Golden Myanmar & the Alluring Irrawaddy with Bangkok and Inle Lake – Southbound 2019

19 Day River Cruise Bangkok to Yangon

2019 Information. Switch to 2018 »

On this captivating river cruise, explore Bangkok, Thailand; cruise along the Irrawaddy River and see the best of Myanmar, known as the “Golden Land;” and go inland to the beautiful Inle Lake!

In Bangkok, Thailand, you’ll get up close to its most renowned temples, including the Temple of the Reclining Buddha—the oldest and largest of its kind. In Yangon, you’ll see the magnificent, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda—considered the oldest pagoda in the world. Your river cruise will get underway in dramatic fashion as you sail along the untouched upper Irrawaddy. Visit remote villages for fascinating interactions including visits with schoolchildren, nuns, monks, and pottery makers. You’ll also pass through the dramatic second defile with its magnificent cliffs. Be inspired in Mandalay with a visit to the revered shrine of Mahamuni Pagoda with its impressive gold-leaf Buddha. Continue your river cruise to Sagaing and see the stunning Kaunghmudaw Pagoda with its egg-shaped dome and watch a local silversmith at work. Feel the unique energy of the people on a walking tour through the village of Shwe Pyi Thar and see firsthand the daily work done at a farmer’s home. With thousands of historical structures still standing, Bagan is one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. Visit a spiritual temple at sunrise and a local market selling the unique handicrafts of the region. The tranquil Inle Lake is surrounded by mountains with stilted houses dotting the shorelines. Here you’ll stop in Silk, Silversmith, and Cheroot Workshops, and attend a traditional song and dance performance by the Padaung long-necked women who live in the region.

This unforgettable river cruise vacation along the Irrawaddy offers everything from peaceful sailing and alluring scenery to grand, majestic temples and shrines—and plenty of interaction with locals to learn and feel a part of the ancient culture.


Dates & Prices Get A Quote Book Online

Cruise at-a-Glance

Day 1 Bangkok:Welcome to Thailand
Day 2 Bangkok:Boat ride on klongs; visit the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Day 3 Bangkok:Day at leisure
Day 4 Bangkok–Yangon, Myanmar:Fly to Yangon
Day 5 Yangon:Walking tour of the city’s landmarks; visit a local tea shop, Chaukhtatgyi, and Shwedagon Pagoda
Day 6 Yangon–Bhamo (Embarkation)-Second Defile:Fly to Bhamo and explore the town by trishaw and foot; cruise through the dramatic second defile; onboard welcome reception
Day 7 Kyun Daw:Visit a fisherman’s home, local school, and nunnery
Day 8 Katha-Tigyang:Visit a local market and excursion to a local ethnic minority village 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 and 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; ox cart 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:End of vacation

Always Included

You've always forged your own path...with your own distinct perspective of looking at the world. Avalon Waterways presents a river cruise experience with your unique style in mind—offering expansive views, wider perspectives, and more cruising. That's why we've designed an intimate cruise experience, with a maximum of 36 guests, that's just a bit different. Here are just some of the features and amenities you'll experience on board our Avalon ships.

Here are just some of the features and amenities you'll experience on board. See the Ship Amenities Section below for more information about the amenities in our fleet’s unique ships.

Throughout the Ship
Suites
Avalon Choice®
Dining

Throughout the Ship:

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi in the lounges (when signal available)
  • Panoramic windows throughout
  • Locally inspired design & décor
  • Friendly, English-speaking crew & Cruise Director
  • Air-conditioned Panorama Lounge
  • Covered open-air observation lounge
  • Bar serving premium spirits, wine & complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, and local
  • beer/spirits throughout the day

Suites:

  • Comfort Collection BedsSM, featuring premium mattress covers
  • Wall-to-wall, 14-foot-wide panoramic window that opens to transform the living space into a large Open-Air BalconySM
  • Comfortable sitting area with couch & chair
  • Large private bathroom featuring full shower with rain shower head
  • Premium L’Occitane bath products
  • Spacious closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Minibar with complimentary local beer, soft drinks & bottled water
  • In-room safe
  • Individual climate control
  • And, much more

Avalon Choice®:

Avalon has designed included excursions and onboard activities for a choice of experiences. We invite you to select the included tours, adventures, and events that interest you most, so you can enjoy your cruise your way.

