12-Day Impressions with a Nostalgic River Cruise

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Tour type

Tour Level: Relaxed / Easy

Tour Comfort: Superior

Tour Period: 12 Days

tour highlights

  • Sightseeing in downtown area and magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda tour
  • Explore the ancient Bagan temples and pagodas
  • 2-Night Cruising trip from Bagan to Mandalay on RV Paukan
  • Mandalay sightseeing and explore the countryside of the ancient capital
  • Hiking around Kalaw and discover the traditions of the ethnic groups
  • Boat trip in Inle Lake and explore around Sagar
  • Visit art galleries and antique shops in Yangon

tour details

You’ll begin your 12-day tour with a drive to Strand Road before continuing to the Botathaung Pagoda, the colonial district, Chinatown, the Indian quarter and the Sule Pagoda. Next you’ll visit the Bogyoke Market, Kandawgyi Lake and the Shwedagon Pagoda. In Bagan you’ll visit a local market, the Shwezigon Pagoda and Gubyaukgyi. You’ll also explore the Ananda Temple, a lacquerware factory and the Manuha & Nanpaya temples. A real highlight during your tour is a 3-night cruise aboard the RV Paukan. As you cruise you’ll explore a typical river village, the Sagaing Hills, Amarapura, the Bagaya Monastery and the famous U Bein Bridge. To conclude your tour, you’ll visit the monasteries & pagodas in Mandalay, the local markets in Heho and the fascinating ethnic villages & rotating market in Sagar.

Tour with Departure: Every Saturday and Tuesday

Meet on arrival at Yangon International Airport and transfer to hotel. (Your room might not be ready for check-in; international check-in time is 14:00 hours).
Start your sightseeing with a drive to the famous Strand Road and visit the bustling Yangon harbour, where ferries leave for Pathein in the Delta and upcountry towns along the Ayeyarwady River. Visit Botathaung Pagoda, close to Yangon River and said to contain Buddha relics. You then drive through the colonial-historical district, Chinatown, and the Indian quarter. Make a photo stop at the gilded Sule Pagoda, dating back over 2,000 years, and a landmark in central Yangon.
In the afternoon, visit to Bogyoke (Scott) Market (closed on Mondays and Public Holidays) gives you the opportunity to see Myanmar's wide range of handicrafts and souvenirs. Stop alongside Kandawgyi (Royal) Lake to take photographs over the lake towards Karaweik Hall and the Shwedagon. Enjoy the sunset at Shwedagon Pagoda, famous worldwide - its golden stupa is the 'heart' of Buddhist Myanmar. The Pagoda is believed to be 2,500 years old and the central stupa in surrounded by dozens of intricately decorated buildings and statues. It is always full of people praying and making offerings, and is a fascinating place to spend time watching the world go by. Return to your hotel.
Accommodation at Chatrium Hotel (ROH - Deluxe Room) or similar, Yangon
Transfer to Yangon Airport for domestic flight to Bagan.
Scattered on a large plain beside the Ayeyarwady River are the magnificent red brick temples and pagodas that are the great legacy of the kings of Bagan. Built from 1057 to 1287 AD in honour of the royal Buddhist faith, the pagodas display impressive architecture and interiors of colourful murals and exquisite Buddha statues. From the top, the visitor can enjoy awesome views of the immense, temple-dotted plain.
Pick up from the airport from where you start your tour to the busy local market, continuing with visits to a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples in Bagan. These include the Shwezigon Pagoda, a huge gilded temple built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century and Gubyaukgyi (Wetkyi-Inn), a 13th century temple with exquisite murals of the 'Jataka Tales' (scenes from the life of the Buddha). Continue to the eminent Ananda Temple; one of the finest and largest pagodas, with a 51-metre (170-foot) shimmering gold tip plus four huge standing-Buddha images and numerous seated figures arranged around the interior gallery. Lunch at Sunset Garden Restaurant.
Later, visit a lacquer craftsman's workshop in nearby Myingaba village. Sightseeing continues with visits to Manuha Temple, built in Mon style in 1059; Nanpaya Temple, a unique sandstone monument that is said to have been the palace of King Manuha; and Gubyaukgyi (Myingaba) under the protection of UNESCO because of its ancient mural paintings. Observe a sunset in the vicinity of Bagan's ancient monuments.
Accommodation at Thiripyitsayar Hotel (Deluxe Garden View Room) or similar, Bagan
Optional: There is no better or more spectacular view of the ancient kingdom of Bagan than from a hot air balloon. This world-famous archaeological site of more than a thousand Buddhist temples scattered over a plain is at its best when seen from a bird's eye vantage, as the sun comes up gently over the Ayeyarwady River.
You will be collected from your hotel in Balloons Team's bus, and provided with a light breakfast and safety briefing while the balloons inflate, before enjoying a dawn flight lasting just under one hour. Flights operate daily from October through March.

