Journey along the banks of the Irrawaddy

Follow the course of the Irrawaddy River as you journey along its banks and along its peaceful waters, exploring the cities, towns, and villages found nearby. Travel from the vibrant capital of Yangon with its majestic pagodas to the ancient cities of Beikthano and Bagan. Travel through spectacular landscapes and be captivated by Myanmar's scenery and its people.

The best time to visit Myanmar/Burma is the dry winter season from November to February.

Touring style: Professional English speaking guide and driver, private basis

Prices are seasonal, include hotels, breakfast, professional touring and transfers. Starts from:
GBP 1172 per person sharing a twin room, Standard Class Hotels
GBP 1320 per person sharing a twin room, Superior Class Hotels
GBP 1560 per person sharing a twin room, Deluxe Class Hotels.
International and domestic airfares are extra.

Journey along the banks of the Irrawaddy at a glance
  • Day 1: Arrive Yangon
  • Day 2: Yangon to Pyay by train
  • Day 3: Pyay
  • Day 4: Pyay to Magway (Magwe)
  • Day 5: Magway to Pwint Phyu, Minbu, Magway
  • Day 6: Magway to Bagan
  • Day 7: Bagan
  • Day 8: Bagan to Mandalay
  • Day 9: Mandalay to Mingun, Mandalay
  • Day 10: Return
Journey along the banks of the Irrawaddy Image 1

Day 1: Arrive Yangon

On arrival, you will be met by an Eastravel representative for a private transfer to the hotel.

Ease into the relaxed pace of this former colonial capital with a rickshaw ride through its historic centre, step back in time with a cool drink at a local teashop, the ideal place to observe local life… Complete your day amid the aroma of incense, the twinkling oil lamps of the Shwedagon Pagoda. Floating above the green, teak-lined roads, layered with more than 60 tonnes of gold leaf the pagoda’s stupa glitters before you in the rays of the setting sun. Overnight in Yangon.

Distance and journey time: 14 km, 30 mins

Journey along the banks of the Irrawaddy Image 2

Day 2: Yangon to Pyay By Train

Following breakfast, join your guide for a tour of the fabulously gilded Sule Pagoda before an easy stroll along Mahabandoola Road, Pansodan Street, to the bustling and colourful Yangon Jetty market. From the market, a short walk will bring you to downtown Yangon, where you will observe local life among faded colonial buildings, glittering temples.

Experience the peace of a Chinese temple in the middle of Yangon’s vibrant and colourful Chinatown before transferring to the railway station, and your relaxing, scenic journey through rural Myanmar to Pyay. On arrival, transfer to hotel. Overnight in Pyay.

Distance and journey time: 288 km, 6 hrs

Journey along the banks of the Irrawaddy Image 3

Day 3: Pyay

Join your guide after breakfast to tour on foot the vibrant market on Pyay Jetty. From Shwe Sandaw Pagoda, marvel at the gigantic sitting Buddha of Hsehtatkyi Pagoda. In the afternoon, a short journey by road will bring you to the ancient city of Thayeikhittaya, or Sriketra. Now overgrown, covering an area of 19 square km, this was once an entirely walled city, the largest and grandest of the ancient Pyu. Complete your day with a walk along Strand Road, and a night market. Overnight in Pyay.

Journey along the banks of the Irrawaddy Image 4

Day 4: Pyay to Magway (Magwe)

Experience a fascinating, 4-hour journey by road through rural Myanmar, the small town of Aung Lan to Taung Dwin Gyi, and the 2000-year-old city of Beikthano. From here continue on to the Magway Division, check in to your hotel. Magway is known for its production of both groundnut and sesame oils earning it the nickname the ‘Oil pot of Myanmar’. Complete your day by wandering through the magical Mya Tha Lun Pagoda on the banks of the Irrawaddy. Overnight in Magway.

Distance and journey time: 201 km, 4 hrs

Journey along the banks of the Irrawaddy Image 5

Day 5: Magway to Pwint Phyu, Minbu, Magway

Today, your short journey by road will bring you to the banks of the mighty Irrawaddy and Nagar Pwet Taung, or Dragon Lake, a pool of bubbling mud. At nearby Pwint Phyu you will find the Kyaung Taw Yar Pagoda, before completing your day among the temples and pagodas of Min Bu township to experience panoramic views across the Irrawaddy. Overnight in Magway.

Distances and journey times:

Magway to Pwint Phyu: 50 km, 40 mins

Pwint Phyu to Minbu: 36 km, 30 mins / Minbu to Magway: 14 km, 20 mins

 

Journey along the banks of the Irrawaddy Image 6

Day 6: Magway to Bagan

Begin your relaxing and fascinating journey by road to Bagan, your route takes you from the banks of the Irrawaddy across the arid region of Myanmar. Travel through vast fields of toddy palm, before stopping to observe the process of toddy juice production. The toddy palm crop plays a central role in Myanmar rural life, providing not only juice and sugars but also shade from the heat. The palm continues to be used for making utensils, building materials and is even used in the making of traditional medicines. On arrival in Bagan, check in to your hotel before boarding a local boat for a sunset cruise down the Irrawaddy. Floating past fishermen, riverside villages, an unforgettable view of the hundreds of temples dotting the shore completes your day. Overnight in Bagan.

