Myanmar & the Irrawaddy


The Irrawaddy winds through the heart of Myanmar, providing a vital lifeline to its people. Spend three days on its waters, watching local life pass by whilst also exploring Myanmar's best sights.

Places Visited

New Zealand - Yangon (2N) - Mandalay (2N) - Irrawaddy Cruise (2N) - Bagan (3N) - Heho - Inle Lake (2N) - Yangon (1N) - New Zealand

Day 1-2: Fly to Yangon
Fly to the vibrant city of Yangon. Depending on your time of arrival the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Day 1-2: Fly to Yangon
Day 3: Explore Yangon
Yangon is the heart of Myanmar’s spiritual life and a bustling city full of crumbling colonial charm. Stroll past the colonial buildings of Yangon’s downtown; see the Independence Monument and the artefacts of the National Museum before browsing the wares of Bogyoke Market. Finally explore Kandawgyi Lake, Chaukhtatkyi Temple and Shwedagon Pagoda. Purported to have four relics of former Buddhas enshrined within, the pagoda is Myanmar’s most sacred Buddhist site. The complex’s huge golden stupa dominates the city’s skyline.
Day 3: Explore Yangon
Day 4: Fly to Mandalay
Fly to Mandalay. Cruise upstream to Mingun to visit the Mingun Pagoda, Mya Thein Tan Pagoda and to explore the temple-filled Sagaing Hills. Travel to the U Bein Bridge, the world's longest teak wood bridge. Watch the local people coming and going across the bridge as the sun goes down.
Day 4: Fly to Mandalay
Day 5: Explore Mandalay
Spend a full day soaking in the sights of Myanmar’s cultural capital, visiting the Mahamuni Pagoda, Shwenandaw Monastery, Kuthodaw Pagoda and a gold hammering workshop and travelling to the old city of Amarapura and Mahagandayon Monastery, a place of monastic study and home to several thousand young monks.
Day 5: Explore Mandalay
Day 6: Irrawaddy River cruise
Board your river cruise vessel, on which you will spend the next two nights. Set sail downriver, welcome cocktail in hand an watch the Irrawaddy panorama unfold before you.
Day 6: Irrawaddy River cruise
Day 7: Yandabo
The cruise continues at a leisurely pace, passing through quintessentially Burmese landscapes. Visit the village of Yandabo. The people here specialise in pot-making and you’ll be able to see the villagers at work before browsing the local, handcrafted wares. You'll also explore Pakokku by trishaw.
Day 7: Yandabo
Day 8: Arrive in Bagan
Rise early to enjoy the sunrise. Disembark in Bagan. Myanmar’s central plains are scattered with around 2,000 old structures, left from the golden age of kingdoms long passed. Visit some of these numerous temples including Htilominlo and Dhammayangyi, before enjoying a spectacular sunset from the summit of Aureum Watch-Tower.
Day 8: Arrive in Bagan
Day 9: Mt Popa
Begin the day browsing the wares of Nyaung Oo Market then travel to Mt Popa. An extinct volcano, ascend to its peak to explore the breathtaking Taung Kalat monastery that is perched there. Return to Bagan.
Day 9: Mt Popa
Day 10: Kyun Thiri
This morning, climb aboard a boat for a short sail to Kyun Thiri river village where you can visit a local monastery and partake in some local tea and snacks. The afternoon is free.
Day 10: Kyun Thiri
Day 11: Inle Lake
Fly to Heho and travel on to Inle Lake. The lake is best known for the extraordinary Intha people, who live on and around the water, and their unique leg rowing technique. Head out on the lake by boat to visit Nanpan, a traditional Inle village built on stilts. See traditional boat making and visit a cheroot making factory before continuing on to Phaungdaw U Pagoda and the ingenious floating gardens.
Day 11: Inle Lake
Day 12: Shwe Indein Pagoda Complex
Browse the local produce at a morning market before transferring by boat to the western shore of the lake to explore the crumbling Shwe Indein Pagoda complex.
Day 12: Shwe Indein Pagoda Complex
Day 13: Return to Yangon
Return to Heho airport to fly to Yangon. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 13: Return to Yangon
Days 14-15: Yangon to New Zealand
Transfer to the airport for your flight to New Zealand, arriving home the same or following day.
Days 14-15: Yangon to New Zealand

Also Available

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 936 3998 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Tour prices are per person, twin share departing Auckland. Regional departures available on request. Additional charges: Tipping is payable on arrival in destination (see Additional Price Information below).

Additional Price Information:


Single Supplement from $1,340
Land Only (Yangon to Yangon) 13 days from $5,080 per person twin share
Additional charges: Customary tipping US$55 per person (subject to change) payable on arrival.
Depending on airline schedules, you may depart and/or arrive on Day 2, or may require extra nights pre or post tour accommodation or stopovers at additional cost.
Tour availability is updated each Monday. While every effort is made to ensure availability status is current, it is advisable to contact our reservations department on 0800 936 3998. Limited seats denotes 4 seats or less available.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call New Zealand – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 64, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number.
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular and you will find high quality coverage, with active roaming agreements with most of the service providers. Please make sure you are aware of associated costs and have activated your international roaming prior to departure.
 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have Wi-Fi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and Burma is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size, and services used during the trip.
 
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure. In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
 
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost. Breakfast is a combination of local and western food, usually served buffet style at the hotel you are staying in. Lunches and dinners consist of traditional cuisine and are served at reputable local restaurants. As is traditional in this region, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on the table for everyone to share so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
 
Drinks will be at each tour members’ own expense and paid for at the end of each meal. Beer is widely available and cheap. Western style wine is very expensive to import and is not widely available except at upmarket restaurants. Bottled drinking water, soft drinks, and fruit juices are also widely available – remember that you should only have ice or fruit juices from a trusted restaurant, where they will use boiled or bottled water.
Due to the French colonial influence in some Southeast Asian countries, black tea (commonly referred to as ‘lip-ton’ by the locals), coffee, and baguettes are available in most places. However, the local style is to have sweet condensed milk with their tea and coffee. Fresh dairy milk is not usually served but many restaurants will provide this if requested. ‘Cafe Sua-da’ (or iced coffee with milk) is a favourite choice amongst the locals.


Why Book This Tour?

You can spend three days cruising the Irrawaddy, a river that winds through the heart of Myanmar, providing a vital lifeline to its people. Mix relaxation and people-watching with an exploration of Myanmar's most magnificent sights.

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