(Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake)
(Ayeyarwady River Cruise)
Welcome to the wonders of Myanmar. Formerly known as Burma, this is a place forgotten by time where you can get a real sense of the South East Asia of the last century. Be one of the first to experience the new Sanctuary boat in Myanmar; book for travel in 2014 and save $500 per couple! 2014 Cruise Departure Dates: Nov 15,22,29, Dec 6,13 (subject to availability).
Be among the first western tourists to visit this land of timeless spirituality where you’ll interact with the local Shan people in their stilt villages; explore the overgrown ruins of a lost pagoda; visit an authentic monastery constructed centuries ago from ancient teak; taste the wine of Nyaung Shwe; take a horse-cart tour of the majestic temple ruins at Ava; sample the flavorful local delicacies and beer on offer at Yadnar night market; and explore the rich colonial history of Yangon.
From visiting a primary school in Sae Ma village and enjoying tea time in the home of a local family to sampling a Burmese-made cigar, your experienced local guides will take you well beyond the guide book to deliver a genuinely authentic Myanmar experience. You’ll stay at a collection of impeccable five-star hotels, lakeside villas and natural sanctuaries where the local staff will move mountains to ensure your comfort.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle.
At the end of the day many Yangonites leave work and on the way home they stop for some shopping, catch up with friends at a tea shop, visit a pagoda or go to a beer station. This is exactly what you are going to do. The highlight of the tour will be the evening visit to the illuminated Shwedagon Pagoda – a magic and mystical moment at a time that it’s not very busy on the main platform. After the pagoda visit there will be local snacks to be tasted as well as a local draft beer or a fresh lime juice. The tour includes drinks at the highest tower in Yangon, a walk over to the night market downtown, tea and snacks as well as a simple local dinner shared with some locals.
Yangon is a sprawling city with a relatively small downtown area including several markets, colonial buildings, the Yangon River, and a very green area with tree-lined streets and several lakes. During this full day tour you will be shown the different faces of Yangon from the landmarks to the hidden markets that have only seen a few westerners. During the day you will visit the Sule Pagoda, colonial downtown, the harbor, The Strand, and one of the colorful local markets. The reclining Buddha will be visited just before taking a tasteful lunch of typical dishes from tribes from all over the country like Kachin, Shan, and Rakhine. A local market will lead you to a small station where you will take the famous circular train that will bring you right behind Bogyoke Aung San market before heading back to your hotel. The tour includes a drink at the Strand Hotel and lunch at a local restaurant.
Fly from Yangon to Mandalay. Flight time is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
It’s not just the former capital cities around Mandalay that are interesting to visit. During this half day tour you will be taken to the most famous monuments of Mandalay starting with the top of Mandalay hill for a great view over the Mandalay fort. Continue to Atumashi and the Shwenandaw monasteries which are excellent examples of the architecture and crafts work of this region. End with a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda with the white marble slabs. The rest of the day the car and guide are available for additional visits till 6 pm if wanted – we suggest you to visit Yankin Hill.
This is a fun tour to get to know the real Mandalay, starting with a visit to a viewpoint near the Ayeyarwaddy River for a cold Mandalay beer during sunset. Continue to the busy Yadanar night market to have some traditional snacks and a walk around before heading to one of the most famous beer stations and BBQ restaurants in Mandalay. Your guide will order the food and make sure you’re satisfied. Continue before 8:30 PM to the excellent Mandalay marionettes theater for a show performed by a mix of traditional dancers, musicians, and puppeteers.
Welcome aboard!Take some time to get settled in to your stateroom and to explore the length of your ship before lunch.
You'll take an afternoon group excursion by coach to Amarapura with its textile workshops, and Sagaing, the centre of the Buddhist faith in Myanmar, renowned for its monasteries, pagodas and nunneries as well as its silversmiths. Also, you'll be taken by boat to the U Bein Bridge to enjoy the sunset with drinks.Enjoy a welcome dinner on the sandbank overlooking Mingun, followed by a traditional musical performance.
For those who wish, an early morning visit to the village of Sin Kyun is offered. This wonderful community will show you the typical life of the villagers and see a way of life seldom viewed by outsiders.
Later in the morning, you'll visit Mingun to see the Mingun Pagoda, Mingun Bell and the unusually white Myatheindan Pagoda.
Return to the ship and sail south. A choice of lectures and demonstrations are on offer during the afternoon or simply relax on board. In the evening, enjoy sandbank sunset cocktails followed by dinner.
Early morning yoga and meditation on deck, otherwise breakfast at leisure before taking a trishaw to Pakokku to visit the local market, the traditional shoe and cheroot factories.