Distance and journey time: 156 km, 2.30 hrs

Journey along the banks of the Irrawaddy Image 7

Day 7: Bagan

Begin your day at dawn with an exhilarating hot-air balloon flight over the plains of Bagan. As the sun rises, glinting off the mighty Irrawaddy, the gold leaf glittering on the hundreds of stupas along its shore, gaze in wonder at this unique and truly unforgettable experience. Coming back down to earth, follow your guide to the golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda for an introduction to Bagan’s rich history. From nearby Wetkyi In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple featuring exquisitely preserved jataka mural paintings, wander among the fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations of the elegant Htilominlo Temple. Your tour continues to Ananda Temple, built in the early Mon style and one of Bagan’s most beautiful temples. The temple is also known for two unique Buddha images, the expressions appearing to change depending on the distance of the viewer from the image. By contrast, the neighbouring brick monastery of Ananda Okkyaung is one of few surviving from the early Bagan period and is filled with intricate paintings. From here journey by horse and cart to Thatbyinnyu, the highest temple in Bagan, then on to the massive temple of Dhammayangyi, noted for its remarkable brickwork. Complete your day on the terrace of Sulamani Temple, for an unforgettable sunset over the stupa dotted plains. Overnight in Bagan.

Journey along the banks of the Irrawaddy Image 8

Day 8: Bagan to Mandalay

Begin your day in the cool and calm of Ngat Pyit Taung Monastery. Explore the temple’s caves, learning about local traditions and the spiritual beliefs of the Burmese before observing local children at their lessons in the Monastic Primary School.

In the afternoon, continue to the rural village of Minnanthu in one of Bagan’s least visited areas, to explore the temples of Payathonzu, Lemyentha and Nandamannya, their distinct architecture reflecting the influence of Tantric Buddhism. Transfer to Nyaung Oo airport for your flight to Mandalay, transferring on arrival to your hotel. Overnight in Mandalay.

Journey along the banks of the Irrawaddy Image 9

Day 9: Mandalay to Mingun, Mandalay

Following breakfast transfer to the Mandalay jetty, board a private local boat for a 1-hr cruise on the Irrawaddy to the ancient capital of Mingun.

Explore the massive ruin of Mingun Pahtodawqyi. An astrologer predicting the Kings’ line would die out if it was ever completed, this huge brick structure remains unfinished. Continue to the beautiful white Hsinbyume Pagoda, built in imitation of the mythical Mount Meru before marvelling at the Mingun Bell, at 90 tonnes the world’s largest uncracked ringing bell. From Mingun drift back along the mighty Irrawaddy to Mandalay and the Mahamuni Pagoda. This pagoda is home to one of the country’s most revered Buddha images. From here continue to Kuthodaw Pagoda, where 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scripture have earned it the title ‘World’s Biggest Book’, on to the exquisite teak Shwenandaw Monastery, the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace. Complete your day with a sunset view of the city from the top of Mandalay Hill. Overnight in Mandalay.

Day 10: Departure

Mandalay, and the end of your Journey Along the Irrawaddy with Eastravel.

 

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Highlights

Bagan: one of the world's greatest archeological sites

Spread across a plain in a curve of the mighty Irrawaddy, where once 13,000 temples, pagodas and stupas stood more than 2,000 remain

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Mandalay: last royal capital of Burma

The last Royal Burmese capital, Mandalay remains the artistic and cultural centre of Myanmar

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Yangon: Golden stupas and glittering pagodas

The many shady green spaces, golden stupas and glittering lakes of this former Burmese capital lend Yangon a unique charm

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Accommodation

Bagan, Deluxe Class
Bagan Lodge

The Began Lodge is located on the edge of the Bagan archaeological zone, the gateway to some of the world’s most magnificent temples and pagodas

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Bagan, Superior Class
Hotel@Tharabar Gate

Hotel@Tharabar Gate is located in the heart of the plains of Bagan amidst tropical gardens

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Magway, Simple
Htein Htein Thar Hotel

Located centrally, this friendly and welcoming hotel is close to the city’s main attractions.

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Mandalay, Superior Class
Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort

Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort lies at the foot of Mandalay Hill with a panoramic view of a myriad of pagodas and its beautiful moat

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Mandalay, Superior Class
Hotel by Red Canal

The Hotel by Red Canal is a cosy boutique hotel located in a quiet part of the city, minutes away from Mandalay Hill

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Mandalay, Standard Class
Yadanarpon Dynasty Hotel

Yadanarpon Dynasty Hotel is a 10 minute walk to the Mandalay Royal Palace situated in the peaceful, silent zone of 65th Street

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Pyay, Simple
Mingalar Garden Resort

Located close to the railway station and the main road, the property is set around a natural spring feeding its own tranquil, tree-shaded lake.

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Yangon, Deluxe Class
Belmond Governor’s Residence

Belmond Governor’s Residence is an imposing teak mansion dating from the 1920s within the elegant Embassy Quarter

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Yangon, Deluxe Class
The Strand

The historic Strand Hotel built in 1901 by the Sarkies Brothers has long been recognized as one of Yangon's landmarks

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Yangon, Superior Class
PARKROYAL Yangon

The PARKROYAL Yangon encapsulates the charm of colonial Myanmar in a modern setting

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