Summary : Explore Myanmar’s many charms on this overland adventure led by Asia expert, Gary Wintz. Spend a full week cruising along the Irrawaddy River, with stops at small villages and local markets seldom visited by Westerners, as well as ancient Tagaung, believed to be the first capital of Myanmar. The medieval capital of Mrauk U possesses a rich collection of temples and pagodas second only to Bagan. Make stops in the bustling cities of Yangon and Mandalay to discover stunning architecture and important religious sites. Soak in the timeless landscapes and observe the rhythms of life along the vital lifelife of the Irrawaddy River.
Activities : Culture, Hiking
$999,999,999 to $0
Board your independent flight, lose a day crossing the International Date Line.
Arrive in Yangon on Independence Day—a truly special time to begin your explorations, as the city is overflowing with festivities. Take a walk through the old colonial center and enjoy the spectacle of revelers celebrating this important day. After lunch at a local restaurant, check in to the Governor’s Residence with the afternoon at leisure.
Depart early this morning for our flight to Bhamo. On arrival embark the Amara, your elegant, floating home for the next six nights as you cruise along the scenic Irrawaddy River. After settling in, visit the bustling market and take a stroll along the river to observe local people going about their daily lives.
Savor the leisurely pace of life along the river as you witness timeless landscapes and step ashore in traditional villages. As you travel down the river, soak in dramatic scenery that transitions from vertical limestone cliffs and narrow gorges to rich alluvial farmland. Today make a stop at Shwegu, a peaceful village where you are invited to visit the traditional homes of local farmers.
Today explore the enchanting town of Katha, the setting for George Orwell’s Burmese Days. Stroll the peaceful, pedestrian-friendly lanes lined with colonial-era buildings and browse the colorful local market.
Steeped in legend and mythology, Tagaung is believed to be the first capital of Myanmar, founded in 850 B.C. This morning tour the busy port as well as the ruins of the ancient fort and pagoda.
This morning make a stop in Kyauk Myaung, a small town that is famous for its glazed pottery including large Martaban jars. Visit a pottery workshop to observe the manufacture of these earthenware jars seen throughout Myanmar that are used as containers to hold water, cooking oil, and rice.
Visit Sheinmaga Village this morning where, with luck, you may spot pods of Irrawaddy dolphins. These amazing creatures have developed a symbiotic relationship with local fishermen and can sometimes be seen herding fish toward their nets. In the afternoon explore the impressive ruins of Mingun Temple and view the largest ringing bell in the world, weighing over 90 tons.
Arrive in Mandalay this morning and disembark the Amara. Transfer to the airport for our flight back to Yangon. Dinner and overnight at the Governor’s Residence.
This morning board our flight to Sittwe. On arrival, drive through town to the harbor, which is home to a colorful and photogenic fishing fleet. Board a private boat for a cruise along the calm waters of the Kaladan River, passing rice paddies and traditional Rakhine villages. Arrive in Mrauk U this afternoon and visit Bandoola Monastery and the Sandamuni Buddha. Have your camera ready this evening as you take in splendid vistas of the setting sun from a hilltop viewpoint. Dinner and overnight for the next three nights at Mrauk Oo Princess Resort.
Spend a full day exploring the Mrauk U archaeological zone. Begin at Shittaung Temple, built in the 16th century and famous for its numerous sandstone carvings and Htukkant Thein Temple, depicting all of Mrauk U’s 64 traditional hairstyles. Continue on to the Andaw Sima and Ratanabon Phaya—a massive stupa ringed by 24 smaller stupas. After lunch at the hotel visit a Khami village to see the villagers’ exquisite handmade textiles. Here you may also view the famous Wuttay Buddha, carved from a single block of sandstone.
After breakfast take a cruise up the incredibly scenic Lay Myo River to visit a village of the Chin tribe. Here you will meet a number of women with traditional face tattoos that are unique to this ethnic minority group. Learn about the significance of these tattoos as well as the reasons for their declining popularity. Return to Mrauk U in the late afternoon.
Check out of the hotel this morning for a cruise to Sittwe, making a stop for lunch en route. Transfer to the airport for our flight to Yangon and check in to Strand Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Board your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.
Accommodations and meals as outlined in the itinerary; group transfers; guided excursions as stated in itinerary; services of the expedition staff; all entrance fees; all gratuities; domestic air transportation within Myanmar; comprehensive pre-departure packet; photographic journal; $50,000 of medical expense coverage and $75,000 in emergency evacuation insurance.*
All air transportation (except where listed above); excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; baggage/trip cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $50,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $75,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.