Call us: +44(0)1453 844400Email us: info@mountainkingdoms.com

Worldwide Small Group and Tailor Made Adventure Travel

What’s included

  • English-speaking Burmese Guides throughout
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK & UK Departure Tax (flight inclusive only)
  • All internal flights and hotel/airport transfers
  • Savoy Hotel in Yangon, bed & breakfast on twin-share basis
  • All road transport by private vehicles
  • Outside of Yangon, good quality hotel accommodation on full board, twin-share basis.
  • Twin cabins, main deck on the RV Zawgyi Pandaw or the RV Kha Byoo Pandaw with all meals, excursions, local soft drinks, local beer, local spirits, jugged coffee/tea and mineral water and drinking water included
  • Sightseeing where specified, including park fees
  • A free high-quality Mountain Kingdoms micro fleece

Cruising the Irrawaddy River in Style

Tour

Burma (Myanmar) | Tour

Cruising the Irrawaddy River in Style

Duration:  16 days from the UK

Flight inclusive from £4,645,
Land only from £3,995

Book now or call 01453 844400

A relaxed exploration of this fascinating country, incorporating an extended cruise north of Mandalay.

Highlights

  • Explore Mandalay, the cultural heart of Burma
  • Visit Bagan to the see the vast plain of beautiful temples and monuments
  • Stay in excellent quality accommodation throughout
  • Embark on a luxurious river cruise on the Irrawaddy River
  • Enjoy a relaxed pace throughout with shore visits to unspoilt traditional Burmese villages, pagodas and islands

Reviews          

It was in fact my father-in-law who told me about the sensational gorges north of Mandalay, and how he had read about them in Murray’s Handbook of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon (16th edition, 1949). It describes the gorges as ‘defiles’ and says “The second defile is one of the great spectacles of the world”. It is therefore very exciting to be able to offer this...
Steve Berry, Mountain Kingdoms

What we enjoyed was being on such a beautiful river, the attention and friendliness of the boat crew, the variety of activities
village visits, teak bridge, and the beach. Hotels were of an excellent standard.

View All

With its fascinating ethnic diversity, a landscape stretching from the Indian Ocean to the high Himalaya and a stunning abundance of gilded temples and monuments, Burma (Myanmar) has perhaps some of the strongest draws of any travel destination. This exciting new river cruise tour takes us through some truly amazing gorges, through stretches of the river resembling lakes hemmed in by chains of foliage clad hills, to towns and villages straight out of George Orwell’s ‘Burmese Days’. We will sink into the strangely dreamy atmosphere of old Burma and become immersed in the daily ritual of slow life on the river.

Prior to our cruise on the Irrawaddy River we will do some sightseeing in Burma’s key areas, Yangon, Mandalay, and Bagan. Mandalay is the cultural heart of the country and inspiration for a myriad of writers and artists, it is also home to the world’s largest book inscribed onto Kuthodaw Pagoda.  Whilst in Bagan we will explore on horse and cart the vast plain of beautifully crafted temples and monuments. In Yangon we will visit Burma’s most precious and impressive monument, the world famous Shwedagon Pagoda. It is just one of those places that we will never forget. The sheer physical scale of the temple is astounding but equally moving is the faith of the many hundreds of devout Buddhists who come each day to pray and meet their friends. The atmosphere is timeless.


At a glance

Duration:  16 days from the UK

Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 2 clients

Maximum group size: 12

Land only joining city: Yangon

Accommodation types: Hotels, River Cruiser

Meal arrangements: Bed and Breakfast in Yangon and full board elsewhere. Lunches and dinners, where included, will be taken in a mixture of local restaurants and your overnight hotels, or on board.On board local soft drinks, local beer, local spirits, coffee, tea and mineral water are provided throughout the day.

Itinerary overview
DayActivity
1-2
Fly from London to Yangon. Wonderful sunset visit of Shwedagon Pagoda
3
Fly to Mandalay. Afternoon sightseeing tour to visit key sights including Kuthodaw Pagoda and the glass-studded temples of Mandalay Hill.
4-11
Board boat in Mandalay. Cruise up the Irrawaddy River, with several shore visits along the way, including the ancient city of Tagaung, Mingun. Disembark in Mandalay and visit the island village of Shan Kalay Kyun.
12-13
Fly to Bagan for sightseeing including a tour of the beautiful Bagan temples by horse and cart.
14-16
Fly to Yangon and return to UK.
Leader: Local leader, Burma
Local leader, Burma

Your trip will be escorted throughout by an English speaking Burmese guide. Our Guides are all licensed to guide throughout the country and receive regular ‘top-up’ training. In addition to English, many guides will speak the dialects used by some of the ethnic groups you will encounter in rural areas – further adding to the interest and enjoyment of your holiday.


