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Burma way through the mighty Irrawaddy River

12/Days  Flexible & Private Tour
 YangonBaganYandabo villageSagaingAmarapuraMingunMandalayInle LakeYangon
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$2562 $2447
Designed by © Inside Travel Experts
Burma way through the mighty Irrawaddy River Burma way through the mighty Irrawaddy River Burma way through the mighty Irrawaddy River See all 116 photos
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This Burma way through the mighty Irrawaddy River 12 days is a perfect tour combination of an incredible cruise and exciting on-land excursions to the hidden corners of the Golden Land. As you set sail from Bagan to Mandalay visiting exotic villages and charming towns, you will gain an intriguing glimpse of the rich cultural and spiritual traditions of Burma. The most highlights of this tour you should not miss are exploring the spectacular stupa-filled plains of Bagan, greeting the sunset on Taungthaman lake at U Bein Bridge, learning about the pottery production in Yandabo village and visiting the UNESCO listed Kuthodaw Pagoda. After the disembarkation, you will spend the rest time in the beautiful Inle Lake to experience the idyllic countryside and floating life here. Join our tour and let us show you all the best of Burma.

Highlights

  Take a city tour around Yangon’s most highlights: Royal Palace, Kandawgyi Lake, Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, and Shwedagon Pagoda

  Get on a special cruise along the beautiful Irrawaddy River from Bagan to Mandalay

  Gaze out at the more than 3,000 temples and pagodas of Bagan

  Enjoy the traditional paper-mache elephant dance performed by Tant-Chi villagers

  Visit a local market and town center in Pakokku by Tuk Tuk

  Stop by Yandabo village that is famous for terracotta pottery

  Explore Ava and Amarapura, the ancient capitals of Burmese kingdom

  Relax on a sunset boat trip on Taungthaman lake at U Bein Bridge

  Discover the UNESCO listed Kuthodaw Pagoda with the world’s biggest book

  Marvel at the floating world of Inle Lake and visit ShweIndein pagoda in Indein village

Tour Summary

By Day Transfer Destinations Activities Meals
Day 1 Yangon Arrive Yangon, airport transfer to city center, check in hotel D
Day 2 Yangon Yangon full day city tour B
Day 3 Bagan Fly to Bagan, transfer to jetty and join cruise, visit key temples... B, L, D
Day 4 Bagan Explore more of key temples, pagodas and traditional lacquerware... B, L, D
Day 5 Salay Visit Salay & Yoke-Sone Kyaung monastery on foot, drive up... B, L, D
Day 6 Pakkoku Enjoy tour around Pakkoku & its main market by Tuk Tuk, learn how to... B, L, D
Day 7 Yandabo village Stroll around Yandabo village & discover well-known pottery making... B, L, D
Day 8 Sagaing Join an interesting horse-cart trip around ancient Ava, drive up to... B, L, D
Day 9 Mingun Sail to explore the giant unfinished Mingun pagoda, visit Mahamuni... B, L, D
Day 10 Inle Lake Disembark cruise at Mandalay, fly to Heho, connect to Inle Lake &... B
Day 11 Indein Sail towards Indein, visit a colorful 5-day market, discover... B
Day 12 Yangon Fly to Yangon, depart B
  • Transfer:
  • Activities:

    Arrive Yangon, airport transfer to city center, check in hotel

Mingalabar! Welcome to Yangon, the biggest exciting hub of Myanmar. Upon your airport arrival, you will be greeted and welcomed by our guide and driver who will transfer you to your city central hotel. After check in at your hotel and enjoy welcome drink, it is your own time of relaxation after long flight in or to get to know the city your way before enjoying the welcome dinner in a cozy and fine local restaurant.

Meals are on your own account.

  • Meals:

    DinnerWelcome dinner

  • Transfer:
  • Activities:

    Yangon full day city tour

After breakfast, we transfer to Mahabandola park, standing in front of the national Independence monument, take your time for a panoramic view of all remarkable historic compounds around including City HallImmanual church. Next up, we stroll down nearby French-architecture colonial buildings which are still preserved in its original condition since last century. Don’t forget to snap nostalgic pictures along the walk. After lunch break, spend your time to stop and relax at the picturesque Royal Palace (Karaweik) & Kandawgyi Lake. Afternoon, head to Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda in downtown Yangon to discover the 65 meters long and 16 meters high Reclining Buddha image. To call it a day, find the way to World famous Great Golden Shwedagon Pagoda and see it magically lit at night. 

