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Myanmar Expedition and Amara Cruise – 14 Days

Central Myanmar, Eastern Myanmar
  • 01Fluss Delfin
  • 01Elephant Ayarwaddy
  • 01Dinner Beside Irrawaddy River
  • 01Cruise Dining
  • 01Crew III
  • 01Crew Amara II
  • 01Crew Amara
  • 01Beside The River
  • 01Amara II
  • 01Amara I And II
  • 01Amara Cabin II
  • 01Amara Cabin
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Experience the most famous sights of Myanmar on this guided journey. Your trip starts from British administration constructed capital city, Yangon (Rangoon); where we visit the magnificent gold plate and gemstone decorated Shwedagon pagoda; take a stroll through quaint old quarter of Yangon enjoying sights and sounds of this bustling city.

Our journey continues northbound to Mandalay for exploring Ancient Capitals of Myanmar (Burma) all situated near Mandalay City.

We visit the last remaining palace building, centuries old teak wood monastery, the sacred Mahamuni Buddha’s temple, observe traditional gold leaf ponding, carving, tapestry and weaving in local workshops. We explore ruins of AVA kingdom by horse carriage and enjoy Ubein teak bridge vistas known for spectacular sunsets.

From Mandalay we embark on a 6 days river journey to Bhamo, travelling upstream through some of the most beautiful parts of the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwaddy) River, making visits en route to remote villages and communities.

From Bhamo and Mandalay we continue our journey to Ancient Kingdom of Bagan, the greatest archeological treasure of Myanmar with over 4000 pagodas and temples ruins located on the plains of  Bagan.

Bagan was during its heyday one the greatest kingdoms in the World and is truly magical destination to visit.

After archaeological explorations we travel to rural Shan State and beautiful Inle Lake region inhabited by minority peoples.

By Inle we sample local vineyard harvest; visit markets, floating gardens and cultural highlights on the lake and vicinity before returning to Yangon where we end our journey.

Shwedagon Pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda Yangon

DAY 1: ARRIVAL TO YANGON

Upon arrival to the Yangon airport, you will be welcomed by your Expeditions Myanmar guide and transferred to your hotel. Our journey begins with an afternoon tour through the colonial-style city center of Yangon.

We visit the golden Sule Paya stupa – built over 2,000 years ago and the focal point of numerous historical events in the city – Chauk That Gyi pagoda to view it’s magnificent reclining Buddha, and Karaweik Hall to marvel at the uniquely decorated “hamsa-bird-shaped” floating barge on Kandawgyi (Royal) lake.

We visit Bogyoke (Scotts) market, where hundreds of gemstone, handicrafts, art, clothes and food stores are tucked in a maze of color. We complete the day with a visit to one of the world’s most spectacular monuments, the Shwedagon Pagoda, a gleaming bell dome structure that dominates the city’s skyline.

Legends state that the sacred hairs of the Buddha are enshrined here. The Shwedagon is an iconic symbol of the country, a sight not to be missed.

  • Meals included: lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: In Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in Yangon or similar.

Mandalay

Mandalay

DAY 2: YANGON – MANDALAY – AMARA CRUISE

After breakfast, transfer to Yangon domestic airport for a 1 hour 15 min flight to Mandalay. Upon arrival to Mandalay airport transfer directly to Amara Cruise jetty approximate 1 hour for check-in.

We sail north of Mandalay along Ayeyarwaddy River to Mingun with the Mingun Bell, weighing 90 tones and the biggest hanging undamaged bell in the world; Shin Phyume Pagoda, and the unfinished Mingun Pagoda, a colossal brick monument. After sightseeing set sail and cruise north the Ayarwaddy River till the town of Sheinmaga.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: on board Amara Cruise II in twin cabins (2 beds in each)

cruise

Amara cruise

DAY 3: AMARA CRUISE SHEINMAGA – THABEIKKYIN

We leave Sheinmaga at 06:00 am and sail this day till Thabeikkyin. Visit to Nwe Nyein (Pottery Village). We will pass the Third Defile. Small villages along the river life from the trade of wood and fishing. Dinner and overnight on board.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: on board Amara Cruise II in twin cabins (2 beds in each)

Bo Bo Gyi tagaung

Bo Bo Gyi tagaung

DAY 4: AMARA CRUISE THABEIKKYIN – TAGAUNG

Set sail at 06:00 am. Our journey will continue upstream until Tagaung, one of the oldest capitals of Myanmar. Excursion into Tagaung. Overnight and dinner on board the Amara just north of Tagaung.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: on board Amara Cruise II in twin cabins (2 beds in each)

