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RV Zawgyi Pandaw, Myanmar

Myanmar – Irrawaddy River Cruise



12 Days

Prices Start from

$3,493 (ex. flights)

Over eight days cruise the Irrawaddy River taking in tranquil scenery, magnificent archaeological temples and pagodas, visiting local markets as well as the chance view the temples of Bagan by hot air balloon at sunrise. Topped and tailed with visits to Yangon and Inle Lake, this relaxing 12 day holiday includes all Myanmar’s highlights.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Sundeck, Sanctuary Ananda, Mandalay, Myanmar 1

Luxury Small Ship

Cruise the Irrawaddy River aboard a luxury, small ship with expert guides, delicious cuisine and small group sightseeing.

Balloons of Bagan, Balloon Safari, Bagan, Myanmar 2

Alternative Temple Views

Explore one of Bagan’s temples by torchlight or view the entire complex from the air by hot air balloon.

Portrait of a Lady, Myanmar 3

Village Life

Visit remote local communities only accessible by boat.

View from small green kayak towards river channel with lush green water farm on either side and bright blue sky. 4

Inle Lake by Kayak

Kayak to peaceful villages, stopping for a picnic lunch amidst bamboo forest. A relaxing and environmentally friendly experience.

Why we like it

A cruise is a fabulous way to watch life as it unfolds along the Irrawaddy River – Myanmar’s historical and commercial heart. We work with a handful of boats, chosen for their service, expertise of staff and commitment to giving something back to the local community. Each one offers a slightly different experience but all offer comfort and access to local communities and little visited temples. Before and after your cruise we have included some less common experiences designed to give back to the local community as well as experience some true Burmese hospitality – kayaking on Inle Lake and supporting local businesses in Yangon.

Explore the itinerary

Internal Flight
Boat Journey
  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
    Yangon - Mandalay - Irrawaddy River
  • Day 4 - 6
    Irrawaddy River Cruise
  • Days 7 - 9
    Irrawaddy River Cruise
  • Day 10
    Mandalay - Inle Lake
  • Day 11
    Inle Lake
  • Day 12
    Inle Lake - Heho - Yangon
Gold Leaf Factory, Mandalay, Myanmar
Gold leaf factory, Mandalay
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon

Supporting Local Communities in Yangon

With our local partners we are always keen to offer sustainable experiences and give back to the countries we visit. Before boarding your cruise spend a few days exploring Yangon, a city which offers a window into Myanmar’s past. Away from the temples join one of our resident guides to spend time with dynamic local entrepreneurs and family run businesses in Yangon, many creating jobs for the disabled community.

Cookery classes, fashion workshops creating accessories from recycled materials and shiatsu training are just some of the local businesses committed to making a positive social impact. Get hands on and create your own recycled piece of jewellery.

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Irrawaddy River, Belmond Road to Mandalay, Myanmar
Bicycle, U Bein Bridge, Amarapura, Mandalay, Myanmar
U Bein Bridge, Amarapura

Guides and Experiences Onboard your Cruise

The onboard expedition teams include local guides who know every historic and cultural tradition on the Irrawaddy. Onshore excursions include travel by horse-drawn carts, trishaws, small boats or on foot or bike, rather than seeing the sites from behind the windows of an air-conditioned bus. Explore colourful markets, gilded pagodas and rural life with time among local village people supporting philanthropic causes.

Activities on board the ship include some wonderful lectures and tastefully presented demonstrations on Myanmar customs. There is also plenty of time to relax onboard making the most of facilities onboard which include yoga classes, pools and spa on some boats.

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Sanctury Ananda, Irrawaddy River, Myanmar
Sanctuary Ananda, Irrawaddy River
Sanctury Ananda, Irrawaddy River, Myanmar
Sanctuary Ananda, Irrawaddy River
Sanctury Ananda, Irrawaddy River, Myanmar
Sanctuary Ananda
Sanctury Ananda, Irrawaddy River, Myanmar
Sanctuary Ananda

Boat Choices - Why Choose Sanctuary Ananda?

The Sanctuary Ananda is a boutique floating hotel, styled in beautiful Burmese furnishings. A 21 cabin, suite-only vessel, it is one of the finest boats on the Irrawaddy. All suites have floor to ceiling windows and private balconies, the perfect spot to enjoy an early morning cup of tea or coffee as the river drifts by. The spa and plunge pool are an added bonus. Sanctuary are committed to working with local communities and during their itineraries visit a small village where they have built facilities including a school and provided emergency assistance during severe flooding.

Pandaw II, Irrawaddy River, Myanmar
Pandaw II, Irrawaddy River
RV Zawgyi Pandaw, Myanmar
RV Zawgyi Pandaw, Irrawaddy River

Boat Choices - Why Choose Pandaw?

Pandaw has twelve beautifully crafted ships, all conveying a sense of colonial character with luxury cabins. The shallow drafts of all the ships allow travel to remote areas, unreachable overland. As a result, in addition to cruising the Irrawaddy, their fleet also offer itineraries along the Chindwin River as well as the Mergui Archipelago and a Myanmar Coastal Voyage. Solo travellers can often profit from some excellent savings with Pandaw and their ships also work well for families.

Fishing rods, bikes, badminton equipment and footballs are carried onboard and some family friendly activities are scheduled during school holidays.

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Balcony, Orcaella, Bagan, Myanmar
Belmond Road to Mandalay
Irrawaddy River, Belmond Road to Mandalay, Myanmar
Belmond Road to Mandalay

Boat Choices - Why Choose Belmond Road to Mandalay?

The Belmond Road to Mandalay is a graceful river cruiser offering very high standards of comfort and luxury, with unparalleled personal service and gourmet regional cuisine. After twenty years on the river, close partnerships with local communities have resulted in the Belmond Myanmar Foundation which works to improve healthcare and education for local communities. Guests on board can enjoy insider access and a journey that would be hard to mirror on land.

Let’s chat

Speak to our experts

Our team is waiting to help you tailor a trip that will leave you with stories for a lifetime. Call us on

01285 601 784

Send us an enquiry

Complete our enquiry form and start your next journey.


Your expertise helped us with our choices of activity, and we were often pleasantly surprised by some of the things arranged - the boat building at Inle was fascinating, we loved eating in the Burmese houses and thought that a real highlight and adored the ballooning in Bagan.


Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?

Why Steppes

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