Burma Rivers & Railways
17 Day Tour, from £3615 per person
Explore the exciting sights and sounds of Burma on our popular Rivers & Railways holiday. Discover the capital Yangon with its contrasts between faded colonial glory and wonderfully colourful temples. Head a little off the main tourist trail to the cooler climes of Hsipaw via the famous Gokteik Viaduct and enjoy the impressive views from the train. Visit bustling Mandalay and board the boutique river cruiser, RV Paukan: cruise sedately downriver towards Bagan enjoying the views of rural Burma pass by. Finally no visit to Burma is complete without a visit to the temple complex of Bagan said by some to rival the size and beauty of Angkor Wat and significantly less visited.
Extend your stay in Burma by spending time on Ngapali Beach, the perfect location to unwind and recharge after your travels around Myanmar.
Arrive Mandalay and transfer to the hotel. After freshening up head to Mandalay Palace for a short walk along the moat before continuing to the bustling night market. Explore the stalls with their wonderful aromas and colourful displays of food and try local snacks washed down with a local beer. Return to the hotel. (D)
Spend today exploring Mandalay city. Head to the top of Mandalay Hill for spectacular views of the city and countryside before exploring historic Shwenandaw Monastery which is famous for its intricate woodcarvings. See the seated marble Buddha in Kayuktawgyi Pagoda and end the day at Kuthodaw Pagoda. Also known as the 'Worlds Biggest Book' the site is home to 729 slabs with each slab representative of a page. Overnight Mandalay. (B)
Leave Mandalay and drive to the former British hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin (also known as Maymyo) located on a plateau 1,000m above sea level. Many reminders of the colonial era are still present in Pyin Oo Lwin which is home to many ethnic tribes as well as a considerable number of Nepalese and Hindus who migrated during the British occupation. Take a traditional horse cart and carriage ride through town and stop at the Botanical Gardens, 432 acres of leafy gardens home to a diverse mix of botanical species from around the world. Continue to the local market to see the variety of flowers and vegetables on sale before returning to the Hotel Pyin Oo Lwin. (B)
Hotel Pyin Oo Lwin
Transfer to the railway station for a 6-hour train journey to Hsipaw, a scenic journey which crosses the famous Gokteik Viaduct. The views from the train are spectacular. Enjoy a picnic lunch on board. In the evening arrive in Hsipaw, a pleasant small town on the banks of the Dokhtawady River and check in to Mr Charles Hotel. (B,L)
This morning after breakfast at a local tea shop, take a walk around Hsipaw with a local guide before driving back to Mandalay. Stop at Amarapura, a former capital whose name means ‘City of Immortality’. Visit a silk weaving workshop and Mahagandayon monastery, where over one-thousand monks reside. From here continue to U Bein Bridge, constructed from 984 teak posts which were once part of the deserted Inwa Palace. Enjoy a stroll along the bridge and watch the fishermen in the waters below. Transfer to the Rupar Mandalar Resort. (B)
Rupar Mandalar Resort
Board the RV Paukan cruise boat, a boutique hotel on the river. Enjoy a welcome cocktail followed by lunch whilst cruising downriver towards Bagan watching rural Burmese life pass by. Late in the afternoon stop to visit a local village which specialises in making pots. Moor overnight near a local village. Dine and spend the night onboard. (B,L,D)
Arrive in Bagan and disembark for a full day visit to the temple site and its surroundings. Bagan is home to over 2,000 temples and pagodas - the tour today includes a range of sites, providing a great overview of Bagan’s history, culture and local lifestyles. Discover some traditional workshops which specialise in laquerware and woodwork. Overnight in the Bagan Lodge. (B)
This morning stroll the stalls of colourful Nyaung U Market where locals gather daily to trade their wares. Continue to Htilomino Temple which is home to fine plaster carvings and sandstone decorations and end the morning at Ananda Temple, regarded as one of Bagan's most beautiful. Enjoy a break from the midday sun. In the afternoon visit Myinkaba village for a short walk to Manuha and Nan Paya temples and end the day in the remote village of Minnanthu to further discover traditional temples. (B)
This morning drive through the Bagan plains to Mt Popa, a place of great importance to the Burmese who believe it is the house of 37 Nats, or Burmese ancient animist spirits. Those who wish can walk the 900 stairs to the top and be rewarded with impressive views of the Myingyan Plain. Continue back to Bagan and stop en-route in Shwe Hlaing Village which makes its living by producing various items from the toddy palm trees. Here, observe traditional production of palm toddy, try a wee tipple and enjoy a traditional Burmese lunch before returning to Bagan. (B,L)
Fly to Heho and on arrival transfer to Nyaung Shwe. This afternoon visit the town’s famous Pindaya Caves. Nestled on a hillside, the cave consists of many chambers filled with hundreds of Buddha statues. Transfer to the Pindaya Inle Inn via a local workshop making umbrellas and paper from local materials. (B)
Pindaya Inle Inn
