Includes flights from the UK. Explore Myanmar’s rural villages and shimmering pagodas along the Irrawaddy River on a 14-night cruise aboard the luxurious RV Samatha. Immerse yourself in the unique city of Mandalay, explore the archaeological site of Bagan and spend three nights staying on Inle Lake.
Hone your ceramic skills in the pottery producing village of Yandabo, where beautiful pots are made from river clay.
With a drink in hand, glide beneath the world's longest teak wood bridge in a traditional sampan.
Discover Bagan's famous golden-topped temples, stopping to appreciate the region's oldest monument, Shwezigon Pagoda.
Make your way to London Heathrow for your flight to Myanmar.
Day 2: Arrive Yangon, Embark Ship
Be met on arrival and transfer to your luxury river ship, the RV Samatha. This afternoon, stretch your legs on a walking tour as you take in the colonial buildings of Pansodan Street. Stroll through Mahabendoola Park on your way to Sule Pagoda, a unique structure that also now acts as a round-about. Later, one of the world’s most famous pagodas awaits – the Shwedagon Pagoda. No visit to Yangon is complete without gazing in awe at this 99-metre tall golden masterpiece. This evening back on board, a welcome reception awaits before your welcome dinner.
Day 3: Yangon
Take a short ferry ride to the small village of Dala today. This rural village allows you to experience an authentic way of life for the local Burmese people. Hop on a trishaw as your driver takes you to a candle-making workshop to observe this traditional art. You will also see how the villagers make crafts by utilising materials from a recycling workshop. Head back on board for lunch as your ship lifts anchor and sails out of Yangon.
Day 4: Danuphyu
Today will be spent exploring the township of Danuphyu by trishaw. Visit a local workshop and see how the Burmese people prepare a yellowish paste called thanaka, which is applied to protect their skin from the sun. Burmese men and women have been wearing thanaka for more than 2,000 years and applying it to the cheeks in different patterns is a time-honoured ritual in Myanmar. You will also pay a visit to a monastery while in Danuphyu.
Day 5: Tayoke Maw
After a morning at leisure, set out on a local village tour of Shwekyin. Interact with the locals and catch a glimpse of unspoiled country life.
Day 6: Pyay
Absorb wonderful views of the Akauk Mountains and their river-facing cliff carvings as you cruise onwards towards Pyay today. On arrival, disembark for a tour of the imposing Shwesandaw Pagoda. Later, travel to the ancient ruins of Sri Ksetra. The region’s 1,500 year old stupas are among the world’s earliest Buddhist monuments.
Day 7: Thayetmyo
Continue on to Thayetmyo today, a pleasant port town that once sat on the border between Upper and Lower Burma, which the British annexed during the Second Anglo-Burmese War. Here, enjoy a fascinating tour of the historic colonial-era post office before taking a swing at Myanmar’s oldest golf course.
Day 8: Minhla, Magwe
Today, step ashore in the town of Minhla. Learn how the British captured this fort, and indeed the town, during a war that saw an independent Burma lose its sovereignty. Cruise onwards to Magwe, where you will head up to the Mya Tha Lun Pagoda, located atop a hill overlooking the Irrawaddy River.
Day 9: Salay
Cruise to the small village of Salay, a colourful religious centre. Here, you will visit Yoke Sone Kyaung, the region’s oldest surviving wooden monastery. Continue on to Shinbin Maha Laba Man Paya, home to the country’s largest lacquer Buddha image, which dates back to the 13th century.
Day 10: Bagan
This morning you’ll cruise into Bagan. Once the capital of a powerful ancient kingdom, Bagan’s archaeological zone is an impressive testament to the religious devotion of Myanmar’s rulers and people. Journey to New Bagan and experience a cultural elephant dance before visiting Gubyaukgyi Temple. This afternoon, further explore some of the stunning temples including the well-preserved Ananda Temple, commonly known as the ‘Westminster Abbey of Myanmar’. Later, enjoy your Signature Experience.
Day 11: Bagan
Early this morning, you have the option to experience a bird’s-eye view of the stunning plains of Bagan aboard a hot air balloon (own expense). Afterwards, choose from a range of sightseeing options as you explore this remarkable region. Later this afternoon, immerse yourself in the local culture of Bagan, exploring local traditions and manufacturing processes. Visit a sugar palm workshop where you will see a wide range of produce being made including plum jam and local spirits. Following your visit to the sugar palm workshop you will visit the village of Phwar-Saw, where you can see the locals weaving bamboo and constructing parts used to make bullock carts.
Day 12: Pakokku, Kyun Nyo
Rise early to catch a final glimpse of the sun rising over Bagan as you sail out of Bagan. Disembark in the village of Pakokku and jump in a tuk tuk to explore a series of local workshops consisting of cheroot (cigar) and textiles, including the famous Burmese sarong – the longyi. The afternoon will be spent exploring a small village, where you will experience local life in this typical riverside community.
Day 13: Yandabo
In Yandabo, enjoy an intimate look at village life and watch a pottery-making demonstration by talented local artisans.
Day 14: Sagaing, Mingun
This morning will be spent exploring Soon U Ponya Shin, followed by a visit to a local silversmith workshop. You will also have the chance to take part in the daily ritual of giving alms to the local monks here. Almsgiving takes place throughout the country every day of the year and always occurs in the early morning before sunrise. Monks will line up along the streets and will then walk slowly to receive food donations from the local people. Later, cruise to Mingun, home to the famously unfinished Mingun Pahtodawgyi. Here, you will see the second largest ringing bell in the world, the Mingun Bell, as well as the unique, all-white Myatheindan Pagoda. Tonight, enjoy an onboard cultural show from the Mandalay Fine Art School.
Day 15: Mandalay
Set out on a full-day exploration of Mandalay, taking in the Mahamuni Buddha Temple and the world’s largest book at Kuthodaw Pagoda. Later, discover the Shwenandaw Monastery.
Day 16: Mandalay, Heho, Inle Lake
Transfer to the airport for your included flight to Heho, where you will set off to explore a local family-run workshop famous for making Shan paper. Afterwards, travel to the small town of Nyaung Shwe, situated on the edge of Inle Lake. Afterwards, transfer to your hotel, where the remainder of the day is yours to relax.
Day 17: Inle Lake
Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, which houses five small golden Buddha images. Continue to Nga Phe Chaung Monastery, the oldest and largest monastery on the lake. It’s then time for a special dining experience at Inthar Heritage Restaurant. The owners have utilised their old family recipes to offer you a modern twist on the region’s cuisine. Following lunch, visit some of the local manufacturing workshops in the area including a silk factory, which is unique to the region as they use the silk spun from the stem of a lotus flower.
Day 18: Inle Lake
Board a local boat and cruise past the floating gardens. You may even spot the local fisherman using the iconic one-legged fishing technique. Afterwards, travel to Indein Village to see the Shwe Indein Pagoda. Traverse narrow canals, gliding by paddy fields along the river banks. A gentle walk up a hill will bring you to hundreds of ancient stupas. You will also have time for some retail therapy, with a stop at a local market on your way back to your boat. After lunch, visit a local manufacturing workshop and perhaps meet some people from the Padaung Tribe, known for the women wearing brass coils around their necks. Return to your hotel to take in a final sunset over Inle Lake before your farewell dinner.
Day 19: Inle Lake, Heho, Depart Yangon
Board a coach to Heho, where an included flight takes you to Yangon for your onward flight to the UK.
Day 20: Arrive London
Arrive back in London today.
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