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14 DAY RIVER CRUISE FROM YANGON TO YANGON
Explore the best of Myanmar, known as “The Golden Land,” on this captivating journey along the Irrawaddy River. Start in Yangon, formerly Rangoon, with a walking tour of the city’s highlights and a visit to stunning Shwedagon Pagoda – considered by many to be the oldest pagoda in the world. On the Irrawaddy, encounter a tapestry of exotic flavors and partake in memorable interactions with the locals. Cruise the most scenic part of the river past lavish shrines, teak forests, and riverside villages lost in time. Embark in Bhamo, the northernmost point ships can navigate the river, and sail through the dramatic second defile with its magnificent cliffs. Interact with the local school children and visit a fisherman’s home for a glimpse of daily life at the island village of Kyun Daw. In Katha, visit a local market and an elephant camp for a ride through the teak forest. Present alms, offerings of food, to the monks at a monastery in Kya Hnyat. Take a walking tour through a pottery-making village to see the process from start to end and tour bustling Mandalay. In Amarapura, stop at U Bein Bridge for an unforgettable sampan ride at sunset. Explore some of the most important temples and watch the sunset over the plains of Bagan, one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. All this and more awaits you on this incredible adventure!
Day 1 - Arrive Yangon, Myanmar
Welcome to Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, the country’s largest city and former capital. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Day 2 - Yangon
This morning, take a WALKING TOUR of the city’s famous and historic landmarks, including the High Court, City Hall, Central Railway Station, and Sule Pagoda, built during the time of Buddha. Stop along the way at a LOCAL TEA SHOP for a cup of tea/coffee with the locals. After lunch, visit CHAUKHTATGYI to see the massive reclining Buddha measuring in at 213 feet. Afterward, continue to SHWEDAGON PAGODA, the most important religious site in the country and a national symbol. Here, a truly enchanting scene unfolds as the sun sets on the golden stupa and locals come to pay their respects. Tonight, your welcome dinner is in one of Yangon’s best restaurants. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 - Yangon–Bhamo (Embarkation)–Second Defile
This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Bhamo. Upon arrival, EXPLORE BHAMO by local trishaw and by foot, then transfer to the port and board the Avalon Myanmar to begin your CRUISE on the Irrawaddy. This afternoon, get acquainted with the ship and sail through the DRAMATIC SECOND DEFILE with its magnificent cliffs reaching down the narrow channel. Join a welcome reception this evening prior to dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 - Kyun Daw
This morning, visit the fascinating island village of Kyun Daw, where over 7,000 stupas surround the monastery. Take a WALKING TOUR for memorable encounters with the villagers. Visit a FISHERMAN’S HOME to learn more about daily life here and a SCHOOL to interact with the children. You will also visit a NUNNERY to present the nuns with food purchased the day before at the market in Bhamo. Unlike monks, they have to collect and cook their own food. As you sail south this afternoon, with some luck, you may catch a glimpse of the rare Irrawaddy dolphin with its distinctive round forehead. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 - Katha–Tigyang
This morning, visit a LOCAL MARKET, where you will see the locals buying and selling fish, meat, produce, and more. Then, journey a short distance outside the city to an ELEPHANT CAMP in the teak forest. Skilled mahouts will show you how they have worked with elephants for centuries, and you will have the opportunity to RIDE AN ELEPHANT through the forest. Sail to the small village of Tigyang for an afternoon WALKING TOUR through its narrow lanes and to visit the pagoda and reclining Buddha on a hilltop with stunning views. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 - Kya Hnyat
This morning, visit the village of Kya Hnyat with its many Buddhist monasteries. Here you will INTERACT WITH THE MONKS at a local monastery. Each morning they don their distinctive saffron-colored robes and walk through the streets to collect alms, offerings of food, like cooked rice and curry. This is a truly memorable experience as you present alms to the monks and witness their lunch ritual. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 - Kyauk Myaung
Today, take a WALKING TOUR through the captivating pottery-making village of Kyauk Myaung. Here you will learn more about the pot-making process and see how they are formed, fired, and glazed. Most interesting is the eye-catching 50-gallon variety, often referred to as Martaban or Ali Baba jars in colonial times. These pots could transport large quantities of liquor, fish sauce, peanut oil, and more, and have played an important part of maritime trade throughout Asia for centuries. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 - Mingun–Mandalay–Amarapura
