Myanmar River Cruises | Avalon Irrawaddy Cruises

Golden Myanmar & the Alluring Irrawaddy with Bangkok & Inle Lake – Southbound 2016

19 Day River Cruise from Bangkok to Yangon

2016 Information. Switch to 2017 »

Explore the best of Bangkok and Myanmar, known as “The Golden Land,” on this captivating journey. Start in Bangkok with a boat ride through the klongs (canals) and visits to the Grand Palace and the huge Reclining Buddha. In Yangon, formerly Rangoon, take 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. Relax in the serenity of tranquil freshwater Inle Lake, surrounded by mountains. At this fascinating destination you’ll enjoy an indigenous music and dance performance, an excursion on the lake to view scenes of daily life, and visits to the beautiful floating gardens and a variety of workshops. All this and more awaits you on this incredible adventure!


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Highlights & Sightseeing

Cruise: deluxe 10-night cruise from Bagan to Bhamo in an outside suite with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM. Enjoy an intimate cruise experience with a maximum of 36 guests on board.

Day 1 Arrive Bangkok: welcome to Thailand

Day 2 & 3 Bangkok: boat ride on klongs; visit the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Day 4 Bangkok–Yangon:
fly to Yangon

Day 5 Yangon: walking tour of the city’s landmarks; visit a local tea shop, Chaukhtatgyi, and Shwedagon Pagoda; welcome dinner in local restaurant

Day 6 Yangon–Bhamo (Embarkation)-Second Defile: fly to Bhamo and explore the town by trishaw and foot; cruise through the dramatic second defile; welcome reception with ship’s crew

Day 7 Kyun Daw: visit a fisherman’s home, local school, and nunnery

Day 8 Katha-Tigyang: visit a local market and excursion to elephant camp with elephant ride in Katha; walking tour through village and walk to hilltop pagoda in Tigyang

Day 9 Kya Hnyat: visit a monastery and present alms to the monks and see their lunch ritual

Day 10 Kyauk Myaung: walking tour through a pottery-making village

Day 11 Mingun-Mandalay-Amarupura: see unfinished pagoda & bronze bell in Mingun; visit U Bein Bridge and take a sampan ride at sunset in Amarapura

Day 12 Mandalay: sightseeing including Mahamuni, Kuthadaw and Shwenandaw Pagodas; visit tapestry, woodcarving, and gold leaf workshops; traditional dance performance

Day 13 Sagaing: visit Kaunghmudaw Pagoda, a silversmith workshop, and Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda

Day 14 Shwe Pyi Thar: walking tour through this typical river village to visit a local farmer's home see palm candy being made; traditional puppet show

Day 15 Bagan: watch sunrise from temple; sightseeing including a local market, Shwezigon Pagoda, lacquer workshop, Ananda Temple, Dhammayangyi Temple, Sulamani Temple; oxcart ride to temple for sunset

Day 16 Bagan (Disembarkation)–Heho-Inle Lake: fly to Heho; transfer to Inle Lake; lunch at Red Mountain Estate

Day 17 Inle Lake: full-day excursion around the lake to see scenes of daily life; visit workshops of several cottage industries; Padaung music & dance performance

Day 18 Inle Lake–Heho–Yangon: transfer to Heho; fly to Yangon

Day 19 Yangon: your vacation ends

Special experiences by local entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.

Experience a traditional puppet show.

Meals

  • Breakfast: American breakfast daily
  • Lunch: 14 lunches
  • Dinner: 13 dinners including a welcome dinner in Yangon

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1Arrive Bangkok, Thailand

Welcome to Bangkok! Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.