Lunch and dinner are on your own account.

Uncover the diverse history and culture of Yangon

Welcome to Yangon - the biggest and most bustling city in Myanmar, a unique city in Southeast Asia with all nostalgic colors of time and culture reserved over centuries. If you are interested in colonial era architecture, a stroll down Yangon's colonial buildings will definitely blow you away by well-reserved images from the 20th century, with decaying facades filled with old paint and small trees squeezing through those little cracks. Moreover, proud of rich cultural tradition, Yangon will amaze you with plenty of spiritual relics where you can experience the importance of Buddhism to the Burmese’s lives: tranquil Chaukhtatgyi Temple containing an over-200-feet-long reclining Buddha, the octagonal-shaped 2500 year old pagoda Sule Pagoda located in the heart of the city, and especially the legendary Shwedagon Pagoda - the massive 99 meter high gold plated pagoda with the diamond studded spire on top of a small hill in downtown Yangon. And don’t miss chance to meditate in pagoda’s mystical atmosphere beautifully lit up after dark.(Note: Selected schedules will be appropriately handpicked according to specific package)

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  • Meals:

    Breakfast

  • Transfer:
  • Activities:

    Fly to Bagan, transfer to jetty and join cruise, visit key temples and pagodas in Old Bagan with cruise guide

After early breakfast, have an airport drop-off ride with our driver and take a morning flight to Bagan then.
Upon arrival in Bagan, meet up our local team before transferring from the airport to the ship for lunch followed by exploration of a selection of the 3000 plus Pagan monuments by bicycle or coach.

The first temple visited is Ananda, known as the finest temple in Pagan in terms of ancient architecture, built in AD 1105 by King Kyansit Thar, the third king of Pagan dynasty. Explore the high standard of Pagan craftsmanship including niches with statues, glazed plaques, the standing Buddha statues and murals.
Next stop is Myingabar Gubyaukgyi temple built in AD 1113 by Prince Rajakumar, son of King Kyansit Thar. Discover the well-preserved murals which also depict typical day-to-day life in Pagan.

End the day with a walk through Phwar Saw Village; a small village with just over 500 inhabitants situated between New Pagan and Nyaung U airport. It was named after the very famous and influential queen for three consecutive Kings in Pagan’s late 13th century. The villagers rely on bean and pea farming, breeding cattle and producing small lacquerware handicrafts. A short stroll in the village under the shimmering sunshine in the late afternoon is the perfect way to capture the villagers’ way of life including fetching water, herding cattle back home and preparing for dinner.

Moor overnight in Pagan.

Explore the top-notch of Bagan (Pandaw cruise)

Arrive into Bagan, we’ll kick things off with a guided tour of beautifully ancient Bagan on Pandaw coach or bicycle. Take in the finest sites including Ananda temple, Myingabar Gubyaukgyi temple as well as get to know all about village way of life and farming by a walk around Phwar Saw Village.

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  • Meals:

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Transfer:
  • Activities:

    Explore more of key temples, pagodas and traditional lacquerware workshop in Bagan

Further exploration of Pagan and visit a lacquerware workshop. Visit to Shwe San Daw stupa, one of only a few monuments allowing travellers to climb it, gaining a 360-degree view over the pagoda-studded plain. The next visit is to Shwe Zi Gone Pagoda, built in AD 1086 and believed to enshrine a hair relic of the Buddha.
Before returning to the ship for lunch, take a stroll around the Khay Min Ga pagoda complex to learn about the different architectural styles: Indian, Sri Lankan, Myanmar-Mon hybrid and Myanmar.

In the afternoon, visit a Lacquerware workshop to explore the process of making lacquer handicrafts which is the specialty craft of Pagan.
Continue to the unique Payathonezu, three inter-connected temples with a narrow passage built in the late 13th century.
End the day with a visit to Dhamayangyi from AD 1170, the widest and largest temple in Pagan.
Watch the sunset from the top of Taung Guni temple before returning to the ship.

Overnight in Pagan.

Discover Bagan history in depth (Pandaw cruise)

Grasp another chance to learn about the timeless legacy and architecture of Bagan with well-preserved pagodas of Shwe San Daw, Shwe Zi Gone, Khay Min Ga, Payathonezu, Dhamayangyi which mostly dated from 12th century and played important roles over the rich history of Burma. Don’t miss an interesting trip to a local workshop and see how high quality lacquer handicrafts are made.