This morning, take a WALKING TOUR through the village of Mingun to see its bronze bell, considered the largest working bell in the world. You will also stop at the famous unfinished pagoda, where construction was abandoned at 160 feet, only a third of the planned height. Afterward, sail a short distance to Mandalay. Visit nearby Amarapura, former capital of Myanmar, later in the afternoon. Your visit focuses on the famous U BEIN BRIDGE, a three-quarter-mile-long bridge built in 1783 from reclaimed teakwood from the old royal palace in Inwa. The bridge is still a cornerstone of the community as locals and monks use it daily to cross Taungthaman Lake while fishermen and farmers go about their daily work below. Take a SAMPAN RIDE on the lake for memorable views of the sunset behind the iconic bridge. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9 - Mandalay
After breakfast, visit a TAPESTRY & WOODCARVING WORKSHOP to learn more about these cottage industries and see the skilled artisans at work. Then, stop at stop at a GOLD LEAF WORKSHOP to see how it is made. Lastly, visit MAHAMUNI PAGODA, the most revered shrine in Mandalay, to see its impressive gold-leaf Buddha. Due to the continual application of gold leaves, officials estimate the gold is approximately six inches thick. This afternoon, visit KUTHODAW PAGODA and SHWENANDAW MONASTERY, the only remnant of former King Mindon’s “Golden City” to survive the bombing of World War II. Originally the king’s living quarters, the building was moved after his death to its current location and converted into a monastery. Today, the original gilding has faded, but the intricate wood carvings endure, giving you a sense of how extravagant the original teak palace complex was. This evening, enjoy a TRADITIONAL DANCE PERFORMANCE featuring local song and dance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 10 - Sagaing
Today, visit Sagaing, an important religious site with countless pagodas dotting the surrounding hillsides. Here, stop to see KAUNGHMUDAW PAGODA with its golden egg-shaped dome—unique among more traditional pagodas in Myanmar. Next, on to a SILVERSMITH WORKSHOP to learn how the local artisans turn silver into beautiful works of art. Lastly, explore SOON U PONYA SHIN PAGODA at the top of Sagaing Hill for stunning views of the Irrawaddy and across to Mandalay. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 11 - Shwe Pyi Thar
Relax this morning and take in the sights from one of the ship’s lounges or your suite. This afternoon, take a WALKING TOUR through Shwe Pyi Thar, a typical village along the Irrawaddy. Here you will visit a LOCAL FARMER’S HOME to learn more about daily life here and see the locals making palm candy, a sweet and smoky candy, from the sap of the toddy palm. To harvest the sap, a climber scales the toddy palm and hangs an earthen pot under a slit he cuts in the tree. The sap is then cooked in an iron pan over an open wood fire until it thickens and can be formed into small pieces by hand. After dinner, a TRADITIONAL PUPPET SHOW will be presented in one of the lounges. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 12 - Bagan
Today, explore Bagan, capital of Myanmar from the 9th to the 13th centuries. It is estimated that during this time over 13,000 temples, monasteries, and pagodas were built in the plains surrounding the city—an area of about 40 square miles. Many of these structures have been lost over time, but around 2,300 still stand today, making this one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. Early risers can visit one of the temples with a Local Guide to witness sunrise. After breakfast, your morning excursion starts with a visit to a LOCAL MARKET selling handicrafts, fabrics, and longyis—a versatile sheet of cloth worn around the waist by most local men and women. Then, stop at the ornate SHWEZIGON PAGODA, one of the country’s most important shrines. You will also visit a LACQUER WORKSHOP to learn more about this ancient craft. After lunch, your sightseeing centers on the BAGAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL ZONE. Highlights include ANANDA, considered by many to be the most beautiful temple, and DHAMMAYANG YI, the best preserved monument left standing. Also stop to see the exquisite and well preserved fresco paintings at SULAMANI. Your day ends with an OX CART RIDE to a temple, where you will ascend to the top as the sun sets. Tonight, join your Cruise Director and ship’s crew for a FAREWELL RECEPTION and special FAREWELL DINNER. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13 - Bagan (Disembarkation)–Yangon
After breakfast, disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for your flight to Yangon. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (Breakfast)
Day 14 - Yangon
Your vacation ends with breakfast this
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Avalon - Irrawaddy River Cruises
The Irrawaddy River offers many options to extend your trip. Ask our travel professionals for available itineraries. See a few of the options below and call for available dates and additional itinerary options.