Katha Myanmar

Katha old streets

DAY 5: AMARA CRUISE TAGAUNG – KATHA

Katha is known from the book “Burmese Days”, written by George OrwellSet sail at 06:00 am. This day we will reach till Katha, a beautiful town with a colorful market, friendly people and a unique atmosphere. Katha is known from the book “Burmese Days”, written by George Orwell. Dinner and overnight on board the Amara, moored near the harbor of Katha.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: on board Amara Cruise II in twin cabins (2 beds in each)

Shwegu

Shwegu

DAY 6: AMARA CRUISE KATHA – SHWEGU

Depart from Katha at 06:00 am and sail this day till Shwegu. This day is a good chance to see the famous Ayeyarwaddy Dolphin, quite common in this area. Amara will stop at the opposite river bank of Shwegu near the pagodas of Shwe Baw Kyunn Thousands of pagodas can be found at this place, probably built around the 10th century.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: on board Amara Cruise II in twin cabins (2 beds in each)

Bhamo

Bhamo

DAY 7: AMARA CRUISE SHWEGU – BHAMO

Set sail at 06:00 am. We will pass the Second Defile this day. At this place the river banks become a steep cliff. The scenery is amazing and offers a beautiful scenery. In the afternoon the Amara ill arrive in Bhamo, the most northern place the Amara can reach. Overnight and dinner on board the Amara.

  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay

Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay.

DAY 8: ARRIVE TO BHAMO, FLIGHT MANDALAY. MANDALAY SIGHTSEEING

After breakfast on board disembark at Bhamo and transfer to Bhamo airport for your onward flight to Mandalay. Upon arrival to Mandalay airport transfer to Mandalay city 1hr and check-in to your hotel.

Later we enjoy a stroll through the lively Zegyo market in the heart of the city to experience authentic local life. We continue to the artisan quarters, where some of the oldest craftsmanship are showcased dating back to last kingdom of Myanmar. We observe the process of pounding gold leaf, detailing teak wood carvings and embroidering Myanmar tapestry. We also see how bronze and marble Buddha statues are carved, cast and molded.

Next, we proceed to the major highlights of the city: the sacred Mahamuni Pagoda, housing one of the most significant Buddha images covered in several tons of gold leaf and the crown prize in wars between competing kingdoms; the golden palace monastery, the sole surviving Royal Palace building in Mandalay, offering a glimpse of the original style and architecture of the Myanmar royals; and lastly, the Kuthodaw Pagoda, a compound housing Buddha’s teachings carved in the sacred Pali script on stone tablets and regarded the world’s largest book in terms of surface area.

We end our day with sunset panoramic views over city skyline on Mandalay hill, the highest point of the city.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: In Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel in Mandalay or similar.

Bridge

Sunset view by Ubein Bridge in Amarapura – one of the old kingdoms near Mandalay

DAY 9: ROYAL KINGDOMS AVA (INWA) – SAGAING – AMARAPURA & UBEIN BRIDGE

After breakfast at the hotel, we embark on a journey to the Ancient Kingdoms of Myanmar near Mandalay. We transfer 15km to Ava (Inwa), the ancient capital of the Shan and Burmese Kingdoms for over four centuries. We cross over the Myint Nge River by ferry and explore the small roads of Ava by horse cart.

We visit the Bagaya teak monastery, over three hundred years old yet well preserved and still in use by local monks; the Nanmyin watch tower, the last standing structure of the Ava dynasty palace compound also known as the “Leaning Tower of Ava”; and the Maha Aungmye Bonzan monastery building with its graceful curves and archways. We continue to the Ancient kingdom of Sagaing, located across the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River.

From the Sagaing hills, we enjoy magnificent views overlooking the river and hill side covered with countless pagodas. We visit a monastery in Sagaing to learn about the life of Buddhist devotees and continue to well-known silversmith village near Sagaing. We continue to another beautiful ancient capital city, Amarapura, famous for its weaving and textile industries.

There, we visit a cottage industry workshop to learn how Myanmar longyis and traditional fabrics are constructed. We continue to the Ubein bridge, a simple yet strong teak structure that spans 1,2 km over Taungtaman Lake. The bridge silhouetted by the setting sun is one of the most magical experiences in Myanmar and a photographer’s dream.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: In Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel in Mandalay or similar.

