Treasure of Golden Myanmar (Irrawaddy Explorer)

Treasure of Golden Myanmar (Irrawaddy Explorer)

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Experience the rich history and diverse culture of the Irrawaddy River for 9-nights from Mandalay, the cultural center of Myanmar to Yangon the former capital and home to the Shwedagon Pagoda which dominates the city’s skyline. This incredible journey transports you through areas of Myanmar rarely visited by westerners and many not accessible other than by river. Every port will tell a story from the more than 2200 intricately carved temples to the handmade pottery made in the village of Yandabo and floated down the Irrawaddy has it has been for hundreds of years; this experience is like no other you’ve experienced. When paired with our optional pre and post cruise extension programs, the Treasures of Golden Myanmar program creates a wonderful in-depth perspective to a country that is now entering a never before seen transformation.

Trip Name
Treasure of Golden Myanmar (Irrawaddy Explorer)
Vessel Type: River Cruise Length: 57.3 metres Passenger Capacity: 56 The sleek Irrawaddy Explorer is the newest and most luxurious of the three cruise ships of Ayravata Cruise Company to ply the great Irrawaddy River of Burma and even before it leaves the dock it takes you into another world: the elegant, stylish era of the colonial period. As soon as you are in the reception area, you have stepped into the past, created with its décor of a beautiful art nouveau stairway, old-style furniture, the gleaming hardwood floors, potted plants and classic light fixtures. The theme is carried into the whole interior of the ship including the 28 luxurious suites, the Writers” Lounge, the ‘Custom House’ dining room and even the Spa room and Fitness Center. The twenty-eight luxury suites are named Mandalay, Kipling, Orwell and Maugham, all with floor-to-ceiling glass doors to enjoy the magnificent views of the Irrawaddy River. Each suite comes with its own unique artwork where for the duration of the cruise you are living in another time and place but with modern conveniences. The sun deck is where you are cooled by the breeze sweeping over the river, where you can sunbathe, read or just enjoy the light on the water and the sun on its journey turning the sky into a painter’s palette of gold and crimson. The Writers’ Lounge, spacious as it is, has the ambience of the private study of a writer of the past. Strategically-placed comfortable sofas give enough privacy to enable you to imagine Somerset Maugham thoughtfully smoking his pipe in one corner or Rudyard Kipling amiably telling his tales to a few enraptured guests or George Orwell trying to hide behind a newspaper. Meals in the old-world charm of the dining room with its lazily-turning ceiling fans are not in the old colonial traditions of broiled beef and rice pudding, but of modern western haute cuisine, the best of Asian food with the freshest ingredients it demands, as well as the most delicious of popular standards. The menu is created by a talented foreign who has years of experience on the best cruise liners of the world and prepared by local Chefs. Best of all, the Kitchen often takes passengers for a stroll through local bazaars selling fresh and luscious fruits and vegetables. Other stops take you to see the marvels of the country ranging from the famous temples and images to less-known 17th century wall paintings of Hpowindaung Caves, to a potters’ village, a town with the first ever golf course in the country, old wooden monasteries, craftsmen’s workshops etc. On board, there is a Fitness Center with State-of-the-art equipment and also a spa for messages with creams made from healing and fragrant barks. There are also otherl events presented for your amusement, such as a lesson on how to cook some local dishes, how to securely tie the longyi waist garment, how to grind the traditional Thanakha bark paste, and how to ‘play’ the cane ball game of grace and balance.  On longer cruises there are lectures on culture and traditions and performances of classical dance and marionette shows. Any cruise on Irrawaddy Explorer is not only about discovering the essence of the country but to do it in luxurious comfort while living the dream in the elegance of a past era.


