Cruise the Upper Irrawaddy - Mandalay to Bagan

8 Days, from AU $2,655

The Cruise Ship

Temples of Bagan

Ancient City of Sagaing

U-Bein Bridge, Amarapura

Myatheindan Pagoda, Mingun

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With a luxury cruise ship as your floating hotel, discover Mandalay and Bagan in a unique way, which will take you beyond the average visitor’s experience. After your daily excursion, enjoy the incredible landscapes and architecture from the sundeck while the sun slowly disappears behind the hills, lighting up the sky in an array of orange and red colours.

The ship will cruise weekly between the historic cities with two nights moored at Bagan and three at Mandalay, exploring small towns and villages of lost Burma along the way.

Visiting Burma (Myanmar) is to travel into the past, into a mysterious and undiscovered world. Sharing borders with India and Bangladesh to the west, Tibet and China to the north, and Thailand and Laos to the east, Burma is a melting pot of cultures from across Asia. Along with a century of British colonialism, Burma is a unique destination that captivates travellers.

The cruise may be fantastic on its own or as an add-on for your holiday. This tour starts  in Mandalay and ends in Bagan or vice versa, however transfers from other locations can be arranged as required. Discuss options with our Asia Travel Experts.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Mandalay

Upon arrival, you will be met by your guide to transfer from the airport to the ship. Embark for lunch and afternoon excursion to central Mandalay visiting the palace and hill areas, crafts workshops and for a spot of shopping.

With its numerous monasteries and pagodas and its rich history, Mandalay is the cultural and religious heart of Burma. Built on the shores of the Irrawaddy River at the foot of Mandalay Hill, this former royal capital of the Burmese Kingdom and last home of the kings is now Burma’s second largest city. Its name was made famous by Rudyard Kipling’s book ‘The Road to Mandalay’ and evokes images of a bygone era and the city’s former royal glory.

Itinerary Option: If you wish to spend some more time in Mandalay before continuing your journey, discuss additional nights and activities in Mandalay and its surrounding with our Asia experts.

Day 2: Mingun

Morning walk in Mingun, a small town with many Buddhist monuments and most famous for its unfinished Pahtodawgyi pagoda and the world’s largest working bell. Rumours state that the pagoda has not been finished because of an astrologer claim, which supposed that the King would die once it has been completed. At a height of approximately 150 metres, it would have been the largest one in the world. You will embark again for sailing upstream in the afternoon.

Day 3: Nwe Nyein Village

Cruise up river to Kyauk-Myoung (Nwe Nyein Village) with its amazing pottery villages where the famous 50 gallon water pots are handmade. Return downstream to Sagaing jetty to moor up.

Sagaing was the capital of the Sagaing Kingdom and is located about 20 km southwest of Mandalay. With plenty of pagodas and monasteries spread along the hills running parallel to the river, Sagaing is an important religious centre. Enjoy the beautiful views from the cruise ship’s sundeck.

Day 4: Ava and Amarapura

You will arrive in Mandalay early for a morning excursion to the picturesque Sagaing Hills with many hermitages and nunneries. Afternoon visit to Ava before exploring the ancient capital of Amarapura by coach and onboard a sampan. Cross the iconic U Bein Bridge, perhaps the world’s longest and oldest teak bridge.

Amarapura is a classical Pali name and means ‘The City of Immortals’. Founded by King Bodawpaya in1783, the year after he came to the throne, and it superseded Ava as capital of the Konbaung empire. Nowadays it is a suburb attached to the south of present day Mandalay. The area is populated by craftsmen who, in a legacy from royal times when people lived by royal order in occupation defined communities, still live in the quarters given to them by King Mindon. Thus south of the Maha-muni along the road to Amarapura there are quarters for: stone carvers, wood carvers, bronze casters and in the heart of Amarapura itself a community of silk weavers

Day 5: Yandabo

Cruise downstream throughout the early morning and arrive at Yandabo village. It is a small village that is hardly visited since it can only be reached by boat. The village is famous for its production of terracotta pottery from the river bank clay.

Yandabo is a little village with about 350 houses, which are home to five to ten Burmese. Most of families are involved in the pottery production while the others are farmers, fishermen or supply raw material for the manufacturing. The pots are shipped and sold all over the country.

Day 6: Bagan

Travel to Bagan in the early morning with excursions to Pakkoku, a lively riverside town with many collegiate monasteries. Spend the afternoon exploring the World Heritage Site of Bagan.

On par with Angkor Wat, Bagan, formerly Pagan, ranks as one of the great wonders of the world with over 2,000 awe inspiring pagodas. Situated in central Burma on the plains adjacent to the Irrawaddy River, the city is dotted with thousands of ancient stupas and temples from various eras making it one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the world.

