Grand Asian Journey: Exploring the Mekong & Irrawaddy Rivers - 2018

Mandalay • 9-Night Irrawaddy Cruise • Yangon • Saigon • 7-Night Mekong Cruise • Siem Reap • Hanoi
DATES & PRICES
STARTING FROM
$8,999
  • $333
    PER DAY
  • 27
    DAYS
  • 54
    TOURS
Luxury
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Base prices are factored using double-occupancy rooms; supplemental fees may apply for those traveling independently.
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Hanoi, Vietnam to Mandalay, Burma

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DAYS 1 - 2:

Overnight Flight/Yangon

You'll cross the International Dateline during your overnight transpacific flight, meaning that you'll arrive in Yangon on Day 3. Check into your hotel upon arrival, gather for a Welcome Briefing by your Adventure Leader this afternoon. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension.

DAY 3:

Yangon, Myanmar

After breakfast, we head out to see more of colonial-flavored Yangon. We next stop at the city's dazzling centerpiece – the Shwedagon Pagoda, a soaring golden Buddhist stupa that soars above all, attesting to the close connection between the spiritual and the everyday. We stop at the waterfront area; the colonial-style Scott Market brimming with antiques, jewelry and handicrafts; and the National Museum of art, history and culture. After lunch at a local restaurant, the afternoon is free. Enjoy the evening at leisure with dinner on your own.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 4:

Yangon, Myanmar

We have today to delve more deeply, walking past markets and along streets buzzing with bicycles and rickshaws. Some of Asia’s finest British-colonial architecture is here. If you like, you may join an optional excursion to the ancient capital city of Bago, stopping at the Taukkyan War Cemetery and pausing to admire revered Buddha figures, a small village and the Khat Wain Monastery.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

DAY 5:

Yangon /Embark RV Makara Queen

Today, we embark the impressive RV Makara Queen and begin our exploration of the Irrawaddy River. The river's name comes from the Sanskrit meaning "elephant river," and it runs for nearly 1,350 miles through the heartland of Myanmar.  We embark in time for dinner on board.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 6:

Danyphyu

We dock in Danyphyu, and stop by a century-old monastery that is known for its beautiful garden, as well as visiting a traditional cigar factory. We’ll continue our immersion in local culture, as we board a rickshaw to travel among the locals.  Dinner is back on the ship this evening. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 7:

Myan Aung

We arrive in Myan Aung, a charming riverside hamlet with impressive colonial-era homes.  We’ll walk through this small town admiring the town and stop by a local market to interact with the people of this region. Cultural Discovery: We’ll gain new insights into the cuisine here as we attend a cooking demonstration: we’ll learn how to make a tea-leaf salad, a local favorite.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 8:

Pyay

Today, we discover the captivating history and culture along this storied river in a new place: Pyay. We’ll see the famed “toll mountain” where tax collectors would collect money from those who passed through here. We’ll tour to the ancient town of Pyu, which was the most important city in this region between the 5th and 9th centuries. We’ll see the impressive collection of ancient art at a library with an amazing collection of ancient art, followed by visit the impressive Shwesandaw Pagoda Complex, one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the country. Cultural Discovery: Listen to a lecture on the history of Myanmar, giving you more perspective on how this nation has evolved over time.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9:

Thayetmyo

This morning, we explore the colonial town of Thayetmyo, which once guarded the border between Royal Myanmar and British Myanmar. While here, we can browse its colorful market and see the stately colonial houses built during the British occupation. For another taste of Old Britannia, we visit the country's oldest golf course and learn about its fascinating history. Cultural Discovery: Later today, ride in an oxcart to the top of a temple for a magical sunset view of the monument-dotted plains. We’ll enhance our understanding with a lecture onboard the ship entitled “Life Along the Irrawaddy River.”

