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Shwedagon in Yangon, Myanmar

Majestic Myanmar

17-day river cruise from £4,395 pp incl. flights


Short description

Wend your way through sights both colonial and ancient to discover a culture newly opened to the world

In Brief

  • 1 Night Yangon
  • 1 Night Maubin
  • 1 Night Danuphyu
  • 1 Night Myanaung
  • 1 Night Sri Ksetra
  • 1 Night Thayetmyo
  • 1 Night Magwe Region
  • 1 Night Sale
  • 2 Nights Bagan
  • 1 Night Yandabo
  • 1 Night Ava
  • 1 Night Mingun
  • 1 Night Mandalay


Recommended for:
Escorted tour | History & culture | River cruise

The Irrawaddy River – the lifeblood of Myanmar (Burma) – is lined with ancient temple complexes, wooden monasteries and colonial forts. On this escorted river cruise with APT Premium you'll start with Yangon's city-defining golden stupas before making your way through the river delta, past battlegrounds and British outposts where wars were won and lost, to reach the country’s centre, the seat of civilisations past. There are the royal palaces of Ava and Mandalay, the 12th century shrines of Salay and the gleaming gold of Bagan’s thousand-strong collection of stupas, pagodas and temples clustered into a 40 square kilometre area. It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s one of man’s most impressive achievements. Along the way, you’ll stay in the luxurious intimacy of the RV Princess Panhwar whose 36 cabins are served by 38 crewmembers. 

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
Depart UK

Your first day will be spent with an overnight flight to Myanmar.

Day 2
Arrive Yangon

Upon arrival in the Burmese capital, you’ll be met and transferred to the RV Princess Panhwar, your home for the next 14 nights. Settle into your pristinely modern cabin – complete with French or outside balcony – before exploring the city sights on a late afternoon tour. After visiting the 66 metre-long, reclining Buddha at Chaukhtatgyi Temple, you’ll head to the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. As the most sacred pagoda in the country, it houses relics that date back to 500 BC, including a strand of what’s thought to be Buddha’s hair. Fittingly, its giant golden domed spire can be seen from throughout the city making for stunning sunset glows. This evening, you’ll have the opportunity to get to know your guides and fellow guests with a grand welcome dinner.

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: L D

Day 3

Today you’ll awake to the countryside scenery of the mighty Irrawaddy as you make your journey upstream through its deltas to arrive in Maubin. A university town, it’s the birthplace of prominent Burmese political leader and activist Ba Maw. Arriving after lunch, you’ll learn about the fascinating history of its Buddhist pagodas before visiting the local market to interact with a culture that, until recently, has remained untouched by the Western world.

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 4

As you move through the delta waterways, you’ll reach Danuphyu, a key site in the first Anglo-Burmese War where General Maha Bandula led a storied defensive against the British troops. You’ll learn how he walked among his troops to boost morale and used fighting elephants to charge the enemy. You’ll also visit a home cheroot-making workshop and the Monastery of Maha Bandula before continuing to Hinthata.

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 5

Relax in the ship’s air-conditioned lounge or on its sundeck as you continue onto the sleepy riverside township of Myanaung. Here, you’ll enjoy a guided walking tour past carefully preserved colonial houses to the town’s bustling market. It’s a rare chance to get a glimpse of river life in rural Myanmar, well off the beaten tourist track

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 6
Pyay/Sri Ksetra

This morning, after breakfast, you’ll be treated to views of the Akauk Mountains whose sheer cliff faces have been carved into holes that house painted Buddha icons. On arrival in Pyay you’ll disembark for a guided excursion to discover a town established in the late 1800s by the British Irrawaddy Flotilla Company. Today, it’s better known for its collection of gilded pagodas. Prime among them is the towering Shwesandaw Pagoda that, at 100m high, is taller even that Rangoon’s Shwedagon. Its name translates as ‘Golden Hair Relic’ with it said to hold – like its Rangoon cousin – a hank of Buddha’s locks.

You’ll then travel on to the ancient ruins of Sri Ksetra, the old capital of the Pyu kingdom, dating back some 1,500 years. Meaning ‘City of Splendour’, its UNESCO-listed sites include 6th century brick stupas – among the world’s earliest Buddhist monuments – and religious art that bears influences from as far away as southwest India. You’ll also find the remains of the royal place along with tombs and cave pagodas.

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 7

Once sitting as the border between Upper and Lower Myanmar, Thayetmyo has a fascinating colonial history. Ottoman soldiers captured in the Middle East during WWI were sent here as prisoners of war by the British, an act memorialised by the haunting burial grounds. Today, its chequered past is papered over by its charming colonial houses and Myanmar's oldest golf course, established in 1877

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 8

Your next stop is Minhla, a crucial battleground of the Third Anglo-Burmese War and the inspiration for a Rudyard Kipling poem. Today, you’ll board a smaller boat to visit the 19th century forts built by the Italians to repel British invaders, who eventually captured them, ending Myanmar's independence. After, you’ll cruise on to Magwe whose quiet delta-town image belies a bustling market centre. On returning to your ship, you’ll enjoy a traditional puppet show.

