Myanmar & the Irrawaddy - A Luxury Small Group Journey (2021)

Journey to Myanmar to experience the serenity of Inle Lake, observe life along the Irrawaddy River from aboard ‘Sanctuary Ananda’ and watch the rising sun illuminate thousands of temples in timeless Bagan.

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’
  • Participate in the ceremonial lighting of a thousand oil lamps at the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Enjoy privileged access to a local celebration of a young monk’s first entry to the monastery
  • Soar above thousands of pagodas and capture the photographs of a lifetime on a magical hot air balloon ride in Bagan
  • Experience floating gardens and a private viewing of a traditional Intha boat race on tranquil Inle Lake
Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Yangon, Myanmar

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 Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott Market) to see where locals gather, socialise and shop. After lunch, see 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 precious gems. View this mesmerising wonder firsthand, as your local guide explains the history behind the holy relics it enshrines, which include strands of hair from the head of Siddhartha 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, visit a local lacquerware workshop. This evening, sip sundowners from a special viewing platform overlooking Bagan’s temple-dotted landscape.
Aureum Palace Hotel & Resort, Bagan | Meals: BD

Day 4: Bagan | Young Novitiates & Timeless Temples

This morning, explore Nyaung Oo Market and observe locals bartering for goods. Then, witness a shinbyu (novitiation ceremony), a coming-of-age ritual celebrating an aspiring young monk’s first entry to the monastery. Enjoy privileged access to this time-honoured tradition and the village festivities. Visit the well-preserved Ananda Temple, built in 1090. Next, Ride Like a Local by a horse-drawn cart to see the wonderful Kubyaukgyi Temple, renowned for its murals. Board luxurious all-balcony ‘Sanctuary Ananda,’ your home for a three-night cruise on the timeless Irrawaddy River.
‘Sanctuary Ananda’ | Meals: BLD

Day 5: Cruising the Irrawaddy | A Hot Air Balloon Ride

Rise early for an exhilarating hot air balloon ride (weather permitting) over Bagan, as dawn illuminates the gold- and sand-coloured stupas. After breakfast on board, listen to a special onboard 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 chef-led cooking demonstration. 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 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 tree, and craft a wide range of items from it, most notably Burmese parasols. Enjoy a special lunch on board a floating restaurant set on Inle Lake. This afternoon, board a boat and explore the lake’s ingenious floating gardens. 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. Transfer to your lakeside boutique hotel for the evening.
Aureum Palace Hotel & Resort, Inle | Meals: BLD

Day 9: Inle Lake | Design Your Day

This morning, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities.

  • Enjoy an Artisan Visit, to see cigar-like cheroots hand made at a local workshop, and tour a weaving factory.
  • Bicycle Through the Countryside in the company of a local guide, taking in the lush surroundings and local life.
  • Attend a Cooking Class led by a local chef, for the hands-on opportunity to prepare traditional Burmese dishes.

After lunch, 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 Hotel & Resort, Inle | Meals: BL

Day 10: Yangon | Farewell Dinner

Fly to Yangon and transfer to your hotel. Later, savour 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 and depart.
Meals: B

Journey Details

Internal air included: Yangon/Bagan; Mandalay/Heho/Yangon
This journey contains some active elements.
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.


Tailor-Made Travel with A&K

If scheduled departure dates don’t work for you, or you would prefer to travel privately, please contact one of our expert Journey Designers or your travel agent about creating the perfect bespoke tailor-made journey for you, or a small group.

Show Full Itinerary
Accommodation

Accommodation

Sanctuary Ananda

Myanmar & the Irrawaddy - A Luxury Small Group Journey (2021)

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 (2021)

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 (2021)

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 (2021)

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

Jan 21, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Classic Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$8,780pp Single Supplement AU$3,230 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$9,515pp Single Supplement AU$3,815 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Mandalay Deck Price AU$10,545pp Single Supplement AU$4,405 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Luxury Suite Bhamo Deck Price AU$12,455pp Single Supplement AU$6,465 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Aloungpayah Owner’s Suite Price AU$15,400pp Single Supplement AU$9,845 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Feb 11, 2021 - Feb 21, 2021
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Classic Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$8,780pp Single Supplement AU$3,230 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$9,515pp Single Supplement AU$3,815 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Mandalay Deck Price AU$10,545pp Single Supplement AU$4,405 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Luxury Suite Bhamo Deck Price AU$12,455pp Single Supplement AU$6,465 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Aloungpayah Owner’s Suite Price AU$15,400pp Single Supplement AU$9,845 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Mar 11, 2021 - Mar 21, 2021
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Classic Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$8,045pp Single Supplement AU$2,935 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$8,780pp Single Supplement AU$3,520 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Mandalay Deck Price AU$9,810pp Single Supplement AU$4,110 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Luxury Suite Bhamo Deck Price AU$11,720pp Single Supplement AU$6,170 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Aloungpayah Owner’s Suite Price AU$14,655pp Single Supplement AU$9,950 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Oct 21, 2021 - Oct 31, 2021
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Classic Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$8,780pp Single Supplement AU$3,230 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$9,515pp Single Supplement AU$3,815 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Mandalay Deck Price AU$10,545pp Single Supplement AU$4,405 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Luxury Suite Bhamo Deck Price AU$12,455pp Single Supplement AU$6,465 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Aloungpayah Owner’s Suite Price AU$15,400pp Single Supplement AU$9,845 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Dec 16, 2021 - Dec 26, 2021
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Classic Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$8,780pp Single Supplement AU$3,230 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Bagan Deck Price AU$9,515pp Single Supplement AU$3,815 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Deluxe Cabin Mandalay Deck Price AU$10,545pp Single Supplement AU$4,405 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Luxury Suite Bhamo Deck Price AU$12,455pp Single Supplement AU$6,465 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary Ananda: Aloungpayah Owner’s Suite Price AU$15,400pp Single Supplement AU$9,845 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Related Extensions

Related Extensions

Brochures

Related Brochures

  • Small Group Journeys 2021-22 thumbnail
    Small Group Journeys 2021-22