lecture on the 'Religions in Myanmar' and another Burmese language lesson. Tonight the ship will moor near Tabbeikyin, the nearest port to the famous ruby mines of Mogok.
Day 11Taw Island
Depending on waters level and local conditions, you can visit Thiha Taw Island in the mouth of the Third Defile, where there is a beautiful monastery, which was suddenly and mysteriously abandoned around 100 years ago. The monks from this monastery were reputed to have tamed fish and used to place gold-leaf on them during special ceremonies.River Cruise Anawrahta (B, L, D)
In the afternoon there will be a lecture entitled "History of Mandalay" while we continue sailing south, reaching Mandalay late afternoon where you will disembark in time to see sunset at the famous "U Bein's Bridge", the longest teak bridge in Myanmar.
This morning disembark as you bid farewell to the crew, and continue on your journey or homebound flight.(B)