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Avalon Waterways Golden Myanmar & the Alluring Irrawaddy – Northbound (WBK)

14 days from Yangon to Yangon 
Explore the best of Myanmar, known as “The Golden Land,” on this captivating river cruise along the Irrawaddy River. In Yangon, formerly Rangoon, you’ll see the magnificent, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda—considered the oldest pagoda in the world. Bagan, a medieval capital of Myanmar, with thousands of historical structures still standing, is one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. Visit one of the many spiritual temples at sunrise and a local market selling the unique handicrafts of the region. You’ll be immersed in the unique energy of the people on a walking tour through the village of Shwe Pyi Thar as you interact with locals and see the daily work done at a farmer’s home. In Sagaing, see the stunning Kaunghmudaw Pagoda with its egg-shaped dome and watch a local silversmith at work. Continue this river cruise through traditional lands to the impressive city of Mandalay, where you’ll visit the revered shrine of Mahamuni Pagoda with its impressive gold-leaf Buddha and enjoy a traditional dance by local performers. Your river cruise will conclude 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 second defile with its magnificent cliffs.

This 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. More than just a river cruise—an unforgettable adventure!

Ships: Myanmar
Special Offer/Promotion

Avalon Waterways Promotions & Special Offers

  • Single supplement waived on select 2017 Avalon Waterways Irrawaddy and Mekong river cruise departures*
    Promotion Depatures (Land): 11/18/17, 12/08/17, 10/09/17, 10/29/17
  • Save $3,000 per couple on select 2017 Avalon Waterways Irrawaddy river cruises.*
    Promotion Depatures (Land): 10/09/17, 10/29/17, 11/18/17, 12/28/17
  • Save $1,000 per couple on select 2018 Avalon Waterways Mekong & Irrawaddy river cruises.*
    Promotion Depatures (Land): 01/17/18, 02/06/18, 03/18/18, 08/30/18, 09/19/18, 10/09/18, 10/29/18, 11/18/18, 12/08/18, 12/28/18, 01/17/19, 02/06/19, 02/26/19
  • Save $2,000 per couple on select 2018 Avalon Waterways Mekong & Irrawaddy river cruises.*
    Promotion Depatures (Land): 04/07/18, 03/18/19, 04/07/19
  • Single supplement waived on select 2018 Avalon Irrawaddy and Mekong river cruise departures*
Restrictions May Apply

Avalon Highlights & Sightseeing

Day 1 Arrive Yangon: welcome to Myanmar

Day 2 Yangon: walking tour of the city’s landmarks; visit a local tea shop, Chaukhtatgyi, and Shwedagon Pagoda

Day 3 Yangon–Bagan (Embarkation): fly to Bagan; onboard welcome reception; traditional puppet show

Day 4 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 5 Shwe Pyi Thar: walking tour through this typical river village to visit a farmer's home and see palm candy being made

Day 6 Sagaing–Amarapura: visit Kaunghmudaw Pagoda, a silversmith workshop and Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda in Sagaing; visit U Bein Bridge and take a sampan ride at sunset in Amarapura

Day 7 Mandalay: sightseeing including Mahamuni, Kuthadaw and Shwenandaw Pagodas; visit tapestry, woodcarving, and gold leaf workshops; traditional dance performance

Day 8 Kyauk Myaung: walking tour through a pottery-making village

Day 9 Kya Hnyat: visit a monastery and present alms to the monks and see their lunch ritual

Day 10 Tigyang: walking tour through village and walk to hilltop pagoda

Day 11 Katha: visit to local market; excursion to a local ethnic minority village

Day 12 Kyun Daw–Second Defile: visit a fisherman's home, local school, and nunnery in Kyun Daw; cruise through the dramatic second defile

Day 13 Bhamo (Disembarkation)–Yangon: explore Bhamo by trishaw and foot; fly to Yangon

Day 14 Yangon: end of vacation

Related Avalon Tours

WBKQ - Add Bangkok to Your Vacation
WKB - Cruise from Bhamo to Bagan

Itinerary (2018)