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10:

Magwe

From our port of Magwe, we head up to hilltop pagoda of Myat Lun Paya, built in 1929. Here, the luster of gold that is central to so many Buddhist monuments takes center stage as this incredible temple was built from solid gold bricks. Our view of the surrounding countryside from here is also priceless. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 11:

Salay

Set off on a walking tour of the small town of Salay, with its charming colonial villas. We’ll also stop by the 150-year-old teak monastery here, which is well known for its magnificent woodcarvings. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 12:

Bagan

Spend the day exploring Bagan, currently vying for UNESCO World Heritage Site status, where the spires of more than 3,000 Buddhist temples pierce the sky over an awe-inspiring plain along the Irrawaddy. This could well be the most incredible vista we’ll see during our adventure. Built between 700 and 900 years ago, the Bagan temples attest to the wealth of the once-mighty Bagan Dynasty. A guided tour introduces us to this fascinating area, including some of the major temples like Pyattatgyi. If you’d like, you can rent a bicycle from a local shop to venture off and explore this spellbinding site on your own. Cultural Discovery: Later today, ride in an oxcart to the top of a temple for a magical sunset view of the monument-dotted plains. In the evening, enjoy an traditional Burmese Puppet Show on board.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 13:

Yandabo

Cultural Discoveries: All day today, we delve deeply into the culture and daily lives of the people along the Irrawaddy, beginning with a visit to the lively village of Yandabo. Though it is known as the site of the 1826 Treaty of Yandabo that began a long British occupation, this picturesque village today is famous for its pottery. We stroll around and watch some artisans at work. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAYS 14 - 15:

Mandalay, Burma / Bangkok, Thailand

Today, you'll explore Mandalay, including a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda and Mandalay Hill. Cultural Discovery: You'll also get a glimpse of the remarkable art and craft work in this country, as you visit some local workshops, including tapestry-making,  wood- and marble-carving, and bronze-casting workshops. Later, you'll fly to Bangkok, the stunning capital of Thailand. 

Bangkok is a feast for the senses — the colorful and aromatic markets, the streets thrumming with motorbikes, and the incredible mix of modern skyscrapers and classic pagodas. You’ll recognize the first stop on your city, Pak Klong Talad, by the sweet fragrances filling the surrounding atmosphere — it’s the largest wholesale flower market in the city. The bright blooms aren’t the only vibrant sight in the city, as you’ll soon see at the Grand Palace — a marvel in red, green, and gold. There, you’ll have a chance to view the Emerald Buddha, a jade-green statue venerated as the protector of Bangkok.


Included Meals:

Breakfast

DAY 16:

Bangkok / Hanoi, Vietnam

Today, we make our way from one grand Asian capital to another, as we fly to Hanoi. Upon arrival we'll settle into our hotel and relax as we look forward to our discoveries of yet another fascinating nation. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 17:

Hanoi, Vietnam

Today, you'll explore this timeless yet modern city during a tour, including visits to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Square for a photo stop, as well as the Presidential Palace and One Pillar Pagoda. Cultural Discovery: A vegetarian lunch is included at a local monastery, followed by a visit to the Temple of Literature, home of the Confucian Imperial Academy, university for the country's elite from 1076 until 1779. Join your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner tonight.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 18:

Hanoi, Vietnam / Siem Reap, Cambodia

Following breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap, site of your Angkor Wat tour — where you’ll check into your hotel just steps away from the remarkable Angkor Wat complex. This remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest religious monument in the world, and we'll explore it in depth while we're here. Dinner is included at a local restaurant this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 19:

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Spend the day meandering through the centuries-old terraces, pathways, and temples of this sprawling complex on both morning and afternoon Angkor Wat tours. This site is impressive both in its scale and in its intricate details — you may be as enthralled by the the impressively artistic carvings in the stone buildings as you are with the structures themselves. It's no wonder this site is featured prominently on the Cambodian flag. Lunch is in a local restaurant. Cultural Discovery: Enjoy a traditional Angkor show during tonight’s buffet dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 20:

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Today, we'll continue our discovery of this world-renowned temple complex on another included tour. The afternoon is at leisure, or travelers can opt to join the Angkor Gondola tour. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Optional Tour: Angkor Gondola Tour with Dinner

Angkor Gondola Tour with Dinner

  • Approximate Cost: $79 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • When: Evening tour

We'll travel by coach to the 12th century Angkor Thom Complex, a grand remnant of the original Khmer Empire. Here, we'll take a canoe  through a man-made moat,  enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. Admire the impressive architecture of the enclosing laterite walls here, and soak up the tranquil scenery. You will also have a chance to savor a glass of local wine or a cocktail during sunset in this singular location.  Then, we make our way to town where we'll enjoy dinner in a local restaurant, the ideal coda to a wonderful experience. 



