Cruising Myanmar (12 days)

specialThe Ayerwaddy River in Myanmar flows north to south and is the country’s largest river vital for its trade and transport.  Rudyard Kipling referred to it as the “Road to Mandalay”. There’s no better way to see Myanmar than cruising down the river!  Cruising Myanmar takes you on an odyssey discovering historical architecture, lush river deltas, ancient pagodas and cultural performances.  Toast to breath taking sunsets as you enjoy viewing Myanmar’s river life.  Cruising Myanmar takes you on an unforgettable journey of understanding this mysterious country and its people and traditions by road, by air and by boat. 

Day 1 – Yangon
Located in the fertile delta of southern Myanmar, Yangon has an abundance of lush parks, peaceful lakes and historic architecture. Upon arrival in Yangon, meet your guide and transfer to the hotel.

Day 2 – Yangon
Although the city of Yangon has grown to accommodate over four million people, it has retained its former charm. Start the day with a visit to the Sule Pagoda. Originally an Indian structure, it is according to legend over 2,500 years old. Stroll through downtown Yangon with its faded colonial atmosphere and visit the beautiful post office. Relax and observe the locals at Mahabandoola park going about their daily activities before visiting the Kyaukhtatgyi pagoda, known for the reclining Buddha that measures 70 metres in length. Lunch is served in town before continuing to the National Museum, which is home to priceless ancient artefacts. Visit the Bogyoke Market (closed on Mondays and public holidays) then head to the Indian quarter for a different view of the city. End the day with a visit to the magnificent Shwedagon pagoda, where many local and Buddhists come to worship (A private function of 1500 oil-lamps offering on Shwedagon with a brief religious chant at Dusk). Transfer to your hotel

This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel with a Historical Introductory Lecture by a well known Myanmar historian “Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt”

Day 3 – Yangon/Bagan/Road to Mandalay
Morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Bagan. On arrival, transfer to the Road To Mandalay berthed on the Ayeyarwady River. At Bagan over 2,000 temples and pagodas are scattered over an awe-inspiring plain beside the river. After lunch, join the guide and visit the inside of some of the more significant pagodas. Late afternoon your guide takes you to watch the sun setting over a field of glowing pagodas. Dinner and local entertainment on board

Day 4 – Road to Mandalay/Bagan
After breakfast join the guide to explore some of Bagan’s local markets selling wood carvings, fabrics, longyis and rattan goods. See Myanmar’s famous lacquerware being made. Alternatively, you can hire a bicycle or horse-drawn cart and explore this enchanting area on your own. Mid-morning the Road To Mandalay begins its cruise north towards Mandalay. Relax on the top deck and watch the fascinating river life glide by. The guide lectures on local places and customs. The ship moors mid-river for the evening. A casual cocktail party is followed by dinner on board.

Day 5 – Road to Mandalay/Manadalay
Arrive at the village of Shwe Kyet Yet after lunch. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of the key sights of Mandalay regarded as the centre of Burmese culture and Buddhist learning. Return to Road To Mandalay stopping enroute to admire sunset over the river. Dinner and local entertainment on board

Day 6 – Road to Mandalay
After breakfast, cruise to Mingun to visit the most important sights such as the pretty Hsinbyume Pagoda and the world’s largest uncracked bell. Return by ferry for a late lunch. In the afternoon, visit the Sagaing Hills, considered to be the living centre of the Buddhist faith in Burma. Sagaing is also famous for its silver and silversmiths who still work in much the same way as their ancestors did. Dinner and local entertainment on board

Day 7 – Disembark/Mandalay/Monywa
Monywa is located about 150km away from Mandalay, which is a four hour drive. This charming rural village specializes in producing world renowned lacquer ware. On arrival, meet some craftsmen and observe the lengthy techniques involved in producing the craft. Later visit the Schweguni pagoda, which is famous for its architecture and its gold Buddha statue. Continue to Ledi Kyaung Teik Monastery. The monastery is home to 806 massive stone slabs on which Buddhist scriptures can be read. Check into your hotel at the end of the day and enjoy some free time at night.

Day 8 – Monywa/Mandalay
This morning, cross Chindwin river over the crossing bridge and transfer by road to Po Win Taung village, which is home to over 400,000 carved ancient Buddha images from the 15th century. A 45 minute drive from Nyaung Pin Gyi jetty will bring you to a site where you may observe some of the country’s finest Buddhist paintings. Take your time to go around the sites before returning to Monywa. As you drive back to Mandalay, visit the Than Bode Day Pagoda, which is home to an overwhelming sight of half a million Buddha images. Visit the 1,000 Bo Trees Pagoda, which is a huge 68m tall reclining Buddha image. Continue to drive back to Mandalay afterwards and check into the hotel upon arrival.

Day 9 – Mandalay/Heho
Morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Heho. Upon arrival, enjoy a scenic one-hour drive to Myanmar’s second largest lake, Inle, which measure 70km². Located at an altitude of 880 metres, the lake is also one of the highest in the country, with a cool climate and exceptional flora and fauna. Inle is famous for its unique leg-rowers. This unusual style of rowing requires remarkable balance and definitely takes some practice. Enjoy a boat trip on the lake and observe the beautiful surroundings en route to the floating market and floating gardens. Lunch is served on the shores before departing for the southwest of the lake where the Indein pagoda complex is situated. Take the small covered path from the Pa O tribe village to a monastery and the very impressive ruins of hundreds of ancient pagodas, some hidden under vegetation. The main stupa-area on the top of the hill offers breathtaking views over the surroundings and into the valley with the lake in the far distance.

Day 10 – Inle Lake/Pindaya
Pindaya a short 1.5-hour drive from Inle is renowned for its limestone caves, called the Pindaya Caves. The caves are a Buddhist pilgrimage site and house thousands of Buddha images. There are three caves on the ridge, which runs north to south, but only the southern cave can be entered and explored. A well worn path leads to the back of the cave, about 150m deep. There are about 8,000 Buddha statues on display in the cave, left by previous pilgrims. The earliest statues date back to the mid 18th century. Wander around the cave and allow some time to explore the town, which is beautifully situated at a small lake and surrounded by mountains. Visit a Shan umbrella and mulberry paper production home industry and return to Inle.

Day 11 – Heho/Yangon
Enjoy some free time this morning before you transfer to the airport for a domestic flight back to Yangon. Finish your magnificent holiday in Myanmar with a visit to the gold-ash U Shein residence and learn more about traditional medicine practices. Afterwards take a leisurely stroll through downtown area and observe the magnificent colonial buildings still standing strong. Yangon is home to the largest number of colonial buildings in the region. Walk along Pansodan street and admire the colonial style General Post Office and High Court. Stroll further towards the river and observe the City Hall and Customs House while passing religious pagodas and well maintained parks. Finish your trip at the colonial landmark Strand Hotel and enjoy a coffee or tea in the Strand Cafe.

Day 12 –  Depart Yangon
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

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