Myanmar river cruises - irrawaddy net fisherman
Myanmar river cruises - U Bein Bridge
Myanmar river cruises - Kyauk-Myoung
Myanmar river cruises - journey to the upper irrawaddy
Myanmar river cruises - Buddhist monks

A Journey to the Upper Irrawaddy

FURTHER JOURNEYS IN MYANMAR  brown-arrow-right.png

Day 1 - Arrive Mandalay
You will be met on arrival in Mandalay, the former royal capital and centre of Burmese culture, and driven to your hotel.

Overnight: Hotel by the Red Canal

Day 2 - Mandalay
The area surrounding Mandalay is home to several ancient Burmese capitals, including Ava and Sagaing, which are well worth exploring. In Mandalay, workshops and artisans flourish, and there are wonderful photo opportunities at U-Bein, the world's longest wooden bridge.

Overnight: Hotel by the Red Canal

Day 3 - Board RV Kha Byoo
Board your characterful river cruiser, the RV Kha Byoo before setting sail towards Kyauk-Myoung where the well-known 50-gallon water pots are made. You will have the opportunity to see all stages of the manufacturing process, from the potters throwing pots to the week-long process of firing in a vast kiln. Returning to the ship for refreshments, you can relax and take in the views as Kha Byoo enters the Irrawaddy's Third Defile.

The Kha Byoo is an elegant colonial-style expeditionary river cruiser with 10 cabins split over two decks. In addition to the comfortable air-conditioned en-suite cabins, facilities include an open-air lounge and observation deck, a library, bar, onboad bakery and bistro-style al fresco dining area. 

Kha Byoo Deck Plan 1


Please note: on certain sailing dates, the RV Zawgyi Pandaw will be used instead of RV Kha Byoo. Zawgyi is a similar vessel with 10 cabins - six on the main deck and four on the upper deck - and similar facilities to Kha Byoo.

Overnight: RV Kha Byoo (or RV Zawgyi Pandaw)

Day 4 - Khanyat
After breakfast on board there will be a stop at Khanyat village, where you can explore the many Buddhist monasteries and visit the former head teacher's house, which includes his small museum collection. You might also pay a visit the village's Buddhist orphanage and see the graves of English officers assassinated in the village during the Pacification of Burma. There will be chance in the afternoon to climb the recognisable Pagoda Hill at Tigyang, where from the top you will have beautiful views of the Upper Irrawaddy.

Overnight: RV Kha Byoo

Day 5 - Katha
The setting for George Orwell's novel Burmese Days, the quaint colonial town of Katha is little changed. It has an interesting old fire station with a collection of bells from scuppered Irrawaddy Flotilla Company ships from 1942's Act of Denial during the Second World War; and you can also head further upstream to visit Katha's elephant logging camp up in the leafy hardwood forests. 

Overnight: RV Kha Byoo

Day 6 - Upstream to Kyunt Daw Island
Disembark Kha Byoo today in favour of agile local boats that are able to access to enchanting small village at Kyunt Daw, where you can wander leisurely around ornate pagodas and be immersed in authentic Burmese village life.

Overnight: RV Kha Byoo

Day 7 - Cruise the Second Defile
A leisurely day relaxing on board and admiring the views as your boat sails through the Second Defile - the Irrawaddy's most dramatic river gorge, with towering, sheer cliffs lining the narrow channel.

Overnight: RV Kha Byoo

Day 8 - Tagaung
Today will be spent visiting the charming ancient city of Tagaung, which many believe to be the first capital of Myanmar and has an important place in the country's history and mythology. Interesting sites include the historic fortifications, which date back to the First and Second Millenniums, a vast archaeological area and the well-known spirit shrine. As the sun begins to set, there will be chance to climb Pagoda Hill for lovely views down to the river.

Overnight: RV Kha Byoo

Day 9 - Mingun
The boat will set sail early this morning and will stop at Mingun for you to see the largest working bell in the world as well as the town's enormous Unfinished Pagoda, begun by King Bodawpaya in 1790. Afterwards, a beautiful drive through the hills of Sagaing will reveal mesmerising views.  

Overnight: RV Kha Byoo
Day 10 - Mandalay
Disembark RV Kha Byooin Mandalay and head to the airport for your onward flight to Yangon, where you will be met on arrival and driven to the very comfortable Savoy Hotel.

Overnight: The Savoy Hotel

Day 11 - Yangon
Explore the city with your local guide, who will introduce you to vibrant Scott Market as well as the crumbling colonial district and Botataung and Shwedagon pagodas.

Overnight: The Savoy Hotel

Day 12 - Depart Yangon
Transfer to Yangon airport to catch your flight out of Myanmar. 

NB: The above itinerary illustrates one version of the journey. There is another version which differs slightly in terms of order of activities; but covers the same sights.  



From £2,778 / $4,298 per person for land arrangements (excluding international flights), based on two people sharing a double/twin room/cabin on board Kha Byoo. On board Kha Byoo all your meals, excursions, soft drinks, local beer, local spirits and tips for crew are included.

All of our itineraries are tailor-made according to the interests of our clients and the above itinerary is an example only. Please contact our Myanmar holidays specialist, Edward Granville, for your own luxury holiday to Myanmar on +44 (0)1242 787805.

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