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Luxury Irrawaddy cruise, hot air ballooning over Bagan, Inle Lake and Yangon

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At a glance

This ten-day discovery of Myanmar lets you appreciate its beauty from the water as you cruise along the Irrawaddy River before disembarking to explore its enchanting cities.

You’ll spend a night in Mandalay before boarding your luxury boat for a three-night cruise along the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to Bagan. The exact itinerary and length of the cruise will depend on which vessel you choose, but you can expect sublime scenery, fascinating land excursions and plenty of time to relax on board and enjoy life on the water.

After disembarking in the beautiful city of Bagan, you’ll take to the skies in a hot air balloon and drift across an incredible landscape littered with thousands of pagodas. This is a truly wonderful way to experience Bagan as the early morning sun creeps over the temples.

After a night in Bagan, you’ll fly to Heho and from there head to Inle Lake. The next two days will be spent admiring the renowned leg-rowing fishermen and seeing the lake’s floating markets. You’ll also head out to the Pa-O village of In Dein and the ​Alaung Sitthou ​stupas.

Your final two nights will be spent in Yangon, a beautiful and culturally fascinating city.

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-2

Mandalay

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Mandalay

Accommodation in Mandalay

mandalay-view
One night in Mandalay One night in Mandalay

Spend a night in traditional and religious Mandalay. This is a very atmospheric city with lots of local culture and history to explore.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer from your hotel to the jetty

Days 2-5

Irrawaddy River Cruise

Luxury Vessles on the Irrawaddy River

Irrawaddy Cruise: Day One Irrawaddy Cruise: Day One

*Please note - the exact length and details of your cruise will depend on which vessel you choose*

Settle into your cabin and relax as you start to sail along the beautiful and serene Irrawaddy River. After lunch, you'll stop in Mingun, one of the country’s former capitals. The unfinished pagoda here is one of the largest pagodas ever constructed in the history of Myanmar. Visit by tuktuk, a popular local means of transportation, and see the magnificent Mingun Bell, claimed to be the largest un-cracked hanging bell in the world. You will also visit Paya Hsinbyume, an impressive pagoda that rises in seven curved whitewashed terraces representing the seven mountain ranges around Mt Meru, the mountain at the centre of the Buddhist universe.

As the sun sets, admire the magnificent sights over the Irrawaddy River from the ship’s deck.

Irrawaddy Cruise: Day Two Irrawaddy Cruise: Day Two

Your day begins with a visit to Ava, the ancient imperial capital of successive Burmese kingdoms from the 14th to 19th centuries. Horse carts await the ship to transport guests for a delightful ride through the naturally preserved Ava landscape and key landmarks. A once prominent city, throughout history Ava has been ravaged by war and natural disasters and rebuilt numerous times. Today, all that is left are the ruins and remains of an abandoned kingdom forever imprinted in history. Here you will visit the Yadana Shemee and Wingaba, temples, as well as the Bopaya monastery and the brick monastery.

The rest of the day is yours to enjoy, relaxing on board your luxury vessel.

Irrawaddy River, Myanmar
Irrawaddy Cruise: Day Three Irrawaddy Cruise: Day Three

This morning sees your arrival into Bagan and the start of the much-anticipated Bagan Heritage Trail. Bagan is remarkable for the magnificent architecture of its buildings and the contribution they have made to Burmese temple designs. Marvel at Bagan’s wonders including the Ananda Temple, one of the most exquisite temples of the country, and the Shwezigon Pagoda, renowned for its gold leaf decor.

After lunch back on board, continue your day in Bagan with a visit to the magnificent Shwe San Daw temple, followed by a journey to the beautiful Sulamani temple and Gubyaukgyi temple. As twilight sets in, admire the sunset from the deck.

Irrawaddy Cruise: Day Four Irrawaddy Cruise: Day Four

After a last breakfast, disembark in Old Bagan and take to the skies at sunrise in a hot air balloon where you'll gently float above the 2,000 pagodas of Bagan.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Bagan

Days 5-6

Bagan

Accommodation in Bagan

One night in Bagan One night in Bagan

Enjoy your time in this magnificent part of Myanmar, famous for its thousands of pagodas and charming countryside.

Lacquerware workshop tour Lacquerware workshop tour

Visit a historic lacquerware workshop, an ancient art form where today's master craftsmen have been honing a craft with centuries of tradition.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Bagan airport

Flight

Flight from Bagan to Heho

 
nyaung-shwe-houses-and-boat
Private transfer to Inle Lake via Nyaung Shwe Private transfer to Inle Lake via Nyaung Shwe

From Heho, a scenic one-hour drive leads to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Along the way, stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which features beautiful carvings Buddha images. You will also stop in Nyaung Shwe for a short walk around town and visit to the colourful market if it is being held that day.

Then, board a private motorboat to head out to Inle Lake.

Days 6-8

Inle Lake

Accommodation in Inle Lake

Fisherman on Inle Lake, Myanmar
Two nights by Inle Lake Two nights by Inle Lake

Enjoy the following days in this peaceful region, watching the renowned leg-rowing fishermen and seeing the lake's floating markets.

Inle Lake morning market Inle Lake morning market

Visit the lake’s morning market. The market rotates its location around the lake’s villages in a five-day rhythm and is visited by lake inhabitants and surrounding hill tribes who come to sell and trade their wares. Wander around the stalls where your guide will explain the local produce and goods for sale.

Pa-O village of In Dein and ​Alaung Sitthou ​stupas Pa-O village of In Dein and ​Alaung Sitthou ​stupas

You’ll start your day with a short walk around one of the local villages scattered throughout the rolling green hills surrounding Inle Lake. From the middle of the lake, continue down a small canal leading to the Pa-oh village of In Dein. Explore the area on foot, strolling around the village and wander through the beautiful Alaung Sitthou area. Alaung Sitthou is filled with picturesque ancient stupas and has magnificent views of the lake below.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Heho airport

Flight

Flight from Heho to Yangon

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Yangon

Days 8-10

Yangon

Accommodation in Yangon

shwedagon-pagoda-yangon
Two nights in Yangon Two nights in Yangon

Explore this energetic city with our full list of recommendations. From the enormous Shwedagon Pagoda, stroll through shaded parks and lakes and dine on delicious street food in bustling Chinatown at night - Yangon is a fascinating place to discover.

An evening in Yangon's Chinatown An evening in Yangon's Chinatown

The Chinatown neighborhood is extremely lively in the evening and we’ll take a short walking tour along 19th Street, famous for its barbeque restaurants. Dozens of vendors set up satay stalls and other snack stalls here in the evening and it is a popular spot for locals to gather, have a drink and chat with friends. Enjoy a dinner of delicious grilled meats, seafood and vegetable dishes with traditional dipping sauces and side dishes

Yangon 'Revolution Road' tour Yangon 'Revolution Road' tour

Discover the colonial city centre and its faded colonial buildings, busy street markets, and glittering temples. Visit the Aung San Old House, the former residence of independence leader General Aung San, home now to fascinating memorabilia, then enjoy a lunch of Burmese cuisine at the House Of Memories Restaurant, a historic colonial home filled with relics from Myanmar’s history.  

After lunch, visit former U.N. Secretary General U Thant’s house, Yangon University’s Convocation Hall, where violent protests of the past contrast with Obama’s historic address in November 2012 and see Aung San Suu Kyi’s house. End the day with a visit to the National League for Democracy headquarters and discussing Myanmar’s past, present and future at a local tea shop.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Yangon airport

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Highlights of Myanmar with Irrawaddy Cruise

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