Journey On The Banks Of The Irrawaddy

Following the course of the Irrawaddy River, we journey along its banks and along its peaceful waters, exploring the cities, towns and villages found nearby. We travel from the vibrant capital of Yangon where we visit majestic pagodas and learn about its captivating history to the ancient cities of Beikthano... More

Following the course of the Irrawaddy River, we journey along its banks and along its peaceful waters, exploring the cities, towns and villages found nearby. We travel from the vibrant capital of Yangon where we visit majestic pagodas and learn about its captivating history to the ancient cities of Beikthano and Bagan. We stop to learn about the trading of local materials and how farmers use the Irrawaddy for their livelihood. Travelling through spectacular landscapes, this captivating tour reveals the innate beauty of Myanmar’s landscapes and its people.



  • Horse cart tour of Dhammayangyi temple, largest in Bagan
  • Explore Yangon’s architectural heritage, hear about Yangon’s colonial history and enjoy sunset and unforgettable experience an evening visit to Shwedagon Pagoda which is one of the world’s most spectacular monuments
  • Visit the culture city of Mandalay region such as Mahamuni, Mandalay Hill, Golden Palace Monastery, Kuthodaw pagoda, Amarapura, and enjoy sunset at U Bein Teak Bridge, the longest teak bridge in the world
  • Enjoy the passing scenery along the world’s famous Ayeyarwaddy River by relaxing on tradition easy chairs located on the sun deck.
  • Marvel at spectacular Bagan and hundreds of temples sprinkled across the landscape and enjoy wonderful sunset around temples

Welcome to Myanmar! Upon arrival in Yangon a travel-to-nature Asia guide/representative will be at the airport to greet and take us to our hotel. Please look out for your name-card once you exit out of arrival area.

Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, was founded by King Alaungpaya on the site of a small town called Dagon when he conquered lower Myanmar in 1755. He changed its name to Yangon, which means “End of Strife”, but was anglicized as Rangoon by the British in 1885. Relatively quiet and charming, Yangon’s impressive colonial architecture and spiritual heritage makes it one of Southeast Asia’s most fascinating capitals.

In the afternoon, a city tour to Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda’s 70m long reclining Buddha. Begin your Parade of Lights at Shwedagon Pagoda where sun light reflects from the more than 60 tons of gold leaf, incense burns, oil lamps flicker and smiling locals greet you.Overnight in Yangon.

Optional Tour

Option 1: This afternoon enjoy a city tour by rickshaw around the colonial area which is filled various historical buildings. Stop for a drink at a local teashop, a great place to soak in the local culture and lifestyle, before travelling along the famous Strand Road to the riverside.

Option 2: Take an afternoon to soak up the splendour of the famous Strand Hotel. Relax in the hotel luxuriant surroundings before enjoying the charm and tradition of High Tea.

Option 3: Wed can arrange special permission for our clients to have a unique and unforgettable experience in Myanmar offering oil lamps upon Shwedagon’s platform to the pagoda. This solemn and dignified occasion is tied in to the Buddhist belief in earning merit by performing good deeds. The ceremony begins with the local monks chanting “Suttra”, a blessing that bestows a lifetime of good health and happiness. Following the ceremony, join the local people at Pavilion to enjoy Myanmar Tea and traditional snacks.

Distances and time:
Yangon Airport to Yangon city centre (20 km): 30 – 60 mins

Accommodation: Sule Shangri-La Hotel

After breakfast at the hotel, we begin our sightseeing tour with a visit to the old colonial-style city centre and the gilded Sule Pagoda. Then, stroll along Mahabandoola Road, Pansodan Street and explore Yangon’s Jetty, full of colourful street vendors and busy market life. Continue with a short walking tour through the city’s downtown streets with its mix of faded colonial buildings, glittering temples, and local life. Stroll around colourful Chinatown and visit one of Yangon’s Chinese temples before transferring to the railway station.

In the afternoon, transfer to Yangon Railways station for your trip to Pyay, crossing the scenic landscapes and villages along the railway side. (Approximately 6.5 hrs). We enjoy the opportunity to mingle with locals as our train pass through the lush countryside. On arrival in Pyay, transfer to hotel. Overnight in Pyay.