Cruising the Irrawaddy River in Style Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - FLY LONDON TO YANGON

    Fly London to Yangon by overnight flight.

    Overnight iconOvernight: In flight
  2. Day 2 - ARRIVE RANGOON (YANGON). SUNSET VISIT TO SHWEDAGON PAGODA.

    You will be met and transferred to the Savoy Hotel - a stylish, boutique hotel furnished in colonial style - an excellent place to relax after the long flight from London. International flights normally arrive by midday so after some time to rest, you will make a sunset visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda.

    Famous worldwide, the golden stupa of Shwedagon ('shwe' means golden) is considered the 'heart' of Buddhist Burma. The Pagoda is believed to be 2,500 years old and the central stupa is surrounded by dozens of intricately decorated buildings, shrines and statues. There are always many Burmese people praying and making offerings at Shwedagon and it's a fascinating place to spend time watching the world go by. The transformation from late afternoon light to evening, further adds to the spectacle and atmosphere of this wonderful temple complex.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Savoy Hotel Or Similar, Yangon
  3. Day 3 - MORNING FLIGHT TO MANDALAY. AFTERNOON CITY TOUR.

    You'll make an early start today, transferring to Yangon airport for a domestic flight north to Mandalay (approx 1½ hours). The airport here is some distance from the city and it will take 45mins or so to drive to your city centre hotel.

    In contrast to the images evoked by its name in literature and song, first impressions of Mandalay can be a little disappointing. This is Burma's second largest city, with a population of over one million and the hub of economic activity across the north of the country. The roads are busy with trucks and cars and streets are lined with functional but characterless buildings, housing every type of commerce. However Mandalay remains the cultural centre of Burma with over 700 pagodas and a number of key palaces, temples and monasteries: all supported by a wealth of crafts including wood carving, marble statuary, weaving, tapestry, and the creation of gold leaf.

    After time to freshen up at your hotel and eat lunch, your visits to Mandalay's most significant sights begin. First stop will be 'the world's largest book' - a complete set of the Buddhist scriptures inscribed onto 729 marble slabs at Kuthodaw Pagoda. Dominating the town centre is Mandalay Hill, and a visit here offers you far reaching views right across and around the city. The summit hilltop also has a collection of interesting glass-studded temples. Your day ends with a visit to Shwe Kyin Monastery just before sunset to observe the student monks begin evening prayers.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Mandalay Hill Resort or Similar
  4. Day 4 - EMBARKATION - BEGIN CRUISE. VISIT KYAUK-MYOUNG. ENTER THIRD DEFILE.

    PLEASE NOTE: The itinerary for this expedition is indicative only. As you travel to remote areas, changes to the itinerary will inevitably occur. A flexible approach is required if you book this cruise.

    Embark by 10am. Set sail and visit the spectacular potteries near Kyauk-myoung where the famous 50-gallon water pots are handmade. You see all stages of manufacture from the throwing of the pots to the weeklong firing in huge kilns. You return to the ship and enter the third defile of Irrawaddy.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Onboard Rv Kha Byoo or Zawgyi Pandaw
  5. Day 5 - VISIT KHAN-NYAT, & THE FORMER HEAD TEACHER’S HOUSE. WALK THE PAGODAS HILL AT TIGYANG. CONTINUE CRUISE.

    Stop at Khan-nyat village with its many Buddhist monasteries and visit the former head teacher's house, which also includes his small museum collections. You go ashore and climb the Pagoda Hill at Tigyang with its stunning views of the Upper Irrawaddy River.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Onboard Rv Kha Byoo or Zawgyi Pandaw
  6. Day 6 - VISIT TOWN OF KATHA. CONTINUE CRUISE.

