Burma & Irrawaddy River Cruise

Burma & Irrawaddy River Cruise

Burma & Irrawaddy River Cruise

Just opening to the outside world, with world-class Buddhist monuments, fascinating ethnic minorities and a unique culture


Selected Departures from March to November 2017

Imagine stepping back to a time without mobile phones, cash dispensers or even supermarkets. Imagine discovering a deeply spiritual, traditional society that’s only just opening up to the outside world. This is Burma - intriguing, alluring and still the preserve of the discerning visitor. Now’s the time to experience this remarkable country’s true authenticity before it takes its place on the tourist map.

  • Experience a three or four-day luxury river cruise on board the new 5-star RV Sanctuary Ananda
  • All staterooms and suites are outside cabins with private balconies
  • Stay in 5-star hotels with breakfast
  • Stay in the heart of Rangoon and see the amazing Shwedagon Pagoda, the ‘heart and soul’ of Burmese Buddhism
  • Stay two nights in overwater stilt bungalows overlooking the extraordinary Inle Lake
  • Gaze in awe across the plains of Bagan, studded with thousands of pagodas as far as the eye can see
  • Guided tour of Mandalay and cross the world’s longest teak bridge
  • See the floating gardens, cottage industries and unique water-borne life of Inle Lake
  • Explore the Irrawaddy’s fascinating riverside villages, colourful local markets and intriguing Buddhist temples and pagodas
  • All shore excursions and meals included whilst on the cruise
  • Escorted by our experienced tour manager
  • Return scheduled flights

Burma & Irrawaddy River Cruise

12 Days from only £2399GBPpp

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Imagine stepping back to a time without mobile phones, cash dispensers or even supermarkets. Imagine discovering a deeply spiritual, traditional society that’s only just opening up to the outside world. This is Burma - intriguing, alluring and still the preserve of the discerning visitor. Now’s the time to experience this remarkable country’s true authenticity before it takes its place on the tourist map.

Sailing down the Irrawaddy you’ll discover an incredible and timeless land of huge variety in topography and culture; a land rich in intriguing history and steeped in two thousand years of Buddhist civilisation and arguably the most extraordinary country in South East Asia.

What's Included

The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room/cabin, five or six nights bed and breakfast in five-star hotels in Rangoon and Inle Lake and three or four nights on full board, including non-alcoholic soft drinks, local beer and local wine at dinner on the RV Sanctuary Ananda; all flights as mentioned; all transfers; porterage of one item of luggage per person: guided tours of Rangoon, Inle Lake, Mandalay and all shore excursions as described whilst on the cruise; gratuities for the ship’s crew; the services of a Riviera tour manager.

NOT INCLUDED: Burma visa. 

Important note on Burma & Irrawaddy river cruising

The itinerary, timings and places visited en-route are subject to weather conditions and water levels. You will need to have a sufficient level of mobility to manage getting into small boats, walks up steps and over uneven ground. After so many years of being closed to the outside world, the general facilities in Burma outside the larger towns and hotels tend to be basic, road transport can be lengthy and service slower than in other more developed countries in South East Asia.

VISASBritish passport holders require a visa for Burma prior to arrival. This is available by post or in person at a cost of £14 per person from the Embassy of the Union of Myanmar, 19a Charles Street, London W1J 5DX (open Mon-Fri 10.00-12.00). Visas are valid for three months from date of issue. Please allow at least five to ten working days for processing. For more information and a visa application form, please call 0207 6294486 or see http://www.myanmarembassyuk.co.uk. Visa costs are subject to change and non-refundable. Whilst care has been taken to ensure that the information provided relating to visa requirements is true and correct at time of publication, changes in requirements after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information. Therefore, whilst we strive to provide the most up-to-date information, we strongly suggest that you re-confirm requirements with the relevant embassy prior to application.


Mandalay Hill Resort - Mandalay

Mandalay Hill Resort - Mandalay

Myanmar Treasure Resort - Inle Lake

Myanmar Treasure Resort - Inle Lake

Sule Shangri-La Hotel - Yangon

Sule Shangri-La Hotel - Yangon


RV Sanctuary Ananda


View Ship




Travel to the airport for your overnight flight to Rangoon (Yangon), via Bangkok.



