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Myanmar & the Irrawaddy

11 days with Abercrombie & Kent  Rating: Deluxe

River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Yangon, Myanmar
Arrive in Yangon, where you are met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2: Yangon | Queen of the East
Today, enjoy your first taste of Myanmar, a profoundly Buddhist country, where many ancient traditions still flourish. Discover Musmeah Yeshua, the last remaining Jewish synagogue in Myanmar, built during Burma’s colonial era in the heart of the city center. Continue to the Reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, a 213-foot-long statue with an expressive enamel face. Later this afternoon, savor afternoon tea with a local writer and former colleague of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. This evening, gather with your fellow guests for a special welcome dinner. (B L D)
Day 3: Bagan | Temples & Pagodas
Fly to ancient Bagan, a city with more than 2,000 Buddhist pagodas and temples, the first of which was built by King Anawrahta in 1044. It’s estimated that more than 10,000 such sacred structures once adorned the dusty plain here. Upon arrival, visit a rural village, where you have a chance to interact with the locals en route to your hotel. After a short rest, continue your journey to see the Shwezigon Pagoda, Bagan’s greatest reliquary, built to house the Buddha’s collarbone, frontal bone and tooth. At sunset, Ride Like a Local as you weave your way through the ancient temple ruins on the back of a horse cart. (B L D)
Day 4: Bagan | Ballooning Above the Temples
Rise early for an exhilarating hot air balloon ride (weather permitting) over Bagan, as the dawning sun illuminates the gold- and sand-colored stupas. After breakfast, visit Ananda Temple. Built in 1090, it is the best preserved temple in the region. Next, travel to the little village of Wetkyi-In to see the wonderful Kubyaukgyi Temple, renowned for its ancient murals. Board luxurious all-balcony ‘Sanctuary Ananda,’ your home for a three-night cruise on the timeless Irrawaddy River. After lunch on board, visit a local lacquerware workshop before proceeding to the Gunee Temple complex to enjoy the sunset. Return to the ship for dinner. (B L D)
Day 5: The Irrawaddy River | A Timeless Journey
After breakfast on board ‘Sanctuary Ananda,’ explore Nyaung Oo Market and observe the locals selling and bartering for goods. Return to the ship for lunch and continue sailing. Listen to a special onboard talk about Myanmar’s history and vision for the future, followed by demonstrations of the longgi (traditional Burmese cloth worn by men and women) and thanakha (a white cosmetic paste made from ground bark that is used on the face and arms by women and girls). (B L D)
Day 6: Sagaing/Amarapura | U Bein Bridge
This morning, learn the secrets of Burmese cuisine during a cooking class at a delightful Chef’s Table experience. After lunch, disembark to visit Sagaing, a former royal city renowned for the many monasteries, pagodas and stupas that dot its green hillsides. Proceed to Amarapura, where you embark on a local boat to view the picturesque U Bein Bridge — the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world — for a spectacular Scenic Sundowner. Watch as locals riding bikes, carrying crops and commuting from work cross this tall, iconic wooden landmark, offering an insight into everyday life here and a sunset photo opportunity not to be missed. (B L D)
Day 7: Mandalay | Icons & Evening Prayers
Visit Sinjun village in the early morning hours, to experience village life before the heat of the day weighs on its inhabitants. After breakfast on board, explore a gold-leaf workshop, where the metal is hammered paper-thin and prepared for use in some of Myanmar’s holiest sites. This afternoon, visit the Shwenandaw Monastery and view the more than 700 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist religious texts at Kuthodaw Pagoda, referred to as the biggest book in the world. Later, witness evening prayers at Shwe Kyin Monastery. (B D)
Day 8: Inle Lake | Floating Gardens
Fly to Heho and drive to Nyaung Shwe to explore the 19th century Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, a structure still in use built entirely out of teakwood. Next, stop at a Shan paper workshop. The paper, made from the fibers of the mulberry bush, is best known for its use in Burmese parasols. Enjoy a firsthand look at the artisans who produce this distinctive paper and craft a wide range of items from it. After lunch, board a boat and explore the ingenious floating gardens of Inle Lake. To create these gardens, used for growing fruit and vegetables, fishermen gather together lake plants such as water hyacinths and seagrass and anchor them with bamboo poles embedded in the lake bottom. Layers of mud, ash and more vegetation are then applied to form a farmable surface strong enough to stand upon. Also, visit Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, which stands on stilts beside the lake, to view the Buddha statues on display in intricately decorated shrines. Transfer to your lakeside boutique hotel for the evening. (B L D)
Day 9: Inle Lake | Fifth-Day Market & Private Boat Race
After breakfast, visit the Fifth-Day Market, where hill tribe people in traditional dress barter for goods and produce. Stop at a blacksmith’s workshop and a weaving factory, and try your hand at making a cheroot (Burmese cigar). Stop for lunch at the Intha Heritage House, savoring dishes made from recipes handed down for generations. Then, witness a private Intha boat race with afternoon tea. Marvel at the coordinated effort required by the 20 participants per boat, each using the traditional single-leg rowing technique that local fishermen still employ. (B L)
Day 10: Yangon | Shwedagon Pagoda & Farewell Dinner
Fly to Yangon and transfer to your hotel. After time at leisure, transfer to Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar, for a sunset oil lamp lighting ceremony. Tonight, toast your time in Myanmar at a special farewell dinner. (B L D)
Day 11: Depart Yangon
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and depart. (B)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Cruise in luxury for three nights on the legendary Irrawaddy River aboard all-balcony 'Sanctuary Ananda'
  • Experience floating gardens and a private viewing of a traditional Intha boat race on tranquil Inle Lake.
