Myanmar Irrawaddy Cruise

Central, Myanmar (Burma)

On Request

Close  Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma (Myanmar).

Myanmar Irrawaddy Cruise

Belmond (formerly Orient-Express Hotels) operates the colonial-style ‘Road to Mandalay’ cruise. The Road to Mandalay can accommodate a maximum of 82 passengers in 3 different cabin types. All cabins are fully air-conditioned and have en suite bathrooms. The ship has a swimming pool, a large sun deck, a spacious observation lounge with large windows in addition to the excellent cabin facilities and a restaurant.

During the cruise, there are plenty of opportunities to engage with local people. Guides take care of small group of passengers, give lectures and make village and temple visits. The ‘Orcaella’, a contemporary sister ship to the Road to Mandalay has 25 cabins. It has been purpose-built to make long and exploratory voyages into the country’s remoter parts, including the Chindwin and up to Bhamo, on the Chinese border.

And, meet the Intha people, known for leg-rowing their flat-bottomed boats.

We Love
  • This 11-day tour can be customised within the confines of the cruise schedule
  • Road to Mandalay, managed by the Orient Express is a 125-berth floating hotel that provides privacy and luxury
  • The Strand in Yangon is housed in a restored Victorian mansion that exudes history
  • Inle Princess Resort is a secluded retreat with its wooden chalets, built upon stilts along the shallow waters
  • All domestic flights and transfers are included
Need to Know
  • Your international airfare is not included. We can book international and domestic flights.
  • The schedule for Road to Mandalay cruise can change depending on water levels. Please check with us
  • We strongly recommend that you take travel insurance for this holiday
  • You will require a visa to enter Myanmar. Please check with Myanmar Embassy for more details


The reason Southeast Asia still remains exotic is because the interesting regions there are still remote. There are either no roads to these sites or if there is one, the ride to reach them is often rough and bumpy. One of the best ways to travel across these countries and Myanmar in particular, is on a boat – just like the locals do. 

This tour combines the highlights of Burma with several days on the Irrawaddy River aboard the legendary Road to Mandalay, an Orient Express cruise. In Yangon, you will stay at the Governor’s Residence, which has an ambience and feel of staying, as if at the residence of a rich friend. And rich indeed they were, it was the official home of the governors of the British Crown Colony of Burma. And at Inle Lake, we have selected the luxurious Inle Princes Resort, a secluded retreat with its wooden chalets, built upon stilts along the shallow waters of the shoreline.

The cruise starts in Bagan, where thousands of pagodas and temples stretch from the Irrawaddy River out across miles of arid plains. Tour the structures, built between the 11th and 13th centuries when Bagan was a major Buddhist centre of Southeast Asia, and learn about the history carved in their layered facades, painted in their interior frescoes and sculpted in their Buddhist statues.

You will also visit the massive fresh water Inle Lake, rimmed with high hills, stilted villages and crumbling stupas. The villages are inhabited by the Intha people, known for leg-rowing their flat-bottomed boats. A boat trip on Inle Lake’s calm waters, dotted with floating vegetation, fishing canoes and high hills is a photographer's dream.

The tour begins and ends in the capital city Yangon that still maintains its colonial charm with wide tree lined avenues, tranquil lakes, and gracious turn of the century architecture. The magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda perches on a hill like a gold beacon, huge and bell-shaped, dominating the city and the surrounding countryside. The city is studded with its past colonial architecture now mixed with high-rise buildings. However, Yangon continues to be a city of the past, as seen by its longyi-wearing pedestrians, its street vendors, and its pungent smells.

Myanmar Irrawaddy Cruise Central, Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar Irrawaddy Cruise This tour combines the highlights of Burma with several days on the Irrawaddy River aboard the legendary Road to Mandalay, an Orient Express cruise.
Yangon – Bagan – Mandalay – Inle – Yangon
(11 Days – Travel Any Day)

Day 1 – Arrive Myanmar
Yangon Meet and greet on arrival at Yangon International Airport and transfer to your hotel. Stay at the famed Strand Hotel, a British colonial period hotel with teak windows, marble floors, rattan chairs and lacquer ceiling fans. The rest of the day will be dependent on your flight time and rest.
The Strand Hotel (Nil)

Day 2 – Tour
Yangon With your private guide, take a comprehensive tour of the city’s most famous religious monuments; the gilded Sule, the huge reclining Buddha, the Botathaung on the Yangon River. Explore ancient Pagodas and monasteries and take an extended tour of Shwedagon Pagoda, with a dome covered with 60 tons of pure gold and the city's most spectacular landmark.
The Strand Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 3 – Transfer
Bagan Transfer to Yangon airport for your flight to the awe-inspiring Bagan. You will be received by your private guide and driver. After rest, explore thousands of pagodas and temples that stretch from the Ayeyarwady River out across miles of arid plains. Built between the 11th and 13th centuries, Bagan was a major Buddhist centre of Southeast Asia. Then take a horse-drawn carriage through villages of Bagan as the sun sets in the distance – a magical view.  
Aureum Palace Resort (B, L, D)

Day 4 – Explore
Bagan Today you have a full day to visit farming villages and temples around Bagan by horse-cart and explore monasteries like the Nat Htaung Kyaung, famous for a collection of ancient Buddha statues and lacquer boxes. Later explore local markets or take a boat on the Ayeyarwady River to enjoy the sunset.
Aboard Road to Mandalay (B, L, D)

Day 5 – Explore & Cruise
Bagan Take the morning tour to explore some of Bagan's local markets selling wood carvings, fabrics, longyis and rattan goods. See Myanmar's famous lacquerware being made. Alternatively, you can hire a bicycle or horse-drawn cart and explore this enchanting area on your own.