    You reach the enchanting colonial town of Katha, setting for George Orwell's Burmese Days. Little has changed since then. Of interest are the fire station's collections of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company's ship's bells taken from sunken ships in the Second World War. Katha was the final resting place of the old flotilla and here over a hundred ships were scuppered in 1942 in an Act of Denial before the advancing Japanese. On this day there is a visit to an elephant logging camp as part of the cruise package, but due to our concerns about animal welfare (see page 3), we ask you to stay on the boat and not participate in this activity.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Onboard Rv Kha Byoo or Zawgyi Pandaw
  7. Day 7 - VISIT KYUN DAW ISLAND VILLAGE & PAGODAS. CONTINUE CRUISE.

    Today You will transfer by Local boat and visit Kyun Daw village where you will visit countless small Pagodas.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Onboard Rv Kha Byoo or Zawgyi Pandaw
  8. Day 8 - CRUISING THE FAMOUS 2ND DEFILE.

    Today you cruise through the 2nd Defile, the most dramatic of the three gorges with cliffs towering over the narrow channel. Sail downstream.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Onboard Rv Kha Byoo or Zawgyi Pandaw
  9. Day 9 - WALKING TOUR OF THE ANCIENT CITY OF TAGAUNG. CONTINUE CRUISING

    You will have a walking tour of the ancient city of Tagaung viewing the fortifications, a famous nat or spirit shrine and the archaeological area.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Onboard Rv Kha Byoo or Zawgyi Pandaw
  10. Day 10 - VISIT MINGUN. DRIVE TO HILLTOP VIEWPOINT. CONTINUE CRUISE.

    You will slip moorings early in the morning and leter stop at Mingun to see the largest working bell in the world and the unfinished pagoda that is the largest single mass of brick building in the world. You also visit the Mingun Old People's Home originally established with the assistance of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company in the 1930s. You then drive through the beautiful Sagaing hills to the hilltop to enjoy an amazing view over the region and Irrawaddy River.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Onboard Rv Kha Byoo or Zawgyi Pandaw
  11. Day 11 - END CRUISE. DISEMBARK AT MANDALAY. TRANSFER TO HOTEL. AFTERNOON HALF DAY SIGHTSEEING OF ISLAND VILLAGE.

    Disembark at Mandalay mid-morning and transfer to your hotel.

    In the afternoon, you visit Shan Kalay Kyun Village, located south west of Mandalay on an island. Walking around the village, you can observe the farmers and fishermen's way of life, the seasonal farming plots where they grow peanuts, corn, water melon, cucumber and many other vegetables and a small work shop for kalakar and handicrafts.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Mandalay Hill Resort or Similar
  12. Day 12 - FLY FROM MANDALAY TO BAGAN. FULL DAY SIGHTSEEING. BAGAN TEMPLE VISITS AND SUNSET VIEWING.

    Whilst there are conflicting accounts of the number of temples located across the 16 square miles (41 square kilometres) of Bagan (varying from 1,800 to 4,000) the importance and splendour of this archaeological site is indisputable. The majority of monuments that you see today date from between the 11th and 13th Centuries, when Bagan was the capital of the first Burmese empire. Although with a cursory glance it may appear that one architectural form dominates there is actually a fascinating variety, from giant monolithic structures to small stupas standing not much taller than a human and with interiors filled with statues, or with walls adorned in beautiful paintings. The original settlement in Bagan was famously "cleared" by the government during the late 1980's/early 1990's. Villagers were forced to relocate to 'New Bagan.' Today therefore, apart from temples 'Old Bagan' is primarily the site of a few hotels, tourist restaurants and the grandiose (if somewhat out of place) archaeological museum. The other main settlement in this area is the river port of Nyaung U.

    Before starting your exploration of the site you'll first pay a visit to the busy local market near the jetty where boats from Mandalay dock. Fish and other river produce are much in evidence here but also vegetables, household goods and clothing. From the market it's a short walk to the large gilded Shwezigon Pagoda built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th Century. Moving on you'll visit, Ku Byauk Gyi, a temple with exquisite murals of Buddhist folklore scenes (Jataka) and Ananda Temple with four huge standing-Buddha images and numerous seated figures arranged around its interior gallery.

    After lunch at a local restaurant there will be a little time to relax before more sightseeing in the afternoon, visiting workshops of some local craftsmen at Myinkaba Gui Byaukgyi temples. You will end the day with sunset views over the plain

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel @ Tharabar Gate or Similar
  13. Day 13 - BAGAN TEMPLES TOUR BY HORSE CART. VISIT TO NAT HTAUNG KYAUNG.