Day 1 - DAY 1 : YANGON - PROME
Ship transfer meeting point: Sule Shangri-La.Guests will enjoy a scenic drive from Yangon to Prome.TRANSFER: Transfer from hotel in Yangon to Prome will be provided. Pls take note that it takes approximately 7 hrs drive from Yangon to Prome (7:00 AM - 2:00 PM)Departure from Sule Shangrila Hotel Yangon is 7:00 am. Pls arrive 30 minutes prior to departure in order to check in with our representative.AFTERNOON EXCURSION: Prome and Sri KsetraOnce controlled by the Mon tribe during the Bagan Era, and then conquered by the Burmese King Alaungpaya in 1754, Prome (known as Pyay to the locals) boomed along with the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company in the 1890s and is now an important trading post for goods traveling between northern and southern Myanmar. This afternoon we drive to Thayekhittaya (also known as Sri Ksetra, the “Fabulous City” in the Pali language), an ancient Pyu city that ruled in this area between the 5th and the 9th centuries. We visit the well-documented Sri Ksetra Museum, full of excellent maps and artifacts including Hindu deities, Buddha images from as far back as the 6th century, Pyu beads, and silver coins.ENTERTAINMENT: Welcome Reception and Safety Briefing (6:30PM-7:30PM)
Day 2 - DAY 2 : THAYET
MORNING: Enjoy sailing the whole morning with BBC Documentary “The Life of the Buddha”AFTERNOON EXCURSION: Thayet MyoThis afternoon we put you on Tuk-Tuk to visit the charming town of Thayet Myo, stopping at the oldest golf course of Myanmar with a fascinating history (guests may hit from the first tee). We then visit the local market, passing colonial homes constructed during the British colonization of Burma before returning to the ship for an afternoon of scenic cruising.ENTERTAINMENT: BBC Documentary “The Life of the Buddha” (10:00AM-11:00AM)
Day 3 - DAY 3 : MAGWE
MORNING: Enjoy sailing the whole morning with Longyi and Thanaka Demonstration.AFTERNOON EXCURSION: Magwe by Trishaw(Site order and timing for today may vary by groups)This afternoon we venture out into the district capitol city of Magwe aboard Trishaws (three wheeled bicycle where one person sits alongside the driver). A short walk takes us to the local market. After some time to explore and shop at the market we board our trishaws for a ride through the city to visit Mya Tha Lun pagoda. Mya Tha Lun is a beautifully gilded stupa set atop Naguttama Hill which offers a wonderful view of the river and surrounding area.ENTERTAINMENT: Longyi and Thanaka Demonstration (10:00AM-11:00AM)
Day 4 - DAY 4 : SALAY
MORNING: Enjoy sailing the whole morning and Lunch on board.AFTERNOON EXCURSION: Salay Walking Tour(Site order and timing for today may vary by groups)This afternoon we walk ashore at Salay, a small town founded in the 13th century with Bagan-era shrines, beautiful 19th century teak monasteries and preserved British colonial buildings. We explore the Salay House, a restored 1906 colonial trading company warehouse on the bank of the Irrawaddy. Our walk takes us along the town’s main Strand Street towards the local market before turning away from the river to visit the beautiful Yoke Soun Kyaung Taw Gyi wooden monastery. This ornately carved teak monastery was designed as a copy of the Crown Prince House of Mandalay, and is now a museum boasting remarkable wood carvings and artifacts. We pass some interesting Bagan-era monuments on our way to visit Mann Paya, a pagoda with a beautiful lacquerware Buddha, before returning to our ship with a stroll past some of Salay’s many beautiful colonial buildings.
Day 5 - DAY 5 : BAGAN
MORNING EXCURSION: Temple of Bagan and Oxcarts rideThis morning our excursion takes us to one of the most incredible areas of Myanmar: Bagan. Once the center of the Pagan Empire, Bagan today is a tourist, artist, and archeological mecca. We will start the tour with the massive Htilominlo, built by King Htilominlo on the site where he was chosen from the five sons of King Nadaungmya to be the crown prince of Pagan. While the murals that once decorated much of the inside of this temple have only survived on the ceilings, Htilominlo boasts the finest plaster carvings which still remain undamaged on the arch pediments. After that we will climbing aboard traditional, ceremonial oxcarts for a short ride through the temples of Bagan. A visit to Bagan would not be complete without exploring one of the most famous temples of Bagan, Ananda. Built in 1105 CE during King Kyanzittha’s reign, it is one of only four surviving temples from this period. We will explore the cruciform of the temple, with four standing Buddhas facing north, south, east, and west.AFTERNOON EXCURSION: The Art and Sunset Over BaganAfter lunch, we visit a local workshop where the traditional methods of creating lacquerware (known as yun-de in Burmese) are still practiced. After a demonstration of the labor-intensive process required in making each piece, we have time to shop before continuing on our tour. A short coach ride takes us to Gubyaukgyi Temple (Great Painted Cave Temple), where the richly-colored paintings are thought to date to the original construction period in the early 12th century and we will also see a sand painting demonstration by a local artist. Next to this temple is the gilded Myazedi Stupa, which offers both a linguistic and a historical significance: an inscription consecrating Gubyaukgyi in four languages (Pyu, Mon, Old Burmese, and Pali), which established Pyu as an important cultural influence in the early Pagan period. For our final stop of the day we proceed to the Bagan Viewing Hill where we will view the sunset over the pagodas and stupas of Bagan before returning to the ship.ENTERTAINMENT: Traditional Myanmar Puppet Show (9:00PM-10:00PM)
