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Secrets of the Irrawaddy and Discoverer Cruise

16 Day
Between Mandalay and Yangon
From * £4,845
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Secrets of the Irrawaddy and Discoverer Cruise  - 16 day
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From Mandalay to Yangon, Emerald Waterways welcomes you to Myanmar, a colourful and enigmatic Southeast Asian country that is yours to discover during this 16-day journey on the arresting Irrawaddy River.

Starting out amid the eclectic architecture and bustle of Mandalay, the former royal capital of Burma, discover the highlights of this ancient city, including an optional DiscoverMORE tour of the city’s famous Jade Market. After boarding the illustrious Irrawaddy Explorer river ship, your Irrawaddy journey begins, with a special welcome dinner complemented by an included EmeraldPLUS performance of traditional Burmese dance.

Negotiating the weaving course of the Irrawaddy to Mingun, you’ll enjoy your first taste of simple rural life in Myanmar. Join a walking tour of the town and learn the legacy of the Mingun Bell, the largest working bell in the world until 2000, before marvelling at the Bagaya Monastery during a horse and cart discovery ride through the former capital of the Ava Kingdom.

Travelling steadily south, you’re invited to visit a local school in Yandabo, where you’ll meet with local children and teaching staff to discover more about what life is like on the banks of the Irrawaddy. The next day welcomes you to Bagan, one of Southeast Asia’s most significant archaeological sites. Historic treasures abound as you explore this captivating heritage wonder, from the ancient plaster carvings of Htilominlo to the great Pagoda of Ananda.

From Bagan, enjoy the teak structures of Salay, the markets of Magwe and the historic legacy of Pyay, the ancient capital of the Pyu Kingdom. In Yangon, our EmeraldPLUS progamme gives you the chance to board the Circle Train for an immersive tour of the city, while a culinary tour of Chinatown promises an afternoon of discovery like no other.

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Mandalay to Yangon in 2019
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* From price is for a 26 February 2019 departure. For a full list of pricing and availability, please see below. All prices are per person, twin share in GBP, based on two guests sharing. Terms and conditions apply and we reserve the right to withdraw our offers at any time. Please note, the ship operating a particular cruise is subject to change.
View your 16 day itinerary
Day 1
Depart UK
Fly from London Heathrow or Manchester.
Day 2
Arrive Mandalay

Welcome to Mandalay, the last royal capital of Myanmar. You will be met by an Emerald Waterways representative and transferred to your hotel (please arrive by 2:00pm). Head to the top of Mandalay Hill as the sun begins to set to enjoy magnificent views of the city and Irrawaddy River from the highest vantage point in the area. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel.
Two Night Stay: Mandalay

Meals included: Dinner
Day 3

Enjoy a day to explore Mandalay. Your Tour Director is on hand to help plan your day.

Discover More: Mandalay Jade Market, or Morning in Mandalay tour (additional cost).

Meals included: Breakfast
Day 4
Mandalay – Embarkation

This morning enjoy a tour of Mandalay before boarding your luxury Irrawaddy river cruise ship, the RV Irrawaddy Explorer. After lunch onboard, travel by coach to the Burmese capital of Amarapura to visit marble and silk workshops and the U-Bein Bridge, believed to the world’s longest and oldest teakwood bridge before boarding a traditional sampan for a leisurely cruise of the lake to enjoy sunset views. This evening enjoy a welcome reception and dinner onboard. EmeraldPLUS: After dinner, enjoy a traditional Myanmar dance performance.
Nine Night Stay: RV Irrawaddy Explorer

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5
Mingun – Ava

Cruise to Mingun and join a walking tour to discover the stories behind the massive unfinished brick pagoda built at the end of the 18th century for King Bodawpaya. Continue to the Mingun Bell, the heaviest working bell in the world until 2000. Enjoy time at leisure to explore the local market. This afternoon explore the former capital of the Ava Kingdom by horse cart and discover the 200-year-old teak Bagaya Monastery dating back to 1593 and the impressive Mei Nu Oak Kyaung Brick Monastery. Return to the ship for dinner and enjoy a traditional cultural performance on board.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6

This morning board your coach to discover Monywa and the Hpowindaung caves and explore the sandstone grottoes decorated with spectacular mural paintings and hundreds of Buddha statues inside dating back to the 14th century. Journey to the Thanboddhay Pagoda, one of the most intricately decorated temples in the country housing almost 600,000 Buddhas before returning to the ship late this afternoon.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7
Yandabo – Hnaw Kone Village

