Myanmar & the Irrawaddy (2015)

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

Limited to 18 guests
Days: 10  |  From: $6,295


Myanmar & the Irrawaddy

Day 1: Arrive Yangon, Myanmar

Arrive in Yangon, where you are met and transferred to your hotel.

Sule Shangri-La Hotel, Yangon

Day 2: Yangon | Queen of the East

Today, enjoy your first taste of Myanmar, a profoundly Buddhist country, where many ancient traditions still flourish. Its artisans are accomplished craftsmen and the atmosphere here is uncrowded and authentic. Begin with a walking tour of the lively and colorful Chinatown, with its streets filled with woodenshuttered houses, shops and food stalls. Then, tour Musmeah Yeshua, the last remaining Jewish synagogue in Myanmar. Built during Burma’s colonial era, it stands in the heart of city center. Stroll the bazaar at Scott Market (Bogyoke Market) amid shops filled with antiques, old coins, Burmese jade and handicrafts. Savor lunch in a local restaurant followed by a visit to the Reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, a 213-footlong statue with an expressive enamel face. View the story of the Buddha’s life embossed on the soles of the statue’s staggered feet. Then, onto Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar. Tradition holds it has stood for 2,600 years, making it the oldest historical pagoda in the world. Marvel as its round, gilded stupa captures the rays of the warm afternoon sun, lending a crowning moment to your Burmese adventure. Tonight, gather for a welcome dinner at Le Planteur Restaurant.

Sule Shangri-La Hotel, Yangon   |   Meals: B L D

Day 3: Heho/Inle Lake | Tranquil and Traditional

Fly to Heho and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before you transfer to scenic Inle Lake and travel by private boat to your resort. View Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, which houses iconic Buddha figures covered in gold leaf, and then watch the masterful skills on display at a traditional silk-weaving workshop. This evening, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Inle Lake View Resort   |   Meals: B L D

Day 4: Inle Lake | Five-Day Market & Private Boat Race

After breakfast, enjoy a Market Visit to the Five-Day Market to see regional hill tribe-people in traditional dress bartering for goods and produce. Stop at a blacksmith’s workshop before trying your hand at making a cheroot (Burmese cigar) on an authentic Artisan Visit. Stop for lunch at the Intha Heritage House, serving authentic Intha dishes from recipes handed down through generations made with organic vegetables grown nearby. Afterward, admire the ingenious floating gardens of Inle Lake en route to Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, renowned for its beautiful Buddha images. Then, head out onto the lake to 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 some local fishermen still employ when working on the lake. Return to your hotel for dinner.

Inle Lake View Resort   |   Meals: B L D

Day 5: Mandalay | Boarding Sanctuary ‘Ananda’

Fly to Mandalay and visit Mahamuni Pagoda, home to a golden statue that tradition holds was cast in the presence of the Gautama Buddha and is said to present his one true likeness. Stop at Shwenandaw Monastery and marvel at the more than 700 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist religious texts, referred to by some as the biggest book in the world, at Kuthodaw Pagoda. Then, board luxurious all-balcony 'Sanctuary Ananda,' your home for a four-night cruise upon the timeless Irrawaddy River. After lunch, disembark to visit Amarapura, with its textile workshops, and Sagaing, renowned for its monasteries, pagodas and nunneries. Later, embark on a local boat to the U Bein Bridge for a spectacular Scenic Sundowner. Return to the ship for cocktails and dinner.

'Sanctuary Ananda'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 6: Mandalay | Mingun’s Massive Temple and Bell

Enjoy early morning meditation on deck before breakfast. Then, journey to Mingun to view the monumental Mingun Temple, a colossal unfinished stupa that towers above the surrounding landscape, and the 90-ton Mingun Bell, one of the world’s heaviest ringing bells. Return to the ship and cruise southward to Bagan.

