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Avalon Waterways Golden Myanmar & the Alluring Irrawaddy with Bangkok & Inle Lake – Southbound (WKBY)

19 days from Bangkok to Yangon 
Explore the best of Bangkok and Myanmar, known as “The Golden Land,” on this captivating journey. Start in Bangkok with a boat ride through the klongs (canals) and visits to the Grand Palace and the huge Reclining Buddha. In Yangon, formerly Rangoon, take a walking tour of the city’s highlights and a visit to stunning Shwedagon Pagoda – considered by many to be the oldest pagoda in the world. On the Irrawaddy, encounter a tapestry of exotic flavors and partake in memorable interactions with the locals. Cruise the most scenic part of the river past lavish shrines, teak forests, and riverside villages lost in time. Embark in Bhamo, the northernmost point ships can navigate the river, and sail through the dramatic second defile with its magnificent cliffs. Interact with the local school children and visit a fisherman’s home for a glimpse of daily life at the island village of Kyun Daw. In Katha, visit a local market and a local ethnic minority village where you will learn about their unique culture. Present alms, offerings of food, to the monks at a monastery in Kya Hnyat. Take a walking tour through a pottery-making village to see the process from start to end and tour bustling Mandalay. In Amarapura, stop at U Bein Bridge for an unforgettable sampan ride at sunset. Explore some of the most important temples and watch the sunset over the plains of Bagan, one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. Relax in the serenity of tranquil freshwater Inle Lake, surrounded by mountains. At this fascinating destination you’ll enjoy an indigenous music and dance performance, an excursion on the lake to view scenes of daily life, and visits to the beautiful floating gardens and a variety of workshops. All this and more awaits you on this incredible adventure!

Avalon Highlights & Sightseeing

Cruise: deluxe 10-night cruise from to Bhamo to Bagan in a Panorama SuiteSM with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM. Enjoy an intimate cruise experience with a maximum of 36 guests on board.

Day 1 Arrive Bangkok: welcome to Thailand

Day 2 Bangkok: boat ride on klongs; visit the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Day 3 Bangkok: day at leisure

Day 4 Bangkok–Yangon:
fly to Yangon

Day 5 Yangon: walking tour of the city’s landmarks; visit a local tea shop, Chaukhtatgyi, and Shwedagon Pagoda

Day 6 Yangon–Bhamo (Embarkation)-Second Defile: fly to Bhamo and explore the town by trishaw and foot; cruise through the dramatic second defile; onboard welcome reception

Day 7 Kyun Daw: visit a fisherman’s home, local school, and nunnery

Day 8 Katha-Tigyang: visit a local market and excursion to a local ethnic minority village in Katha; walking tour through village and walk to hilltop pagoda in Tigyang

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

Day 10 Kyauk Myaung: walking tour through a pottery-making village

Day 11 Mingun-Mandalay-Amarupura: see unfinished pagoda & bronze bell in Mingun; visit U Bein Bridge and take a sampan ride at sunset in Amarapura

Day 12 Mandalay: sightseeing including Mahamuni, Kuthadaw and Shwenandaw Pagodas; visit tapestry, woodcarving, and gold leaf workshops; traditional dance performance

Day 13 Sagaing: visit Kaunghmudaw Pagoda, a silversmith workshop, and Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda

Day 14 Shwe Pyi Thar: walking tour through this typical river village to visit a local farmer's home see palm candy being made; traditional puppet show

Day 15 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 16 Bagan (Disembarkation)–Heho-Inle Lake: fly to Heho; transfer to Inle Lake; lunch at Red Mountain Estate

Day 17 Inle Lake: full-day excursion around the lake to see scenes of daily life; visit workshops of several cottage industries; Padaung music & dance performance

Day 18 Inle Lake–Heho–Yangon: transfer to Heho; fly to Yangon

Day 19 Yangon: your vacation ends

Related Avalon Tours

WKB - Golden Myanmar & the Alluring Irrawaddy – Southbound

Itinerary (2017)

