Once a pariah state, Myanmar (formerly Burma) is now one of the hottest destinations for travelers in Southeast Asia. It has only been a decade since the country opened its doors to the visitors around the world and is gaining huge popularity with the travelers from all over the globe, all thanks to its wide array of tourist sites such as the golden stupas as tall as skyscrapers, ancient ruins, fascinating hill tribes, unexplored jungles, peaceful beach resorts, masses of monks, and mesmeric cities made legendary by writers like Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell. Even in initial years of the country being opened to tourism, they were restricted to a handful of locations like the majestic temples of Bagan, the monasteries of Mandalay, the floating villages of Inle Lake, and Yangon the former capital, with its colonial relics and towering pagodas. However, tourists even came to visit the impressive architecture of the Golden land. The country is also very famous for its extremely friendly locals who are very religious and traditional, still at present.
You will board the boat in Yangon and disembark in Mandalay. With the luxury cruise tour in Irrawaddy River, you will be sailing through Magway, Mingun, Bagan, and seven other destinations in Myanmar. This trip takes 11days and includes accommodation onboard the ship, transportation, meals, and many more.
The trip begins with the exploration of Bagan's ancient history. Bagan, once the capital of Burma thrived tremendously during the 11th and 13th centuries. Travel downstream to the Sala and learn about the colonial history and tour Magye before beginning the upstream trip to Mandalay. Lay back at the boat and watch the ever-changing scenery pass by. Stop in Pakkoku and learn their traditional crafts, immerse yourself in the spiritual lives of the local nuns in Sagaing, and cruise through the waters where you may see Irrawaddy dolphin to the village of Kyauk Myaung, the pottery village. Finally, the trip ends in Mandalay, the legendary town and one of the major attractions of Myanmar.
Participate in morning offerings for the local monks
Roam around the markets of Nyaung U before visiting the Temple Circuit, or enjoying a visit to Old Bagan
Enjoy an exclusive mystical themed dinner, free-flow drinks and cultural show in front of candlelit Bagan temple relics
Cruise to Mingun and learn about the incomplete brick pagoda and see the largest uncracked Mingun Bell
- International Airfare
- Travel Insurance
Yangon/ Bagan/ Irrawaddy Cruise
Your tour director will meet you at your hotel in the morning for your flight to Bagan. Bagan, located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River houses the world’s thickest concentration of Buddhist temples, stupas, pagodas, and ruins, many of them date back to the 11th and 12th centuries. The construction and shape of each building has specific spiritual meanings and are highly significant in Buddhism. Bagan became a major power base during the rule of King Anawratha in the mid-9th century who unified Burma under Theravada Buddhism.
Formerly, as many as 13000temples and stupas stood on this 42sq.km. Plain in central Myanmar, however, only about 2200 remains today in various states of the wreck. Some of them are large and well-preserved like the Ananda Pahto, others are small, rundown remnants covered by overgrown grass. Burmese considers all temples in Bagan sacred, so you should dress in a way that covers your shoulders and knees and enter the temples with no shoes and socks to show respect to their culture. Upon arrival, your driver will greet you at the airport and take you to the hotel where you will enjoy your lunch. After lunch, you will head to visit the renowned Ananda Temple. Later, we will drive to the luxurious Scenic Aura and lay back as you set sail.
Today, enjoy the day of cruising while sailing to Magwe. Magwe is the west-central Myanmar town on the Irrawaddy River right opposite of Minbu. The surrounding area of Magwe is part of the dry zone of Myanmar's central basin with Irrawaddy to the west and the Pegu Mountains to the east. Most of the part of the Magwe division falls within the dry zone, so it is very hot during the suffering season and relatively cold during winters. During April, which is the hottest month in Myanmar, the average temperature of this region is 90degree Fahrenheit. Bamars inhabits majorly in this region, while there are also others like Chins, Rakhines, Kayin's, Shans, and others.
The major attraction of this division is the Myathalun Pagoda, which is quite popular among locals. Its name means "The Jade Throne Pagoda" with a legend that says two ogre brothers enshrined the Jade Throne in ancient times. Hence, there is a flowery pattern carved into faces of ogres and garlands on the side of the pagoda. This division is also famous for holding Myathalun Pagoda festivals. The day is free, so why not know about the facilities of Scenic Aura. We will reach Magwe in the late afternoon.
Magwe – Minhla Fort
Today, we will go for a sightseeing tour of Magwe by a traditional trishaw. Riding the trishaw, we head towards the Mya Tha Lun Pagoda, which is a gorgeous structure that lies on Naguttama Hill. Then, we continue cruising downstream to the Minhla Fort, when the British captured this fort, the independence of Burma came to an end. Minhla Fort, built with the aid of a couple of Italian engineers, is a lasting remnant of an era turmoil. According to historical records, there were 35cannons in Minhla fort, a small telegram room, soldiers' quarters, an armory, and commanders' offices. The fort came to action in November 1885 when the British sailed the Irrawaddy River to seize the Mandalay's royal palace during the Third Anglo-Burmese War and fell to British by the evening of November 17. Now, this fort is the major attraction of tourists cruising through the Irrawaddy River. However, the frontage of the fort has partly crumbled in the river due to the erosion of the riverbank. Even though the fort is not in its best shape, it still looks quite imposing. Later, we sail back upstream to Salay.