 Bagan

The Temples of Bagan(Pagan), Mandalay, Myanmar

DAY 10: BAGAN HIGHLIGHTS

After breakfast, transfer to Mandalay domestic airport for a ½ hr flight to Nyaung U / Bagan. Where we start our journey to Ancient Kingdoms of Bagan with a visit to Dhamayazeka Zedi for a panoramic view of the temple studded plains of Bagan. We continue to the Archaeological museum and magnificent gold gilded Swezigon stupa purported to contain a holy tooth relic of the Buddha.

We enjoy the most well preserved mural paintings in Bagan at Myingaba Gu Byaukgyi temple. We learn how Bagan’s famous lacquer ware crafts are produced in Myingaba village. We visit Htilominlo temple and learn how Bagan sand paintings are made.

We conclude the day’s sightseeing with a visit to beautifully symmetric Ananda temple with its four standing Buddha images inside. We continue by decorated bullock cart to witness a magical sunset behind the temples (weather permitting).

Lunch in a restaurant by Ayeyarwaddy River. In the evening dine in one of Bagan’s best restaurants with puppet show performance.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: Aureum Palace Hotel in Bagan or similar.

Red Mountain Estate vineyard

Red Mountain Estate vineyard

DAY 11: INLE LAKE & RED MOUNTAIN ESTATE WINEYARD

Enjoy breakfast at hotel and then transfer to the airport for the flight to Heho, a quiet transit town with one of the few airport links in the beautiful hills of Shan State. Visit the bustling main Heho market, the meeting point for different ethnic minority groups of the surrounding areas to trade handmade goods and locally grown produce (on market days only).

En route to Inle Lake, we stop at a local family work shop to learn how Shan umbrellas and paper are made by traditional methods using the fibers of the mulberry tree. Next, we take a 1-hour drive to Inle Lake that descends through the valley with views of the Shan mountains and rice paddy fields.

Near Inle Lake, visit the red mountain estate to tour of the lush vineyard situated on the side of mountain, taste some of Myanmar’s premiere wines, and observe the different aging methods completed in their cellar cave.

After checking into the hotel, we embark on afternoon explorations of Inle lake, populated with floating islands and gardens made from the naturally tangled roots of water hyacinth plants and reeds. Delight in the picturesque sights of fishermen who balance and row with one leg, a technique indigenous to the Inn Thar minority group who do this only on Inle Lake.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: In Treasure Resort Inle Lake or similar, cottages over lake.

Red Mountain Estate vineyard

Red Mountain Estate vineyard

DAY 12: INLE LAKE & INN THEIN

After breakfast we journey out by boat, following the currents of a small river to reach the Inn Thein pagoda complex, a site that makes us feel as if we’ve stepped through a forgotten portal in time. To access the complex, we walk through verdant bamboo groves that open up to a field covered with the ancient pagodas constructed over 1,000 years ago.

We boat back to the lake and visit Phaungdaw Oo pagoda, the home of some of the country’s most sacred Buddha statues covered in gold leaf by devout followers. We also make a visit to the Inpawkhon weaving village to learn how local silks, linens and lotus fabrics are handmade and crafted.

As an extra treat, we stop at a house for Burmese cats built over the lake, where we see the preservation efforts and reintroduction of this rare pure breed of felines to Myanmar.

At Nampan village, local craftsmen show us how Burmese cigars, or “cheroots,” are traditionally packed and rolled. We end our day with magnificent sunset canoe ride with boatmen who gracefully navigate and row perched on one leg.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: In Treasure Resort Inle Lake or similar, cottages over lake.

colonial heritage yangon

Colonial heritage Yangon

DAY 13: INLE LAKE – YANGON

The morning is free for sightseeing on the Lake. We can make arrangements for a leisurely stroll to neighboring villages to observe local village life. Alternatively, we can make arrangements for a visit to Nyaung Shwe town to explore the quaint town or shop for local handicrafts.

In the afternoon, we transfer to the Heho Airport for the next connecting flight to Yangon. Rest of the day is free at leisure in Yangon. We enjoy a farewell dinner together in a popular local restaurant in Yangon.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: In Yangon. Kandawgyi Palace Hotel or similar.

City Yangon

Yangon

DAY 14: YANGON DEPARTURE

Free at leisure until transfer to Yangon airport for your onward flight.

  • Meals included: breakfast