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  • Meals:

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Transfer:
  • Activities:

    Visit Salay & Yoke-Sone Kyaung monastery on foot, drive up Tant-Chi-Taung mountain, enjoy paper-mache elephant dance performed by local villagers

Set sail early morning to Salay, a small town which was once a bustling trading port, now a sleepy village filled with colonial architectural treasures and timeless teak monasteries.

Walk to Yoke-Sone Kyaung, the best-known teak carved monastery in Burma, stopping at Salay House on return.
Sail upriver to the Ayardaw charity clinic supported by Pandaw then drive up the winding road of the Tant-Chi-Taung mountain to visit the hill-top stupa.

Late afternoon, watch the traditional paper-mache elephant dance performed by the villagers from Tant-Chi.
Moor overnight near Nyaung U.

Search for the quiet side of Bagan (Pandaw cruise)

Expand your Bagan experience by sailing further to Salay in which you may feel like waking back in time through crumbling colonial buildings and the ornately carved Yoke Sone Kyaung monastory. Continue to the upriver way, you will stop at Tant-Chi-Taung Mountain, an exotic place which offers off touristic views over surrounding quaint villages. Enjoy the views and watch the traditional paper-mache elephant dance performed by the indigenous villagers.

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  • Meals:

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Transfer:
  • Activities:

    Enjoy tour around Pakkoku & its main market by Tuk Tuk, learn how to make traditional cheroot cigars

Explore Pakokku, experiencing the local market and town centre by Tuk Tuk.

Pakkoku is a city of about 100,000 inhabitants located 30 km from Pagan. Main produce are tobacco, cotton, peanuts, Thanatkha (traditional make-up and sun lotion) and textiles. Visit Pakokku’s main market by Tuk Tuk.
Stop at a cheroot workshop and discover how traditional cheroot cigars are made.

Moor overnight at Aung Pan Chaung near the Chindwin confluence.

Roam through Pakokku by Tuk Tuk (Pandaw cruise)

30 km north-east of Bagan on the Irrawaddy River we reach Pakokku, a friendly town famed for its tobacco and thanakha. Hop on a Tuk Tuk (locally popular vehicle) and check out the town in old way with main market and cheroot workshop. Enjoy a slow pace of life here before back to ship for evening rest.

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  • Meals:

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Transfer:
  • Activities:

    Stroll around Yandabo village & discover well-known pottery making technique

Explore Yandabo village, famous for its production of terracotta pottery from the river bank clay.

This village is well-known as the place where the first Anglo-Burmese war ended by the peace treaty signed in 1826. Morning walking tour and a visit to a pottery workshop to see first-hand the production process. This is a hands-on experience which you are welcome to try.
Visit the Pandaw supported Yandabo School (if no school holidays).

Afternoon sailing and moor overnight at Pauk-taw Pauk-myaing village near Ava.

Explore the captivating Yandabo village on foot

On the water route passing countless landscapes and typical Ayeyarwady villages, one that cannot be missed would say Yandabo village – best known as Burma's qualified pottery-making centre. As up to now, the village is hardly accessed by car, only cruise guests have chance to visit this endearing place. When visiting the village you will be able to see a lot of unglazed pottery made out of the river bank clay. Taking  a pleasant and interesting walk on dirty soil roads, you are to come across many cottages and welcoming villagers who are willing to share you their ups and downs in life and how they get on well with pottery making for so long. 

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  • Meals:

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Transfer:
  • Activities:

    Join an interesting horse-cart trip around ancient Ava, drive up to Sagaing Hill and visit Soon U Ponnya Shin hill top-pagoda, capture sunset at U Bein Bridge

Morning visit to the ancient city of Ava, which served as the capital of the Burmese kingdom for nearly 400 years, longer than any other ancient capital. Morning tour by coach to Ava jetty and across the v (Dokehtawady) river by small ferry boat, followed by horse carts to Menu Oak Kyaung monastery built by the chief queen in 1822. End the morning with a visit to the splendid Bagaya Kyaung monastery built entirely of teak in 1834.
Afternoon excursion to Sagaing where there are 1000 hermitages and sanctuaries rich in woodcarving and religious art. From Sagaing Hill admire the bird’s eye view over the Irrawaddy river curving around Sagaing from Soon U Ponnya Shin hill top-pagoda. Later an introduction to the Buddhist nuns’ way of life at a nunnery.

