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15 Day Burma
(Myanmar) with 9 Day World Class River Cruise (Mandalay to Yangon)

15 days with Gate 1  Rating: First Class

River Cruise Itinerary
DAY 1 - Depart for Thailand
Depart for Thailand.

DAY 2 - Arrive in Bangkok
Welcome to Thailand! Arrive in exotic Bangkok, Thailand's capital city. The rest of the day is at leisure to rest, relax and acclimate to your new time zone.

DAY 3 - Flight to Mandalay

Depart Bangkok by flight to bustling Mandalay, the last royal capital of Myanmar (Burma). The name itself is magical and evokes the splendors of old Burma, made famous by Rudyard Kipling's epic poem. Time to explore on your own the many pagodas, striking churches, Indian temples and mosques, or discover some of the fascinating craft workshops and food stalls along the riverside. (Breakfast)

DAY 4 - Mandalay Hill, Magnificent Amarapura, Embarkation on the Irrawaddy Explorer
Start the day at Mandalay Hill where you tour the gilded Kuthodaw Pagoda, called "the world's largest book," named after its 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings. Continue to the Shwenandaw Monastery, originally part of the Royal Palace in Amarapura; view one of the best examples of traditional Myanmar-style intricate woodcarvings in the country. Stop at a gold leaf workshop before arriving at the Mahamuni Pagoda to observe a demonstration of how gold leaf is used on many of the Buddha statues. Arrive at the Gawein Jetty for embarkation on the deluxe RV Irrawaddy Explorer; you'll be warmly welcomed by the friendly crew before sharing a buffet lunch of local favorites. As your journey on the Irrawaddy River begins, you can look forward to visions of golden pagodas, emerald rice fields and welcoming villages where life continues much as it has for many centuries. In the afternoon travel to magnificent Amarapura, once a splendid Burmese royal capital. Walk across the famous teak U-Bein Bridge before boarding a sampan that takes you on a memorable sunset ride on the river. On board tonight, enjoy a Welcome Reception and Dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 5 - Ancient Mingun, Excursion to Ava
Morning visit to the ancient city of Mingun. On the leisurely walking tour, visit the monumental "unfinished" Mingun Temple, started by King Bodawpaya in 1790 and the 90 ton ringing bell, the world's largest. Nearby, view the beautiful white Myatheindan Pagoda modeled after mythical Mount Meru, dedicated to his Princess who died in childbirth. After lunch, horse carts transport you to Ava, a former capital city; visit the 200-year-old teak Bagaya Kyaung Monastery, the Nanmyin watchtower and Me Nu Ok Kyaung monastery. The enlightening afternoon lecture and discussion is focused on The Origins of Buddhism, its Teachings, and its Cultural Influence. Time to relax on board before tonight's dinner of local specialties, followed by a dance and theatre performance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 6 - Monywa's Hpowindaung and Shwebadaung Caves
A full day excursion to the city of Monywa, on the eastern bank of the Chindwin River, a major trade center for agricultural products from the surrounding valley. Here, visit the amazing 12th century Hpowindaung and Shwebadaung Caves, adorned with hundreds of Buddha statues placed inside niches decorated with wonderful mural paintings. After a box lunch, continue on to the impressive Sambuddhai Kat Kyaw pagoda with its more than 500,000 colorful Buddha images. Return to the ship with time to relax before tonight's dinner on board. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 7 - Yandabo's Pottery Workshops, Shwe Pyi Thar Village
Arrive in Yandabo, a picturesque village famous for its terracotta pots made from the clay of the riverbank. Here, the historic peace treaty was signed that ended the first Anglo-Burmese war in 1826. A walking tour of this small village of less than 350 houses takes you to the workshops. Watch groups of women creating, decorating and firing the pottery. If school is in session, you'll have the opportunity to meet local children and tour the school. After lunch, a leisurely walking tour in the typical nomadic village of Shwe Pyi Thar where you learn more about collecting and processing palm sap into palm sugar, sweets and liquors. On board ship, highlights of the activities in the evening include demonstrations of longyi and thanaka (traditional clothing and make-up). (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 8 - Astonishing Bagan
A truly extraordinary day as you arrive in Bagan, the country's spiritual center and one of the largest and most unforgettable archaeological sites in the world. Over 2,000 pagodas, stupas and temples dot the golden plains of the city - an astonishing sight to behold. Visit the magnificent Ananda temple, a whitewashed masterpiece that houses four standing Buddhas. Continue to Dhammayangyi, Bagan's largest temple, built during the reign of King Narathu. Next, visit a traditional lacquerware workshop to see the time-consuming process of handmade lacquer products. After leisure time and lunch on board, travel to the Temple of Upali Thein, with its well-preserved paintings and stop at Htilominlo, to see a demonstration of sand art. End the day with a ceremonial oxcart ride along the scenic trails of Bagan, continuing by coach to Phya That Gyi Pagoda, the most significant temple in Bagan. Ascend to the top for extraordinary sunset views over the Bagan plains before returning to the ship for dinner. Entertainment on board this evening is a special performance of the celebrated Myanmar Puppets. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 9 - Nyaung-U Market, Tan Kyi Mountain
Today's exploration of Bagan begins at the bustling Nyaung-U morning market; see the daily life of the country, as people shop and bargain for food and wares at the colorful stalls. Next, explore the 13th century cave temple of Gubyaukgyi with its Indian-style spire, beautiful murals and carvings. Continue to the red-brick Sulamani Temple, decorated with magnificent interior murals accented by the soft glow of the sun's rays. In the afternoon, reach the top of Tan Kyi Mountain by van; visit one of the four stupas that marked the original edges of the city. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 10 - Village of Salay
Arrive downstream today in the Bagan-era village of Salay, an active religious center founded in the 13th century with its over 50 impressive teak monasteries and untouched British colonial buildings. Visit the huge Youqson Kyaung wooden monastery designed as a replica of the Crown Prince House in Mandalay with its intricate exterior carvings depicting 19th century court life and scenes from Buddha's past lives. Continue to an area of colonial buildings and the interesting monuments of Payathonzu and the Shinpinsarkyo Paya. Return to the ship for lunch on board. The afternoon lecture and discussion is the timely subject of Burma - from Early Innovators to Closed Society. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 11 - Minbu and the Mud Volcanoes
In the morning, the ship crosses the river to the Set Kein De Pagoda, set on a hilltop with magnificent views of the river. Then, arrive to the small town of Minbu, with its legendary Mud Volcanoes, locally known as Naga Bwet Taung (Dragon's breath), home to two dragons with mystical powers. Upon entering, it's customary to perform some offerings to the stone dragons, meant to tame the mythical beast. In reality, the volcanoes are formed by trapped methane gas trying to escape from deep below the surface. These gases then force their way through mud vents in this spectacular landscape that looks extremely lunar. After lunch, activities include a lecture focusing on Myanmar Today followed by a cooking demonstration; learn the art of preparing Burmese specialties taught by an accomplished chef. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 12 - Colonial Thayetmyo, Pyay (Prome), Sri-Ksetra
A horse cart transports you to the charming colonial town of Thayetmyo that once guarded the border between Royal Myanmar and British Myanmar. Outside the town is the oldest golf course in Myanmar used by the British - you can try your swing at the first hole! Then, continue to the bustling local covered market and drive past colonial homes constructed during the British colonization of Burma. Later, a scenic drive takes you to Pyay, (formerly Prome), controlled by the Mon Tribe during the Bagan Era and then conquered by Burmese King Alaungpaya in 1754. Continue to Thayekhittaya (Sri-Ksetra), the "Fabulous City", designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the return to Pray, stand in awe at the astonishing 2500-year-old Shwesandaw Pagoda, an incredible array of golden stupas, serene Buddhas and intricate mythical beasts - its spires are the heart of the city and the smaller gold stupa of Wunchataung Paya (Apology Mountain Pagoda), where people ask forgiveness for their misdeeds. Late afternoon lecture today is Pyay and The Banks of the Irrawaddy. Tonight, a festive Farewell Dinner. Bid a fond farewell to your newfound friends and share wonderful memories of a great journey. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 13 - Disembarkation, Yangon
Disembarkation and transfer to Yangon, capital of Myanmar, a melting pot of British, Burmese, Chinese and Indian cultures and where contemporary and colonial Myanmar continues to coexist. Upon arrival, you'll immediately view the astonishing panorama of some of the most impressive pagodas in the country. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (Breakfast)

