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15 Days | Myanmar Explorer


Rich history and mystical wonders await you in Thailand and Myanmar. There’s natural and spiritual beauty everywhere, from Bangkok’s glittering Grand Palace to the countless ancient stupas and pagodas of Bagan to breathtaking Inle Lake, where waterside villages harbor floating gardens and a timeless tradition of silk weaving. Discover Burma of old, celebrated in Rudyard Kipling’s poem Mandalay, during an 8-day cruise along the verdant Irrawaddy River. And take in the colonial architecture and ornate palaces and pagodas of Yangon and Mandalay, fascinating melting pots of Asian cultures. Join Viking and witness this corner of Asia frozen in time.

Day 1 | Bangkok, Thailand. Fly to Bangkok. We meet you at the airport* and take you to the Shangri-La Bangkok (or similar) where you check in for a 2-night stay.

Day 2 | Bangkok. This morning you can acclimate yourself to this colorful city. After breakfast at your hotel, take a guided tour of Bangkok’s canals and the famous Grand Palace. Dating to the late 1700s, this walled complex features golden pagodas and stupas (shrines). It has been the royal family’s residence for more than 150 years. In the afternoon, browse an open air market or visit one of the city’s museums on your own. This evening, enjoy a Thai welcome dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)

Day 3 | Yangon, Myanmar. After breakfast, proceed to the airport for your flight to Yangon, the former Burmese capital also known as Rangoon (“end of strife”). Founded in the 11th century as a fishing village, Yangon was transformed into a major hub during the colonial era. It is the country’s largest city and cultural capital. Upon arrival, visit the Shwedagon Pagoda, a spectacular Buddhist temple thought to be more than 2,500 years old. Transfer to the sumptuous Sule Shangri-La (or similar) for a 2-night stay and dinner. (B, D)

Day 4 | Yangon. Today you have a guided tour of more of Yangon’s highlights. View Karaweik Palace, a glittering structure on Kandawgyi Lake designed after a royal barge with an elaborate gilded bow. You will also visit the colonial-era General Aung San Market, or Scott Market, where you will find antiques, Burmese handicrafts, jewelry and art galleries. (B, D)

Day 5 | Inle Lake. After a relaxed morning and a late breakfast, you will fly to Heho, gateway to the tranquil Inle Lake. The lake is lined with simple villages on stilts and dotted with unique floating gardens tended by farmers in their boats. The state of Shan, where the lake is situated, is known for its papermaking and you can witness the craft firsthand during a workshop. This evening, enjoy a traditional dinner at your hotel with a cultural performance. (B, D)

Day 6 | Inle Lake. Today you will immerse yourself in the culture of Inle Lake. Explore the Indein Stupa Complex, a stunning forest of 1,000 ancient towering spires. Stop by one stupa that was restored with support from Viking. Embark a small boat to visit one of the lake’s villages perched on stilts. After lunch here, visit a charming silk-weaving village to witness this intricate craft firsthand and pass by one of the village’s unique floating gardens to learn about their unique cultivation. (B, L, D)

Day 7 | Mandalay. Fly to Mandalay today. Upon arrival, take a panoramic tour of central Mandalay, visiting the Mahamuni Pagoda, with its serene brass statue of the Buddha. Embark your ship this afternoon and enjoy dinner this evening on board. (B, L, D)

Day 8 | Amarapura. Today you will enjoy a full-day tour of Mandalay, including Mandalay Palace and Kuthodaw Complex, containing the world’s biggest book. After a visit to the Myanmar Buddhist Orphanage Association and lunch at a local restaurant, you will stop to see gold-leaf beating and other traditional crafts. We then proceed to Amarapura, a more recent Burmese capital, now a township of Mandalay. We will see the city’s U Bein Bridge; at three quarters of a mile, it is the world’s longest teak bridge. Take a boat ride on the lake this evening for a great view of the sunset. (B, L, D)

Day 9 | Ohn Ne Choung. Today, the timeless and tranquil life along the Irrawaddy River unfolds before you. You will see spires of stupas poking above treetops and fields being tended by farmers. As you cruise, you can enjoy an onboard presentation about local traditions. Stop to visit Ohn Ne Choung, a traditional riverside farming and fishing community that seems pulled from the past. This evening, learn about the temple-strewn city of Bagan during a lecture. (B, L, D)

Day 10 | Bagan. Bagan was the capital city of Burma from 1044 to 1287. The plain east of the curving Irrawaddy is one of the most wondrous sights in Myanmar. You will visit several of the 3,000 listed monuments: Shwesandaw Pagoda; the 11th-century Ananda, one of the best-preserved Bagan temples; and Ananda Oakkyaung Monastery. You can learn about local lacquerware during a workshop, and later marvel at a magnificent view of Bagan’s vast forest of spires. (B, L, D)

Day 11 | Salé Monasteries. Today’s scenic Irrawaddy cruising is punctuated with an afternoon stop at the famous Salé Monasteries. These 50 monasteries are home to 7,000 residents. The highlight of the day is the teak Yout-Saun-Kyaung, with its spectacular wood carvings, built in 1882. Also explore a nearby area of splendid British colonial-style houses before returning to your ship. (B, L, D)

Day 12 | Yandabo. Today’s scenic cruising will feature a visit to one of the area’s typical small villages, Yandabo. The treaty ending the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826) was signed here in February 1826. Today, the town has a population of about 1,000, and specializes in terra-cotta pottery shaped from riverbank clay. We will spend time at a workshop to see how these useful vessels are created and fired. (B, L, D)

Day 13 | Myint Mu. Monywa. This morning we moor in Myint Mu. From here, you will take a drive to discover Monywa. In this vibrant city on the banks of the Chindwin River, visit Mohnyin Thambuddhei Paya, a massive Buddhist temple originally built in 1303 containing 500,000 images of Buddha. You can also see the longest reclining and the tallest standing Buddhas in the world here. In the afternoon, enjoy a final day of cruising along the magical Irrawaddy River. (B, L, D)

Day 14 | Bangkok, Thailand. Enjoy a final breakfast aboard the ship, then disembark and proceed to the airport. Fly to Bangkok and check into the Shangri-La Bangkok (or equivalent) for a final evening before your flight home. (B)

Day 15 | Bangkok. After your hotel breakfast, proceed to the Bangkok airport. Or, extend your stay in Bangkok with an additional 2-night extension so you can experience more of this fascinating city. (B)

NOTE: Itinerary is subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the itinerary schedule you receive with your final documents. *Airport meet and greet transfers included when air is purchased from Viking River Cruises.

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