National Geographic Expedition — Mystical Myanmar


National Geographic and Scenic Luxury River Cruises have teamed up to launch a new line of National Geographic River Cruises. These itineraries combine Scenic’s all-inclusive luxury river cruise experience with National Geographic's legacy of science, conservation and exploration to create unforgettable experiences along the waterways of Europe and South East Asia.

Aboard each Scenic river cruise expedition a National Geographic Expert will join guests to share their knowledge and insights, and enrich the experience through fascinating presentations and informal discussions. A National Geographic photographer, who will offer photography tips on technique and artistry, will also join European river cruising itineraries.

View itineraryMeet the Experts Departures and PricingEnquire now

Yangon > Yangon

Myanmar’s exquisite temples might hold pride of place in the heart of this mesmerising country, however Mother Nature’s awe-inspiring power has carved out a few spectacles of her own. Yangon is the perfect introduction to this incredible country. Navigate the vibrant streets seeking out keepsakes to take home or watch the golden sunset bounce off the Shwedagon Pagoda, there’s always plenty to appreciate in this hidden gem of a city. Take to the waters of the Irrawaddy in unprecedented luxury, as you journey from Magwe to Mandalay. Encounter traditional villages, visit the temples of Bagan and marvel at the untold number of pagodas, temples and monasteries. The majestic Inle Lake reveals the ancient practice of one-legged rowing, perfected over centuries this is one of the many unique Myanmar traditions you’ll come across during your time in this striking land.

18 Day Itinerary

  • Day 1 - Yangon
    Highlights:
    Welcome reception
     
     

    Mingalaba and welcome to Myanmar (Burma). Settle into your hotel in Yangon for a two night Special Stay. Meet your Scenic Tour Director and fellow guests at your welcome briefing followed by a welcome dinner at the iconic colonial Strand Hotel.

    Meals included: Dinner

     

  • Day 2 - Yangon
    Highlights:
    Scenic Enrich – Oil lamp lighting, Shwedagon Pagoda
     
     
    Freechoice

    Embark a local train for a ride around Yangon’s suburbs. Alternatively, be guided on a tour of Yangon’s thriving art scene, or ride a ferry across the Yangon River to Dhala village.

    Later this afternoon visit Chaukhtatgyi Paya, Yangon’s reclining Buddha.

    Enrich

    As the sun is setting, wander around Shwedagon Pagoda and learn about the ritual of oil lamp lighting before partaking in this tradition.

    This evening enjoy the included amenities of your Pacific Club access.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

     

  • Day 3 - Yangon > Bagan > Irrawaddy Cruise
    Highlights:
    Bagan's Ananda Temple
     
     

    Transfer to the airport and fly to Bagan. On arrival, enjoy a local lunch before visiting the most iconic sight of this intriguing region, the Ananda Temple. Afterwards transfer to the luxurious Scenic Aura.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 4 - Salay
    Highlights:
    Scenic Enrich – Colonial experience
     
     

    On your morning walking tour of Salay admire the colonial buildings, the Youqson Kyaung, a beautiful teak monastery now converted into a museum and look inside the largest lacquer Buddha in Myanmar.

    Enrich

    Soak up the ambience of the river and the colonial feel of the town whilst enjoying traditional local Burmese tea and snacks in a restored colonial villa dating from 1906.

    Continue cruising downstream to Magwe.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 5 - Magwe > Yenanchaung
    Highlights:
    Trishaw ride
     
     

    In Magwe, explore the town by traditional trishaw and take in the views from Mya Tha Lun Pagoda, a mesmerising architectural vision set on Naguttama Hill. This afternoon begin your cruise upstream on the Irrawaddy.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 6 - Yenanchaung > Bagan
    Highlights:
    Full day cruising
     
     

    Today, take advantage of nearly a full day of cruising on board Scenic Aura, the most luxurious ship on the river as you sail to Bagan. Relax on the sundeck with a cocktail in hand viewing the many temples and pagodas that line the river as you approach Bagan.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 7 - Bagan
    Highlights:
    Scenic Freechoice, Scenic Enrich – Temple Dinner
     
     

    Optional Hot Air Balloon Flight - Between 1 October and 31 March, take the chance to ride in a hot air balloon flight over the majestic temples of Bagan. (Must be purchased prior to your cruise to guarantee availability).

    Freechoice

    Venture to Mount Popa, home to Myanmar’s nats or nature spirits, before heading to a Toddy Farm where a traditional lunch awaits, or cross the river to Tant Kyi Tuang to take in the expansive elevated views of Bagan. Alternatively, explore the markets at Nyaung U before either exploring the Temple Circuit, or enjoying a visit to Old Bagan.

    Sundowners

    A special occasion awaits as you watch sunset over the temples with a drink in hand.

    Enrich

    Then be wowed by a Scenic exclusive magical themed dinner, with included drinks and a cultural show in front of candle lit Bagan temple ruins.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 8 - Bagan > Pakkoku
    Highlights:
    Scenic Freechoice
     
     
    Freechoice

    Rise early to attend and partake in morning alms for the local monks or watch sunrise from atop one of the temples inside the park.

