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Myanmar & the Irrawaddy (2018)

Luxury Small Group Journeys: The finest small-group travel experience

Limited to 18 guests
Days: 11  |  From: $5,495


Myanmar & the Irrawaddy

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. Begin with a visit to the Reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, a 213-foot-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 330 feet tall, 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 mesmerizing 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. This evening, gather for a special welcome dinner.

Belmond Governor's Residence   |   Meals: B L D

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. It’s estimated that more than 10,000 such sacred structures once adorned the dusty plain here. Upon arrival, visit a rural village, where you have a chance to interact with the locals en route 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, Bagan   |   Meals: B L D

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-colored stupas. After breakfast, visit Ananda Temple. Built in 1090, it is the best preserved temple in the region. Next, travel to the little 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 the Gunee Temple complex to enjoy the sunset. Return to the ship for dinner.

'Sanctuary Ananda'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 5: Cruising the Irrawaddy | A Timeless Journey

After breakfast on board ‘Sanctuary Ananda,’ 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 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 that is used on the face and arms by women and girls).

'Sanctuary Ananda'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 6: Cruising the Irrawaddy | U Bein Bridge

This morning, 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 the many monasteries, pagodas and stupas that dot its green hillsides. Proceed to Amarapura, where you embark on a local boat to view the picturesque U Bein Bridge — the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world — for a spectacular Scenic Sundowner. Watch as locals riding bikes, carrying crops and commuting from work cross this tall, iconic landmark, offering an insight into everyday life here and a sunset photo opportunity not to be missed.

'Sanctuary Ananda'   |   Meals: B L D

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: B L

Day 8: Inle Lake | Floating Gardens

Fly to Heho and drive to Nyaung Shwe to visit a Shan paper workshop. The paper, made from the fibers of the mulberry bush, is best known for its use in Burmese parasols. Enjoy a firsthand look at the artisans who produce this distinctive paper and craft a wide range of items from it. 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 upon. Also, visit Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, which stands on stilts beside the lake, to view the Buddha statues on display in intricately decorated shrines. Transfer to your lakeside boutique hotel for the evening.

Aureum Palace Resort & Spa, Inle Lake   |   Meals: B L D

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

After breakfast, 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, savoring dishes made from recipes handed down for generations. Then, witness a private 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, Inle Lake   |   Meals: B L

Day 10: Yangon | Shwedagon Pagoda & Farewell Dinner

Fly to Yangon and transfer to your hotel. After time at leisure, transfer to Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott Market) to see where locals gather, socialize and shop. This afternoon, savor afternoon tea with a local writer and former colleague of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Tonight, toast your time in Myanmar at a special farewell dinner.

Belmond Governor's Residence   |   Meals: B L D

Day 11: Depart Yangon

After breakfast, transfer to the airport and depart.

Meals: B

Suite Upgrade Package | Upgrade to suites at select hotels* throughout your journey from $435.

Extend Your Journey | Enhance your journey with a pre-tour extension to Bangkok (3 days from $995) and a post-tour extension to Luang Prabang (4 days from $1,595).

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.

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Luxury Small Group Journeys 2018 Preview

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