Drive to Amarapura, a former capital (initially from 1783 to 1819 and subsequently from 1839 to 1852). Visit a silk and cotton weaving workshop, Amarapura’s major business.

At sunset take a local boat on Taungthaman lake at U Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teak bridge.

Moor overnight at Sagaing.

Touch down in Mandalay riverside best parts (Pandaw cruise)

While approaching Mandalay with unmissable stops at Ava, Sagaing and Ava, the laid-back regions of rural setting and imprinted remains dated back to hundreds years ago. Start off with a horse-cart ride in Ava, followed by a drive up sagaing Hill to Soon U Ponnya Shin hill top-pagoda before calling it a day on the world’s longest teak bridge - U Bein Bridge in Amarapura when the sun is setting.

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  • Meals:

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Transfer:
  • Activities:

    Sail to explore the giant unfinished Mingun pagoda, visit Mahamuni temple, Golden Palace Monastery, Kuthodaw Pagoda, catch sunset at Royal Palace

Set sail to Mingun for a morning walking tour around the unfinished stupa built by Amarapura’s King Bodawpaya in 1790 which was intended to be the world’s largest stupa but remained unfinished since 1808 and also visit the world’s largest ringing bell. Drive to Mandalay in the afternoon. Mandalay is not only the country’s second largest city but also the religious centre of Burmese culture.
The excursion starts with a visit to Mahamuni Buddha Image, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Myanmar. The statue was brought here in 1785 by King Bodawapaya after the invasion of the Arakan Kingdom in 1784. To pay respect to the Buddha image, male devotees apply gold leaf to the image. As a result, the Mahamuni Buddha Image has been covered with a thick layer of gold leaf (about 15 cm). The walk continues along the street renowned for its marble carvers.

Continue to Shwe Kyaung (Golden Palace Monastery) which was built in 1857 and was originally part of the royal palace before it was moved to the present site in 1879.

Explore UNESCO listed Kuthodaw Pagoda, with the world’s biggest book. It accommodates 729 marble slabs engraved with the Buddha’s Parli Scriptures housed in shrines.

After the gold leaf hammering workshop, stop by the moat surrounding the Royal Palace for a great photo opportunity with a backdrop of Mandalay Hill.

Moor overnight at Sagaing.

Uncover Mingun & Mandalay highlights (Pandaw cruise)

Make our way to Mingun with a morning sail to visit biggest unfinished construction of Myanmar before heaing closer to Mandalay center where you will explore Mahamuni temple with the reknown thick layer of gold leaf covered Buddha statue; Golden Palace Monastery, the world biggest book in Kuthodaw Pagoda.

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  • Meals:

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Transfer:
  • Activities:

    Disembark cruise at Mandalay, fly to Heho, connect to Inle Lake & join a scenic boat trip around floating villages, gardens, pagodas & monastery

By 09:00 am disembark in Mandalay Saggai Lay Kyun Man Aung Jetty and transfer to Mandalay airport on cruise coach. Catch a short pre-arranged flight to Heho. Arrive in Heho airport, meet our local team and transfer to Inle Lake. It takes one hour to drive from airport to Inle; along the way, soothe yourself with cool weather and peaceful settings. Drop by a Shan paper umbrella workshop to how skillful locals are to create these amazing handcrafts. Also, visit Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which was constructed completely from teak and painted red. Show up in Inle Lake, we take a boat to visit Inle Lake with floating villagesfloating gardensfloating markets, several traditional villages such as weaving. The most special sight on Inle Lake is floating gardens where the local use the water hyacinth combining with seaweed on the bottom of the lake to keep the soil to grow more vegetables such as tomatoes, mint, etc. Up and down the lake have many temples, monasteries with golden pinnacles brightening on the sunlight. Discover PhaungDawOo Pagoda where houses the five Buddha images. These images are covered with gold in order to make visitors not be able to see the original form. Leave PhaungDawOo Pagoda, we continue to Ywa Ma village and Kay Lar Village before move to your hotel and check in.
Stay overnight in Inle Lake.

