Gain a unique perspective of Myanmar with a combined luxury land tour and river cruise. The Belmond Orcaella is a luxurious intimate river cruiser, both inspiring and leisurely. Achieve the perfect balance of adventure, indulgent dining and self-care on your journey. This is truly a luxurious journey of discovery.
Depart the UK with international economy flight to Yangon. We can also arrange departures from your local airport at no extra cost.
Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to the hotel. Photo stop and visit city centre and colonial districts of Yangon.
Afternoon, we visit Haukhtatgyi Reclining Buddha Image and Shwedagon Pagoda. Erected more than 2,500 years ago and enshrining eight hairs of Buddha placed in a treasure chamber deep under its base, it is the highest symbol of the people’s devotion to Buddha.
Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner at Karaweik Royal Barge Restaurant with Myanmar culture show.
This morning after breakfast we transfer to board our river cruise, the Belmond Orcaella! We are delighted to welcome you on board our wonderful river cruiser. Check in on board at 08:00, when our crew will escort you to your cabin and give you a brief introduction to the facilities. At 08:30 Belmond Orcaella departs from Yangon Nanthidar jetty. Leaving Myanmar’s busy trading ports behind, you will pass through the picturesque landscape of the Twante Canal, whose banks are dotted with small villages and farms. The canal, which connects the Yangon River with the Ayeyarwady, was constructed in 1883 during British colonial rule for use by the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company. Today it remains a major thoroughfare for cargo ships and local boats travelling from Yangon to the delta region and Upper Myanmar.
Mid-morning there will be a welcome briefing and the chance to meet the Captain and officers in the Lounge Bar, which is located on the Observation Deck. Our Hotel Manager, Win Min, will give a short talk on “Life on board and safety”.
Between 12:00 and 14:00 a delicious buffet lunch is served in the Restaurant on the Upper Deck. During the afternoon you can attend a fascinating talk by your guide on “Myanmar ways of life” in the Lounge Bar.
Tonight, at 18:30, you are invited to a welcome cocktail party on the Observation Deck. From 19:00 make your way to the Restaurant for your first enticing dinner prepared by Chef Bansani and her team, promising a delicious choice of local specialities and fusion delicacies.
At 07:00 Belmond Orcaella sets sail towards Danuphyu and breakfast is served in the Restaurant on the Upper Deck, or in your cabin.
At 09:00 you are escorted on a morning visit by trishaw to the little remote town of Danuphyu, where the revered General Maha Bandula led a Burmese defensive against the British troops during the Anglo-Burmese war. You will visit the Maha Bandula memorial at Pali University (a Buddhist monastery). Afterwards you can see Burmese cheroots being made and enjoy a local teashop experience. Return to the ship at 11:00 and continue cruising.
Between 12:30 and 14:00 a buffet lunch is served in the Restaurant. During afternoon tea in the Lounge Bar, why not join your guide for an interesting discussion on aspects of Myanmar, including religion, culture, traditions and lifestyle.
Dinner is served in the Restaurant from 19:00, after which you can enjoy a traditional folk dance performance on the Observation Deck.
Today you can relax and enjoy a number of activities on board. Breakfast is served in the Restaurant or in your cabin – as you prefer – from 07:00. Throughout the day, we hope to have a famous local astrologer on board to read your palm and divine your future. At 10:30 you are warmly invited to attend and participate in a “longyi” (Myanmar traditional dress) and “thanaka” (local makeup) demonstration on the Observation Deck.
A buffet lunch is served in the Restaurant between 12:30 and 14:00. At 16:00 you can enhance your gastronomic knowledge and skills at a cooking demonstration hosted by Executive Chef Bansani on the Observation Deck. As we sail you will also be able to view the spectacular cliff carvings at Akauk Taung.
Wear your new Burmese garment with pride at our vibrant Longyi Cocktail Party, starting at 18:30 on the Observation Deck, followed by dinner in the Restaurant from 19:00. At 21:30 return to the Observation Deck and prepare to be dazzled by the deft trickery of renowned Burmese magician, Aladdin.
Breakfast is served in the Restaurant or in your cabin from 07:00. At 09:30 we embark on a morning excursion by mini-bus to Sri Ksetra (“Fabulous City”) with its unique, cylindrical-shaped stone stupas. Dating from the 5th-9th centuries, this ancient city flourished during the rule of the Phyu. The next stop is nearby Pyay, which in the 1890’s was a booming trade town and still enjoys bustling activity in and around the docks. Continue to the impressive Shwesandaw Pagoda (said to date back to 589 BC) and the imposing, 10-storey sitting Buddha.
Return to Belmond Orcaella at 12:30 and enjoy a buffet lunch in the Restaurant. Relax on board for the afternoon and take advantage of the facilities. At 16:00 indulgent afternoon teas are served in the Lounge Bar, and from 19:00 dinner is served in the Restaurant.