This morning visit Minnanthu village by horse cart. Visit Tayoke Pyay, Payathonzu and Nandamanya Temples (noted for exquisite 13th century murals) and Kyat Kan Cave Monastery, a famous meditation centre in Bagan. Visit farming houses around Bagan. Lunch at Ayarwaddy River Terrace Restaurant.
In the afternoon, enjoy an excursion to the beautiful Nat Htaung Kyaung, a monastery famous for wood carvings, built in 1781 by a group of monks. Admire the monastery's collection of ancient Buddha statues and lacquer boxes.
Accommodation at Thiripyitsayar Hotel (Deluxe Garden View Room) or similar, Bagan
The embarkation time is 11:30 hours at Bagan Aye Yar jetty, cast-off is half an hour later. Welcome cocktail and briefing in the Saloon or on the Sun Deck followed by lunch. In the late afternoon stop in a typical river village.
Overnight on board RV Paukan Cruise (Main Deck Cabin).
Cruise all day with stop en route in the morning to visit Yandabo, a typical river village specializing in pottery manufacture, where the First Anglo-Burmese War peace treaty was signed on 24 February 1826. We visit the pottery workshops, the monastery and the school. Moor overnight near Ywar Thit Gyi or Pauk Myaing Pauk Taw villages, a few miles away from Ava Bridge. Lunch will be served on board.
Overnight on board RV Paukan Cruise (Main Deck Cabin).
Enjoy the sunrise over the Ayeyarwady River. After an early breakfast, disembark at Sagaing jetty (Thursday only) or Gawein jetty (Sunday only) at around 09:30 hours. After disembarkation, drive to Sagaing Hills, a retreat for Buddhist devotees, to enjoy a magnificent view over the surrounding area. Lunch at Min Wun Valley Restaurant.
In the afternoon, proceed to Amarapura, famous for silk weaving, 15 km from Mandalay. Visit Bagaya Monastery with its superb collection of Buddha statues. Continue to 150-year-old U Bein teak bridge, built in 1851 at the time when Amarapura was the royal capital.
Accommodation at Shwe Pyi Thar Hotel (Deluxe Room) or similar, Mandalay
Enjoy a comprehensive tour of Mandalay, a highlight of which is the Mahamuni Pagoda, home to a spectacular Buddha image covered with thick layers of gold leaves. Near the river lies visit Shwe-im-bin, a wooden monastery over 100 years old which is known for its lovely carving. Stop at local workshops to see kalaga tapestries being made, gold leaf being beaten into paper-thin pieces, stone carving and bronze casting. Lunch at Daung Lann Gyi Myanmar Restaurant.
Mid-afternoon, you'll take a trishaw ride to Kuthodaw Pagoda, where the Theravada Buddhist scriptures are inscribed on 729 marble slabs, giving rise to its nickname 'the world's largest book'. Next visit beautiful teak-carved Shwenandaw Monastery, the only Royal Palace building to survive World War II bombing. At Kyaukdawgyi Pagoda you'll see a large Buddha statue carved out of a single block of local marble. Atop Mandalay Hill lie glittering glass-studded temple walls which reflect the evening glow as you watch the sunset. Afterwards, visit Shwe Kyin Monastery to observe student monks start their evening prayers.
Accommodation at Shwe Pyi Thar Hotel (Deluxe Room) or similar, Mandalay
In the morning, transfer to Mandalay airport for the domestic flight to Heho. Arrive Heho airport and drive to Kalaw (34 km, about 1'bd hours), formerly a British hill station. After lunch, check-in at your hotel. Lunch at Seven Sisters Restaurant.
Afterwards, start walking to Myin Ma Hti, an ethnic Danu village (approximately 3'bd hours. The route takes you through the pine forest for an hour, after which you will be among fields where potatoes, mountain rice and vegetables are grown. These are still worked by oxen and water buffalo - no machines or tractors are used. Working the fields is often a family affair - you may see young family members helping their parents Myin Ma Hti is known for its 313 metre-long limestone cave, containing many Buddha images. Your car meets you here and brings you back to Kalaw.
Accommodation at Kalaw Hill Lodge (Deluxe Villa Room) or similar, Kalaw
In the morning, visit the local market, the tiny railway station and perhaps walk up the hill to see the Catholic church (if open). From Kalaw, drive down to Nyaung Shwe (48 km, about 2 hours) on the edge of Inle Lake, stopping on the way to visit Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery. Lunch at View Point Restaurant.
Board your private local boat to take you to your hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a boat trip on the lake. Inle Lake is a photographer's dream. Its calm waters are dotted with floating vegetation and fishing canoes, to which scenic high hills provide the perfect backdrop. See the lake's unique leg rowers - the Intha people who row standing up with one leg wrapped around an oar - and the floating gardens, where vegetables and flowers are cultivated by the lake-dwelling Intha people. Continue by boat to Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries on the lake, containing exquisite 200-year-old Buddha statues. Stop to see silk weaving on wooden handlooms. Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State, which is home to five gold leaf-covered Buddha images.
Accommodation at Novotel Inle Lake (Junior Suite Room) or similar, Inle Lake
Pick-up from your hotel and travel by boat via Nampan to Sagar (approximately 2'bd to 3 hours) and Thakong, a rarely visited area south of Inle Lake. Explore the 5-day rotating market (if your visit coincides with the schedule) and Kyauktaing, a Shan village where earthenware pottery is produced. At nearby Kyainkhan visit a family who produce monk's robes made of fabric woven from thousands of lotus stems. In Thakong, observe local methods of producing alcohol fermented and extracted from bran rice. The day offers an insight into the unspoiled culture and traditional life-style of the ethnic Pa-O and Intha inhabitants around Sagar. Enjoy the beautiful landscape, trees and numerous settlements dotted on both sides of the canal. Late afternoon return to the hotel at Inle Lake. Lunch at A little Lodge in Samkar.
Accommodation at Novotel Inle Lake (Junior Suite Room) or similar, Inle Lake

