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Journey on the Banks of the Irrawaddy - 10 Days / 9 Nights
Journey on the Banks of the Irrawaddy - 10 Days / 9 Nights

Journey on the Banks of the Irrawaddy - 10 Days / 9 Nights

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Yangon - Pyay By Train - Pyay - Magway ( Magwe) - Pwint Phyu - Minbu - Bagan - Mandalay - Mingun - Mandalay


Following the course of the Irrawaddy River, we journey along its banks and along its peaceful waters, exploring the cities, towns and villages found nearby. We travel from the vibrant capital of Yangon where we visit majestic pagodas and learn about its captivating history to the ancient cities of Beikthano and Bagan. We stop to learn about the trading of local materials and how farmers use the Irrawaddy for their livelihood. Travelling through spectacular landscapes, this captivating tour reveals the innate beauty of Myanmar's landscapes and its people.

Day 1 - Arrive Yangon

myr_shwedagon_at_dusk-3

Upon arrival, meet your Guide and transfer to your hotel.

Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, was founded by King Alaungpaya on the site of a small town called Dagon, when he conquered lower Myanmar in 1755. He changed its name to Yangon, which means "End of Strife", but was anglicized as Rangoon by the British in 1885. Relatively quiet and charming, Yangon’s  impressive colonial architecture and spiritual heritage makes it one of Southeast Asia’s most fascinating capitals.

We’ll visit Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, home to a 70-meter long reclining Buddha. A visit to Kyaukhtatgyi provides a great overview of Buddhism with murals depicting the life of Buddha. The feet of the statue are carved with traditional symbols and often many locals gathering to pay homage and pray.

Next your guided tour goes to Kandawagyi Park, one of central Yangon’s greenest spots. Here you will see the glittering Karaweik barge, a replica of the royal barge, with the vast lake and views of Shwedagon in the background. Depending on the day of your visit, Kandawgyi may be busy with local families who come here on the weekend to relax in the fresh air.

From here, continue to Shwedagon Pagoda the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Although the origins of the pagoda are unclear, the local legend states that the original structure was built 2500 years ago then renovated several times until taking its current shape in the 15th century. The 8-sided central stupa is 99 meters tall and gilded with gold leaf and is surrounded by 64 smaller stupas and your guide will show you around the massive complex, explaining why this temple is so revered. Enjoy breathtaking views of the golden stupa from this vantage point.

Distances and journey time:

Yangon Airport to Yangon city centre (20 km): 30 – 60 mins

Day 2 - Yangon - Pyay By Train (B)

3_circular_train

After breakfast at the hotel, begin your sightseeing tour with a visit to the old colonial-style city centre and the gilded Sule Pagoda. Then, stroll along Mahabandoola Road, Pansodan Street and explore Yangon’s Jetty, full of colourful street vendors and busy market life.  Continue with a short walking tour through the city’s downtown streets with its mix of faded colonial buildings, glittering temples, and local life.

Stroll around colourful Chinatown and visit one of Yangon’s Chinese temples before transferring to the railway station.

In the afternoon, transfer to Yangon Railways station for your trip to Pyay, crossing the scenic landscapes and villages along the railway side. (Approximately 6.5 hrs). Enjoy the opportunity to mingle with locals as you the lush countryside passes.

On arrival in Pyay, transfer to hotel.

Overnight in Pyay.

Distances and journey time:

Yangon-Pyay (288 km): 6 h

Day 3 - Pyay

After breakfast at the hotel, visit the Pyay jetty and the vibrant market. Learn about the unusually goods begin sold there.  Then, visit Shwe Sandaw Pagoda, a gigantic sitting Buddha Statue of Hsehtatkyi Pagoda.

This afternoon, visit the ancient city of Thayeikhittaya, or Sriketra, just 8km from the city center. The remains of the city covers about 19 square km, an area that was entirely walled in ancient times. Now the ruins are hidden behind thickets of thorny bushes. Sriketra was the largest and most elaborate city built by the ancient Pyu.

End your day with a walk along Strand Road for sunset.

Overnight in Pyay.

Day 4 - Pyay - Magway (Magwe) (B)

myr-magwe-myathalun_pagoda

After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Magway (200 km/ 4 hours drive).  En route, pass the fields and small towns of Aung Lan and Taung Dwin Gyi.