    After breakfast travel by horse and cart through a local village then through the surrounding plain and it’s temple ruins before learning all about the production of Burmese lacquerware, a Bagan specialty. Depart Bagan and sail to Pakkoku to visit a cheroot cigar workshop and longyi and blanket factory.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 9 - Sailing
    Highlights:
    Full day cruising
     
     

    Make use of the ship’s luxury and take the time to sip a cocktail by the pool or enjoy some solitude on your private balcony during your full day sailing upstream along the Irrawaddy.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 10 - Sagaing
    Highlights:
    Scenic Enrich – Monastic school and nunnery visit
     
     
    Enrich

    In the ancient capital of Sagaing interact with novice monks, nuns and orphans during a special visit to a monastic supported school. Continue to a nunnery where you will partake in the ritual and our donation to the resident nuns before their midday meal.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 11 - Kyauk Myaung
    Highlights:
    Pottery Village
     
     

    After a morning cruising through the waters where the Irrawaddy dolphin is known to live, we arrive at the pottery village of Kyuak Myaung. Wander through the village to witness the artisans honing their craft and the unusual way of firing pottery

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 12 - Mingun > Mandalay > Amarapura
    Highlights:
    Scenic Sundowners U-Bein Bridge
     
     

    Cruise to Mingun to discover the stories behind a huge unfinished brick pagoda. Nearby, admire the un-cracked Mingun Bell and the all-white Hsinbyume Pagoda. Sail to Mandalay to visit Amarapura.

    Sundowners

    In Amarapura, relax with evening drinks in boats under U-Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teak bridge, to capture that memorable photo of the bridge’s silhouette at sunset.

    Back on board enjoy the special farewell by Scenic Aura’s crew.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 13 - Irrawaddy Cruise > Mandalay
    Highlights:
    Scenic Enrich – Gold leaf
     
     

    After disembarkation, admire the intricate artistry of Shwenandaw, a beautiful wooden monastery covered internally in gold leaf. Equally impressive are the sights at Kuthodaw Pagoda, home to the ‘World’s Largest Book’.
    Later walk through the rebuilt Mandalay Palace, destroyed during World War II.

    Enrich

    Learn how to produce gold leaf at a local workshop. At Mahamuni Pagoda, male guests will be able to place the gold leaf on the iconic Buddha statue.

    As the sun sets, head to the top of Mandalay Hill to enjoy magnificent views before your farewell dinner and an overnight stay.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 14 - Mandalay > Inle Lake
    Highlights:
    Nyaung Shwe
     
     

    Fly to Heho and drive to Nyaung Shwe. After lunch in town, glide across the waters of Inle Lake in private long tail boats towards your award winning resort for a three night Special Stay.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 15 - Inle Lake
    Highlights:
    Scenic Enrich – Intha meal
     
     

    Cruise to Inle Lake’s floating market, which moves location every five days. Then, visit Phuang Daw Oo Pagoda, one of the region’s holiest sites.

    Enrich

    Learn about life at home on the lake with a visit to a local Intha family where your host will cook and demonstrate to you on how to prepare your traditional lunch.

    Later visit the Pa-Oh village of Indein.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 16 - Inle Lake
    Highlights:
    Scenic Freechoice, Scenic Sundowners Inle Lake
     
     
    Freechoice

    Visit Pindaya Caves and try cooking local cuisine, or visit Taunggyi for lunch at Myanmar’s oldest winery. Alternatively, walk to a nearby village and spend time interacting with the locals.

    Sundowners

    Enjoy evening drinks and share today’s tales of exploration whilst overlooking the stunning lake.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 17 - Inle Lake > Yangon
    Highlights:
    Historic Yangon
     
     

    Fly to Yangon for lunch at the historical House of Memories Restaurant, once the office of General Aung San.
    Check into your hotel for your last night and savour your farewell dinner at the beautiful Le Planteur Restaurant.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 18 - Yangon
    Highlights:
    Farewell
     
     

    Say farewell to Myanmar.

    Meals included: Breakfast

     

Departures and Pricing

27 January 2019 — From $15,335 per person

Fly Free 
Book your National Geographic Expedition Mystical Myanmar by 31 December 2018 to enjoy Free Flights in economy, including taxes*.

Save $2,000 per couple
Book by 31 December 2018 to secure a discount of $2,000 per couple*. Not combinable with flight offer.

Enquire now

View offer terms & conditions >

Meet the Experts

Expert — Paula Swart (28 December 2019)

Paula Swart is an expert on Asian culture and history with a special interest in Buddhism, and has been a museum curator for more than 20 years. A popular expert on more than 30 expeditions for National Geographic, her travels have taken her to Southeast Asia numerous times. She recently organized the Visions of Enlightenment exhibition on Buddhist art, which featured pieces from Myanmar (Burma). Paula holds degrees in archaeology, Asian art history, and Chinese history. She speaks five languages, including Mandarin, and has published several books and numerous articles on the art and architecture of Asian cultures. Paula also studied and lectures on artifacts from the wreck of a Dutch East India company ship that was found off the island of St. Helena and documented in the October 1978 issue of National Geographic magazine. 

 

Expert — Ken Hammond (10 February 2019)

Historian Ken Hammond first traveled to China in 1982 to study the language and stayed for five years. A professor at New Mexico State University, he directs a Chinese-American university exchange program. He has produced a documentary on the revival of Confucian ritual and recorded the lecture series From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History for The Great Courses. Ken served as president of the Society for Ming Studies and as a visiting scholar at the History Institute of the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences.

 

Enquire now