The Irrawaddy River - An Illustrated Journey

Be enthralled by Myanmar’s many charms on an unforgettable journey along the Irrawaddy River.
Follow the route of this enchanting river, uncovering the ancient traditions, spiritual temples and natural wonders along the way. Sail in ultimate 5-star luxury on the elegant Scenic Aura, where every single detail from our suites to our dining venues has been carefully considered with you in mind.
Our intricately illustrated, specially commissioned map has been designed to showcase the Scenic route through Myanmar. After spotting English illustrator Benedict Flanagan’s artwork in a Bagan restaurant, we worked closely with the artist to curate a truly unique piece that highlights the luxurious and exclusive experiences included in our Irrawaddy river cruise collection.
Find out more about each destination and our exclusive Scenic experiences along this majestic route by clicking the areas on our interactive map below.
If you are joining us on Scenic Aura, look out for the original version of this beautiful map which will soon be displayed on board.
Scenic Aura
Balloon Ride
Sa Lay
MT Popa
Inle Lake


Discover the stories behind the mighty Mingun Pahtodawgyi, an unfinished pagoda dating back to the late 1700s. Although it was predicted to rival the size of Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza, the pagoda was never finished, leaving behind an intriguing stupa brick structure. Nearby, admire the giant Mingun Bell – which reaches a staggering height of 12 foot – and the dazzling white Hsinbyume Pagoda.


Emblazoned with a hilly skyline of white and gold pagodas, Sagaing is considered the country’s spiritual capital. Witness the grandeur of this sacred site and the holy traditions of the local Buddhists. As part of Scenic Enrich, you’ll get the chance to meet novice monks, nuns and orphans during a visit to a monastic-supported school. Then partake in a traditional ritual at a quiet neighbouring nunnery.


Marvel at architectural masterpiece, Shwenandaw Monastery. The monastery combines an intricately carved wooden exterior with glistening floor-to-ceiling gold leaf interiors. As part of Scenic Enrich, learn how to produce gold leaf during a private workshop. Guests will then be invited to place the gold leaf on the iconic Buddha statue at Mahamuni Pagoda.

Kuthodaw Pagoda is equally impressive, housing the ‘World’s Largest Book’: a volume etched on over 700 stone slabs. Nearby, the rebuilt Mandalay Palace delivers a rich history spanning more than 150 years, including its destruction during World War II.


Located on the outskirts of Mandalay, the old ancient capital of Amarapura is the site of the renowned U-Bein Bridge. Holding the title as the world’s longest teak bridge, the impressive structure spans the shallow waters of Taungthaman Lake and acts as a crossing for local villagers and monks. As part of Scenic Sundowners, you’ll visit at sunset, letting you capture the bridge’s mystical silhouette on camera.
yandabo image


Famed for its pottery, Yandabo is a quaint rural village brimming with unique charm. Set against the riverbank, villagers utilise the clay from the bank to craft an assemblage of pots. Take a stroll through the village to witness the artisans honing their craft and learn about the historical process with your expert guide.

Scenic Aura

The most spacious and luxurious ship on Asian waters, Scenic Aura will be your stylish home as you cruise along the Irrawaddy River. The ship’s facilities rival those of world-class hotels, designed with both innovation and tradition in mind, marrying modern interiors with authentic Asian-inspired touches.

With an unrivalled 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio, you’ll enjoy a truly intimate cruise experience. Make the most of your spacious suite, complete with a balcony to watch the passing landscapes, a living area to relax in during the day, a separate bedroom, and even a walk-in wardrobe.

Savour cuisine inspired by the flavours of the region as our expert chefs prepare fresh and diverse dishes every day. Choose from one of four dining venues, including our exclusive Teppanyaki Bar, elegant à la carte specials in Bamar Dining or Asian-inspired snacks in the River Café.