Accommodation: Sule Shangri-La Hotel
Meal: Breakfast

After breakfast at the hotel, visit the Pyay jetty and the vibrant market and spend some time talking with locals about the goods being sold. Then, visit Shwe Sandaw Pagoda, a gigantic sitting Buddha Statue of Hsehtatkyi Pagoda.

This afternoon, visit the ancient city of Thayeikhittaya or Sriketra, just 8km from the city center. The remains of the city covers about 19 square km, an area that was entirely walled in ancient times. Now the ruins are hidden behind thickets of thorny bushes. Sriketra was the largest and most elaborate city built by the ancient Pyu.

End your day with a walk along Strand Road and visit to the night market. Overnight in Pyay.

Accommodation: Mingalar Garden Hotel
Meal: Breakfast

After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Magway, en route, pass the fields and small towns of Aung Lan, Taung Dwin Gyi. Visit to the ancient city of Beikthano, over 2000 years old, located in the Taung Dwin Gyi Township. From here continue on to the Magway Division.

Magway is well known for its production of both groundnut and sesame oils, earning itself the nickname, ‘Oil pot of Myanmar’. Also known for producing exotic fruits, especially the unusual, yet delicious Phangar fruit (Chebulic myorobalan).

From here we pay a visit to the famous Mya Tha Lun Pagoda on the banks of the Irrawaddy Rvier. On arrival, check in your hotel and overnight in Magway.

Accommodation: My River View Hotel
Meal: Breakfast

After breakfast at the hotel, commence the 20 km drive to the north bank of the Irrawaddy River to reach Kyaung Taw Yar Pagoda, at the Pwintbyu Township. Believed to be the site of an ancient monastery built of sandal wood in which the Lord Buddha spent some time after having achieved enlightenment. “Kyaung” means monastery; “Taw” is used when relating to religious hierarchy or royalty, and “Yar” means the site on which the Kyaung Taw stood.

Continue to visit Nagar Pwet Taung (Dragon Lake), an unusual pool of bubbling mud with a nearby temple and Pagoda in the Minbu Township. The perfect spot to admire the panoramic views of the mighty Irrawaddy river and cool down with the breeze. Overnight in Magway.

Accommodation: My River View Hotel
Meal: Breakfast

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before starting the scenic and interesting drive to Bagan. The route passes many changes of landscape as you cross one of the most arid regions of Myanmar. View toddy palm fields before stopping at a production center to observe the process of toddy juice production. This crop plays an important role in Myanmar rural life. Not only providing juice and sugars, but also creating shade from the heat and being used as material for utensils, buildings and even some medicines.

Upon arrival in Bagan, check in your Hotel.

This evening, board a local boat for a slow cruise down the Irrawaddy River. As you cruise the waters, observe the lifestyle of the fishermen and riverside villagers as well as enjoying a unique perspective of Bagan’s temples. Overnight in Bagan.

Accommodation: Myanmar Treasure Resort
Meal: Breakfast

Breakfast at a local tea shop, where we will have the chance to try the traditional Burmese style tea. Today we explore the wonders of Bagan with a full-day tour. From the 11th to 13th centuries, when Bagan was the capital of Myanmar, the rulers constructed thousands of huge stupas and temples many of which are still standing today on the banks of the Irrawaddy River.

Our journey begins with a visit to the golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda for an introduction in to Bagan’s rich history. Then, visit to nearby Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.

This afternoon begin with a visit to Ananda temple, an architectural masterpiece and one of Bagan’s most beautiful temples. Built in the early Mon-style, Ananda contains two unique Buddha images whose expressions seem to change depending on the distance from which the statue is viewed. Neighbouring Ananda Okkyaung is one of the few surviving brick monasteries from the early Bagan period and is filled with intricate paintings.

From here, travel by horse cart for a tour passing Thatbyinnyu, the highest temple in Bagan, massive Dhammayangyi Temple, noted for its remarkable brickwork, and Sulamani Temple. Time permitting; enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the plains from the upper terrace of one of the temples. Overnight in Bagan.