    Located in Burma's dry zone, temperatures in Bagan are typically higher than in areas such as Mandalay and Inle Lake. The best time to enjoy your sightseeing is therefore in the morning or late afternoon.

    This morning you'll either ride a bicycle or take a horse drawn cart to visit Min Nan Thu Village. You will then visit the to temples located in the south eastern areas of Bagan, including: Tayoke Pye Paya Temple which offers good views towards the river and western areas; Phaya Thone Zu, a complex of three linked monuments, housing some beautiful 13th century murals; Nandamanya Pahto, which also houses a collection of murals, including the 'Temptaion of Mara,' depicting women attempting to distract Buddha from his meditation. Your visits in this area end at Kyat Kan Cave monastery, a famous meditation centre. This is a very rural area and this morning also offers the chance to see the day to day life of the villagers, tending their livestock, collecting well water and working in and around their homes - many of which are traditionally built, with thatched roofs and woven bamboo walls.

    This afternoon you'll take an excursion to Nat Htaung Kyaung, a monastery famous for woodcarvings, built in 1781 by a group of monks. Here you can admire the monastery's collection of ancient Buddha statues and lacquer boxes. Tonight you'll take dinner at a local restaurant.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel @ Tharabar Gate or Similar
  14. Day 14 - FLY TO RANGOON. CITY TOUR.

    Transfer to airport for the domestic flight to Yangon and transfer to hotel. This morning you will be free to relax and enjoy your wonderful hotel or to take a stroll around the fascinating streets of Yangon.

    This afternoon you'll take a tour of the historic downtown area of Yangon (Rangoon), beginning with a drive through streets lined with colonial style buildings, Chinatown and the Indian quarter, before stopping to see Sule Pagoda and City Hall. Next you'll visit Bogyoke (Scott) Market with time to explore and pick up any last minute souvenirs. Meeting up with your driver once again at a nearby café you'll drive down to the riverfront where your tour ends. Facing the river are some of Yangon's most impressive colonial era buildings including the Myanmar Port Authority, the General Post Office and the nearby Strand Hotel. Across the road, the banks of Ayeyarwady River are a hive of activity with porters loading huge sacks of rice, street vendors, trishaws and ferry passengers all going about their daily business.

    If there was insufficient time on Day 2 to make the visit to Shwedagon Pagoda this afternoon's tour will be shortened slightly in order to allow for a visit today instead.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Savoy Hotel Or Similar, Yangon
  15. Day 15 - DEPART YANGON

    Transfer to the airport for your international flight home.

    Overnight iconOvernight: In flight
  16. Day 16 - Fly Yangon to London

Map

Map Key

  • AirportAirport
  • General point of interestPoint of interest
  • Mountain RangeMountain Peak
  • TrekDay walk in this area
  • FlightsFlights
  • Internal TransfersInternal Transfers
  • Trek routeTrek

2017

DatesAvailabilityLand OnlyFlight Inclusive from
Tue 26 Sep - Wed 11 Oct 2017RestrictedContact usContact us
Sun 5 Nov - Mon 20 Nov 2017Limited & Guaranteed£4220 Book£4920 Book
Fri 15 Dec - Sat 30 Dec 2017Limited & Guaranteed£3995 Book£4945 Book

2018

DatesAvailabilityLand OnlyFlight Inclusive from
Wed 24 Jan - Thu 8 Feb 2018AvailableContact usContact us
Tue 13 Feb - Wed 28 Feb 2018AvailableContact usContact us

Hold your place

Not quite ready to book? Why not call us on 0044 (0)1453 844400 to hold a no obligation place while you make up your mind?

 
Optional supplements
  • Single Room Hotels
    From £550
Insurance
  • Cover starts from £89
No Surcharge Guarantee

No surcharges will be applied to your holiday after you book. Prices on this website are updated regularly. The Flight Inclusive holiday price, or Land Only holiday price, will be confirmed to you at the time you make your booking. There will be no surcharges after your booking has been confirmed.

Flight inclusive holidays

The 'flight inclusive' holiday prices shown on this website are based upon our preferred airlines and the best priced economy class fares we are able to secure at the time of publication.

We will be able to advise on fares with alternative airlines, upgrades to Business Class, and the options for flights from regional UK airports, please contact us for more details.