Visit the ancient city of Beikthano, over 2000 years old, located in the Taung Dwin Gyi Township. From here, continue on to the Magway Division.

Magway is well known for its production of both groundnut and sesame oils, earning itself the nickname, ‘Oil pot of Myanmar’. Also known for producing exotic fruits, especially the unusual, yet delicious Phangar fruit (Chebulic myorobalan).

From here we pay a visit to the famous Mya Tha Lun Pagoda on the banks of the Irrawaddy Rvier.

On arrival, check in your Hotel and overnight in Magway.

Distances and journey time:

Pyay – Magway (201 km): 2h40

Day 5 - Magway - Pwint Phyu - Minbu - Magway (B)

After breakfast at the hotel, commence the 20km drive to the north bank of the Irrawaddy River to reach Kyaung Taw Yar Pagoda, at the Pwint Phyu Township. Believed to be the site of an ancient monastery built of sandal wood which the Lord Buddha visited after having achieved enlightenment. “Kyaung” means monastery; “Taw” is used when relating to religious hierarchy or royalty, and “Yar” means the site on which the Kyaung Taw stood.

Continue to visit Nagar Pwet Taung (Dragon Lake), an unusual pool of bubbling mud with a nearby temple and Pagoda in the Min Bu Township. The perfect spot to admire the panoramic views of the mighty Irrawaddy river and cool down with the breeze.

Overnight in Magway.

Distances and journey time:

Magway – Pwint Phyu (50 km): 46 mins

Pwint Phyu – Minbu (36 km): 32 mins

Minbu – Magway (14 km): 17 mins

Day 6 - Magway - Bagan (B)

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before starting the scenic and interesting drive to Bagan. The route passes many changes of landscape as you cross one of the most arid regions of Myanmar.  View toddy palm fields before stopping at a farm to observe the process of toddy juice production.  This crop plays an important role in Myanmar rural life. Not only providing juice and sugars, but also creating shade from the heat and being used as material for utensils, buildings and even some medicine.

Upon arrival in Bagan, check in your Hotel.

This evening, board a local boat for a slow cruise down the Irrawaddy River.  As you cruise the waters, observe the lifestyle of the fishermen and riverside villagers as well as enjoying a unique perspective of Bagan’s temples.

Overnight in Bagan.

Distances and journey time:

Magway – Bagan (156 km): 2h15

Day 7 - Bagan (B)

myr-_bagan-_view_from_above.jpg960

OPTIONAL  ACTIVITY: Balloon Experience Over Bagan - Start your morning with an incredible hot-air balloon flight over Bagan’s temple-studded plains. Snack on pastries and croissants, and sip coffee and tea as the balloon is inflated.  Climb aboard before gently rising above thousands of gilded stupas and earthen temples all back-dropped by the impressive Irrawaddy River.  A truly unforgettable and unique experience. (Note: available only from late- October to late-March; all flights weather permitting)

 Today, explore the wonders of Bagan with a full-day tour. From the 11th to 13th centuries, when Bagan was the capital of Myanmar, the rulers constructed thousands of huge stupas and temples, many of which are still standing today on the banks of the Irrawaddy River.

Your journey begins with a visit to the golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda for an introduction in to Bagan’s rich history. Then, visit to nearby Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.

Stop at a local Tea Shop, where you will have the chance to try the traditional Burmese style tea.  Pick from light or strong brews and try a traditional snack.

This afternoon, begin with a visit to Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece and one of Bagan’s most beautiful temples. Built in the early Mon-style, Ananda contains two unique Buddha images whose expressions seem to change depending on the distance from which the statue is viewed.  Neighbouring Ananda Okkyaung is one of the few surviving brick monasteries from the early Bagan period and is filled with intricate paintings. 

From here, travel by horse cart for a tour passing Thatbyinnyu, the highest temple in Bagan, massive Dhammayangyi Temple, noted for its remarkable brickwork, and Sulamani Temple.

Time permitting; enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the plains from the upper terrace of one of the temples.

Overnight in Bagan. 

Day 8 - Bagan - Mandalay (B)

After breakfast, transfer to Ngat Pyit Taung Monastery and explore the temple’s caves, learning about local traditions and spiritual beliefs of the Burmese.

