Myanmar & the Irrawaddy - A Luxury Small Group Journey

Natural wonders are abundant too with the majestic Irrawaddy River at the country’s heart and the tranquil surrounds of Inle Lake with its floating gardens, stilted villages and peculiar leg-rowing fishermen.

Journey Overview

Blessed with an old Far East charm and some of the most endearing people you’ll find, Myanmar is one of the treasures of Southeast Asia. With an ancient culture, wonderful monuments, a strong textile and handicraft tradition and Buddhist festivals aplenty, it’s a delight for the curious traveller. Natural wonders are abundant too with the majestic Irrawaddy River at the country’s heart and the tranquil surrounds of Inle Lake with its floating gardens, stilted villages and peculiar leg-rowing fishermen. There are dazzling temples and pagodas wherever you look and a rich spiritual legacy.

Journey 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
  • Experience the ceremonial lighting of a thousand oil lamps at the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Learn how to tie a traditional longyi (the Burmese cloth worn by men and women) and wear thanakha (the commonly seen white cosmetic paste made from ground bark)
  • Visit workshops of local artisans specialising in lacquerware, gold-leaf and traditional papermaking
  • Hear from experts about Myanmar’s history, its vision for the future and insights to contemporary politics
Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Yangon

Arrive in Yangon, where you are met and transferred to your hotel.
Belmond Governor’s Residence

Day 2: Yangon | Queen of the East

Today, enjoy your first taste of Myanmar, a profoundly Buddhist country, where many ancient traditions still flourish. Visit the Reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, a 65-metre-long statue with an expressive enamel face. This evening, transfer to Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar, for a sunset oil lamp lighting ceremony. Standing nearly 100 metres high, the venerated stupa is covered in gold leaf and topped by a finial encrusted with thousands of diamonds, rubies, sapphires and other precious gems. View this mesmerising wonder first-hand, as your local guide explains the history behind the holy relics it enshrines, which include strands of hair from the head of Siddhārtha Gautama, the Buddha. Tonight, gather for a special welcome dinner. 
Belmond Governor’s Residence | Meals: BLD

Day 3: Bagan | Temples & Pagodas

Fly to Bagan, a city with more than 2,000 Buddhist pagodas and temples, the first of which was built by King Anawrahta in 1044. Upon arrival, you are taken to a local restaurant for lunch before continuing 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 temple ruins on the back of a horse cart.  
Aureum Palace Hotel & Resort | Meals: BLD

Day 4: Bagan | Ballooning Above the Temples

Rise early for an exhilarating hot air balloon ride (weather permitting) over Bagan, as dawn illuminates the gold- and sand-coloured stupas. After breakfast, visit the well-preserved Ananda Temple, built in 1090. Next, travel to the 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 a temple to enjoy the sunset. Return to the ship for dinner.  
Sanctuary Ananda | Meals: BLD

Day 5: Cruising the Irrawaddy | A Timeless Journey

After breakfast on board, explore Nyaung Oo Market and observe the locals selling and bartering for goods. Return to the ship for lunch and begin your cruise along the Irrawaddy River. Listen to a special on board talk about Myanmar’s history and vision for the future, followed by demonstrations of the longyi (traditional Burmese cloth worn by men and women) and thanakha (a white cosmetic paste made from ground bark).  
Sanctuary Ananda | Meals: BLD

Day 6: Cruising the Irrawaddy | U Bein Bridge

Today, learn the secrets of Burmese cuisine during a cooking demonstration at a delightful Chef’s Table experience. After lunch, disembark to visit Sagaing, a former royal city renowned for its monasteries, pagodas and stupas. Proceed to Amarapura, where you embark by boat to view the picturesque U Bein Bridge — the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. Watch locals riding bikes, carrying crops and commuting from work across this tall, iconic landmark for an insight into everyday life here as well as an ideal sunset photo opportunity.  
Sanctuary Ananda | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Mandalay | Icons & Evening Prayers

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.  
Rupar Mandalar Resort | Meals: BL

Day 8: Inle Lake | Floating Gardens

Fly to Heho and drive to Nyaung Shwe to visit a Shan paper workshop. Enjoy a firsthand look at the artisans who produce this distinctive paper, using fibres from the mulberry bush, and craft a wide range of items from it, most notably Burmese parasols. 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 on. Also, visit Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery to view the Buddha statues on display in intricately decorated shrines. Transfer to your lakeside boutique hotel for the evening.  
Aureum Palace Resort & Spa | Meals: BLD

