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A River Cruise through Burma - From Yangon to Mandalay

11 days from £3190 per person

The ‘Golden Land’ Irrawaddy River cruise, operated by Pandaw, follows a classic route between Prome, close to Yangon, and Mandalay. The journey starts with a coach transfer to Prome and a visit to the archaeological site of Thiri-ya-kittiya before boarding the vessel. From here the boat slowly makes its way north, stopping on the way in Thayetmyo, Minhla, Magwe and Sale before two full days are spent exploring the extraordinary temples of Bagan. Continuing upstream, stop en-route in the small riverside village of Yandabo, and end with a memorable few days in Mandalay to visit Sagaing, Amarapura and Mingun. This 10-night river cruise runs from early October to the end of March and operates both upstream and downstream.

Route: Yangon - Prome - Thayetmyo - Magwe - Sale - Bagan - Yandabo - Mandalay

Itinerary Highlights

The lower reaches of the Irrawaddy are often overlooked but the charming colonial town of Thayetmyo and Magwe’s glittering Myat-thalon Pagoda showcase this region’s diversity.

Located downriver of Bagan, Sale is an important spiritual centre and home to around fifty monastic buildings including the impressive carved wooden monastery of Yoke Sone Kyaung.

Nothing prepares you for the scale of Bagan. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to over 3,000 temples, stupas and pagodas, including the monumental Thatbyinnyu Pahto.

Itinerary: A River Cruise through Burma - From Yangon to Mandalay

This morning at 0600 hours meet your fellow cruise passengers in the Sule Shangri-La Hotel. Leaving Yangon, travel by coach to Prome – a journey of up to six hours – and arrive in the afternoon. Once in Prome visit the archaeological site of Thiri-ya-kittiya which, between the 5th and 8th centuries, was an important settlement of the Pyu civilization. Spend time exploring the stupas of this ancient Buddhist city and also visit the excellent museum. Later return to the Irrawaddy River and board either the Pandaw II or RV Katha Pandaw for the ten night upstream ‘Golden Land’ cruise. (L/D)
Arrive in the town of Thayetmyo which once marked the border between Royal and British Burma. An important colonial centre in its time, many buildings in the town date to the mid-19th century including the covered market and golf course which is the oldest in the country. Visit the market, spend time enjoying the colonial homes then, passing the botanical gardens, see the golf links. Later return to the boat and continue upstream towards Minhla and Magwe. (B/L/D)
Start the day with a visit to the Italian built forts at Minhla then ride trishaws to the impressive Myat-thalon Pagoda in nearby Magwe. The opulent main pagoda is constructed with solid gold bricks and within the main temple complex there are numerous nat shrines and hermitages to explore. Returning to the river, re-board the boat and depart for Sale. (B/L/D)
Sale is known for the intricately carved wooden façade of the late 19th century monastery of Yoke Sone Kyaung. Today the town continues to be an active religious centre with close to fifty monasteries. Many colonial-era homes also remain. Continue sailing upstream and moor at Tan-Chi-Taung Mountain, ascending on foot or by WWII jeep to enjoy sunset over the temples of Bagan. Dating to 849 AD, Bagan is one of the most important archaeological sites in Asia and a highlight of any visit to the country. (B/L/D)
Waking early, enjoy the magnificent views as the temples and pagodas covering the vast flood plain of the Irrawaddy River reveal themselves in the morning light. The remainder of the day will be spent touring a selection of the UNESCO protected monuments. The stupas and temples are incredibly varied, large and small, intricate and plain and whilst only 3,000 of the original 10,000 remain, the scale of the site is staggering. Highlights include Ananda Pahto, 800 year old Thatbyinnyu Pahto, Shwezigon Pagoda and Nathlaung Kyaung. (B/L/D)
Following breakfast return to shore for one last visit to a few further temples. From here visit a lacquerware workshop – this region of Myanmar is particularly well known for this craft – then spend the remainder of the morning in the local market. Re-board the boat and sail north stopping in the evening in the village of Oh Ne Kyaung – a typical Irrawaddy riverside community. (B/L/D)
Passing the confluence with the Chindwin River, today arrive in the small rural village of Yandabo which is well known for its production of terracotta pottery from the riverbank clay. There will also be an opportunity to visit the Pandaw School which was built with past donations from Pandaw passengers. Re-boarding the vessel continue on towards Mandalay. (B/L/D)
The last royal capital of the Burmese kingdom, Mandalay retains great importance as a cultural and religious hub. This morning visit the highly venerated Mahamuni Buddha image at Mahamuni Paya and Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung, a teak carved monastery, before continuing to Sagaing which was the former capital of the Shan Kingdom during the 14th century. A major religious centre, the complex houses over 1,000 stupas, pagodas, sanctuaries and monasteries. Leaving Sagaing, end the afternoon in ancient Amarapura, board a board on Taungthaman Lake and view the famous teak U-Bein Bridge at sunset. (B/L/D)
This morning continue north of Mandalay to Mingun – site of the world’s largest intact bronze bell which was cast in 1808, weighs over 90 tonnes and is four metres in height. Close by is also the enormous, and earthquake damaged, ruin of Mingun Pagoda. A visit will also be made to Mingun Old Peoples Home which was originally established with the assistance of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company during the 1930s. (B/L/D)
Today visit the remarkable potteries near Kyauk-Myoung. Here it is possible to see all stages of manufacture from the throwing of the pots to the week-long firing in huge kilns. Continuing north enter the Third Defile and continue to the village of Khan-nyat with its Buddhist monasteries and Pandaw supported orphanage. In the afternoon return downstream to Mandalay. (B/L/D)
This morning disembark the boat between 0800 and 0900 hours at Saggai Lay Kyun Man Aung Jetty in Mandalay. (B)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • Cruise accommodation and sightseeing with other passengers
  • Shared transfers as specified

What's not included

  • Any International flights
  • Cost of visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Meals unless specified

Guide to Price

The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

Burma / Myanmar Holiday Review

Our itinerary was varied and interesting at all times; the logistics were impeccable. We found the people of Myanmar to be kind and considerate. What we most enjoyed was the authenticity of all we did and saw. Once again, many thanks to the team for a truly great experience.

PB & MT - Burma / Myanmar - February 2018

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For over 30 years, Pettitts Travel have led the way in creating authentic, tailor-made holidays. Our knowledgeable team have first-hand knowledge of our destinations and no two itineraries we prepare are the same.

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