Enjoy a morning on board, with breakfast served in the Restaurant from 07:00, and a fascinating lecture by Dr Khin Maung Nyunt on “Changes and current situation in Myanmar” in the Lounge Bar between 10:30 and 11:30. From 12:00 to 14:00 a buffet lunch is served in the Restaurant.
At 15:00 your afternoon excursion begins with a visit to Gwechaung Fort, one of the strongholds built by Italian architects for the Burmese king in 1860 to keep the British at bay. Transfer by local boat to Gwechaung village and enjoy a journey by ox cart for a glimpse of rural life along the Ayeyarwady River. Return to Belmond Orcaella at 17:30 to rest and freshen up.
At 19:00 you will alight again for a special dinner in the grounds of Min Hla Fort, site of a great battle during the third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885. We gather at reception ready for the 10-minute, torch-lit walk.
Breakfast is served in the Restaurant or in your cabin between 06:30 and 08:15.
At 08:30 you are escorted on a visit to Magwe by tuk tuk. The first stop is the busy local market to experience the daily hustle and bustle, after which you head to the splendid gilded Myathalon Pagoda, which draws people from miles around during important religious festivals. Rejoin Belmond Orcaella at 10:30.
A buffet lunch is served in the Restaurant between 12:00 and 14:00. From 16:00, as you partake of a delicious afternoon tea in the Lounge Bar, you can browse a range of local handicrafts, which make wonderful mementos of your journey.
At 19:00 dinner is served in the Restaurant. Afterwards we offer you entertainment on the Sundeck in the form of a classical puppet show. Historically puppet shows were performed for the royal court and usually depicted stories from the early life of the Buddha, but they were also used as a way of conveying messages to the king.
This morning enjoy breakfast either in the Restaurant or in your cabin between 07:00 and 09:00. At 09:00 prepare to disembark for a sightseeing tour of Salay by mini-bus. Visit the beautiful 19th-century ancient teak monastery, Yout-Saun-Kyaung, a fine example of monastic architecture of the late Konbaung period, then continue to the impressive 20 ft straw lacquer Buddha. Return to Belmond Orcaella at 10:30.
A buffet lunch is served in the Restaurant between 12:30 to 14:00.
At 16:00 you leave the ship again for a magical sunset tour of Bagan by mini-bus. You will see the Ananda, one of the finest and best preserved of the ancient city’s temples, dating from 1100, and the multi-terraced Shwesandaw Pagoda. You will be able to witness the sun set over the magnificent plain before returning to the ship at 18:00. Back on board, dinner is served in the Restaurant from 19:30 to 10:00.
Breakfast is served in the Restaurant between 07:00 and 08:30. At 08:30 you alight to continue exploring Bagan by bus, beginning with a visit to the vibrant market of Nyaung Oo and continuing with the Hti-Lo-Min-Lo Temple, the revered Shwezigon Pagoda and the 13th-century Min Nan Thu monastic complex. Afterwards you visit a lacquer-ware workshop to see the traditional craft in action.
Return to the ship at 12:00 and enjoy a buffet lunch in the Restaurant between 12:30 and 14:00.
At 14:00 there is a choice of afternoon excursions. Either join a bus tour to visit the magnificent Gubyaukgyi temple, famous for its frescoes and stucco works, followed by traditional Pwa Saw village. Or hire a horse and cart with a driver to do some local sightseeing – or even rent a bicycle and pedal off on your own private tour.
Return to the ship at 18:00 and prepare for your final evening on board, commencing with a farewell cocktail party on the Observation Deck at 19:00 with entertainment in the form of an elephant dance, and culminating in a splendid dinner in the Restaurant served from 19:30.
This morning we say goodbye to our cruise ship, disembark early and begin with a trip to Mt. Popa, about 30 miles (50 km) from Bagan. On the way stop to see skillful toddy-palm climbers collecting the wine on top of the trees, at a toddy palm juice & palm sugar (jaggery) making cottage. Have a taste of this Burmese candy! We then visit a village and see the ways of Myanmar village life. By chance, you can see making oil from peanut and sesame seeds by rotating the cows to mortar and pestle in traditional way.
We continue on and reach Popa Taung Kalut, which is 2417 ft (737 m) standing apart from higher forested mountain and looks like a tower. The mountain was shaped out of a volcano that may have erupted some 250,000 years ago. The 25 minutes climb is steep and stiff and it gets cooler as you get higher, but the effort is worth it as the views are fantastic. Back to Bagan we can sit back and relax as we enjoy a bike or horse cart ride among majestic temples of Bagan – a wonderful way to see Bagan!
A short flight takes you from Bagan to Mandalay this morning! Mandalay, the second largest city of Myanmar and one of the ancient royal capitals is often perceived and described in literature as Asia at its most traditional, timeless and alluring but those who go meet a booming and vibrant city located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. However, despite the energy and thriving business it’s where the cultural heart of Myanmar lies and tradition of music, dance and drama are still alive. Upon arrival we will be met and then drive to Amarapura and visit a Silk weaving workshop, followed by U Bein Bridge – 1.6 km long wooden bridge said to be the longest teak bridge in the world, built over 150 years ago. The bridge links Amarapura with an island in the middle of Lake Taungthaman, an intermittent body of water which dries up during winter. Once finished we head back to Mandalay and check-in at hotel.