DAY 14 - Flight to Bangkok
Today, return to Bangkok by flight for a final day of leisure in the country's capital. Enjoy the day revisiting some of the famous sites and be sure to shop to your heart's content for gifts to bring back home. (Breakfast)

DAY 15 - Depart Thailand
Your vacation ends after breakfast today. (Breakfast)

Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Stroll along the U-Bein Bridge
  • Tour the amazing Hpowindaung and Shwebadaung Caves
  • Visit a local school to interact with children
  • Visit Bagan, one of the most unforgettable archaeological sites in the world
  • Tour the Bagan-era village of Salay, an active religious center founded in the 13th century
  • Horse cart ride to the charming colonial town of Thayetmyo
  • Visit Pyay, (formerly Prome), a stupa studded Irrawaddy riverside town
  • Excursion to Thayekhittaya (Sri Ksetra), a UNESCO World Heritage Site
All This Included
  • All intra-flights: Bangkok-Mandalay & Yangon-Bangkok
  • 13 nights accommodations
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel & cruise porterage
  • 31 meals: 13 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners
  • Services of English-speaking tour manager (Days 3-13)
  • Services of local guide in Bangkok
  • Shore excursions per itinerary
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • Complimentary bottled water, coffee, tea, soft drinks, local beer, and wine with dinner
  • Welcome & Farewell receptions
  • Locally inspired dinners
  • Series of cultural performances, educational talks, cooking classes, and ship tour
  • Spacious air conditioned lounge with nightly entertainment
  • Fitness center & spa
  • Non-smoking ship interior
Accommodations on this Tour
Bangkok: Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside
Mandalay: Mandalay Hill Resort
Cruising: Categroy D Cabin onboard Irrawaddy Explorer
Yangon: Kandawgyi Palace Hotel
Bangkok: Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside
  • Land only price does not include arrival/departure transfers, but does include intra-flights Bangkok-Mandalay and Yangon-Bangkok. Cruise itineraries are subject to change. Alternative sights may be visited depending upon water levels
  • The Irrawaddy Explorer cabins cannot accommodate 3 passengers; therefore, triple rooms will be accommodated in a twin and single cabin.
  • This moderately active trip covers a fair amount of ground each day. Expect from three to four hours walking every touring day. The pace is moderate, however you will encounter some uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. Low water levels may require walking additional steps or slopes to reach the bank. The Irrawaddy cruise will end in Prome. Transfer from Prome to Yangon requires 5 to 7 hours driving.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information. 
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.

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