In the morning drive through the Shan Hills to the Nyaung Shwe morning market, where locals gather every morning to buy and sell produce. Continue by trishaw to the bustling canal, always a hive of activity in the morning. Watch as baskets laden are transferred from boats to trucks and bikes. Board a private motorboat to head out to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most beautiful sites. Pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens. Overnight in the Villa Inle Resort & Spa. (B)
Villa Inle Resort & Spa
After breakfast begin a full day excursion on Inle Lake. Start with a visit to Khaung Dine village to see the production of various soya dishes. Continue to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda which contains five sacred Buddha images. Proceed to the village of Inpawkhone to observe the traditional silk weaving techniques of Inthar people. Visit a cheroot factory where the local Burmese cigars are rolled by hand. In the afternoon continue to Indein. Explore the area on foot, stroll around the village and wander through beautiful Alaung Sitthou which is filled with picturesque ancient stupas and has magnificent views of the lake below. Return to the hotel. (B)
Sail to Sagar. Very few visitors make the trip to this region so it is fairly unexplored. Visit the ‘sunken’ stupas, 108 stupas from the 16-17th centuries that are partially underwater for a few months a year. Continue to a local monastery and to the village of Thaya Gone - known for its production of local rice wine. Climb to the top of a small hill to discover fantastic views of the lake and surrounding villages before visiting Sae Khaung Pottery Village to witness the crafting of oil and water pots. Discover more than 200 stupas on the western shores of Sagar before stopping for lunch. In the afternoon travel back to the hotel. (B,L)
This morning fly to Yangon. Set off for sightseeing in Yangon, starting with a visit to Kandawgyi Park, one of central Yangon’s greenest spots. Continue to Shwedagon Pagoda the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar and a must see on any visit to Burma. Although the origins of the pagoda are unclear, local legend states that the original structure was built 2,500 years ago then renovated several times until taking its current shape in the 15th century. Overnight in the Governor's Residence. (B)
Today board the Yangon circle train which travels through various neighbourhoods and watch lively local life pass by. Maybe buy a snack or two from one of the food vendors who pop on and off the train before disembarking in Insein township. Explore one of the city's best fresh markets wandering amid the stalls and sampling the wares, maybe chatting with the local sellers as you go. Return to the hotel for the remainder of the day at leisure. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner at local restaurant Le Planteur. (B/D)
Spend the day at leisure before transferring to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)
17 day tour, from £3615 per person
(Single person supplement + £1165)
- Return economy class flights with Thai Airways from London Heathrow via Bangkok
- All airport taxes
- Accommodation in 4 & 5-star hotels (where they exist)
- An overnight stay onboard RV Paukan
- Meals as specified (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
- All transfers and transportation
- Entrance fees and sightseeing with English speaking guide
- Any meals not stated
- Tips and gratuities
- Burmese Visa
- Burma Departure Tax
- Anything else not mentioned
Built in 2007, the RV Paukan is a boutique hotel on the river offering first class service to its passengers. Paukan offers en-suite suites, deluxe or superior cabins to a capacity of 55 passengers served by a 30 strong crew. There is a sundeck where passengers can watch the world go by plus two massage rooms on the lower deck offering traditional Myanmar massages. Meals in the dining room on the main deck will include both East and West cuisine and vegetarians can be catered for. The upper deck has a lecture/movie room with projector and TV screen.
Click on images to enlarge
Hotel Pyin Oo Lwin
Hotel Pyin Oo Lwin Conveniently located next to the National Botanical Gardens, Hotel Pyin Oo Lwin is a great base to start discovering the wonders of Pyin Oo Lwin, the city of flowers. The hotel......
Rupar Mandalar Resort
Rupar Mandalar Resort Rupar Mandalar Resort is a quiet retreat on Mandalay’s outskirts. The Resort is eight kilometres from the town centre and set in a 1.8 hectare area surrounded by trees.......
Bagan Lodge Bagan Lodge is located in New Bagan, the gateway to some of the world's most magnificent temples and pagodas. The hotel is designed in a combination of Burmese and contemporary style......
Pindaya Inle Inn
Pindaya Inle Inn Pindaya Inle Inn is situated near the shores of Pindaya Lake to the east of the city centre and is a perfect location for exploring the city. The town’s famous caves can be......
Villa Inle Resort & Spa
Villa Inle Resort & Spa The Villa Inle Resort & Spa is spread over more than 20 acres on the eastern fringe of Inle Lake. This boutique hotel features just 16 secluded lakeside villas which are......
Governor's Residence The Governor’s Residence in Yangon, a former official residence and now a prestigious hotel, dates back to the 1920’s. It is located amid lush gardens in the Embassy......
Click on images to enlarge