Among the world’s finest archeological sites, Bagan has an abundance of fascinating temples and ancient ruins. Take a traditional horse and cart through this hypnotic region, witnessing the mesmerising skyline. You’ll visit Bagan’s most iconic and best preserved temple, Ananda Temple, which is thought to have been built between 1090 and 1105.

At night, be wowed by an exclusive Scenic Enrich mystical themed dinner with included drinks and a cultural show, set in front of candlelit Bagan temple ruins.

The area is also well known for its production of Burmese lacquerware. Learn about the origins of this ancient craft during your journey.

Bagan - Hot Air Balloon Flight

Experience the majesty of Bagan with a once-in-a-lifetime hot air balloon flight over the city’s ancient temples. Be swept away by the miraculous archeological horizon during your flight, which lasts approximately 45 minutes. This optional excursion comes at an additional expense and must be purchased prior to your departure.
You’ll have the opportunity to ride in a hot air balloon over the majestic temples of Bagan. Flights last approximately 45 minutes and must be purchased prior to your cruise.

Mount Popa

Towering over Bagan, Mount Popa is truly a sight to behold. Perked at its top is the sacred Popa Taungkalat monastery, home of the 37 most important nats (Burmese spirits). As such, the mountain is an important pilgrimage site for worshippers.

With Scenic Freechoice, you can visit Mount Popa, including its glistening gold monastery, and spot the statues of these 37 spirits at its base. Look out for the mischievous monkeys along the way.
salay image


Step back in time to the Bagan-era village of Salay. As one of the country’s major religious centres, the town has an abundance of ancient shrines, untouched British colonial buildings, and 19th-century wooden monasteries. Wander through Paya Thonzu, a small trio of black shrines; admire the beautiful teak Youqson Kyaung monastery; and look inside the largest lacquer Buddha image in Myanmar.

With Scenic Enrich, soak up the ambience along the riverfront, enjoying traditional local Burmese tea and snacks in a restored colonial villa dating back to 1906.


A hidden gem of Myanmar, explore the quiet town of Magwe as you are peddled around by trishaw bike. The town’s largest shrine, Mya Tha Lun Pagoda, sits as an enchanting golden beacon atop Naguttama Hill. Take in the views across the river as the locals participate in their day-to-day lives.

Irrawaddy River

Flowing north to south from its original source high in the Himalayas, the Irrawaddy River is the lifeblood of Myanmar. Stretching across the country toward the Indian Ocean, the river has long been a source of inspiration for travellers, artists and poets alike.

Lined by numerous glistening pagodas, charming villages and ancient monuments, a journey along the river traces both the spiritual past and vibrant present of this country.

Inle Lake in the sunset

Inle Lake

The natural wonders of Inle Lake will take your breath away. Dotted with floating villages raised on wooden stilts, and alive with a bustling trade of iconic one-legged fishermen, experience the culture of the local Intha people firsthand. Ride by long tail boat to explore the lake’s main market, before joining a family for a traditional home-cooked meal as part of Scenic Enrich.

Visit the holy Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda with its hintha bird royal barges. The ancient Pa-Oh village of Indein is yours to explore too, located down a network of small canals.

Complete your trip with a selection of Scenic Freechoice options. Visit Pindaya Caves, a Buddhist pilgrimage site sheltering thousands of golden Buddhas; travel to Taunggyi for lunch at a local winery; or wander a nearby village.


Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, offers a vibrant mix of modern art interspersed with spiritual monuments. With Scenic Freechoice, ride by local train around Yangon’s suburbs, join a guided tour to experience the city’s thriving art scene, or cross Yangon River by ferry to Dhala village.

Be amazed by the giant reclining Buddha, Chaukhtatgyi Paya, which measures more than 215 feet in length. As the sun sets, take a wander to Shwedagon Pagoda, a sacred Buddhist site spanning nearly 2,500 years. With Scenic Enrich, you can learn about the traditional ritual of oil lamp lighting before paying your respects by partaking in this ceremony.

Our Irrawaddy Cruises