After our afternoon arrival in Bangkok, we connect on to Rangoon for two nights at the five-star Sule Shangri-La Hotel, with breakfast.



Today, we begin our tour of the picturesque garden city of Yangon. There’s an eclectic mix of Buddhist shrines and many impressive remains of the old colonial city centre, like the Secretariat Building and Post Office. We visit Scott Market - crammed with colourful, aromatic and exotic vegetables and plenty of local handicrafts.

But the truly unforgettable highlight is the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world's most spectacular religious monuments. We time our visit for the late afternoon to benefit from the extraordinary light at its most magical. The pagoda’s astonishing shining golden dome, Buddhist Myanmar’s heart and soul, rises to 321 feet and is covered with 60 tons of pure gold. We’ll have ample time here watching the devoted praying and making their offerings.



We fly to the hill town of Heho before continuing to Inle Lake. Locally-made long-tail wooden boats transport you to our hotel for two nights, the five-star Myanmar Treasure Resort, with breakfast.

This afternoon we explore the local handicraft and cottage industries that thrive in rural Burma. You’ll visit a boatyard where sleek long-tail boats are constructed using age-old techniques, and a weaving workshop using wooden looms like those from pre-industrial Britain to produce intricate items from silk and lotus fibres. There are so few places left in the world where such remarkable artisanal skill can now be seen. We visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in Shan State.



We continue our exploration by long-tail boat of the lake and its fascinating villages, visiting local markets for an insight into the lifestyle of the ethnic Pa-O, Danu and Intha tribal minorities in their colourful and distinctive clothes and headdresses. We see the famous leg rowers, local fishermen and floating gardens where fruit and vegetables are grown.

Our scenic afternoon long-tailed boat ride takes us into the verdant canals around the shores of the lake. Our destination is the 14-18th century Nyaung Ohak ruins. Many pagodas here are slowly being reclaimed by the jungle, with plants and small trees growing out of them at bizarre angles. Breathtaking views across the valley and the surrounding forest-covered Shan Hills make it well worth the ascent. You return to the hotel in time to enjoy the stunning beauty of a glorious sunset over the mirror-like waters of the lake. As the sun fades in an explosion of fiery reds and oranges, the unparalleled beauty of a tropical sunset will truly astound you.



This morning will be free to relax in the luxurious surroundings of your resort. Later today we say goodbye to Inle Lake and fly on to Mandalay. Upon arrival we’ll visit Mandalay Hill where spiral staircases lead to sweeping views of the city and its temples. We stay one night at the five-star Mandalay Hill Resort.



Today we enjoy a morning tour of Mahamuni Pagoda and nearby we’ll visit the Kuthodaw Paya, which contains the world's biggest book. We embark our luxurious home for the next four days and sail the short distance downstream to the small town of Amarapura, the 18th century Burmese Royal capital, to see some traditional silversmiths and silk weaving workshops, before returning to the ship for a welcome reception and the first of many delicious dinners on board.



We explore the small town of Mingun by ox-cart, taking in the unfinished Mingun pagoda with its huge bell. After lunch we continue southwards, enjoying an informative lecture on Burma, sarong tying and a cooking class demonstration.



This morning we arrive at Pokokku and we take a tri-shaw ride to its bustling vegetable market and traditional cigar factory. In the afternoon we arrive at one of the great highlights of our journey along the Irrawaddy – the plain of temples at Bagan. We’ll visit some of the most significant pagodas and temples of the 2,000 listed around Bagan. We’ll also visit a workshop to see the ancient technique of Burmese lacquerware.

DAY 10


You can start the day early with an optional hot-air balloon ride (seasonal, subject to availability & bookable on board). We then explore some more intriguing local temples and monasteries. We then return to the ship for time to relax, perhaps leaning over the teak handrail of the Sun Deck, with a chilled cocktail in hand before going into the Captain’s splendid dinner.

DAY 11


This morning we enjoy an early breakfast on board before we disembark and fly back to Rangoon. Late afternoon, we will fly to Bangkok to connect with your overnight flight home

DAY 12


We arrive home today.