Experience an unforgettable journey of breathtaking beauty and discovery on the mysterious rivers of Myanmar (Burma) with a river cruise on the luxurious Road to Mandalay. Soak up the culture and heritage of this incredible region as you cruise on the majestic Ayeyarwady (Irrewaddy) River between Mandalay and Bagan, floating serenely past the jungles of the north, forgotten villages and ancient towns, and visiting temples, pagodas, palaces and monasteries along the way.
Owned and operated by The Belmond Group (formerly The Orient Express Group), the luxurious all-suite Road to Mandalay cruiser offers the perfect blend of local culture and luxury, with exquisitely designed and spacious suites, exceptional service akin to being on a private yacht and vast observation decks offering breath-taking views.
Custom-built suites combine traditional Burmese design with contemporary chic style to create opulent havens. Lush silks, polished teak, and beautiful lacquer ware celebrate Myanmar’s rich heritage of arts, crafts, and textiles, while imported Egyptian-cotton sheets ensure you sleep like a baby. Beautiful en-suite bathrooms are stocked with luxury products, while individually controlled air-conditioning and iPads with free Wi-Fi ensure superb comfort.
Epitomising sheer opulence, the exquisite Governor’s Suite enjoys a spacious lounge with a writing desk and satellite television, beautiful en-suite bathroom with monsoon shower and a private butler service to pamper to all your needs. Another excellent option are the stunning State and Deluxe Suites, which also feature lovely en-suite bathrooms with monsoon showers, complimentary morning coffee and tea, and all the creature comforts of a five-star stay.
Begin the day with freshly brewed coffee from the observation deck as you watch the sun rise over the mountains before grabbing a sun lounger for a day of relaxing and watching the world float by. Pamper yourself with a massage in the comfort and privacy of the exclusive on-board spa, or relax with a book in the comfortable lounge. If you are feeling energetic, enjoy a workout in the fully equipped gym.
When it is time to dine, elegant, open-sided dining rooms offer unfettered river views whilst you dine on delicious local and international cuisine prepared by expert chefs who master the fragrant flavours of Myanmar, including lemongrass, kaffir lime, and sweet chilli. Savour delicious local dishes such as soft-shell crab, red curries, and mango and pomelo salad, accompanied by a selection of world-class wines.
There are an array of on-board activities and excursions to enjoy throughout the journey, so you will never be bored. Enjoy cultural performances in the evenings where skilled dancers will captivate you with Burmese local dances and acts; professional guides will have you enthralled with interesting lectures and talks on the local area, or try your hand at Burmese cooking with fun-filled demonstrations and lessons.
When the boat docks, you will have the chance to head into the villages to engage with the locals, visit markets and take a look into the daily lives of the Myanmar people. Attend interesting workshops to learn about gold leaf beating, lacquer ware, textile, brick, cheroot, and shoe-making, and visit the plethora of exquisite monasteries, temples, and pagodas that are scattered across the landscape.
Itinerary: 3-night – Mandalay – Bagan
Day 1 – Mandalay
Begin your journey with a fascinating tour of the city of Mandalay, including the revered Mahamuni Pagoda, the beautiful teak Shwenandaw Monastery and the Kuthodaw Pagoda, home to 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhism’s Tripitaka texts. Sail serenely past the monasteries and pagodas of the Sagaing Hills, visit a Ywataung silversmith, and choose between seeing silk weavers in Amarapura or sailing to Sin Kyun to witness traditional village life. Enjoy the spectacular sunset at U Bein Bridge – a long teak bridge that snakes across the Taungthanman Lake before enjoying your first evening on board with a colourful cocktail, followed by a traditional dance performance and delectable dinner under the stars.
Day 2 – Ava (Inwa)
Greet the sunrise with a meditation session before heading off on an early morning walking tour of Shwe Kyet Yet Village before breakfast. You will then set sail for the ancient capital of Ava (Inwa – meaning ‘entrance to the lake’), and embark on tour of this historic site by horse-drawn cart. Having acted as the royal capital no less than four times since 1364, Inwa (Ava) is now a remarkably rural backwater sparsely dotted with ruins, monastic buildings, and stupas and worth exploring.
Spend the afternoon on board, meandering down the languid waters of the river. Relax on the upper deck and soak up the magic of the Myanmar countryside, gentle river life, and sheer beauty of the surrounds.
Early evening sees the boat drop anchor at the confluence of the two rivers where you will enjoy an array of colourful cocktails as you toast the setting sun. Dine under the stars and watch out for glowing traditional lanterns floating past down the river…
Day 3 – Bagan
As a new day dawns, the boat arrives in the ancient city of Bagan, home to no less than 2,000 temples and pagodas, scattered on a breath-taking plain along the banks of the river. Enjoy a guide orientation tour to some of the most important temples in the area, followed by a chance to explore on your own.
After a delicious lunch on board, visit the ancient Htilominlo Temple of Bagan and the busy lacquerware workshops of Myinkaba, before taking in the spectacular sunset on the terrace of the ancient Pyathatgyi Temple.
Back on the Ananda, experience a traditional Shan dinner with the Captain and enjoy a traditional dance performance.
Day 4 – Bagan to Yangon
After a sumptuous breakfast, bid farewell to your luxurious charge before being transferred to Bagan Airport for your flight to Yangon.