Day 7: Bagan

Today you are able to further explore the wonders of Bagan, with an archaeological area covering some 16 square miles. You can also visit lacquer workshops, observing the traditional methods of handcrafting in what is an important industry for the area.

Day 8: Bagan

Disembark and depart Bagan, with a transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Personalise Your Trip

Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.


The Cruise Ship

The beautifully crafted cruise ships have been hand finished in brass and teak by traditional craftsmen. Whilst luxury and comfort are discreetly present, it is the colonial character and friendly atmosphere that prevail. Each ship has an ultra shallow draft allowing for travel to remote areas, which would be unreachable by other vessels, let alone overland.


Travel Styles

All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.

Superior:from AU $2,655

All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!

Important Information


7 nights aboard your Cruise Ship. All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.

  • All meals on board
  • All airport transfers
  • All transport on tour
  • All itinerary attractions including fees or permits
  • Coffee, tea and water
  • Excursions ashore with guide

Visa for Burma
Burma just started their online e-visas last month.

The e-Visa is open to tourists from 41 countries, including the US, but only grants entry to the country at Yangon International Airport, making the method unsuitable for those crossing at land borders or flying into Mandalay.

Money in Burma

There are now ATMS in major cities but not in local villages and credit cards accepted in some shops. We recommend to take a travelex cash passport and some US money to change over to local Kyat. If you have any kyat left over at the end of your trip you can change (at a lower rate) it back into USD at a hotel, or at the airport when departing.

Price Dependent:

Availability of accommodation and season.

Trip Information

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"The trip was excellent. This was a true insight into the History, Culture, hardships ,the wonderful Buddhist nature of the Burmese People and the beauty of the” Road to Mandalay” So you can see I am a big Fan. The Orient crew were all fantastic and having 5 chefs for 16 guests was a treat. I will definitely cruise again " — Mr Ginges, Sydney, October 2019

"Myanmar was wonderful. People are just beautiful. So happy, kind, giving and generous. Pandaw was perfect. What a beautiful vessel. The passengers in our particular group were really good company. I would certainly recommend this River Cruise and rate it highly. " — Mrs Vaughen, Gold Coast, March 2019

"The trip was well organised, our fellow travellers were easy to get on with. We hope one day to have you organise another trip for us! We enjoyed Laos and Myanmar. " — Mr and Mrs Faragher, Shallow Bay, March 2019

"Our trip was amazing. From the moment we boarded the plane in Sydney everything went like clockwork. Each guide we had spoke wonderful English and did everything in their power to make sure we had a great time. We could not speak more highly of the entire Myanmar experience. For me the Balloon ride in Bagan was a highlight of a life spent travelling. The cruise, WOW. Dallas turned 70 while we were aboard the river cruise and the staff had discovered this from his passport. They organised a special celebration with the entire crew singing, dancing , a beautiful cake and a special gift. " — Mr and Mrs Davies and party, Melbourne, November 2018

"We had a wonderful time. Ballons over Bagan was the highlight so thanks for suggesting that. The guide on Pandaw cruise was fantastic as were the other staff and they made our anniversary special. Thanks for organising our holiday. It was another great trip from Getaboutasia, fantastic job. " — Mr and Mrs Langridge, Marylands WA, November 2018

"We had a wonderful holiday. Only 13 of us on the boat, so was VIP service and food and guide were exceptional. Inle Lake was sensational. So glad we added that on. I highly recommend the trip we did. " — Mrs Morrison and Mrs Maskey, Newcastle West, October 2018

" The Myanmar cruise was excellent I really enjoyed it. The food excellent, the boat staff were most kind and attentive, our guide was very informative and was also lots of fun. The accommodation on board was charming and sort of historical. I felt I had seen a lot of Burmese life. Very successful, I could be interested in the Laos cruise later in the year." — Malcolm, Gold Coast, March 2018

"I did enjoy Myanmar, the cruise was excellent the crew were very attentive. The cleanliness on the boat was excellent. The coaches sent to take us on outings were good.. Food is cheap if you buy local and beer is $3 a bottle. On the boat is inclusive. Thank you!" — Mrs Minissale, Perth, January 2018

"We had a wonderful time on the cruise. Crew were amazing and very helpful. Nothing was too much trouble for them. Food was great. We even had a visit to the home of one of the crew members. It was great to see how simply they live. People of Myanmar are very friendly. Even though they are quite poor they make the most of what they have and don't seem to realise they are poor. " — Mr and Mrs Geldard, Springwood, April 2017

"The Mandalay – Bagan Cruise was fantastic, we'd do the Borneo one but 2 in the same year feels too decadent :) Their service was amazing though. It is a great cruise for people who are anti-cruise. Plus the cabins are nicer than most hotels. Looking forward to booking our next trip with GetAboutAsia and we'll be recommending their services to our fellow travellers." — Mr and Mrs Shipley, Ipswich QLD , February 2016

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