Day 2Bangkok

This morning your sightseeing begins with a BOAT RIDE through the klongs, Bangkok’s canals, to see family homes, temples, and the way of life that give this city the nickname “Venice of the East.” Stop at the stunning GRAND PALACE, featuring the TEMPLE OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA. Also visit the TEMPLE OF THE RECLINING BUDDHA, the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. It houses more than 1,000 Buddha images, including the 49-foot-high and 151-foot-long massive Reclining Buddha. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 3Bangkok

Enjoy a full day at your leisure. (Breakfast)

Day 4Bangkok–Yangon, Myanmar

Today, fly to Yangon. (Breakfast)

Day 5Yangon

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 6Yangon–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 7Kyun 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 8Katha–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 9Kya 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 10Kyauk 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 11Mingun–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 12Mandalay

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 13Sagaing

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 14Shwe 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 15Bagan

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 16Bagan (Disembarkation)–Heho–Inle Lake

Transfer to the airport and fly to Heho, the gateway to Inle Lake, a tranquil lake surrounded by mountains. Pause at Red Mountain Estate to bask in the beautiful scenery as you enjoy a lunch of authentic fare and wine produced from the vineyards here. Continue to your lakeside resort, where you will spend the next two nights. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 17Inle Lake

Today, a fascinating excursion to see scenes of life around the lake. Stilted houses dot the shorelines and the local Intha use the famous one-legged rowing technique to fish and tend their floating gardens of tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergine, and more. These clever gardens are made from weeds lashed together and mud from the lake bottom, then anchored using bamboo poles, allowing them to rise and fall with the water level of the lake. Along the way you will stop at a SILK WORKSHOP, where they use the fibers of the lotus plant to weave garments. You will also visit a SILVERSMITH WORKSHOP and a CHEROOT WORKSHOP, where young girls roll the cigars at a dizzying pace. Before dinner, attend a MUSIC & DANCE PERFORMANCE by the Padaung long-necked women who live in this part of the country. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 18Inle Lake–Heho–Yangon

Today, transfer to Heho for your flight back to Yangon for an overnight. (Breakfast)

Day 19Yangon

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

Ship Details

Myanmar

Myanmar

Joining our family of remarkable Suite Ships®, the all-suite Avalon Myanmar offers an unrivaled small-ship river cruise experience ensuring you engage the locals, experience their culture, and revel in the unique sights along the majestic Irrawaddy. The pioneering design allows Avalon to cruise the spectacular, and untouched Upper Irrawaddy on each departure, a feat not possible on any other ship.

The ship has been meticulously crafted to offer all the modern features you expect, yet it reflects the character, symbols, and traditions of Myanmar. While the maximum number of guests on the ship may be small, the ship isn't. Built as long and wide as other ships that carry twice as many guests, the public spaces never feel congested. From the open-air observation lounge to the air-conditioned Panorama Lounge, there is plenty of seating and places to relax. Plus, our lounges are located at the front of the ship, not the back, so no matter where you sit, you'll always have a great view.

Our crew embodies the spirt of you first, no matter what. From the reception staff and bartender to wait staff and room attendant, we always deliver exquisite service that's comfortable and friendly, never stuffy! With Avalon, our ship becomes your home away from home.

Included Amenities

  • Air-conditioned Panorama Lounge
  • Spacious, open-seating dining room
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access in the lounges (where signal is available)
  • Fitness Room
  • Non-smoking interior
  • Open-air observation lounge with shade system & premium lounge chairs
  • Bar serving premium spirits, wine & complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, and local beer/spirits throughout the day
  • Spa treatment rooms
  • Library and games

Staterooms & Suites

Category A & B - 245 sq. ft.
Features
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM, featuring premium mattress covers
  • Soft & firm pillows
  • Nightly turn-down service
  • 14' Wall-to-Wall Panoramic window measuring that opens to create a large Open-Air Balcony®
  • Spacious closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Alarm clock
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • In-room safe
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens, blankets & European-style duvets
  • Choice of bed configuration (two twins or one king)
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • Large private bathroom featuring full shower with glass door, hairdryer, and premium bath amenities
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Writing desk/vanity with mirror & comfortable chair
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • In-house telephone
DECK PLANS