What’s included

  • English-speaking Burmese Guides throughout
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK & UK Departure Tax (flight inclusive only)
  • All internal flights and hotel/airport transfers
  • Savoy Hotel in Yangon, bed & breakfast on twin-share basis
  • All road transport by private vehicles
  • Outside of Yangon, good quality hotel accommodation on full board, twin-share basis.
  • Twin cabins, main deck on the RV Zawgyi Pandaw or the RV Kha Byoo Pandaw with all meals, excursions, local soft drinks, local beer, local spirits, jugged coffee/tea and mineral water and drinking water included
  • Sightseeing where specified, including park fees
  • A free high-quality Mountain Kingdoms micro fleece

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees for Burma
  • Lunch and evening meals in Yangon
  • Imported beer, wine and spirits on board ship
  • Tips
  • SINGLE CABINS If you are travelling on your own and are willing to share, we will attempt to pair you up with another solo, same sex traveller. Where this is not possible a resulting single cabin has to be paid for. Please contact us for prices.


Review your holiday

Reviews

Read holiday reviews by Mountain Kingdoms travellers.

Overall score:           (Based on 2 reviews)

Stunning cruise on the Irrawaddy River          

This is the second fantastic trip we have had with your company, both organised by Jim who has been helpful, reassuring and always friendly. What we enjoyed was being on such a beautiful river, the attention and friendliness of the boat crew, the variety of activities - village visits, elephant camp, teak bridge, and the beach. Hotels were of an excellent standard. Cannot fault any aspect of this holiday or the previous Indian trip.

Little-visited          

It was in fact my father-in-law who told me about the sensational gorges north of Mandalay, and how he had read about them in Murray's Handbook of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon (16th edition, 1949). It describes the gorges as 'defiles' and says "The second defile is one of the great spectacles of the world". It is therefore very exciting to be able to offer this cruise, in some style, to parts of Burma that only few people have the privilege to visit.


Extend your holiday

Hpa-An extension, Burma
  • Visit Hpa-An, the capital of the beautiful Karen State
  • Stay in an idyllic boutique lodge at the foot of Mount Zwegabin
  • Visit the precariously positioned Golden Rock in Kin Pun

More Details

We are delighted to offer an exciting new extension in Burma to visit Hpa-An, the capital of Karen State lying south east of Yangon. Hpa-An is a charming town set on the banks of the mighty Salween River, one of the great rivers of south east Asia which rises in Tibet and flows down to the Andaman Sea. This is an incredibly beautiful region of green paddy fields and dramatic limestone karsts.

As an additional attraction on this exciting extension you will stay at a charming recently opened boutique lodge, the Hpa-An Lodge, which offers a very high standard of accommodation and is already receiving glowing reports from all who visit it.

We offer two versions of this extension, with one including a visit to the Golden Rock in Kin Pun.


Ngapali Beach Extension
  • Relax in style at a Ngapali beach resort, perfect to add on to your Burma trek or tour
  • Choice of hotels, from mid-range to luxury
  • Spa treatments are available

More Details

Ngapali Beach, with its pristine white sand and sparkling turquoise water, is the best in the country and a perfect way to end your holiday in Burma.


Balloons over Bagan - extension
  • Spectacular sunrise views over the temples of Bagan
  • Excursion lasts 2.5 – 3 hours, with an hour-long balloon flight and refreshments afterwards
  • Balloons take off daily from October through to March.

More Details

Visitors to Bagan now have the opportunity to enjoy spectacular views of the ancient Kingdom of Bagan in a hot air balloon. The world-famous archaeological site of Bagan is known for its marvellous sunsets and sunrises, mostly enjoyed from the top of one of the monuments but a balloon flight gives you the chance to see Bagan from a bird’s-eye view.


Golden Rock, Burma - extension
  • Walk 4km to reach the top of Golden Rock, for an unforgettable sunrise or sunset
  • Three day extension visting pagodas and giant buddha's as well as the Golden Rock
  • Available to add to your Burma holiday between October and May

More Details

Extend your stay in Burma with a visit to the Golden Rock of Kyaikhtiyo, one of the most revered pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. Perched on the edge of a ledge at a height of 1,100m, the precariously positioned gold-plated boulder is said to maintain its balance thanks to a single hair of the Buddha being enshrined inside the pagoda.

During your three-day extension, you’ll also visit pagodas, stop off at the Allied War Graves Cemetery at Htauk Kyan, see reclining Buddhas and drop in at local villages before returning to Rangoon for your final night in what will have been a memorable trip to Burma.


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