Mid-morning the Road to Mandalay begins its cruise north towards Mandalay. Relax on the top deck and watch the fascinating river life glide by. The guide lectures on local places and customs. The ship moors mid-river for the evening. A casual cocktail party is followed by dinner on board.
Aboard Road to Mandalay (B, L, D)

Day 6 – Cruise
Mandalay To most Burmese, Mandalay is the heart of their land, for this was the capital until the British captured and exiled King Thebaw in 1885. Here, they feel, their culture centres, as it once did in earlier capitals - in Amarapura, Sagaing, Ava, and classical Bagan.

As the cultural heart of Myanmar, Mandalay has many interesting temples; the Mahamuni Pagoda is the city’s holiest Buddha statue, the Shwenandaw Monastery, an ancient wooden building was once King Mindon's home and the Kuthodaw Pagoda is the 'world’s largest book' of Buddhist scriptures.
Aboard Road to Mandalay (B, L, D)

Day 7 – Cruise
Mingun & Sagaing Today we cruise to Mingun to visit the most important sights such as the pretty Hsinbyume Pagoda and the Mingun Bell, weighting 87 tons it is the world’s largest intact bronze bell. Return by ferry for a late lunch.

In the afternoon, visit the Sagaing Hill, considered to be the living centre of the Buddhist faith in Myanmar. Sagaing is also famous for its silver and silversmiths who still work in much the same way as their ancestors did.
Aboard Road to Mandalay (B, L, D)

Day 8 – Transfer
Inle Lake Take an early morning private transfer to the airport for domestic flight to Heho. Transfer from Heho airport to your hotel on the Inle Lake.

After lunch, with your expert guide, enjoy a boat tour to Indaing, at the western end of the Lake. The boat takes you through a long channel where you watch the farmers cultivate their produce. Visit the oldest monastery on the lake, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State and ancient Buddha statues. This ride is one of the most scenic boat tours on Lake Inle.

Inle Lake is simply magical; located at 1000 meters, its calm waters are dotted with Intha stilt house villages, floating vegetable gardens and fishing canoes against the back drop of the beautiful Shan hills. Motorized boats are the means of transport across the lake although the Intha people get around in traditional flat bottomed boats using a unique and skilful form of leg rowing
Inle Princess – Lake Front View Chalet (B, L, D)

Day 9 – Explore
Inle Lake The boat trip on Inle Lake is a photographer's dream, its calm waters are dotted with floating gardens of fruit and vegetables and fishing canoes, to which scenic high hills provide the perfect backdrop.  See the lake's unique “leg rowers” – the Intha people row standing up with one leg wrapped around an oar.

We will visit the local market but the highlight is often visiting the traditional villages, ancient Pagodas, with over 200 year old ancient Buddha statues, monasteries including the Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery (known for Jumping cats). Cat lovers can stop for lunch at the Inthar Heritage House where you can see the legendary Burmese cats.
Inle Princess – Lake Front View Chalet (B, L, D)

Day 10 – Explore
Inle Lake Today we travel by boat to Sagar and Thakong, a rarely visited area south of Inle Lake where we explore the daily market and visit local houses who manufacture items like earthenware pottery, Phongyi fabric from thousands of lotus stems and even a high degree alcohol fermented and extracted from bran rice. You will meet the locals and get an insight into the unspoiled culture and traditional life-style of the ethnic Pa-O and Intha inhabitants. And we you will enjoy the beautiful landscape, flowering trees and small settlements dotted along the way.

Optional: Drive to a selection of Art Galleries, Interior Design and Antiques shops. There is a surprisingly high amount of very talented painters and artists in Myanmar. Some of them are known internationally. Their accomplishments can be admired and also bought in numerous Art Galleries and showrooms.
Inle Princess – Lake Front View Chalet (B, L, D)

Day 11 – Transfer
Yangon After breakfast, transfer by boat to Nyaung Shwe and then proceed to Heho Airport (1 hour) for your flight to to Yangon. Meet our representative who will escort you to your hotel. Lunch at hotel.

In the afternoon, visit Bogyoke Market (closed on Mondays and Public Holidays) gives you the opportunity to see Myanmar's wide range of handicrafts.  Enjoy the Walk along Yangon River to see the busy harbour area. Dinner at Le Planteur, Yangon’s finest restaurant.
The Strand Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 12 – Depart
Yangon Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Meals: B


Make this your holiday

  • Exclusive Tour: your own private multilingual guide throughout the trip  
  • Price Guarantee: costing 25-30% less than similar tours of the same flexibility and quality
  • Tailor Made: customised itinerary to create your dream holiday
  • Duration: shorten or lengthen the tour to suit your wishes
  • Dates: depart and return whenever you choose
  • Hotels: change hotel grade to suit your budget
  • Group Discounts: call 020 8350 6199

Getting There Myanmar has two international airports: In the capital Yangon and at Mandalay. Due to the lack of travel services in Myanmar most airlines fly to Yangon via Bangkok, Kaula Lumpur or Singapore.  Also, there are flights connecting Chiang Mai (in Thailand) to Yangon and Mandalay. It is best to check prices for flights to Bangkok and from there to Yangon return as buying two tickets can be cheaper. We suggest that you book in advance to get the best rates for flights.

Visa British citizens travelling to Myanmar can get a Myanmar visa on arrival. The new e-visa application service allows applicants to fill in the e-form and submit the payment through a secure payment gateway with a credit card. This takes about 3 days to receive a visa approval letter that you can print and take with your passport to a designated airport.