8-Day Impressive Gorges Cruise
Mandalay - Bagan - Mandalay
There is an extraordinary timeless quality to Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River, also known as the Ayeyarwady. Rising among Himalayan glaciers and flowing freely for almost 2,200 km across the whole country into the Indian Ocean, this river is a witness of contemporary history. These journeys will bring you to the most popular sites in Myanmar, with highlights in Mandalay, Homalin and the thousands of majestic temples filling the Bagan plains that you can’t afford to miss. You will learn Myanmar through their language, visit some cave-temple complexes believed to be around 300 years old, attend a special ceremony at the local monastery, and much more.
Below is our 8-day cruise program. In eight days, see the highlights of Burma's former capitals; spanning nine hundred years of history. Visit the unfinished pagoda of King Bodawpaya at Mingun, the sacred hills of Sagaing and the ruins at Ava. Explore the riverside pottery village of Yanderbo before arriving at Bagan where thousands of medieval temples, ruins and pagodas are scattered across the plain. We recommend the 8-Day itinerary in order to get the best of both worlds: leisure time on-board and exploring Myanmar.
The itinerary below is dependent on the river water level, weather conditions, and accessibility to locations, so touring may vary.
8-Day Cruise - Mandalay - Bagan - Mandalay
DAY 1: New Nyein
AM: EMBARKATION FROM MANDALAY
Morning embarkation in Mandalay and sailing north, through the Dolphin Sanctuary. There will be a morning lecture on Myanmar culture entitled “Myanmar Ways of Life” and a Myanmar Traditional Dress demonstration early in the afternoon. In the cooler air of late-afternoon we will make a tour of the pottery village of Nwe Nyein. Here you can see traditional techniques still being used to produce a wide variety of decorative pots. Tonight a longyi Cocktail Party will break the ice with your fellow guests.
Mandalay to Nwe Nyein = 51 miles / 81.6 km
DAY 2: Taguang
In the morning, we offer yoga and meditation on the sun deck. Today's sailing is through the rolling hills of the Third Defile. Passing by bamboo villages and small fishing settlements, you will realize how tranquil these lives can be. Join our chef for a cookery demonstration in the morning and attend an informal Burmese language lesson in the afternoon. We will reach Taguang for another late afternoon tour, which will show life on the riverbank and introduce you to this small town with its ancient fortifications, archeological area and famous nat or spirit shrines.
Nwe Nyein to Taguang = 76 miles / 121.6 km
Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner included
DAY 3: Katha
Have a relaxing morning, perhaps enjoying the facilities of our spacious Spa (including the only Swedish-style sauna on the Ayeyarwaddy) or our 8-meter whirlpool swimming pool, conveniently raised so while lying in the water you can still enjoy the passing scenery as we sail to Katha. Early afternoon we reach the enchanting colonial town of Katha, a setting of George Orwell’s Burmese Days. Little has changed since then. Of interest are the fire station’s collections of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company’s ship’s bells taken from sunken ships in the Second War. Katha was the final resting place for much of the old flotilla as over a hundred ships were scuppered here in 1942 - an act of denial before the advancing Japanese. Our tour will take you around all the places that appear in the book and give you the opportunity to really imagine how life was in this far-flung corner of the British Empire.
Taguang to Katha = 65 miles / 104 km
DAY 4: Naba Train Ride & Katha Market
In the morning, we will take an oriental train ride from Katha to Naba through the thick Kachin jungle and teak forest. Enjoy this very scenic train ride passing through villages in the forest. Upon arrival in Naba, we transfer back to Katha for a Katha Market visit. It's time for some shopping at the colorful local market of Katha, where you can practice your Burmese language skills during a market rally (no worries, language lessons, an assistant and change is provided for shopping). In the afternoon you may relax on the sun deck while we continue sailing upstream to Shwe Gu. Afternoon tea will be served before a lecture on Myanmar history and current affairs. As the evening approaches and the Burmese sun immerses everything in a golden light, a special event will take place at the Kipling’s Bar. Dress up in style as we send “a toast to the past” during a British Club where gents may whiff cigars and ladies sip on tasty gins with tonic. Share some tales of the old British-Burmese days. This is the perfect time to lose time. Join us for movie under the stars on the sun deck after the dinner.
Katha – Shwe Gu = 45 miles / 72 km
DAY 5: The Second Defile and Kyun Daw
In the early morning, be prepared on the sun deck as we make our first passing through the impressive Second defile. This will take about two hours depending on the force of the current. Enjoy your breakfast on the sun deck while passing through the dramatic Second Defile. Once on the other side, we will turn at the Sinkan Bridge and begin our return journey by plunging again into the fast flowing waters of the Defile. It may take as little as 25 minutes to reach the other end! We sail on, passing Kyun Daw Island where we visit countless small pagodas, local villages and river nomads who live on the river banks of the Ayeyarwaddy. We return to the ship for lunch and contain our journey to the South of the Ayeyarwaddy River. After dinner, enjoy the entertainment of our crew with their talent for Myanmar’s traditional dance.
Shwe Gu to Sinkan = 18 miles / 28.8 km
Sinkan to Thagara = 87 miles / 139.2 km
Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner included
DAY 6: Hsithe
In the morning we offer yoga and meditation on the sun deck. Those wishing for some mental stimulation can join a lecture on 'Religion in Myanmar' and another Burmese language lesson before lunch. After lunch, there will be demonstration of Traditional Burmese Cigar and Chewing Betel Nut. In the early afternoon, we reach the picturesque fishing village of Hsithe. The village is home to fishermen who conduct co-operative fishing with the critically endangered Ayeyarwady River Dolphin. We will take you on a village tour, see the traditional agriculture products and teach you how to cast a traditional fishing net. Afternoon tea will be served at the visitor center of the village with a presentation about the river, the wildlife and the people. We return to the boat for dinner. Afterwards, you can join the outdoor cinema at the village together with the friendly villagers of Hsithe.
Thagara to Hsithe = 125 miles / 200 km
DAY 7: Mandalay
Today you have the last opportunity to simply relax, enjoying the luxurious facilities on board and the passing scenery as we sail to Mandalay. Be prepared on the sun deck as we make our way passing through Mingun, a showcase of the monumental and unfinished stupa of King Bodawpaya. It has never been completed due to an astrologer claiming that states: once the temple would be completed, the king will die.
We reach Mandalay late in the afternoon where you will disembark in time to visit Amarapua known for its traditional silk weaving, silver and bronze casting, and to see the sunset at the famous “U Bein's Bridge”, the longest teak bridge in Myanmar. After a farewell dinner, enjoy the evening entertainment Ramayana show, a legendary story and performance accompanied with traditional music instruments.
Hsithe to Mandalay = 43 miles / 68.8 km
DAY 8: Mandalay
AM: DISEMBARKATION FROM MANDALAY
Bid farewell to the crew as you check-out after your final delicious breakfast on board.