  • Classic: Your local expert is ready to guide you through the history and heritage of local destinations. You’ll marvel at the legends, lore, and spectacular architecture of iconic and historic sites.
  • Discovery: We’ve found inspiring and interactive activities designed to speak to your interests—from cooking classes to blessing ceremonies—making it easy to immerse yourself in each culture you explore.
  • Active: Embark on energetic excursions to keep you in motion and on the go—with guided walking through scenic locales.

Dining

  • Spacious, open-seating dining room
  • Delectable regional & Western cuisine with all onboard meals
  • Seasonal recipes featuring the freshest local ingredients
  • Vegetarian options available with all meals
  • Daily early-riser coffee & tea
  • Full breakfast buffet with live cooking station
  • Lunch buffet with live cooking station showcasing local specialties served by our Head Chef
  • Four-course à la carte dinners with choice of salads, soups, entrées, dessert or cheese
  • Complimentary wine, local beer/spirits, soft drinks, coffee & tea at lunch & dinner

Day-By-Day Itinerary

(B) = Breakfast   (L) = Lunch   (D) = Dinner

Day 1

(B)

BANGKOK, THAILAND

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

Day 2

(B, L)

BANGKOK

This morning, your Guided Sightseeing begins with a boat ride on the klongs, Bangkok’s famous canals. 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.

Day 3

(B)

BANGKOK

Enjoy a full day at your leisure.

Day 4

(B)

BANGKOK–YANGON, MYANMAR

This morning, fly to Yangon. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.

Day 5

(B, L, D)

YANGON

Historic Landmarks, Hot Tea, and Harmonious Living

Classic
A Guided Walk introduces you to the city’s famous and historic landmarks, including old colonial buildings and Sule Pagoda, built during the time of Buddha. Along the way, stop for a cup of tea or coffee with the locals. Next, stop at Chaukhtatgyi to see the massive Reclining Buddha measuring 213 feet. Later in the day, visit Shwedagon Pagoda, a national symbol. Here, an enchanting scene unfolds as the sun sets on the golden stupa, and locals come to pay their respects.

Tonight, dine in one of Yangon’s best restaurants for a delicious welcome dinner.

Day 6

(B, L, D)

YANGON–BHAMO (EMBARKATION)

Beautiful Bhamo and Your Suite Ship® Beckon Late in the morning, fly to Bhamo. Upon arrival explore Bhamo by local trishaw and by foot, then transfer to the port for embarkation. This afternoon, spend time at leisure as you sail through the dramatic Second Defile with its magnificent cliffs reaching down the narrow channel. A welcome reception starts your evening.

AFTERNOON/EVENING SAILING TO KYUN DAW

Day 7

(B, L, D)

KYUN DAW

Engaging Local Encounters

Discovery
Explore the island village of Kyun Daw, where over 7,000 stupas surround the monastery. Your Guided Excursion includes a visit to a fisherman’s home and a school where you will interact with the children. You will also visit a nunnery to present the nuns with food purchased the day before at the market in Katha. Unlike monks, they have to collect and cook their own food.
Discovery
Enjoy time onboard your ship this afternoon. Join your Local Guide for a presentation on the Burmese language.

As you sail south, with some luck, you may catch a glimpse of the rare Irrawaddy dolphin, with its distinctive round forehead.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN KATHA

Day 8

(B, L, D)

KATHA–TIGYANG

Burmese Days & Minority Culture

Discovery
Start your morning Guided Sightseeing tour at the local wet market, where you will see locals buying and selling fish, meat, and produce, and more. Next, learn more about life during British rule at the former British Club, featured in George Orwell’s novel, “Burmese Days.” Lastly, meet with the Jingpo, one of over 100 ethnic minority groups in Myanmar. Here, you will learn about their culture, traditional dress, and unique method of making rice wine.
Discovery
This afternoon, explore the village of Tigyang on a Walking Tour through its narrow lanes and to visit the Reclining Buddha on a hilltop with stunning views, OR:
Active
Take the normal Walking Tour but make the steep climb up to the Reclining Buddha.
OVERNIGHT DOCKING BETWEEN TIGYANG AND KYA HNYAT

Day 9

(B, L, D)

KYA HNYAT

Giving Alms and Blessings in Return

Discovery
Interact with the monks at a Monastery Visit in Kya Hnyat. This is a truly memorable experience as you present alms to the monks and witness their lunch ritual.

Join your Local Guide for a longyi and thanaka presentation this afternoon.

AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO KYAUK MYUNG

Day 10

(B, L, D)

KYAUK MYAUNG

Glazed and Amazed

Discovery
This morning, join a Guided Walk through the captivating pottery-making village of Kyauk Myaung to learn more about and see the pottery-making process. Most interesting is the eye-catching 50-gallon variety, often referred to as Martaban or Ali Baba jars. These pots could transport large quantities of goods and have played an important part of maritime trade throughout Asia for centuries.