Note: During this tour, you will be exposed to a lot of sun, do carry a hat and bring along sun cream.
In the morning, transfer by private boat and vehicle from Inle Lake to Heho airport for your flight to Yangon. Lunch at Pansuriya Restaurant.
In the afternoon, visit Bogyoke Market (closed on Mondays and Public Holidays) gives you the opportunity to see Myanmar's wide range of handicrafts. Drive to a selection of Art Galleries and Antiques shops. There is a surprisingly high amount of very talented painters and artists in Myanmar. Some of them are known internationally. Their accomplishments can be admired and also bought in numerous Art Galleries and showrooms. Continue to the jetty along Strand Road and walk along Yangon River to see the busy harbour area, from where ferries leave for Pathein in the Delta and for upcountry towns along the Ayeyarwady River.
Accommodation at Chatrium Hotel (ROH - Deluxe Room) or similar, Yangon
Day at leisure until departure to your international flight. Transfer to the airport.


Our tour prices are included of:

  • All sightseeing tour and transfer services with private air conditioned car/coach as detailed in our itinerary
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch and D= Dinner)
  • All entrance fees for the places as mentioned in the programme
  • Cabin on RV Paukan
  • Transfers and tours with English-speaking locally-stationed guides (guide will not travel on the RV Paukan)
  • Boat trips in Inle Lake as specified
  • Service charges, room tax and baggage handling
  • Accommodation at hotels as above mentioned or similar
  • Filtered drinking water and wet towels during the tour


Not included are:

  • Domestic airfare (Yangon-Bagan, Mandalay-Heho-Yangon)
  • Myanmar visa fee
  • Surcharges for throughout guides (English and other languages)
  • Optional Balloon flight at sunrise in Bagan
  • Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking
  • Peak season in general is between 15 December to 15 January and 13-17 April
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme
  • Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expenses, including repatriation, in the event of accident or illness)



  • Hotel prices for packages are quoted bases on hotels as mentioned or similar. Higher or lower categories can be requested and the price will be adjusted. The hotels featured in the package tour are subject to availabilities at the time of booking.
  • Meals at respective hotels are also included in the hotel prices if the itineraries mention lunch or dinner at hotel.
  • Additional charges during Festive Season: Christmas, New Year and the Water festival period may apply.
  • Supplements for compulsory Gala Dinners will be advised at the time of booking.
  • All hotels have special booking and deposit conditions and will be indicated at the time of booking. Nonrefundable deposits may be required.
  • Domestic airfares are quoted separately and subject to change in case of increases imposed by the airlines (ie. taxes, fuel costs, etc.).
  • There are 8 different airlines operating on the domestic route in Myanmar. Each company has slight different airfares and this pricelist is based on average airfare. Diethelm Travel will book the most convenient and direct routing. The final price can be confirmed once the tickets are booked and issued depending on available booking class and seat availability.

Tour code: MMR12INR

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