Day 1Arrive Yangon, Myanmar.
 Welcome to Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, the country’s largest city and former capital. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Day 2Yangon.
 This morning, take a WALKING TOUR of the city’s famous and historic landmarks, including the High Court, City Hall, Central Railway Station, and Sule Pagoda, built during the time of Buddha. Stop along the way at a LOCAL TEA SHOP for a cup of tea/coffee with the locals. After lunch, visit CHAUKHTATGYI to see the massive reclining Buddha measuring in at 213 feet. Afterward, continue to SHWEDAGON PAGODA, the most important religious site in the country and a national symbol. Here, a truly enchanting scene unfolds as the sun sets on the golden stupa and locals come to pay their respects. Tonight, your welcome dinner is in one of Yangon’s best restaurants. (B,L,D)
Day 3Yangon–Bagan (Embarkation).
 Late this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Bagan. Upon arrival, transfer to the port and board the Avalon Myanmar to begin your CRUISE up the Irrawaddy. Get acquainted with the ship before your welcome reception this evening. After dinner, a TRADITIONAL PUPPET SHOW will be presented in one of the lounges. (B,D)
Day 4Bagan.
 Today, explore Bagan, capital of Myanmar from the 9th to the 13th centuries. It is estimated that during this time 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, making this one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. Early risers can visit one of the temples with a Local Guide to witness sunrise. After breakfast, your morning excursion starts with a visit to a LOCAL MARKET selling handicrafts, fabrics, and longyis—a versatile sheet of cloth worn around the waist by most local men and women. Then, stop at the ornate SHWEZIGON PAGODA, one of the country’s most important shrines. You will also visit a LACQUER WORKSHOP to learn more about this ancient craft. After lunch, your 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. Your day ends with an OX CART RIDE to a temple, where you will ascend to the top as the sun sets. (B,L,D)
Day 5Shwe Pyi Thar–Cruising.
 This morning, take a WALKING TOUR through Shwe Pyi Thar, a typical village along the Irrawaddy. Here you will visit a FARMER’S HOME to learn more about daily life and see the locals making palm candy, a sweet and smoky candy, from the sap of the toddy palm. To harvest the sap a climber scales the toddy palm and hangs an earthen pot under a slit he cuts in the tree. The sap is then cooked in an iron pan over an open wood fire until it thickens and can be formed into small pieces by hand. This afternoon, enjoy time on board the ship as we sail north for Mandalay. (B,L,D)
Day 6Sagaing–Amarapura.
 Relax this morning and take in the sights from one of the ship’s lounges or your suite. In the afternoon, visit Sagaing, an important religious site with countless pagodas dotting the surrounding hillsides. Here, stop to see KAUNGHMUDAW PAGODA with its golden egg-shaped dome—unique among more traditional pagodas in Myanmar. Next, on to a SILVERSMITH WORKSHOP to learn how the local artisans turn silver into beautiful works of art. Lastly, explore SOON U PONYA SHIN PAGODA at the top of Sagaing Hill for stunning views of the Irrawaddy and across to Mandalay. Cross the Ava Bridge to Amarapura, former capital of Myanmar. Your visit focuses on the famous U BEIN BRIDGE, a three-quarter-mile-long bridge built in 1783 from reclaimed teakwood from the old royal palace in Inwa. The bridge is still a cornerstone of the community as locals and monks use it daily to cross Taungthaman Lake while fishermen and farmers go about their daily work below. Take a SAMPAN RIDE on the lake for memorable views of the sunset behind the iconic bridge. (B,L,D)
Day 7Mandalay.
 This morning, visit a TAPESTRY & WOODCARVING WORKSHOP to learn more about these cottage industries and see the skilled artisans at work. Then, stop at a GOLD LEAF WORKSHOP to see how it is made. Lastly, visit MAHAMUNI PAGODA, the most revered shrine in Mandalay, to see its impressive gold-leaf Buddha. Due to the continual application of gold leaves, officials estimate the gold is approximately six inches thick. This afternoon, visit KUTHODAW PAGODA and SHWENANDAW MONASTERY, the only remnant of former King Mindon’s “Golden City” to survive the bombing of World War II. Originally the king’s living quarters, the building was moved after his death to its current location and converted into a monastery. Today, the original gilding has faded, but the intricate wood carvings endure, giving you a sense of how extravagant the original teak palace complex was. This evening, enjoy a TRADITIONAL DANCE PERFORMANCE featuring local song and dance. (B,L,D)
Day 8Kyauk Myaung.
 Today, take a WALKING TOUR through the captivating pottery-making village of Kyauk Myaung. Here you will learn more about the pot-making process and see how they are formed, fired, and glazed. Most interesting is the eye-catching 50-gallon variety, often referred to as Martaban or Ali Baba jars in colonial times. These pots could transport large quantities of liquor, fish sauce, peanut oil, and more, and have played an important part of maritime trade throughout Asia for centuries. (B,L,D)
Day 9Kya Hnyat.
 This morning, visit the village of Kya Hnyat with its many Buddhist monasteries. Here you will INTERACT WITH THE MONKS at a local monastery. Each morning they don their distinctive saffron-colored robes and walk through the streets to collect alms, offerings of food, like cooked rice and curry. This is a truly memorable experience as you present alms to the monks and witness their lunch ritual. (B,L,D)
Day 10Tigyang.
 Visit the small village of Tigyang for a WALKING TOUR through its narrow lanes and to visit the pagoda and reclining Buddha on a hilltop with stunning views. (B,L,D)
Day 11Katha.
 Start your day with a visit to the LOCAL MARKET, where you will see the locals buying and selling fish, meat, produce, and more. Next, stop at the former British Club, featured in George Orwell’s novel Burmese Days. Here learn a bit more about how life was here during British rule. Lastly, journey a short distance to a local JINGPO VILLAGE. A subset of the Kachin, the Jingpo are one of over 100 ethnic minority groups in Myanmar. Here you will learn about their culture, traditional dress, and their unique method of making rice wine. As you sail north this afternoon, with some luck, you may catch a glimpse of the rare Irrawaddy dolphin, with its distinctive round forehead. (B,L,D)
Day 12Kyun Daw–Second Defile–Bhamo.
 This morning, visit the fascinating island village of Kyun Daw, where over 7,000 stupas surround the monastery. Take a WALKING TOUR for memorable encounters with the villagers. Visit a FISHERMAN'S HOME to learn more about daily life here and a SCHOOL to 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. This afternoon, sail through the DRAMATIC SECOND DEFILE with its magnificent cliffs reaching down the narrow channel. Continue to Bhamo, the northernmost point ships can navigate the Irrawaddy. (B,L,D)
Day 13Bhamo (Disembarkation)–Yangon.
 After breakfast, disembark the ship and EXPLORE BHAMO by local trishaw and by foot. Afterward, transfer to the airport for your flight to Yangon. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B)
Day 14Yangon.
 Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Included Avalon Meals