In the evening, visit Buddha Image, bronze casting and marble stone cutting craftsmen quarters and gold leaf beaters. Visit Ku ThoDaw Pagoda, also known as world’s largest book, surrounded by 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist scriptures. Proceed to Golden Palace Monastery, which was once part of the palace complex where King Mindon lived.
This evening enjoy a panoramic view from Mandalay Hill.
The day will begin with a transfer to the airport for departure to Heho by scheduled flight. On arrival in Heho you are now in the Shan State – agreeable climate 800 meters above sea level. We drive to Nyaung Shwe with a photo stop en route at Shwe Yan Pyay old wooden monastery, pagoda. We then enjoy sightseeing by boat on the beautiful Inle Lake, the second largest lake in Myanmar stretching 11 miles (17.7 km) and home to the Inthar national race, many of whom live in stilted houses built over the water. On the boat trip you will visit floating villages and floating gardens, and witness lotus stems weaving at Innpawkhone Village. You can also see Inthar technique of leg-rowing where one leg is wrapped around the paddle to drive the boat and also their traditional way of fishing. Visit the famous PhaungDawOo Pagoda.
Take enjoyable boat ride through irrigation canals to Indein pagoda complex – an archaeological site worthy to visit hundreds of Shan style ruined pagoda standing on a slope of the hill. Some of the pagodas dated back to 17th and 18th centuries.
This morning we transfer to the airport and depart for Yangon by scheduled flight. Upon arrival we will be met and transfer to hotel for check-in.
This afternoon visit Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott Market) which has more than 2,000 shops and a big selection of handicrafts, souvenirs and clothes. We then visit Chinatown market which is the busiest area of Yangon with local food hawkers in the streets.
Today you will be transferred to airport for departure international economy flight to UK.
Arrival back in UK.
5* The Governor’s Residence
A romantic, colonial-style mansion dating from the 1920s, Belmond Governor’s Residence is redolent of the days when it was home to the ruler of Myanmar’s southern states. With its fan-cooled verandas and teak armchairs, this delightful Belmond hotel in the elegant Embassy Quarter of Yangon, conjures up a bygone era while offering every modern pleasure.
For more information click here
5* Belmond Orcaella
A journey on our river cruiser is both inspiring and leisurely, with lots of time to do as you please. Unwind in your spacious cabin or take in the views from the Observation Deck. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail with new friends or indulge in a soothing spa treatment. Belmond Orcaella hosts just a small number of guests, meaning personal attention and a relaxing journey are at the heart of your pleasure cruise.
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5* Aureum Palace Hotel
Set within Bagan Archaeological Preservation Zone amongst the ancient temples of The Kingdom of Bagan this expansive resort and luxury spa set amidst 27 acres of tropical landscaped gardens offers the ultimate in relaxation for guests seeking a unique experience for the historical traveller.
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5* Rupar Mandalar Resort
Rupar Mandalar is a romantic hotel in exotic atmosphere. It is in nature with a touch of culture. Located in Mandalay, Rupar Mandalar hotel is easy accessible from the tourist attractions.
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5* Aureum Palace Resort & Spa
Inle Lake is stunning and to appreciate the extensive natural waterways from the lake shores of Aureum Resort and Spa offers unsurpassed luxury accommodation of villas built over the waters and shores of one of Myanmar’s most stunning natural and cultural wonders, Inle Lake.
For more information click here
After breakfast at the hotel we transfer to the airport and depart for Thandwe by scheduled flight (approx.: 1 Hr flying). Arrive Thandwe and transfer to the hotel. Leisure and sea activities on the beach.
Breakfast at the hotel, leisure and sea activities on the beach.
After breakfast we transfer to airport for scheduled flight to Yangon. We will be met on arrival and transfer to hotel for check-in.
In the afternoon we visit Scott Market which has more than 2,000 shops and a big selection of handicrafts, souvenirs, clothes. We then continue to the hustle and bustle of busy Chinatown.
Today we will be transferred to the airport for our departure flight home.
Arrival back in UK.
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We used Emperor for a group trip to India. they were fantastic with their choice of hotels (some truly incredible) their tour guide, the whole programme and their choice of airlines for the trip. We made things quite tough for them with different members of the group travelling for different periods and arriving in and out of different airports. We specifically had some issues with one of the airlines on the return leg of our trip, through no fault of Emperor, but they did their utmost to put things right and made the journey home as pleasant as possible by meeting the cost of a lounge at the airport for us do to the shortcomings of one of the airlines checking in procedures. The pre holiday package of information was very comprehensive and we were presented with very durable luggage tags. We would have no hesitation in recommending Richard and his team in tailoring a package for a trip to India. We had an amazing culturally stimulating trip and will certainly go back to India in the future.