The Heart of Myanmar: Along the Irrawaddy & Chindwin Rivers
Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Depart USASeptember 15
Board your independent flight to Bangkok.
Bangkok, ThailandSeptember 16
Arrive in Bangkok and transfer to the Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel for overnight.
Bangkok / Mandalay, MyanmarSeptember 17
Enjoy a morning at leisure with lunch at our hotel. Board your short flight to Mandalay, set on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. Join an orientation tour, and check in to the Mandalay Hill Resort for dinner and overnight.
Mandalay / Embark AnawrahtaSeptember 18
After a morning at leisure, embark the Anawrahta and enjoy lunch as the ship cruises downstream toward the Chindwin River confluence. Pass picturesque Sagaing Hills, dotted with hermitages and nunneries, and attend a presentation of Burmese history and culture. Enjoy a festive welcome dinner, a great opportunity to mingle with your fellow travelers.
Today, our ship leaves the Irrawaddy and enters the Chindwin River.In the afternoon, take a tour of Monywa, including an excursion to Po Win Taung, where hundreds of caves are richly decorated with paintings and statues. Next, visit the Shwe Ba Taung complex where unique pavilions and 492 Buddha statues are carved into the sandstone cliffs. Return to the ship for dinner and overnight.
Monywa / MaukkadawSeptember 20
Today make a stop in Moktaw, a simple country village where you can take a walk to explore workshops, markets, and a monastery. Back on board, the ship continues to Maukkadaw, a wealthy village on the Chindwin River with a large teak wood industry.
Maukkadaw / KalewaSeptember 21
In the morning, explore the town of Maukkadaw—its stunning teak buildings made even more exotic by the surrounding tropical jungle. Back on board, have your camera ready as you cruise past the lush Chindwin gorges—a timeless landscape of steep cliffs, thick jungle, and tiny riverside villages. Continue cruising to Kalewa, and choose an optional walking tour in the evening.
Kalewa / MawlaikSeptember 22
Disembark in Kalewa and travel overland to visit the market at Kalaymyo. There will be an opportunity to purchase traditional Chin fabrics and to visit a silk-weaving factory. Return to the ship for lunch and cruise through a wild landscape of forested gorges and rolling hills. Arrive in Mawlaik this evening, with a chance to explore the town on your own.
Watch the working elephants of Pyarswal Elephant Camp in the morning before touring Mawlaik, only 22 miles from the Indian border on the Chindwin River. This little town boasts a golf course surrounded by splendid colonial “Dak Bungalows,” dating from the time when Mawlaik was the British provincial capital of the area. It is an area rich in teak forests and was the main settlement for employees of the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation in the 1920s and 30s.
Sittaung is the final resting place for a number of Irrawaddy Flotilla Company steamers that were scuppered in 1942 in an ‘act of denial’ from the advancing Japanese who were a matter of hours behind. Take a walk through the tiny village before sailing north. Time permitting, visit with the Shan people.
Homalin, a small town close to the Indian border, marks the end of the navigable portion of the Chindwin. Here the Uyu, a tributary of the Chindwin, flows into the main river. The color of the river changes here as the Uyu carries sand glittering with gold particles and small gold nuggets. Locals can often be seen panning the river in the hope of finding gold. Visit the Buddha Lotus Garden and the market while exploring the town.
River CruisingSeptember 26
Continue downstream while enjoying a cooking class on board presented by our head chef. Learn how the ethnic minorities of Cambodia have each contributed to the diversity of Burmese cuisine. Time permitting, take a stroll through the small village of Kanywa this evening.
Mingkin / KaniSeptember 27
In the morning, cruise toward Mingkin, described as the Luang Prabang of the Chindwin. Visit the Mahar Minkyaung Monastery, an extraordinary mélange of European and Burmese architecture, particularly the Italian glass used in the windows. Here you can see the Shwe Sagar Buddha which is one of ten Buddhas carved from a single tree trunk almost 1,000 years ago. Continue to Kani, making a stop en route to observe daily life at a typical riverside village.
After a leisurely morning, arrive in Bagan and take a tour of this magnificent city, the former capital from 1044 to 1287. Visit several of the 3,000 listed monuments, including Dhammayazika Paya, with amazing views from the terrace and the largest temple, Dhammayangyi—both built in the 12th century. Then visit one of the best preserved temples in Bagan, the 11th-century Ananda. Tonight enjoy the breath-taking sunset from one of the many pagodas.
Bagan / DisembarkSeptember 29
Disembark after breakfast and continue your exploration of Bagan. Stroll through the Nyaung-U market, then visit the stunning Shwezigon Pagoda. Observe the fascinating process of creating lacquerware with the opportunity to purchase high-quality pieces. Check in to the Bagan Lodge for dinner and overnight.
Bagan / YangonSeptember 30
This morning, board your flight to Yangon. Today’s introduction to this fabled city includes the Shwedagon Pagoda, a glittering complex of golden-spired temples. Dinner and overnight at Governor’s Residence.
After breakfast, visit the impressive Chauk Htat Gyi, a huge reclining Buddha, and stop at the Karaweik Hall royal floating barge. Visit a working monastery and orphanage before lunch at a local restaurant. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure for you to relax, or explore on your own. Gather this evening for a festive farewell dinner at our hotel.
Yangon / Bangkok, ThailandOctober 2
This morning continue your explorations of Yangon. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Bangkok and check in to the Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Bangkok / USAOctober 3
Board your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.