Return to the ship for lunch, after which take a coach tour of Bagan to see some of the most important temples and pagodas among the 2,000 which comprise this most magnificent archaeological site - the Ananda, the Htilominlo and the Pyathatgyi. Wonder at the sunset from the Pyathatgyi temple before returning to the ship for dinner and a traditional local performance.
Choose one of two early morning optional excursions - a balloon ride over Bagan (at an additional charge) or sunrise meditation at one of the temples. After breakfast sail southwards to Sale where a trishaw awaits to take you to visit Yoke Sone Monastery and the wooden temple of Tha-ta-na Kyaung before returning to the ship for lunch. In the afternoon cruise back to Bagan and visit the sacred Buddhist Shwezigon Pagoda which houses a bone and tooth of the Gautama Buddha and the Gubyaukgyi Temple. Return to the ship by horsecart for a traditional Shan dinner with our Captain.
This morning you'll disembark from your ship and bid farewell to the crew.
Meet your driver for a pier transfer with a private vehicle.
Minnanthu is probably the most favorite temple area amongst frequent Bagan visitors and you know why? It’s quiet, it’s a beautiful area, and the temples here are often completely deserted. Your guide will bring you by car to this forgotten part of Bagan and will spread out a blanket and serve you a great picnic lunch in this historical setting before or after visiting 2 or 3 ancient temples ruins in this area.
One of the many highlights when visiting Myanmar is taking a hot air balloon ride. In the early morning, before sunrise, you will be picked up at your hotel and driven to the launch site for a spectacular hot air balloon ride over the temple zone in Bagan. The mostly British balloon pilots are operating each balloon under the highest UK safety standards and the views you will get are breathtakingly spectacular. After floating in the air and following the wind you will land safely and be welcomed back on the ground by a smiling crew serving cold champagne before taking you back to your hotel. Please note, this is optional and is not included in the tour price.
A full day tour by car with an experienced guide through Bagan will show you the best known temples of the area. You will start the day climbing a pagoda to get an impressive view over the whole area. From here your guide plans his way to some of the other amazing temples that have been here for hundreds of years. Places like the Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, and Thatbyinnyu will certainly impress you. Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant. Around 4:00PM, you will continue the tour by horse cart to Pyathagyi pagoda to catch the sunset with some refreshing drinks served.
Fly from Bagan to Inle Lake. Flight time is approximately 1 hour.
The Red Mountain Estate has been producing quality Myanmar wine like Shiraz, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay since 2006. You will have a tasting of the different wines while enjoying great views over Inle Lake. After, you will continue by car to the wine cellar of the Inle Princess Resort for an exclusive dinner including wine.
Inle Lake is a vast natural lake surrounded by traditional Shan villages. On the lake itself the Intha people have been living for many centuries in villages built entirely on stilts on the lake. Today, you'll be taken by a private motorboat around the lake to discover its natural beauty, visit the floating gardens and hopefully see some of the famous leg rowers as well as enjoy tea time at a local family’s house. On and around the lake, traditional markets are held in different villages according to a 5-day rotating schedule and today you will visit a colorful market frequented by Shan and Pao people living nearby. Afterwards, visit a local cheroot factory where the Burmese cigars are made, floating tomato gardens, Intha Heritage house where the Burmese cats are bred, and if wanted, you can visit a weaving factory. Return to your hotel around 4:00 PM, in time for sunset.
Fly from Inle Lake to Yangon. Flight time is approximately 1 hour.
Built in 1901 the Strand Hotel endures as a Myanmar landmark with its three-stories of Victorian colonnaded charms. This luxury resort offers large suites with lazily whirring ceiling fans, teak floors, and luxurious bathrooms. All rooms are tastefully furnished with a touch of colonial style and are equipped with up to date amenities. Adding to the splendid old-world ambience is a valuable private collection of local art and antiques. From the famous Strand Bar, move on to The Café that peers onto the street or to the famous Strand Grill with its elegant Bagan prints, chandeliers, and glass roof. Take pleasure in an afternoon tea or enjoy Burmese music in the Lobby Lounge.
The Rupar Mandalar Resort is a romantic boutique hotel in an exotic atmosphere surrounded by nature. The hotel has 16 rooms with modern facilities, swimming pool, tennis court, and a health and beauty spa.
Sanctuary Ananda, with a late 2014 launch, is dedicated to sailing the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin rivers. With the largest suites on the rivers, the Ananda will provide an authentic sailing experience combined with five star luxury. Elegant and refined luxury suites are complimented by lavish onboard dining options. Custom-built for Myanmar rivers, Ananda will sail everyday and will explore both popular and less well-known areas of Myanmar. Burmese Myanmar experts will help you delve into the unknown treasures of Myanmar using their wealth of local knowledge.
