Emerald Add to Asian Itineraries

Emerald Waterways, Europe's newest deluxe river cruise company, is once again expanding its river cruises offerings for 2016 to include sailings along the Irrawaddy River in exotic Myanmar. The 16-day journey, which has departures on August 27 and November 7, 2016, is round trip from Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, visiting 11 ports along the way to allow guests to explore this vibrant and culturally diverse nation.


Traveling aboard the Irrawaddy Explorer, guests will visit parts of the country rarely seen by westerners and not accessible other than by river, where they will meet locals, sample exotic cuisine and experience the rich culture in the bustling city of Yangon as well as the remote villages along the river delta.


The Mystical Myanmar and Irrawaddy River Cruise joins the recently announced Highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia Mekong River Cruise to become Emerald Waterway's second Asia river cruise itinerary. The journey, which includes ten cruise days and six days of land tours, begins in Yangon (once Rangoon), the former capital of Myanmar. Although the capital city is now Naypyidaw, Yangon remains the people's capital and economic center of the country. In addition to having time to explore on their own, guests will be treated to a walking tour of this bustling city, where they can take in the incredible fusion of British Colonial architecture and stunning Buddhist stupas for which the country is known.

On day three, a short flight to Heho introduces guests to life in the tranquil countryside. Here, lunch at a winery provides a relaxing break, while a tour of Inle Lake provides an intimate look at into the lives of the Intha people who live there, including the fascinating floating market and PhaungDawOo Pagoda -- the lake's holiest site. Guests then head to Mandalay and the mighty Irrawaddy, where the cruise begins.

In Mandalay, considered the cultural hub of upper Myanmar, a walking tour highlights the many monasteries that populate the area. Guests who rise early get to witness the Buddhist monks in the area collecting daily alms before sunrise. In Mingun, a visit to the all-white Hsinbyume Pagoda and Mingun Bell—the world's largest, un-cracked ringing bell—reveal much about the religion and history of the area. A ride aboard a horse-cart in Ava uncovers more religious sites, including the teak Bagaya monastery and Nanmyin watchtower, while an excursion to Monywa exposes guests to one of the most intricately decorated temples in the country, with more than 500,000 images of Buddha. In Yandabo, a school trip allows for interacting with local children and learning about daily life in this small village. Stops in Salay, Magawe, Thayetmyo and Prome reveal more of Myanmar's heritage and natural beauty before arriving back in Yangon for disembarkation.

Launched in September 2014, the deluxe Irrawaddy Explorer is a 188-foot vessel built to accommodate just 56 guests. The ship blends traditional English Colonial style furnishings with modern comforts to reflect the timeless elegance of a complete contemporary cruising experience. Features include a lounge, sun deck, spa, fitness room and library as well as spacious oversized suites to create a genuinely indulgent journey. Each suite offers included luxuries: bottled water daily, flat screen TV with on demand movies, internet access, a safe and air conditioning. All suites have panoramic floor to ceiling windows and glass French doors, and many have balconies. Guests in the Mandalay Suites have daily butler service, which includes nightly turndown service, shoe polishing, and packing upon request; and also receive a one-hour spa treatment, complimentary laundry, and in-suite evening canapés.

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