Optional activity: Balloon Experience Over Bagan – Start your morning with an incredible hot-air balloon flight over Bagan’s temple-studded plains. Start your morning snack on pastries and croissants, and sipping coffee and tea as the balloon is inflated. Climb aboard before gently rising above thousands of gilded stupas and earthen temples all back-dropped by the impressive Irrawaddy River. A truly unforgettable and unique experience. (Note: available only from late- October to late-March; all flights weather permitting)

Optional Tour – Responsible Tourism in Bagan:
Take part in a Responsible Tourism activity of planting a tree in one Bagan’s local villages. This actively contributes to the conservation of the area as upper Myanmar is an arid zone, and by planting trees in the area, it goes towards preserving the environment and deterring climate change. Choose from a Neem, Tamarind, Lebbek or Siris tree.
Donation for planting 1 tree: USD 10

Accommodation: Myanmar Treasure Resort
Meal: Breakfast

After breakfast, transfer to Ngat Pyit Taung Monastery and explore the temple’s caves, learning about local traditions and spiritual beliefs of the Burmese.

This afternoon, continue to the rural village of Minnanthu, one of Bagan’s least visited areas. Here you will explore temples such as Payathonzu, with its unusual architecture and Tantric Buddhism influence, Lemyentha and Nandamannya.

Late this afternoon, transfer to the Nyaung Oo airport for the flight to Mandalay. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Mandalay.

Accommodation: Ayarwaddy River View Hotel
Meal: Breakfast

After breakfast, transfer to the Mandalay jetty and board a private local boat for a 1 hr cruise on the Irrawaddy River to Mingun. Visit the main sites of Mingun beginning with the famous Mingun Pahtodawqyi. This huge brick structure was left unfinished after an astrologer predicted the King’s would die should the temple be completed. In the 1800s, an earthquake left several large cracks in the structure. Continue your visit at the beautiful white Hsinbyume Pagoda whose distinctive style is meant to resemble the mythical Mount Meru. Then, see the Mingun Bell which weighs 90 tons and is considered the world’s largest uncracked ringing bell.

Return to Mandalay by boat, enjoying lunch on board as you make your way back to the city.

Next visit Mahamuni Pagoda which is the home to one of the country’s most revered Buddha images which, over the years, has been covered with gold leaf giving it an almost ‘lumpy’ texture. Mandalay is well known for its skilled craftsmen and as you tour traditional workshops, you will learn more about the city’s cottage industries. Observe the production of wood carvings, kalaga tapestries, and gold-leaf where the techniques remained unchanged from those used centuries ago to craft items for the Royal Court.

Optional Activity: Balloon Experience Over Mandalay. As your hot-air balloon rises against the backdrop of Mandalay Hill, the first site to greet you is 729 white pitaka pagodas housing the world’s largest book. Drifting above the vibrant city you’ll witness barefoot monks collecting alms, bustling morning markets, boats coming alive on the Irrawaddy River and U Bein Bridge in Amarapura. (Note: available only from late- October to late-March; all flights weather permitting)

OPTION: Make your own marionette! Join the local craftsmen at their workshop and create your own, unique puppet. A hands-on way to learn about the local culture and create a memorable, personalized souvenir! 20 USD per person

Continue your tour of Mandalay with a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda, whose 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures have earned it the title ‘World’s Biggest Book’. Continue to Shwenandaw Monastery, the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace. This grand teak building is known for its exquisite woodcarving. If you wish, head to the top of Mandalay Hill to watch the sunset. Overnight stay in Mandalay.

Accommodation: Ayarwaddy River View Hotel
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch

Transfer to airport for your homeward-bound flight.