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 9

Salay’s colourful monasteries and shrines date back to the 12th and 13th centuries and it’s still an active religious centre to this day; there’s approximately one monastery for every 200 residents. And, you’ll visit the oldest surviving one, the wooden Yoke Sone Kyaung, whose carvings and ancient religious artefacts are a sight to behold along with the country’s largest lacquer Buddha, the 13th century Shinbin Maha Laba Man Paya.

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 10
Tantkyi Hill/Bagan

Start your tenth day by summiting Tantkyi Hill to visit its golden, 11th century pagoda, ringed by over thirty elephantine statues; it’s believed to contain a tooth relic of Buddha. Setting off back along the Irrawaddy, you’ll be greeted with your very first glimpse of Bagan as the pointed spires of this ancient temple complex rise above green plains. Today, you’ll visit one of its showpieces – the Ananda Temple. This 12th century masterpiece is topped by a golden dome, framed by impossibly ornate, white stonework. Then, travel past the small, brick pagodas that point the way to the grand Shwezigon Pagoda; entirely covered in golf leaf it shines bright in the sun.

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 11

Start the day with a visit to Nyaung-U market where locals busily trade fruit, vegetables and regional crafts, including canvas acrylics and intricate handicrafts. You’ll then begin to familiarise yourself with the over 2,000 religious sites that dot the region. Highlights include the distinct Indic architecture of the Gubyaukgyi Temple; known as the ‘Cave Temple’, it features incredibly detailed interior frescoes and the oldest original paintings in Bagan. Then, there’s a visit to a nearby village and its lacquerware workshop – the local industry – before a sunset viewing from either Pyathat Gyi or Dhamayazaka pagodas as you watch the light fade over Bagan. Stand in awe as this ancient city seems to set aglow.

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 12

Departing Bagan, you’ll continue on to Yandabo, where the peace treaty that ended the First Anglo-Burmese War was signed in 1826. It’s now better known for its terracotta pots, crafted from the riverbank clay. Watch as teams of two operate a treadle wheel and sculpt the clay before leaving the pots to dry in the sun – each can make up to 70 pots a day. They’re then exported across the country, used to store water and food supplies.

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 13

Formerly known as Ava, this ancient imperial capital has been rebuilt many times over the years from the 14th to the 19th century. Explore it like a local with a horse-drawn cart tour, calling at tilted watch towers, sheer city walls, wooden monasteries and sun-bleached temples. One of its most impressive sights – the teakwood Bagaya Monastery – dates back to the end of the 16th century and is decorated throughout with carvings of birds and animals. Rejoin the ship this evening for a cultural show by the Mandalay fine arts school.

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 14

Known for its artisan craftsmen, in Sagaing you’ll visit a silversmith’s workshop before exploring the glittering Buddhas of Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda and the distinctive golden dome of Kaunghmudaw Pagoda. Then, you’ll cruise to Mingun, a riverside village famous for its trio of religious sites. There’s the massive brick cube tabletop that is Mingun Paya, the equally oversized Mingun Bell and the pristine white of its pagodas. The day will end with a cultural presentation back on board.

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 15

The last royal capital of Myanmar, Mandalay is arranged around the mysterious walls and grounds of its palace. For the best views, you’ll ascend Mandalay Hill after adding your own gold leaf sheet to the Mahamuni Buddha Temple and visiting a range of local workshops. There’s also the flawlessly white stupas of Kuthodaw Pagoda, home to what’s thought to be the world’s largest book, and the 19th century Shwenandaw Monastery, with its foreboding dark-wood carvings and red roof. Finish with a walk along what is – at 1.2 kilometres – the world’s longest teak bridge. Constructed in the mid 19th century, it’s built from reclaimed wood from the royal palace at Ava. For your last night in Myanmar, you’ll enjoy a special farewell dinner.

Stay: RV Princess Panhwar, Myanmar (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 16
Depart Myanmar

After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to Mandalay airport for your overnight flight to the UK.

Meals: B

Day 17
Arrive UK

Returning back to the UK, continue your onward journey home.



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Superior

17-day river cruise from £4,395 incl. flights


Low Season

from £4,395 pp. incl. flights

High Season

from £4,695 pp. incl. flights


  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Return international flights
  • Private transfers
  • 17-day APT river cruise
  • Meals as specified
  • Complimentary beverages served with lunch & dinner
  • Services of an APT Tour Director throughout and local guides in each destination 

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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Adjust your itinerary with our recommended extensions

Kachin Extension

4-day tailor-made extension

Kachin State, Burma’s most northerly province, is remote and rarely visited. It has remained largely untouched due to the looming presence of the Himalayas, which provide a powerful barrier to the north.

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