Hotels

Bangkok
Yangon
Inle Lake

Bangkok

InterContinental Bangkok

InterContinental Bangkok 973 Ploenchit Road, Bangkok,  Thailand 973 Ploenchit Road
Bangkok, Thailand

Hotel as shown or similar

The InterContinental Bangkok located within the core of the city's business and commercial districts. Within walking distance there is a wide range of shopping and other facilities are within easy walking distance. Access to the rest of the city is easy with the adjacent BTS skytrain station. Throughout, you will appreciate impeccable service and the warm, attentive hospitality that is authentically Thai.

Hotel Amenities

Fitness Room
Beauty Salon
Parking/Valet
Business Center
Gift Shop
Pool
ATM
Spa Services
Luggage Storage
Elevator
Dry Cleaning
Currency Exchange
Restaurant On-Site
Bar/Lounge
Concierge desk
Room Amenities

Phone
Coffee Maker
Air Conditioning
Television
Cable/Satellite
Complimentary Toiletries
Room Service
Iron/Ironing Board
Desk
Internet Access
In-Room Safe
Climate Control
Voicemail
Complimentary Newspaper
Mini-bar
Wake-Up Calls
Hair Dryer

Yangon

Sule Shangri-La, Yangon

Sule Shangri-La, Yangon 223 Sule Pagoda Road, Yangon,  Myanmar - Burma 223 Sule Pagoda Road
Yangon, Myanmar - Burma

Free WifiFree Wifi

Hotel as shown or similar
Deluxe

Traders Hotel, Yangon is centrally located in Yangon. The spacious rooms offer an elegant retreat from the bustling city with a comfortable sitting area and complimentary Wi-Fi access. The hotel also features a fitness center, spa, and outdoor pool. There are two onsite restaurants and if you want a drink stop by the old world Gallery Bar.

Hotel Amenities

Hot Tub
Free WiFi
Fitness Room
Parking/Valet
Concierge desk
Spa Services
Beauty Salon
Ice Machine
Restaurant On-Site
Pool
Bar/Lounge
Gift Shop
Luggage Storage
Elevator
Currency Exchange
Business Center
Dry Cleaning
Room Amenities

Room Service
Air Conditioning
Climate Control
Pay Movies
Hair Dryer
Internet Access
Mini-bar
Iron/Ironing Board
Cable/Satellite
In-Room Safe
Coffee Maker
Desk
Complimentary Toiletries
Smoking Rooms
Wake-Up Calls
Voicemail
Phone
Complimentary Newspaper
Disabled Access / Rooms
Non-smoking Rooms
Alarm Clock
Television

Inle Lake

Villa Inle Resort & Spa

Villa Inle Resort & Spa 11411 Nyaung Shwe , Inle Lake,  Myanmar - Burma 11411 Nyaung Shwe
Inle Lake, Myanmar - Burma

Free WifiFree Wifi

Hotel as shown or similar
Superior First-Class

Villa Inle Resort & Spa sits on the eastern side Inle Lake. The boutique hotel features 27 secluded lakeside villas and is the ideal choice for those seeking a unique experience, away from mass-market tourism. When not exploring the Lake, allow their highly trained spa therapists to pamper you at the "Inle Spa". It's guaranteed to rejuvenate and invigorate mind, body and soul.

Hotel Amenities

Restaurant On-Site
Bar/Lounge
Dry Cleaning
Parking/Valet
Hot Tub
Gift Shop
Currency Exchange
Business Center
Free WiFi
Spa Services
Luggage Storage
Room Amenities

Non-smoking Rooms
Room Service
Smoking Rooms
Desk
Television
Phone
Cable/Satellite
Climate Control
Hair Dryer
Wake-Up Calls
Air Conditioning
Internet Access
Mini-bar
Window Opens
In-Room Safe
Coffee Maker
Pay Movies
Complimentary Toiletries

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