Meal: Breakfast


  • Airport (pick up/drop off) transfers by private A/C vehicle
  • Twin-Sharing accommodation in all Hotel/Resort with daily breakfast as mentioned
  • All sightseeing and long distance transportation in private air-condition vehicle (cars/SUVs or mini/micro-van etc. depending on group size). This includes toll taxes, parking, allowance for driver, outstation overnight charges for the driver
  • Entrance fee for the visit mentioned in the program
  • Domestic flight ticket: Bagan - Mandalay
  • English-speaking guides
  • Horse-cart fee in Bagan
  • Train Ticket: Yangon – Pyay, Upper Class (Reclining Chair)
  • Beer/Soft Drink and snacks on the train on day 2
  • Water and refreshing towels while touring
  • All applicable government taxes

Not Included

  • International flight tickets
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance & vaccinations
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees for the sites not mentioned in the program
  • Tips for trip leader/guide, driver, hotel staff and porters
  • Items of personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, laundry, telephone calls and other unforeseen expenses
  • Any other items not mentioned in the included services
  • Extra expenses/payment for 'OPTIONAL’ activities/programs if opted in

Price: US$ 2,195 per person (Twin Sharing | Based on Minimum 4 Travelers)
Single Supplement: US$ 475

Your Feedback

Sule Shangri-La, Yangon  

Continuously rated a favourite among guests for hosting excellence and thoughtful service, the Sule Shangri-La Yangon, consistently delivers above and beyond to the discerning customer seeking a blend of luxury with the warmth of home. Strategically located in the heart of downtown, in walking distance to shops and tourist sights.

Mingalar Garden Resort, Pyay

Mingalar Garden Resort was built in 1996 and situated in the 55-acre green lush Kyarpyan compound Pyay (Prome) which is only 180 miles from Yangon. Feeling of peace and tranquility is unmistakable in our enchanting bungalows that are constructed around the “Natural Spring Lake” and pleasant shady tropical trees. Rooms of our resort are fully furnished with modern facilities.

My River View Hotel, Magway

My River View Hotel is a classic 5-storey hotel which has the best location in Magway. We offer two type of rooms - Minbu Pagoda View and River View. Our River View rooms are one of the best in Magway. We are located about 5 min away from Myathalwin Pagoda, the beauty of Magway.

Myanmar Treasure Resort, Bagan

Surrounded by swaying palms and landscaped gardens, the hotel complex is a graceful blend of traditional and contemporary elegance. Its traditionally crafted bamboo-tiled lobby has its walls and columns lavishly adorned with lacquer artwork. Imposing teak columns and beams provide a majestic style restaurant, overlooking the terrace bar and swimming pool.

Ayarwaddy River View Hotel, Mandalay  

Opened in 2011, Ayarwaddy River View Hotel is just 15 minutes to Mandalay center, flower market, 60 minutes from the airport. Ideally located in the prime touristic area of Northern Mandalay, the hotel is in an easy access to the city's myriad attractions and landmarks, such as Mayan Chan Jetty, Thiri Mandala Bus Station (for Monywa, Shwebo), Chanthaya Paya.

Trip Facts

  • Price (USD) From 2,195
  • Duration 10 Days
  • Group Size 4-12 Pax
  • Arrive Yangon
  • Depart Mandalay
  • Trip Level
  • Activity Cultural Adventure
  • Meals 9 Breakfasts
  • Accommodation 4-5* Hotel

Giving back to the communities is our responsibility!

With every trip, you also support the SWAN and thus projects for Sustainable Community development and Biodiversity protection.

Our primary NGO partner is Social Welfare Association of Nepal (SWAN), with whom we have carried out multiple CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) projects. Besides carrying out regular CSR activities in the areas of education and women empowerment, we have supported relief and rehabilitation initiatives in the aftermath of several natural disasters like earthquake, immediate response to COVID-19 pandemic across Nepal. 

Giving something back to the world is a special and responsible affair of travel-to-nature Asia right from its inception. When you travel with travel-to-nature Asia and SWAN-Nepal, you become an integral force for change in addressing the most pressing social and wildlife conservation issues. Your tourism funds help transform the future of under-privileged and marginalized communities and transform the future of at-risk natural places you travel. Portion of our profit flows to local communities who live with and steward nature, creating jobs and improving livelihoods.

By joining one of our holidays you are playing a vital role in bringing positive changes in the lives of local community.

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