Take the free time to make use of the ship's luxury, sip a cocktail by the pool, or enjoy some serene time on your private balcony during the cruise upstream to Salay. We will reach Salay in the afternoon and spend the night beside the colonial riverside town.
This morning, we tour the town of Salay on foot; we will see many colonial buildings, visit the Youqson Kyaung, which was a stunning teak monastery, but at present is a museum that enshrines the largest lacquer Buddha in Myanmar. The monastery also contains 550 Jatakas and 45 world-famous sculptures. In addition to these, the monastery has many poems and writings of U Pon Nya. Enjoy the ambiance of the colonial feel of the town and gorgeous scene of the river while sipping traditional Burmese tea and having a snack in a restored colonial villa that date back to 1906. Salay is one of the major historical cities of Myanmar. The region contains many historical sites, architectures, sculptures, ancient monasteries, and numerous cultural heritages. Salay is also the hometown of U Pon Nya, the famous poet and playwright of the Konbaung Dynasty, so he is also famous as Shakespeare of Myanmar. Here, you can also try the renowned Salay plum. Other major attraction of the city includes the "Shin Bin Sakyo Pagoda," "Shin Bin Maha Laba Pagoda" and "Maha Myat Muni Rakhine Pagoda." In the afternoon, we sail up to Bagan. Lay back on the sun deck while sipping a cocktail and enjoy the view of many temples and pagodas that line the river as you approach the ancient location.
We start the day early to participate in morning offerings for local monks. The remaining time is free for leisure. Bagan is quite beautiful and one of the most impressive places in Myanmar. Located on the shores of Irrawaddy River, Bagan is home to one of the largest concentration of temples, pagodas, stupas, and ruins in the world with many dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. Each shape and component of the building shows a significant part of Buddhism and has spiritual meaning. The area's most buzzing town is Nyaung U, which is also the major transport hub. Bagan offers a lot to its visitors. You may choose to rent a bicycle and visit Bagan's world-famous pagodas and temples. Some of the major temples in Bagan are Ananda Temple, Dhammayan Gyi Temple, Shwezigon Pagoda, and Shwesandaw Pagoda.
The most interesting part of Bagan is even though the whole city invites a huge amount of tourism, you don't seem to be less on space. There are so many temples to visit that you won't see much crowd in any particular temples. You can also visit Shwesandaw in the early morning to enjoy the mesmerizing sunset view. There is also an alternative to climb Mt. Popa, the abode of nats, or the animist spirits, visit Tant Kyi Tuang from where you can see elevated views of Bagan. Or, if you want to see the market of Bagan or do some shopping, you can wander around the markets at Nyaung U.
This morning is also free in Bagan. For those who have booked a hot air balloon ride before cruise (you cannot book the ride while on the trip), you can ride the hot air balloon over the temples of Bagan, which is a mesmerizing experience. Travel on a horse cart through Bagan plain and its beautiful temple ruins. You can also learn about the production of Burmese lacquerware. In the afternoon, we depart Bagan and set sail for Pakkoku, where we will spend the night. At Pakkoku, we will visit a cheroot cigar workshop, the local market longyi, and a blanket factory.
Day Eight :
Today, we will reach Yandabo, where the peace treaty was signed in 1826 that ended the first Anglo-Burmese War. This small village has about 350houses and offers a rare glimpse of a unique village that is steadily entering the modern world while still preserving a traditional way of life. This village is very renowned for its pottery. You can roam around the village, visit pottery workshops and see the skilled artisans making some beautiful potteries. Later, we continue sailing to Mingun.
Today, we cruise to Mingun, where we will see the world's largest uncracked bell called Mingun Bell. We will also learn the story behind a huge unfinished pagoda, which is now only a brick structure with 50meters height that contains a huge crack due to the earthquake. Finally, we will visit the all-white Hsinbyume Pagoda.
Today, we will visit Sagaing, where you can interact with novice monks, nuns, and orphans on a visit to a monastic supported school. From here, we visit a peaceful nunnery where you will participate in the ritual and our donation to the resident nuns before their midday meal. Also, you will get to enjoy the views over the Irrawaddy River from Sagaing Hill, followed by the sail to Mandalay from where we will visit Amarapura. In Amarapura, we will visit the famous U-Bein Bridge from where you can relax while enjoying the enchanting sunset view. The U-Bein Bridge is the largest teak bridge in the world, with a length of about 1.3kilometers.
Irrawaddy cruise/ Mandalay
Today, we will go sightseeing, Mandalay. Here, you will visit the Shwenandaw, a wooden monastery covered internally in gold leaf, and admire its intricate artistry. Then, we visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda that contains the largest book of the world. afterward, we walk through the rebuilt Mandalay Palace, destroyed during World War II. You will also visit a local workshop and observe the techniques of making gold leaf. If you like, you may also choose to place the gold leaf on the iconic Buddha statue. After lunch, we will transfer you to your hotel/airport.