'Sanctuary Ananda'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 7: Pakokku/Bagan | Temples & Pagodas

Rise early to partake in morning meditation on deck, or enjoy breakfast at leisure before disembarking to ride a trishaw to the Pakokku Village to visit its local market. After lunch on board, go ashore to tour Bagan and Myinkaba village, famous for its lacquerware created by local artisans using techniques handed down for generations. End your day with a sunset visit to Shwezigon Pagoda, one of the most important shrines in Myanmar. Return to the ship for dinner and a traditional Burmese musical performance.

'Sanctuary Ananda'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 8: Bagan | Ballooning Over Bagan

Rise early for a wondrous balloon ride over Bagan as the rising sun illuminates the gold- and sand-colored stupas. Continue to Mount Popa, a steep volcanic peak, for lunch, followed by stops at a toddy (Burmese candy) factory and a local market to sample betel nuts and local fruits. End the day with an enchanting al fresco dinner on a sandbank of the Irrawaddy.

'Sanctuary Ananda'   |   Meals: B L D

Day 9: Yangon | Burmese Arts & Ancient Pagoda

Disembark and fly to Yangon to discover the National Museum of Myanmar, a treasure trove of Burmese arts and culture. Visit the golden Sule Pagoda, which is some 2,500 years old. Gather to toast your journey at a farewell lunch. Tonight, transfer to the airport to depart or, if you prefer, stay the night at your hotel for no additional cost.

Sule Shangri-La Hotel, Yangon   |   Meals: B L

Day 10: Depart Yangon

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your departing flight.

Meals: B

Luang Prabang Pre-Tour Extension

5 days, priced from $1,695; internal air priced from $825
Available on the Dec 18 (2014), Jan 27, Feb 3, Feb 7, Feb 17, Mar 7, Apr 7, Oct 12, Oct 16 and Dec 22 departures.
DAY 1: Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand. Novotel Suvarnabhumi Hotel
DAY 2: Fly to Luang Prabang, Laos, transfer to your hotel. See the monasteries of Wat Xiengthong, Wat Khili with its rare architecture and Wat Sene. Join a village baci ceremony. Luang Say Residence/Belmond La Résidence Phouvao | Meals: B D
DAYS 3-4: Join locals making food offerings to local monks. Later, visit a farm and Kuangsi Waterfall before a sunset cruise. The next day, enjoy a tour of the Royal Palace, Phousi Hill, and the Traditional Art and Ethnology Center. Luang Say Residence/Belmond La Résidence Phouvao | Meals: B L
DAY 5: Fly to Yangon, begin your Myanmar journey. Meals: B

Angkor Wat Post-Tour Extension

5 days, priced from $1,895; internal air priced from $1,075
Available on the Jan 17, Jan 27, Feb 3, Feb 17, Mar 10, Oct 5, Dec 15 and Dec 22 departures.
DAY 1: Arrive in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Visit Angkor Thom, Bayon, Terrace of the Elephants and Leper King Terrace. Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor
DAY 2: Visit Ta Prohm Temple and Angkor National Museum. After lunch, travel by tuk-tuk to explore glorious Angkor Wat until sunset. Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor | Meals: B L
DAY 3: Explore jungle-ravaged Beng Mealea and Banteay Srei, and visit Sam’s Brothers, an AKP-supported project. Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor | Meals: B L
DAY 4: Morning at leisure. Fly to Bangkok, Thailand. Transfer to your hotel. Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel | Meals: B D
DAY 5: Transfer to the airport and depart. Meals: B

Extend Your Journey | Enhance your journey with a pre-tour extension to Luang Prabang (5 days, from $1,695) and a post-tour extension to Angkor Wat (5 days, from $1,895).

Take This Journey Private | This itinerary is also available as an independent journey, Signature Myanmar & the Irrawaddy, with A&K local guides.

Customize This Journey | If you would like to customize this itinerary and create a Tailor Made Journey just for you and your companions, click here to inquire, or speak to your travel professional.

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