Arrive at the pottery village of Yandabo where, on 24 February 1826, the peace treaty ending the First Anglo-Burmese war was signed. Stroll through the village and witness the craftsmen hone their skills and observe the unusual way of firing the pottery. Return to the ship and enjoy a leisurely cruise to the village of Hnaw Kone, a typical rural river village and see the handicraft of bamboo cane basket weaving. EmeraldPLUS: Visit a local school and meet the children and schoolmaster for an insight into life along the Irrawaddy.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8

This morning admire one of the most incredible areas of Myanmar: Bagan, one of South East Asia’s most significant and richest archaeological sites. EmeraldPLUS: Climb aboard traditional, ceremonial oxcarts for a short ride to the massive Htilomino, boasting the finest plaster carvings. Continue on to the Anada Pagoda, one of the most important temples in Bagan, whose based and terraces are decorated with 554 glazed tiles showing scenes and life stories of the Buddha. Bagan is also famous as the centre of Myanmar’s thriving lacquer ware industry and you will discover more about this traditional handicraft during a visit to a workshop. This afternoon view the sunset atop the most significant temple in the area, Shwe San Daw and take in the grandeur of Bagan below.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9
Bagan – Tan Kyi

Take in the fresh produce, meats, spices, woodcarvings and local handicrafts at Bagan’s largest open market. Visit the gilded Shwezigon Pagoda, an important religious site dating back to the reign of King Anawrahta, founder of the Bagan Empire. Enjoy lunch onboard whilst sailing to the village of Tan Kyi. Journey to Tan Kyi Mountain and admire the panoramic views of the Bagan plain across the Irrawaddy. Discover More: Hot Air Balloon Flight over the temples of Bagan (additional cost).

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10

Cruise to Salay, a small village founded in the 13th century. Visit the beautiful teak Yoke Sone Kyaung Taw Gyi monastery, designed as a copy of the Crown Prince House of Mandalay with exterior sides carved with details of court life and stories of the Buddha’s past life. Later see Mann Pagoda with the largest lacquer Buddha image in Myanmar. Return to the ship with a stroll past some of Salay’s many beautiful colonial buildings.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11
Magwe – Minhla

This morning venture into the district capital city of Magwe aboard trishaws for a ride through the city to the local market. Enjoy time to explore the market before visiting Mya Tha Lun pagoda, a beautifully gilded stupa set atop Naguttama Hill offering views of the river and surrounding area. Enjoy a walking tour of the fortress of Minhla, built by Italian architects to repel the British during the third Anglo-Burmese War in 1855. Return to the ship for an afternoon of scenic cruising.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12
Pyay (Prome)

Relax onboard this morning as we sail towards Prome, known as Pyay to the locals, an important trading post for goods travelling between northern and southern Myanmar. This afternoon journey to Thayekhittaya, one of the ancient Pyu Kingdoms that flourished between the 5th and 9th centuries. Visit the Sri Ksetra Museum, bursting with maps, artifacts, Hindu deities and Buddha images from as far back as the 6th century. Later, visit the impressive Shwesandaw Pagoda complex, one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites of Myanmar. Return to the ship for a farewell dinner.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13
Pyay disembarkation – Yangon

Enjoy breakfast onboard before disembarkation this morning. Board a coach and journey south to the city of Yangon. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner in a local restaurant. (Please note drive from Pyay to Yangon is approximately 7 hours).
Overnight Stay: Yangon

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14

After breakfast, set off for a day of living like a local in Yangon. EmeraldPLUS: Board the slow moving Circle Train for a taste of local life before visiting a local market, home to colourful stalls, friendly shopkeepers and busy shoppers purchasing their daily essentials. Visit the vibrant Chinatown area to witness noodle and rice paper making. Following your included lunch, visit the Kandawgyi Park and see the glittering Karaweik barge, a replica of the royal barge with views across the vast lake. Finish your day at the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Marvel at the breath-taking views of the golden stupa, some 99 metres tall and surrounded by 64 smaller stupas. Your evening is at leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 15
Depart Yangon

Transfer to the airport for your onward or homebound flight.

Meals included: Breakfast
Day 16
Arrive UK
Welcome home.
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