  • Soar above thousands of pagodas and capture the photographs of a lifetime on a magical hot air balloon ride
  • Explore Shwedagon Pagoda - a fantasy of golden stupas, serene Buddhas and mythical beasts
  • Travel off the beaten path on a tour of Musmeah Yeshua, the last remaining Jewish synagogue in Myanmar
All This Included
Journey to untouched Myanmar to experience the serenity of Inle Lake, observe life along the banks of the Irrawaddy River from aboard Sanctuary 'Ananda' and witness the rising sun illuminate thousands of temples in ancient Bagan.
  • All accommodations.
  • Meals as specified.
  • Arrival and departure transers.
  • Fully-guided sightseeing as noted in the itinerary.
  • Bottled water supplied during Sightseeing.
  • Handling of two pieces of baggage per person for international fights.
  • Hotel taxes.
  • Gratuities throughout, except to your Tour Director
Accommodations on this Tour
Yangon: Sule Shangri-La Hotel
Bagan: Aureum Palace Hotel & Resort
Cruising: Cabin onboard Sanctuary 'Ananda'  
Mandalay: Rupar Mandalar Resort  
Inle Lake: Aureum Palace Resort & Spa
Pre and Post Add-ons
Pre-Tour Extension: Bangkok
3 days, from $895. Internal Air from: $425. Internal Air Routing: Bangkok/Yangon. Available to add to select departure dates. 
Day 1: 
Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand, and transfer to your luxurious hotel. 
Day 2: 
Depart the hotel by boat. Onshore, explore the Royal Grounds of the Grand Palace by tuk-tuk, and then tour the palace. Next, behold the spectacular Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. Later, glide along the Chao Phraya River and klongs (canals) by boat and visit a colorful market. Tonight, gather for a special welcome dinner. (B D)
Day 3: 
After breakfast, fly to Yangon to begin your main journey. (B)
Post-Tour Extension: Luang Prabang
4 days, from $1,595. Internal Air from: $1,285. Internal Air Routing: Yangon/Bangkok/Luang Prabang/Bangkok. Available to add to select departure dates. 
Day 1: 
Fly from Yangon to Luang Prabang via Bangkok. On arrival, transfer to your boutique hotel before enjoying a baci ceremony in a local home this evening. 
Day 2: 
Observe locals giving alms to monks. Visit an organic rice farm and Kuang Si Waterfall. Enjoy a sunset cruise and a farewell dinner. (B L D)
Day 3: 
See the monasteries of Wat Xiengthong, Wat Kili, Wat Sop and Wat Sene. Visit the Royal Palace and Phousi Hill on a city tour. This evening, fly to Bangkok. (B L)
Day 4: 
Today, transfer to the airport and depart. (B)
Explore Dubai: Stopover Package
3 days, from $1,995. 
Days 1-3: 
Fly glamorous Emirates to Dubai and check in to your luxury hotel. The next day, discover the best of this dazzling city, viewing its remarkable architecture, visiting the Spice Market and colorful shops at the Deira Gold Souk, and ascending the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper. On the last day, continue on to your journey or board your flight home. (B L (Day 2); B (Day 3))
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Internal Air: Economy class from $475 (Yangon/Bagan; Mandalay/Heho/Yangon).
  • Minimum age is 10 years.
  • First group event: welcome briefing at 8:30 a.m. on Day 2. Last group event: farewell dinner at 7:00 p.m. on Day 10.
  • Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests.
  • Itinerary will operate with routing changes in the case of low water levels.
  • 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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