Day 9: Inle Lake | Fifth-Day Market & Private Boat Race

Visit the Fifth-Day Market, where hill tribe people in traditional dress barter for goods and produce. Stop for lunch at the Intha Heritage House, savouring dishes made from recipes handed down over generations. Then, privately witness an 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.
Aureum Palace Resort & Spa | Meals: BL

Day 10: Yangon | Shwedagon Pagoda & Farewell Dinner

Fly to Yangon and transfer to your hotel. After time at leisure, visit Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott Market) to see where locals gather, socialise and shop. Later, take afternoon tea with a local writer, artist and intellectual who shares her insight into contemporary Burmese culture and politics. Tonight, toast your time in Myanmar at a special farewell dinner.  
Belmond Governor’s Residence | Meals: BLD

Day 11: Depart Yangon

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for onward flight arrangements.
Meals: B

Journey Details

Minimum age is 10 years.
First group event: welcome briefing at 9:00 a.m. on Day 2.
Last group event: farewell dinner at 7:30 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.
This journey contains some active elements

Show Full Itinerary
Accommodation/Partners

Accommodation/Partners

Sanctuary Ananda

Myanmar & the Irrawaddy - A Luxury Small Group Journey

The luxurious, all-suite Sanctuary Ananda carries guests in style on voyages of breathtaking beauty and discovery on the mysterious river ... Read more

Belmond Governor’s Residence, Yangon

Myanmar & the Irrawaddy - A Luxury Small Group Journey

A romantic, colonial-style mansion dating from the 1920s, Belmond The Governor's Residence is redolent of the days when it was home to ... Read more

Aureum Palace Hotel, Old Bagan

Myanmar & the Irrawaddy - A Luxury Small Group Journey

The Aureum Palace Hotel is a tranquil paradise, set in 27 acres of tropical gardens. Adjacent to the Bagan Archaeological Zone, the 114 ... Read more

Rupar Mandalar Resort, Mandalay

Myanmar & the Irrawaddy - A Luxury Small Group Journey

Rupar Mandalar is a romantic hotel, set within 1.8 hectares of natural vegetation. Modern facilities combine with traditional materials, ... Read more

Dates & Prices

Journey Dates & Prices

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy

Nov 21, 2019 - Dec 1, 2019
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Classic Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$7,960pp Single Supplement AU$2,925 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$8,630pp Single Supplement AU$3,595 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Mandalay Deck Price AU$9,560pp Single Supplement AU$4,525 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Luxury Suite Bhamo Deck Price AU$11,295pp Single Supplement AU$6,260 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Aloungpayah Owner’s Suite Price AU$14,630pp Single Supplement AU$13,995 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Dec 5, 2019 - Dec 15, 2019
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Classic Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$7,960pp Single Supplement AU$2,925 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$8,630pp Single Supplement AU$3,595 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Mandalay Deck Price AU$9,560pp Single Supplement AU$4,525 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Luxury Suite Bhamo Deck Price AU$11,295pp Single Supplement AU$6,260 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Aloungpayah Owner’s Suite Price AU$14,630pp Single Supplement AU$13,995 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Dec 12, 2019 - Dec 22, 2019
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Classic Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$7,960pp Single Supplement AU$2,925 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$8,630pp Single Supplement AU$3,595 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Mandalay Deck Price AU$9,560pp Single Supplement AU$4,525 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Luxury Suite Bhamo Deck Price AU$11,295pp Single Supplement AU$6,260 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Aloungpayah Owner’s Suite Price AU$14,630pp Single Supplement AU$13,995 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Dec 19, 2019 - Dec 29, 2019
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Classic Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$8,360pp Single Supplement AU$3,325 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$9,030pp Single Supplement AU$3,995 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Mandalay Deck Price AU$9,960pp Single Supplement AU$4,925 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Luxury Suite Bhamo Deck Price AU$11,695pp Single Supplement AU$6,660 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Aloungpayah Owner’s Suite Price AU$15,030pp Single Supplement AU$14,395 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Dec 26, 2019 - Jan 5, 2020
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Classic Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$8,360pp Single Supplement AU$3,325 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$9,030pp Single Supplement AU$3,995 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Mandalay Deck Price AU$9,960pp Single Supplement AU$4,925 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Luxury Suite Bhamo Deck Price AU$11,695pp Single Supplement AU$6,660 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Aloungpayah Owner’s Suite Price AU$15,030pp Single Supplement AU$14,395 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Notes:

Availability shown here is updated weekly and indicative only. Availability on any product or journey shown here is not specific to a category of travel and may not denote availability at the cheapest ‘From’ price. For real time availability, talk to your travel agent or call Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 851 800.

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Brochures

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