MORNING EXCURSION: Markets and Temples of BaganThis morning, we transfer by motor coach to Bagan’s largest open market, where fresh produce, meats, spices, woodcarvings, longyis, thanaka, and rattan products are sold every day. We have the opportunity to watch the negotiations and transactions taking place, and if we are lucky, see one of the local women carrying their purchases on their heads. After our walk through the market, we proceed to the gilded Shwezigon Pagoda. This important religious site dates to the reign of King Anawrahta, founder of the Bagan Empire. The construction of this complex spanned both King Anawrahta’s lifetime, as well as his son and successor King Kyanzittha’s lifetime. The golden stupa at its center is said to contain a bone and tooth relic of the Buddha, a gold image of Anawrahta and a Chinese emerald Buddha. After exploring this large temple complex wewill say goodbye to the temples of Bagan as our coach returns us to the ship and we set sail.AFTERNOON EXCURSION: Hnaw Kone Walking TourThis afternoon we sail to the village of Hnaw Kone, and enjoy our second leisurely walk of the day. Hnaw Kone is a typical, rural, river village, with friendly residents and adorable children. During our exploration of the village we will stop to see the local handicraft of bamboo cane basket weaving. We will watch the villagers as they expertly split bamboo and skillfully weave the strands into baskets or larger panels for building homes.ENTERTAINMENT: Tea Leaf and Ginger Salad Demonstration (2:00PM-3:00PM)
Day 7 - DAY 7 : YANDABO
MORNING EXCURSION: Yandabo Walking TourOn 24 February 1826, the peace treaty of the first Anglo-Burmese War was signed at Yandabo. Today, it is a picturesque village famous for its pottery. As we take a leisurely walk through the village, we have the opportunity to stop at the various family homes and workshops, each with its own unique style and markings, to witness the making and firing of the Yandabo pottery, famous throughout Myanmar.ENTERTAINMENT: Lecture “Myanmar: Past and Today” (3:30PM-4:30PM)Burmese Karaoke Party (5:30PM-7:00PM)
MORNING EXCURSION: AVA and Sagaing.This morning we will explore the town of Ava by horsecart, visiting the beautiful 200 year old teak Bagaya Kyaung Monastery, Nanmyin watchtower (27mt. high) and the Yadana Hsemee pagoda complex. After visiting AVA, we continue to visit Sagaing by coach, an important religious site with countless pagodas dotting the surrounding hillsides. Here, stop to see Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda at the top of Sagaing Hill for stunning views of the Irrawaddy and across to Mandalay. Next continue onto a Nunnery to witness life in a local nunnery.AFTERNOON EXCURSION: AmarapuraAfter Lunch, we travel by coach to the penultimate Burmese royal capital of Amarapura to visit a silk workshop before driving to U-Bein Bridge, believed to be the world’s longest and oldest teakwood bridge. Local sampans wait to take us on a leisurely cruise of the lake while admiring the sunset over the bridge.ENTERTAINMENT: Myanmar Traditional Dance Performance (9:00PM-10:00PM)
MORNING EXCURSION: Mingun Walking TourAfter breakfast we will enjoy a leisurely walking tour of the small town of Mingun. Our first stop is King Bodawpaya’s monumental, uncompleted stupa. During construction, an astrologer to the king argued that the king would die upon completion of the temple, and work was immediately halted. Had it been completed, it would have been the largest in the world. The cracks we see are the result of the 23 March 1839 earthquake that shook the area. We continue our walk to the Mingun Bell, which was the heaviest working bell in the world until 2000 when the Bell of Good Luck was unveiled in Henan, China. After having the opportunity to stand inside the bell as it is rung, we have time to shop in the local market, famous for its makeshift galleries that display inexpensive art from both local and internationally known artists.AFTERNOON EXCURSION: MandalayEnjoy a afternoon tour Mandalay. We visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda, which contains the world's biggest book, as well as the Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung Monastery, the only original monastery left from the royal era. Then we proceed a workshop that produces the gold leaf commonly used to adorn Buddha images at temples throughout Myanmar, and the Mahamuni Pagoda, to see how the gold leaf is used.ENTERTAINMENT: Farewell Reception and Crew Farewell (6:30PM-7:30PM)
Day 10 - DAY 10 : MANDALAY
DISEMBARKATION: (8:00AM)After your breakfast, disembark at Gawein Jetty, Mandalay.TRANSFER : Transfer to the Mandalay Int'l Airport or hotel in Mandalay can be arranged at supplement upon request. Pls take note that it takes approximately 1 hr drive for transfer from ship (Gawein) to Mandalay Int'l Airport and 30 minuts to hotel in Mandalay.
Day 11 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type


    • Yangon, Prome (Pyay) & Thayet
    • Magwe, Salay, Bagan & Hnaw Kone
    • Yandabo, Ava, Sagaing & Amarapura
    • Mingun & Mandalay