Immerse in the wonderful floating life in Inle Lake

Upward the western of Shan state is the pictureque Inle Lake –  the Venice of Myanmar. Stepping off Nyaung Shwe marina, you will take a motorized boat to navigate through stilt villages, floating garderns and meet locals who spend their entire lives on the water. Passing Ywa Ma village and Kay Lar Village where Intha people built their unique houses with long straight wooden poles stretching into the lake bed, it is your tranquil time in relaxed atmostphere of thelocally significant Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and get to unfold the interesting story of the five Buddhas inside. As the dawn is coming and the warm light turns the still surface of the lake a golden colour, just pause for a while and cherish true value of unforgetable moment.

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  • Meals:

    Breakfast

  • Transfer:
  • Activities:

    Sail towards Indein, visit a colorful 5-day market, discover ShweIndein pagoda & stupas jungle around, walk to nearby village of Sae Ma village

In the second day on Inle Lake, we board on boat again and sail toward Indein. En-route, take a chance to participate in a local 5-day market which is rotating between 5 different lakeside villages over 5-day period. The market is a unique culture point for residents all around the lake and nearby mountains to exchange not only a wide variety of colorful typical products but also their indigenous cultures. After having fun time in the vibrant market, we reach with 1- Indein village after another hour boating. Take an easy stroll through a bamboo forest before connecting the walkway up to the hilltop pagoda. After 30 minutes walking, the amazing summit comes to your sight with mesmerizing view of 1054 ruined stupas embracing the ShweIndein pagoda in the middle. Getting closer to ancient crumbling stupas, some fallen halfly while some overgrown by little trees and moss, you are offered a golden chance to admire priceless legacy of historical architecture and rich culture dating back from 17th cemtury. From the top of the hill, enjoy great views of Indein village and the surrounding landscape before continuing on foot to observe slow pace of life at Sae Ma village. Along the ride back to your lake hotel, do not miss a chance to stop at Inthar Heritage House, a restaurant and an unusual Cat Sanctuary  holding many significant history and culture values of Inle Lake’s native locals. Wrap up the fruitful day trip with fantastic sunset over the beautiful lake. Have a sweet night then at your hotel.
Stay overnight in Inle Lake.

Indulge in a trip to the graceful Indein

Indein is a small village West of Inle Lake which is renowned for the floating market and impressive ancient stupas with Banyan trees growing out of them. From Inle Lake, by just a scenic 8-kilometer boat ride through a long narrow canal, you soon reach the lively floating ‘5-day market’ rotated every five days around five different villages in Inle. This is a beautiful opportunity to experience the diversity of Inle ethnic, witness their day-to-day life and make their unique fair on the water trading all local products. A drop-in visit to local workshops will excite your curiosity about lotus weaving, cheroot cigarettes making in various size and flavours and diligent hand crafted silver work. Lastly, don’t forget to discover old ruined pagodas dated back to the 13th century and admire their incredible beauty even in bad condition. The impressive image of stupas after stupas decaying due to constant exposure to humidity still pose irresistible charm will leave you with nothing but thrills. 

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  • Meals:

    Breakfast

  • Transfer:
  • Activities:

    Fly to Yangon, depart

Free until check out your hotel, transfer to Heho airport with our driver then find your way to catch up a return flight to Yangon where you will connect your departure flight home then. Tour ends. Thank you and see you again. 

  • Meals:

    Breakfast

Inclusions

Meals
11 Breakfasts 7 Lunches 8 Dinners
Accommodation
Hotel (4 nights), Cruise (7 nights)
Transport
Car, Plane, Cruise
Flights
1. Fly from Yangon to Bagan (1h20m)
2. Fly from Mandalay to Heho (30 mins)
3. Fly from Heho to Yangon (1h10m)
Included Services
  •   Accommodations with daily breakfast
  •   8D7N full board on Pandaw cruise
  •   Port tax
  •   03-domestic flights: Yangon – Bagan, Bagan – Heho, Heho – Yangon
  •   Airport and sightseeing transfer by private car with AC
  •   Professional English speaking guides
  •   Water (02 bottles/pax/tour day)
  •   Zone fees, entrance fees, performances, excursions
  •   Private boat in Inle Lake & Indein
  •   Government & Road taxes

Exclusions

  •   International arrival and departure flights
  •   Visa stamp
  •   Travel insurance
  •   Early check-in, late check-out surcharge
  •   Personal expenses, extra water activities not mentioned
  •   Meals not mentioned
  •   Drinks not mentioned
  •   Tips & gratuities