Transfer from airport to ship. Embark for lunch and afternoon excursion to central Mandalay visiting the palace and hill areas, crafts workshops and shopping.
Though Rangoon is the modern day capital, Mandalay or Yadanapura - the 'City of Gems', remains the Golden Land's spiritual capital. To know Mandalay and its pleasant surrounds is to know Burma. Situated in the heart of Upper Burma, the city is at the hub of river routes from China and India and land routes from the Shan massif and Siam beyond. The city throbs with life and trade. This is a city of markets and monasteries and is no touristic backwater. As well as being the economic epicentre of Upper Burma Mandalay is the religious capital of Burma. There as many living monasteries and pagodas as Pagan has dead ones and the monastic population numbers over 100,000. The present city covers an area of 25 square miles and is rapidly growing.
Transfer from airport to ship. Embark for lunch and afternoon excursion to central Mandalay visiting the palace and hill areas, crafts workshops and shopping. Though Rangoon is the modern day capital, Mandalay, or Yadanapura - the 'City of Gems' remains the Golden Land's spiritual capital. To know Mandalay and its pleasant surrounds is to know Burma. Situated in the heart of Upper Burma, the city is at the hub of river routes from China and India and land routes from the Shan massif and Siam beyond. The city throbs with life and trade. This is a city of markets and monasteries and is no touristic backwater. As well as being the economic epicentre of Upper Burma Mandalay is the religious capital of Burma There as many living monasteries and pagodas as Pagan has dead ones and the monastic population numbers over 100,000. The present city covers an area of 25 square miles and is rapidly growing.
Around the palace area the devout king lavished donation upon donation constructing splendid teak monasteries for the royal monks, rest houses for pilgrims, shrines on the Mandalay hill and most significantly the great Kuthodaw Pagoda. The Kuthodaw is rightly said to be the world's largest book as here the king had the Buddhist scriptures inscribed on 1,774 marble slabs, each housed in its own private pavilion. These many dedications may be visited today and truly conjure an image of the strange mix between opulence and obeisance that existed in royal Burma.
The British captured Mandalay in 1885 following a campaign for control of the Irrawaddy and on 1st January 1886 the Burmese empire was formally annexed by Lord Randolph Churchill as he rose his glass at the stroke of midnight. The royal palace was renamed Fort Dufferin and a new city on a grid plan was laid out to the south-west of the palace-city extending to the river bank and its important port. This plan remains to this day though sadly many of the old colonial buildings have been lost - either in the war, fire or 1990s developers. Glimpses of the old colonial city may still be seen, particularly in the downtown area around the MahamuniHpaya-gyi-the city's principal shrine.
DAY 2 MINGUN
Morning walk in Mingun and afternoon cruise up river to further sailing upstream.
We cast off early and stop at Mingun to see the largest working bell in the world and the unfinished pagoda that is the largest single mass of brick building in the world. We also visit the Mingun Old People’s Home originally established with the assistance of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company in the 1930s.
DAY 3 KYAUK-MYOUNG
Cruise up river to Kyauk-myoung (Nwe Nyein Village) with its amazing pot villages and return downstream to Sagaing jetty.
DAY 4 AVA
Arrive Mandalay early for a morning excursion to the picturesque Sagaing Hills with its many hermitages and nunneries. Afternoon visit to Ava and next we explore the ancient capital of Amarapura by coach and sampan. Sunset over U Beinbridge.
"And here it may be said that of all the ruined capitals of Burma which make their appeal on behalf of the transitoriness of life...Ava is the most gracious".
VC Scott O'Connor Mandalay (1907)
Ratanapura, City of Gems, Ava or Inwa was the intermittent capital of Burma between the decline of Pagan around 1300 and the final move to Amarapura in 1837. However it was not till Thalun’s decision to move the capital from Toungoo to Ava in 1637 that it truly became the centre of power until 1752 when it was sacked by the Mons. Following the rise of a new Burmese dynasty,the Konbaung in 1756,Hsinbyushin moved the capital back. Even after 1837 the Burmese kings were still referred to as the King's of Ava.
Situated on the confluence of the Irrawaddy and Myitnge rivers the place was easily defended and today makes a pleasant excursion. The city follows the classic Burmese city plan: fortified with zig zag walls and surrounded by artificial moats linked to the two rivers. The brick walls are still evident, though tumbled down in part. Of the original palace, state offices and regimental quarters little survives, as they were made of wood and relocated to Amarapura in 1837. The area is now under farmland and a horse cart ride through the paddy fields from monument to monument gives a pleasant glimpse of life in rural Burma.
We visit the BagayaKyaung, a 200 year old royal monastery made of teak with elaborate wood carvings.
DAY 5 YANDABO
Cruise downstream throughout the early morning and arrive at Yandabo village, famous for its production of terrocotta pottery from the river bank clay.
Here we visit the Pandaw School built with donations from past Pandaw passengers and see potteries, the main industry for this village.
DAY 6 PAKOKKU
We are visiting the local market and town center by TukTuk. Arrive Pagan and afternoon exploring a selection of the 3,000 plus monuments by coach.
DAY 7 PAGAN
Further full day explorations of Pagan and visits to lacquer workshops.
Pagan is one of the richest archeological sites in the world and the highlight of every tour through Myanmar. In between 11th and 13th century the kings of Pagan dynasty ruled the country and ordered thousands of pagodas and temples to be built. There are about 20 temples and pagodas to be seen here with some beautiful ornamentic design.
DAY 8 PAGAN
Disembarkation in Pagan.
Please Note: There is no late check out possible.
Cruise Price Includes: Airport or hotel transfers to/from ship on DAY 1 and DAY 8. Entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, locally made soft drinks, local beer and local spirits, jugged coffee and selection of teas and tisanes, mineral water.
Cruise Price Excludes: International flights, port dues (if levied), laundry, all visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions), imported beverages such as wines, premium spirits and liqueurs, fancy soft drinks like Perrier, espressos and cappuccinos at bar and tips to tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators and cyclo drivers.
Transfer - Transfer from Pagan/ Mandalay airport to ship on the day of embarkation will be provided. Please note that it takes approximately 3.5 hours by drive for transfer from Mandalay airport to ship (Pagan) for embarkation.
Please Note: We are not able to accept early arrivals before 11.00am.
DAY 8 MANDALAY
Disembarkation in Mandalay Saggai Lay Kyun Man Aung Jetty and transfer to the airport or hotel (included).