DAY 21:

Siem Reap / Kampong Cham / Embark the Tonle Pandaw

You’ll transfer to Kampong Cham today, where you’ll embark the deluxe RV Tonle Pandaw and set sail on your 7-night Mekong River cruise. Begin to fall under the spell of this storied river as you cruise past beautiful scenery and charming villages. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 22:

Kratie

There are a number of activities today to showcase the many splendors of this region. Cultural Discoveries: You'll enjoy a cooking demonstration, which will introduce you to the flavors of the local cuisine, as well as a lecture on life on the Mekong. You'll then venture out to explore the charming French colonial town of Kratie, as well as getting a chance to see the local wildlife: specifically, the distinctive Mekong dolphin. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 23:

Sailing / Prek Kdam

Our discovery of this exotic destination continues as we visit the Monkey Temple today. This is a chance to delve even deeper into the culture and history of this land, and to learn about the culture and spiritual heritage of Cambodia. Cultural Discovery: Visit the village of Angkor Ban, and get to know more about the locals here. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 24:

Phnom Penh

Fascinating Phnom Penh comes alive in the best way possible on Day 11 of your Southeast Asian tour. Cultural Discoveries: You'll you hop aboard a cyclo — a Cambodian rickshaw — to travel like the locals as you visit the Royal Palace and National Museum. Later, join your Adventure Leader on a trip to the local bar on the banks of the river in the Cambodian capital. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 25:

Tonle Sap River

We'll sail on the Tonle Sap and come ashore to interact with local villagers. One village is renowned for its silver making, so we'll get a firsthand look at this age-old process as we chat with the artisans who create it. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 26:

Crossing the Border into Vietnam / Tan Chau

We re-enter Vietnam today, and begin discovering another side of this nation.  We'll have some time to settle in to our new surroundings, admiring the scenery and enjoying a lecture entitled Vietnam Past & Today.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 27:

Cruising Chau Doc / Cai Be

Your next stop on your Southeast Asian tour is the town of Chau Doc. We'll visit the ancient house featured in the movie The Lover, based on the book by novelist Marguerite Duras. Cultural Discovery: We'll also visit the Cham tribal village — yet another opportunity to interact with locals -- as well as a fish farm to pick up some insights on the local economy. The afternoon takes you to Cai Be; cruise aboard a sampan through canals and backwaters, with a visit to a market to experience the pulse of everyday life here.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 28:

My Tho / Disembark ship / Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam

Arrive in My Tho and disembark the RV Tonle Pandaw, leaving river life behind to visit Vietnam’s most vibrant city — Ho Chi Minh City. A panoramic city tour of Saigon (as the locals call it) takes you to the Opera House, the Old Saigon Post Office, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Cultural Discoveries: Following your tour, a family in Saigon welcomes you into their home for lunch. Then, get acquainted with an ancient art form during a water puppetry show.

Unforgettable Moment: Savor a home-hosted dinner at a former US Ambassador’s Residence. You’ll enjoy a cocktail reception followed by delicious, authentic Vietnamese dinner, all while listening to live music.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 29:

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Day 29 of your Southeast Asia tour begins with a visit to the Reunification Palace, a former presidential residence that was of great importance during the Vietnam War. It is now a museum. The rest of the day is yours at leisure to enjoy more of Saigon — the ancient pagodas, bustling markets, and gourmet restaurants — at your own pace. If you like, you may join an optional tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels used by the Viet Cong, with lunch included. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 30:

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) / Depart Home

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or continue your adventure with a post-trip extension. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or regional expert.

Contact Vantage

CALL 1-800-848-5773

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