This afternoon, continue to the rural village of Minnanthu, one of Bagan’s least visited areas.  Here you will explore temples such as Payathonzu, with its unusual architecture and Tantric Buddhism influence, Lemyentha and Nandamannya. 

Late this afternoon, transfer to the Nyaung Oo airport for the flight to Mandalay.  Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. 

Overnight in Mandalay.

Distances and journey time:

Mandalay Airport to Mandalay city centre (41 km): 60 mins

Day 9 - Mandalay - Mingun - Mandalay (B,L)

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Balloon Experience Over Mandalay – As your hot-air balloon rises against the backdrop of Mandalay Hill, the first site to greet you is 729 white pitaka pagodas housing the world’s largest book.  Drifting above the vibrant city you’ll witness barefoot monks collecting alms, bustling morning markets, boats coming alive on the Irrawaddy River and U Bein Bridge in Amarapura.    (Note: available only from late- October to late-March; all flights weather permitting) 

After breakfast, transfer to the Mandalay jetty and board a private local boat for a 1-hr cruise on the Irrawaddy River to Mingun.

Visit the main sites of Mingun beginning with the famous Mingun Pahtodawgyi.  This huge brick structure was left unfinished after an astrologer predicted the King’s would die should the temple be completed.  In the 1800s, an earthquake left several large cracks in the structure.  Continue your visit at the beautiful white Hsinbyume Pagoda, whose distinctive style is meant to resemble the mythical Mount Meru.  Then, see the Mingun Bell which weighs 90 tons and is considered the world’s largest uncracked ringing bell.

Return to Mandalay by boat, enjoying lunch on board as you make your way back to the city.

Next, visit Mahamuni Pagoda. This pagoda is home to one of the country’s most revered Buddha images which, over the years, has been covered with gold leaf, giving it an almost ‘lumpy’ texture. Mandalay is well known for its skilled craftsmen and as you tour traditional workshops, you will learn more about the city’s cottage industries.  Observe the production of wood carvings, kalaga tapestries, and gold-leaf where the techniques remained unchanged from those used centuries ago to craft items for the Royal Court. 

OPTION: Make your own marionette! Join the local craftsmen at their workshop and create your own, unique puppet. A hands-on way to learn about the local culture and create a memorable, personalized souvenir!   20 USD per person

Continue your tour of Mandalay with a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda, whose 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures have earned it the title ‘World’s Biggest Book’.  Continue to Shwenandaw Monastery, the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace. This grand teak building is known for its exquisite woodcarving.

If you wish, head to the top of Mandalay Hill to watch the sunset.

Overnight in Mandalay. 

Day 10 - Mandalay - Departure (B)

Today is at your leisure until transferring to the Mandalay international airport for your onward flight.

Tour Duration: 10 Days / 9 Nights
Tour Operates: Year Round / On Demand
Tour Price: Available upon Request

Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs.


Our services include:

  • Accommodation in a shared twin room or shared double room with daily breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned in the program (B=Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • Entrance fee for the visit mentioned in the program
  • All transfers and excursions with private air-conditioned vehicles
  • English-speaking station guides
  • Horse-cart fee in Bagan
  • Yangon – Pyay Train Ticket, Upper Class (Reclining Chair)
  • Beer/Soft Drink and snacks on the train on day 2
  • Water and refreshing towels while touring

Our services do not include:

  • Other meals not indicated in the program (B = breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for the sites not mentioned in the program
  • Domestic flights from Bagan
  • International flights to/from Yangon
  • Other transfer for visits
  • Credit card fees (4%) or bank transfer fees for non-cash payments
  • Visa fees
  • Tips & porters at the hotels 
  • Drinks and Personal expenses
  • Any other items not mentioned in the included services
       

Creating Unique Touring Experiences
All the touring itineraries on this website have been carefully crafted by our in-country management teams and represent a series of experiences we can certainly recommend. However, we understand that every travel experience should be as unique and individual as each traveler. Our consultants are waiting to hear from you so that we can tailor or custom design a Myanmar Tour to your individual specifications.


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EXO Travel Blog

REVIEWS

icon-quote-l  Thank you for arranging our holiday to Burma in February. We all had a wonderful time. The guides were very informative and knowledgeable about your country's history and culture.  icon-quote-r

Rebecca Taylor

Exo Foundation

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