Enjoy time onboard your ship this afternoon.

AFTERNOON CRUISE TO MINGUN

Day 11

(B, L, D)

MANDALAY–EXCURSION TO AMARAPURA

A Bridge to the Sun

Classic
This afternoon, travel to nearby Amarapura, former capital of Myanmar. Your Escorted Visit focuses on the famous U Bein Bridge, a 3/₄-mile-long bridge built in 1783 from reclaimed teakwood from the old royal palace in Inwa. Take a sampan ride on the lake for memorable views of the sunset.
OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN MANDALAY

Day 12

(B, L, D)

MANDALAY

The Golden Tapestries of Mandalay

Classic
In the morning, join a Guided Visit to local workshops to see skilled artisans at work making tapestries, woodcarvings, and gold-leaf. Lastly, visit Mahamuni Pagoda to see its impressive gold-leaf Buddha. Due to the continual application of gold leaves, officials note the gold is six inches thick!
Classic
This afternoon, visit Kuthodaw Pagoda and Shwenandaw Monastery, the only remnants of former King Mindon’s “Golden City” to survive the bombing of World War II. Today, the original gilding has faded, but the intricate wood carvings endure.
Discovery
This evening, enjoy a traditional Dance Performance featuring local song and dance.
OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN MANDALAY

Day 13

(B, L, D)

SAGAING

Revelations and Relaxation

Classic
Enjoy a Morning Visit to Sagaing with countless pagodas dotting the hillside. Stop to see Kaunghmudaw Pagoda with its unique egg-shaped dome and a silversmith workshop. Lastly, explore Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda for stunning views across the Irrawaddy to Mandalay.

Join your Local Guide for a longyi and thanaka presentation this afternoon.

AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISING

Day 14

(B, L, D)

SHWE PYI THAR

Rural Life in Myanmar

Enjoy time onboard your ship this morning.

Discovery
This afternoon, partake in a Walking Tour through Shwe Pyi Thar village. Here, visit a farmer’s home to learn more about daily life and see the locals making palm candy. After the sap is collected, it is cooked in an iron pan over an open wood fire until it thickens and can be formed into small pieces by hand.
Discovery
After dinner, a traditional Puppet Show will be presented in one of the lounges.
AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO BAGAN

Day 15

(B, L, D)

BAGAN

Temples and Shrines—from Sunrise to Sunset

Today, explore Bagan, one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. From the 9th to the 13th centuries 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.

Discovery
Early risers can visit one of the temples with a Local Guide to witness the sunrise.
Classic
Start your Morning Excursion at a local market selling handicrafts, fabrics, and longyis. Then, stop at Shwezigon Pagoda, one of the country’s most important shrines. Lastly, visit a lacquer workshop to learn more about this ancient craft.
Classic
After lunch, your Guided Sightseeing centers on the Bagan archaeological zone. Highlights include Ananda, considered by many to be the most beautiful temple, and Dhammayangyi, the best preserved monument left standing. Also, stop to see the exquisite and well-preserved fresco paintings at Sulamani.
Discovery
End the day with an Ox-Cart Ride to a temple, where you will ascend to the top as the sun sets.

Day 16

(B)

BAGAN (DISEMBARKATION)–HEHO–INLE LAKE

Transfer to the airport and fly to Heho, gateway to Inle Lake, a tranquil body of water 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.

Day 17

(B, L, D)

INLE LAKE

Today, join a fascinating Guided Excursion to see scenes of life around the lake. Stilted houses dot the shorelines, and the local Intha people 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, 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 and dance performance by the Padaung long-necked women who live in this part of the country.

Day 18

(B, L, D)

INLE LAKE–HEHO–YANGON



Today, transfer to Heho for your flight back to Yangon for an overnight stay.


Day 19

(B)

YANGON

Your extension ends with breakfast this morning.

Ship Details

Myanmar

Myanmar

One of our 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)
  • Non-smoking interior and staterooms
  • Fitness Room
  • 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

 Optional Excursions

The following optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These may or may not be offered, and availability is subject to days of operation and seasonality. Please select a departure date to view optional excursions and pricing for a specific date (due to currency fluctuation, pricing shown is subject to change until purchased).

Price Ranges

$ ($50 USD and under)
$$ ($51 - $100 USD)
$$$ ($101 - $150 USD)
$$$$ (Over $150)

No Excursions are available at this time.

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