Magic of the Irrawaddy & Discoverer River Cruise

Savour the colonial and spiritual heritage of Myanmar with this once-in-a-lifetime journey through the country’s heartland, following the spine of the Irrawaddy from Yangon to Mandalay and back again.

19 Days
Yangon to Yangon
From (GBP)
£ 5,940
£ 5,440
Dates & Pricing

2019 Yangon > Yangon

Tour Map
Tour Code:
19 days
Departure City:
Return City:

Selected Itinerary

19 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Depart UK

    Depart from the UK today.

  2. Day 2 - Yangon

    Mingalaba and welcome to Myanmar! You will be met by an Emerald Waterways representative and transferred to your hotel. Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, holds an impressive colonial and spiritual heritage. This evening meet your Tour Director for a tour briefing and enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel.
    Two Night Stay: Yangon

    Meals Included: Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Yangon

    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.

    Please note: It has just been announced that the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon will be undergoing renovations to its main stupa between October 2018 and March 2019. As such, the main stupa will be covered by scaffolding which will obscure the view of the main temple from all angles.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  4. Day 4 - Yangon – Inle Lake

    This morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Inle Lake. Enjoy a scenic drive before boarding a private motorboat across Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular sights. Pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the famous leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens.
    Three Night Stay: Inle Lake

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  5. Day 5 - Inle Lake

    Visit the colourfully-clad vendors from the Pa-Oh, Shan and Intha ethic groups at the daily market on the north shore of the lake. Continue to the village of Khaung Daing, famous for its traditional Shan tofu. Observe as they make their famous crackers, treats and cakes before visiting the local monastery for lunch. EmeraldPLUS: Visit a boat-making workshop and see how the lake’s iconic boats are made. Return to the water and venture through the maze of canals that act as ‘streets’ for the lake’s residents. This afternoon is at leisure.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  6. Day 6 - Inle Lake

    Enjoy a full day at leisure to enjoy and explore Inle Lake. Discover More: Inle Lake Cooking Class, or The Inthar Life tour (additional cost).

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  7. Day 7 - Inle Lake – Mandalay

    Spend the morning relaxing at Inle Lake before flying to Mandalay, the last royal capital of Myanmar. 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.
    Overnight Stay: Mandalay

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  8. Day 8 - 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

  9. Day 9 - 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

  10. Day 10 - Monywa

    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

  11. Day 11 - 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

  12. Day 12 - Bagan

    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

  13. Day 13 - 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

  14. Day 14 - Salay

    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

  15. Day 15 - 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. Return to the ship for an afternoon of scenic cruising.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  16. Day 16 - Pyay (Prome)

    This morning take a horse cart ride through the charming town of Thayet Myo. Our first stop is the oldest golf course in Myanmar, followed by a visit to the local market. 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

  17. Day 17 - 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

  18. Day 18 - Depart Yangon

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  19. Day 19 - Arrive UK

    Welcome home.

    Please note: The Irrawaddy River is subject to extreme variations in water levels. Every effort is made to provide the routing and inclusions stated however depending on water levels prevalent at the time of sailing, this itinerary may be amended.

Tour inclusions

  • 9 night Irrawaddy River Cruise on board the luxurious Irrawaddy Explorer
  • Fully escorted by an Emerald Waterways Cruise Director
  • Guided sightseeing by expert Local Guides
  • Return airport transfers
  • Port taxes and charges included
  • All tipping and gratuities included
  • City tour of Yangon
  • 3 night stay at Inle Lake
  • Guided tour of the sights of Mandalay
  • Take an in-depth journey along the Irrawaddy River on board the luxurious Irrawaddy Explorer
  • Visit the U-Bien Bridge in Amarapura and enjoy a sunset cruise in traditional sampans
  • Explore the former capital of the Ava Kingdom by horse cart
  • Journey to the Thanboddhay Pagoda, home to almost 600,000 Buddha’s
  • Tour Magwe aboard trishaws and visit the local market
  • Visit the gilded Shwezigon Pagoda
  • Admire Bagan, one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites with over 2,000 temples, stupas and pagodas stretching out over Bagan Plain
  • Enjoy a walking tour of the fortress of Minhla
  • Visit the Shwesandaw Pagoda complex, one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites of Myanmar

  • 40 superb meals including: 16 Full Breakfasts (FB), 12 Lunches (L) & 12 Dinners (D)

  • Ride the Yangon Circle Train
  • Visit a boat-making workshop
  • Enjoy a traditional Myanmar dance performance
  • Meet the local children and schoolmaster of a local school
  • Ride to Htilomino on traditional ceremonial oxcarts

Pricing & Availability