Day 1Arrive Bangkok, Thailand.
 Welcome to Bangkok! Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Day 2Bangkok.
 This morning your sightseeing begins with a BOAT RIDE through the klongs, Bangkok’s canals, to see family homes, temples, and the way of life that give this city the nickname “Venice of the East.” Stop at the stunning GRAND PALACE, featuring the TEMPLE OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA. Also visit the TEMPLE OF THE RECLINING BUDDHA, the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. It houses more than 1,000 Buddha images, including the 49-foot-high and 151-foot-long massive Reclining Buddha. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B,L)
Day 3Bangkok.
 Enjoy a full day at your leisure. (B)
Day 4Bangkok–Yangon, Myanmar.
 Today, fly to Yangon. (B)
Day 5Yangon.
 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 6Yangon–Bhamo (Embarkation)–Second Defile.
 This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Bhamo. Upon arrival, EXPLORE BHAMO by local trishaw and by foot, then transfer to the port and board the Avalon Myanmar to begin your CRUISE on the Irrawaddy. This afternoon, get acquainted with the ship and sail through the DRAMATIC SECOND DEFILE with its magnificent cliffs reaching down the narrow channel. Join a welcome reception this evening prior to dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 7Kyun Daw.
 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 Bhamo. Unlike monks, they have to collect and cook their own food. As you sail south this afternoon, with some luck, you may catch a glimpse of the rare Irrawaddy dolphin with its distinctive round forehead. (B,L,D)
Day 8Katha–Tigyang.
 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. Sail to the small village of Tigyang for an afternoon WALKING TOUR through its narrow lanes and to visit the pagoda and reclining Buddha on a hilltop with stunning views. (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 10Kyauk 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 11Mingun–Mandalay–Amarapura.
 This morning, take a WALKING TOUR through the village of Mingun to see its bronze bell, considered the largest working bell in the world. You will also stop at the famous unfinished pagoda, where construction was abandoned at 160 feet, only a third of the planned height. Afterward, sail a short distance to Mandalay. Visit nearby Amarapura, former capital of Myanmar, later in the afternoon. 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 12Mandalay.
 After breakfast, visit a TAPESTRY & WOODCARVING WORKSHOP to learn more about these cottage industries and see the skilled artisans at work. Then, stop at 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 13Sagaing.
 Today, 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. (B,L,D)
Day 14Shwe Pyi Thar.
 Relax this morning and take in the sights from one of the ship’s lounges or your suite. This afternoon, take a WALKING TOUR through Shwe Pyi Thar, a typical village along the Irrawaddy. Here you will visit a LOCAL FARMER’S HOME to learn more about daily life here 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. After dinner, a TRADITIONAL PUPPET SHOW will be presented in one of the lounges. (B,L,D)
Day 15Bagan.
 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 DHAMMAYANG YI, 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 16Bagan (Disembarkation)–Heho–Inle Lake.
 Transfer to the airport and fly to Heho, the gateway to Inle Lake, a tranquil lake surrounded by mountains. Pause at Red Mountain Estate to bask in the beautiful scenery as you enjoy a lunch of authentic fare and wine produced from the vineyards here. Continue to your lakeside resort, where you will spend the next two nights. (B,L,D)
Day 17Inle Lake.
 Today, a fascinating excursion to see scenes of life around the lake. Stilted houses dot the shorelines and the local Intha use the famous one-legged rowing technique to fish and tend their floating gardens of tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergine, and more. These clever gardens are made from weeds lashed together and mud from the lake bottom, then anchored using bamboo poles, allowing them to rise and fall with the water level of the lake. Along the way you will stop at a SILK WORKSHOP, where they use the fibers of the lotus plant to weave garments. You will also visit a SILVERSMITH WORKSHOP and a CHEROOT WORKSHOP, where young girls roll the cigars at a dizzying pace. Before dinner, attend a MUSIC & DANCE PERFORMANCE by the Padaung long-necked women who live in this part of the country. (B,L,D)
Day 18Inle Lake–Heho–Yangon.
 Today, transfer to Heho for your flight back to Yangon for an overnight. (B)
Day 19Yangon.
 Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Included Avalon Meals

  • Breakfast: American breakfast daily
  • Lunch: 14 lunches
  • Dinner: 13 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 pricing: (1) roundtrip air from your U.S. gateway and intra-vacation air segments; or (2) intra-vacation air segments only, starting $1,397. Required intra-vacation air segments: Bangkok/Yangon; Yangon/Bhamo; Bagan/Heho; Heho/Yangon. Air prices in this brochure were effective on April 6, 2016, and their availability is limited. At the time you purchase your tour, air prices may be higher.

Port charges:
$85

Gratuities to Local Guides & drivers are included.

Price is per person, based on double room occupancy.

Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.

Extra Nights per person in Bangkok:
January-December 18, 2017: in single room $267; in twin room $139
December 19, 2017-January 3, 2018: in single room $317; in twin room $165

Extra Nights per person in Yangon:
in single room $339; in twin room $192

Prices shown above 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.

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