Perched on the edge of an archaeological wonderland, Bagan Lodge is gateway to some of the world's most magnificent temples and pagodas. The rooms and suites evoke the romance of a storied expedition, albeit in posh, air-conditioned comfort. Their restaurant and bars are fuel to the fire of local adventure, and the swimming pool and spa are an oasis any time of day. The spa features eight private treatment rooms to provide guests with an extensive range of massage and beauty treatments - the perfect way to unwind after a day of discovery.
Inle Lake is stunning and to appreciate the extensive natural waterways from the lake shores of Aureum Resort and Spa it offers unsurpassed luxury accommodation of villas built over the waters and shores of one of Myanmar's most stunning natural and cultural wonders, Inle Lake. Each expansive villa is elegantly decorated with generous space for bathroom and lotus ponds and lavishly equipped with amenities. With private outdoor terrace for viewing a spectacular sunset over the lake and hills beyond, Aureum Resort is the perfect location in which to explore the wonders of this unique destination.
Olive Ramchand ,
June 03, 2014
"I have to admit, this was the BEST vacation I ever had. The tour was nothing less than Fantastic! The hotels were great, the guides were great, the transportation was great, the places were great, the people were great, the food was great and last but not least China, itself was out of this world. I'm so glad I booked this tour and would recommend this to anyone. Thanks so much for all your help, your interest and your recommendations. Steve in China was so attentive, he called constantly to make sure everything was fine. We really had a fabulous time and even my jaded husband who normally only seems to care about where the nearest golf course is, was impressed and had a wonderful time.
Thanks again, and unto the next vacation (although I don't know how we would top this one!!)
Jeanne Tarvin ,
April 21, 2014
"The tour was absolutely fabulous. It all started with the planning. Kathryn graciously accommodated our tight schedule and multiple needs, including a mid-trip change in plans. The tour guides and drivers were all great and extremely knowledgeable. The accommodations and meals were fantastic. I was apprehensive about going to China not knowing the language but it worked out great!"
January 15, 2014
"We just returned on Monday from our wonderful trip to South Korea, Bangkok and Phuket. I wanted to thank you for all of your hard work in planning our tours and adventures. Everything was spot on, from our arrivals at the airports, to the guides and the tours. I would not hesitate to recommend you and your company. It was truly a wonderful vacation. Thank you again.
Bob Feldman ,
November 19, 2013
"I wanted to let you know that our trip to China was great! Everybody enjoyed themselves. When planning a trip I am always concerned about the itinerary, the vehicles and the guides. All 3 of these were great. The guides were particularly good and in this case really made the trip a pleasure. Overall a great trip. Thanks for all you did."
Gloria DeWeese ,
October 10, 2013
"A wonderful trip and everything went like clockwork. Thank you so very much for all your assistance. I hope I will have a chance to work with you again."
Wayne Gavioli ,
September 04, 2013
"We just returned from our thailand/cambodia trip. It was fantastic. You did a great job. The guides were excellent as was the drivers. We loved the Victoria Hotel you selected in Siem. Wish we had more time. Thailand met our expectations but our expectations for Cambodia were low and they exceeded them. Loved the places selected for the included lunches. Certainly would use Kensington again"
Santo Filice ,
August 30, 2013
"Thank you for arranging our guided trip to Thailand - Vietnam. It was a memorable, and pleasant trip - a 1st for us with Kensington tours and a most enjoyable one. We found that we were able to maximize our visit of the the area without the concern of booking hotels, airline, finding parking and understanding the local language. "
Tim Mesarch ,
August 02, 2013
"Alexis helped us fit in all of the sites we wanted to see on our trip to Thailand and Cambodia, and suggested some more. It was valuable talking with someone who had been there and done that. The planning went pretty smoothly, and so did the trip. The local guides were all top-notch! "
July 25, 2013
"I highly recommend Kesington Tours. The planning of our trip to Cambodia was outstanding. Our advisor Alexis Mayer was unbelievably patient, knowledgeable and responsive. We planned the trip in every possible detail and Alexis was extraordinary during the whole process. Once we were in Cambodia, we had a tiny issue with the car. I was able to get in contact with Alexis right away and the problem was instantly solved. The trip itself was fantastic. Everything was very well planned and perfectly organized. The local guides and drivers were great. The hotels were very well chosen.
Great trip. I would definitely travel again with Kensington Tours."
Pennie Quintana ,
August 07, 2013
"Thank you so much for the amazing trip we enjoyed!! All our guides were fantasy. Joseph in Jakarta, July in Jojakarta and Deon in Borneo!! Wow!! Bless you for all your attention to detail and the outstanding communication to all my questions. You made me feel so taken care of and tended too!! "
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