  • Breakfast: American breakfast daily
  • Lunch: 10 lunches
  • Dinner: 11 dinners including a welcome dinner in Yangon

Avalon Pricing Details

Dates and Prices do not include air travel.
Participation in this vacation requires purchase of the following flights from Avalon Waterways, not included in the pricing: (1) roundtrip air from your U.S. gateway and intra-vacation air segments; or (2) intra-vacation air segments only, starting at $600. Required intra-vacation air segments: Yangon/Bagan; Bhamo/Yangon. Air prices were effective on April 5, 2017, and their availability is limited. At the time you purchase your tour, air prices may be higher.

Gratuities to Local Guides & drivers are included.

Prices based on double room occupancy.

Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.


Prices shown include cruise in category B in a Panorama Suite on Irrawaddy Deck. To upgrade to a Category A on the Mandalay Deck, add $400 per person in double occupancy or $800 in single occupancy.

Extra Nights per person in Yangon:
in single room $195; in twin room $103

Avalon Waterways Fleet

Click Quote for an Avalon Waterways Tour Date for our low price tour quote


Avalon Tour Dates

Tour Land StartAvalon RetailRequest Quote
*01/17/2018 Special Offer/Promotion $5,969.00
*02/06/2018 Special Offer/Promotion $5,969.00
*03/18/2018 Special Offer/Promotion $5,659.00
*04/07/2018 Special Offer/Promotion $5,299.00
*08/30/2018 Special Offer/Promotion $5,419.00
*09/19/2018 Special Offer/Promotion $5,419.00
*10/09/2018 Special Offer/Promotion $6,119.00
*10/29/2018 Special Offer/Promotion $6,119.00
*11/18/2018 Special Offer/Promotion $6,119.00
*12/08/2018 Special Offer/Promotion $5,759.00
*12/28/2018 Special Offer/Promotion $6,119.00
*01/17/2019 Special Offer/Promotion $6,159.00
*02/06/2019 Special Offer/Promotion $6,159.00
*02/26/2019 Special Offer/Promotion $6,159.00
*03/18/2019 Special Offer/Promotion $5,829.00
*04/07/2019 Special Offer/Promotion $5,449.00
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