• Sail the Irrawaddy River in indulgent luxury between Mandalay and Bagan
  • Discover colonial beauty in Yangon’s faded charm
  • Explore Inle Lake’s floating villages and lake-top gardens

In Myanmar thousands of temples cluster in verdant plains, giant golden pagodas form city skylines and fading architecture remembers a unique colonial past. You’ll discover its riches on stage-coach rides through royal capitals, tuk tuk sprints to monolithic stupas, sails between floating markets and a luxurious cruise along the Irrawaddy. However, while Mandalay’s forest-clad Royal Palace, Ava’s lost-capital heritage and Yangon’s gilded stupas impress, it’s Bagan that stands out. Here, giant temples peak through a verdant canopy and spindling stupa spires cap misty volcanoes. 

Day 1

Depart UK

Start in style with premium-lounge access before your overnight flight.

Day 2

Regal welcomes in Mandalay

Arrive into the last royal capital of Myanmar to check into the silk-lined guestrooms of your luxury resort. It’s a city where monasteries and old colonial buildings host large, shaded gardens and traditions unchanged.

Perhaps find its regal status in the forested Royal Palace or climb its pagoda-studded hills for a citywide overlook.

Rupar Mandalar Resort, Mandalay

Rupar Mandalar Resort, Mandalay

Mandalay, Myanmar

Mandalay, Myanmar

Day 3

Cruising down the Irrawaddy

Board your indulgent river ship to settle into your butler-served teakwood cabin as you cruise the Royal Lake to reach U-Bein. Here, you’ll marvel at the world’s oldest and longest teakwood bridge before travelling on to the Shwe In Bin monastery whose intricately carved dark-wood tiers exemplify the best in Burmese architecture. Continue on to Min Gun where a three-wheeled tuk tuk – the nation’s favourite form of transportation – will bring you to its monolithic pagoda.

Paya Hsinbyume is a particular highlight whose seven whitewashed terraces represent the seven ranges around Mt. Meru, the mountain at the centre of the Buddhist universe.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Sunset at U-Bein Bridge, Myanmar, Burma, Asia

Sunset at U-Bein Bridge, Myanmar

Novice monks, Paya Hsinbyume, Myanmar, Burma

Novice monks, Paya Hsinbyume

Day 4

Cruising down the Irrawaddy

Start with Ava, an imperial capital whose successive rebirths between the 14th and 19th centuries are realised in an eclectic collection of watchtowers, fortified walls and grandly gilded temples. You’ll explore it all on a horse cart tour before spending the afternoon lazing along the Irrawaddy’s gentle waters; watch as riverside villages, working oxen and waving children drift by.

Take some time to enjoy your ship’s cultural workshops, spa treatments and custom swimming pool before a sunset cocktail and a dinner with the captain.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Strand Cruise, Myanmar, Burma

Strand Cruise, Myanmar

Strand Cruise, Myanmar, Burma

Strand Cruise, Myanmar

Strand Cruise, Myanmar, Burma

Strand Cruise, Myanmar

Day 5

Cruising down the Irrawaddy

Cruise into Bagan where verdant plains are studded with no less than 2,200 temples, pagodas and stupas – the remains of a once all-powerful empire. You’ll visit a selection of its handpicked highlights, including Shwezigon Pagoda’s gold-leaf beauty and Ananda Temple’s imposing, 12th-century edifice that hides a tranquil interior.

After another indulgent lunch, take in the beautifully frescoed interiors of Sulamani and the village setting of Gubyaukgyi Temple before watching the sun set over the Irrawaddy as you enjoy a farewell dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Bagan Temples, Pagan, Myanmar, Burma, Asia

Bagan Temples, Pagan

Days 6 – 7

Bagan, remote villages and volcanoes capped with pagoda spires

With some further time to explore Bagan in detail, you’ll stay in a luxurious lake-view villa at the only accommodation sited among Bagan’s temples. After disembarking, you’ll drive out through verdant toddy farms and sun-parched plains to arrive at Mt. Popa, a volcanic plug whose mist-shrouded summit hosts a tumble of pagodas that command views out over the entire region.

The next day, a driver will take you out past ox-tilled farms to reach remote villages famed for their artisan crafts, before a leisurely Irrawaddy-cruise brings you back to Bagan.

Breakfast included

Mt. Popa, Bagan, Myanmar

Mt. Popa, Bagan

Aureum Palace Hotel, Bagan, Myanmar, Burma

Aureum Palace Hotel, Bagan

Days 8 – 10

Inle Lake’s floating villages and monasteries

Inle Lake is a window into an aquatic world where traditional lives still play out on its vast, mountain-framed waters. A scenic flight, drive and water transfer will see you pass villages built on stilts, leg-rowing fishermen and floating gardens to reach your waterside hotel, a French delight realised in designer minimalism. Your guided touring will bring you between floating monasteries, ancient hilltop pagodas and canal-line temples home to gilded royal barges.

In lakeside markets and remote villages reached by secret inlets you’ll also meet the tribes that call Inle home. On your last day here, a scenic drive through the Shan Plateau’s mountain fields will see you to Pindaya where thousands of Buddha images line a labyrinthine cave complex.

Breakfast included

Buddha staues in Pindaya Caves, Myanmar

Buddha staues in Pindaya Caves

Pindaya Caves, Myanmar, Burma, Asia

Pindaya Caves, Myanmar

Fishermen on Inle Lake, Myanmar, Burma, Asia

Fishermen on Inle Lake, Myanmar

Days 11 – 12

Yangon’s colonial charm and Burmese beauty

Fly down to Myanmar’s largest city to check in to The Strand – the only hotel in the colonial part of the city. It looks the part too, with its Victorian colonnades housing billiards tables and local antiques. Your guided touring here will show you Yangon’s giant reclining Buddha, leafy lakeside parks and skyline-defining golden pagodas that measure nearly 100m tall before you discover colonial Rangoon in the city centre.

Here, fading European architecture is interspersed with busy marketplaces and ethnic enclaves. A teahouse visit and a ride on the Circle Train will then bring you to the city’s lesser-visited outskirts for a taste of day-to-day Burmese life. 

Stay: The Strand Hotel

Breakfast included

Shwedagon in Yangon, Myanmar, Burma, Asia

Shwedagon in Yangon, Myanmar

The Strand Hotel, Yangon

The Strand Hotel, Yangon

Days 13 – 14

Return to the UK

Fly back to the UK overnight. Alternatively, for some extra relaxation, fly out to Thandwe on the Bay of Bengal to stay in a private villa whose tropical gardens open right onto the fine sands of Ngapali. Speak to our specialists about extending your stay.

Breakfast included

About the itinerary

"This itinerary is designed to showcase Myanmar’s idyllic riverside life with an iconic river cruise on the Irrawaddy, and also demonstrate the centuries-old traditions of Inle Lake where it really does feel as though time has stood still. We've also included a memorable teahouse visit and journey on the Circle Train in the de facto capital, Yangon."

Katrin Rummer

Destination Specialist

Pricing information

Guide price from £3,905 pp