Belmond Road to Mandalay, Northern Myanmar with Global adventurer Raha Moharrak
Cruise route: Mandalay Shwe Kyet Yet to Bagan
Barges: Belmond Road to Mandalay
Sail into a world hardly touched by modernity with an immersive river cruise through Myanmar’s most enchanting landscapes. Step aboard Belmond Road to Mandalay and enjoy unrivalled luxury as you unveil the captivating secrets, ancient traditions and fascinating culture of this little known land.
11 Nights aboard the Belmond Road to Mandalay luxury river cruise
All meals aboard the ship: buffet breakfast, lunch and table d’hote dinner featuring both eastern and western menus
Beverages including local beer and house wine with lunch and dinner
Onboard activities such as expert lectures and presentations, longyi-tying demonstrations, sunrise yoga sessions, meditation classes and cookery demonstrations.
Fully-qualified resident doctor
Choice of fascinating tours in Bagan, Mandalay, and Bhamo
Exclusive excursions to rural villages along our route
Optional overnight stay at Tainpha Taung Meditation Centre
The choice of four exceptional guided treks led by Raha Moharrak
Day 1 MANDALAY
Join us for check-in aboard the ship at Shwe Kyet Yet village. A buffet lunch is served as we set sail towards Mingun, passing the magnificent Sagaing Hills en-route.
After lunch prepare for a short boat transfer to the shore where you have a choice of two excursions.
Disembark at Mingun with Raha for an excursion to Minwun Hill. Transfer by tuk-tuk to the base of the hill, commencing the trek from the entrance to Dhama Nada Monastery. Stride up towards the peak where you’re rewarded with sweeping vistas of Mandalay and the Ayeyarwady River.
Or, explore the fascinating sights of Mingun including Pahtogawgyi, an enormous unfinished pagoda tainted by prophecy. Celebrate the start of your wonderful journey by ringing the world’s largest uncracked bell, then wander through the village to the base of the stunning Myatheindan Pagoda, a beautifully intricate temple built with rising whitewashed layers to symbolise Mount Meru.
As the sun begins to set, return to the ship for a welcome cocktail party on the observation deck before we serve a delicious dinner in the restaurant.
Day 2 NWE NYEIN & THIHADAW
Today we sail for Nwe Nyein. Early risers can head to the Observation Deck for a refreshing beverage from the Healthy Juice Bar before we serve an extensive breakfast in the restaurant.
Once we reach Nwe Nyein meet your guide for a walking tour of the village, renowned for it’s high quality pottery. Discover the age-old secrets of traditional stoneware before trying your hand at spinning a pot for yourself.
Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy a leisurely afternoon on board as we make our way north. Our crew host a range of onboard activities including afternoon tea and a talk about traditional Myanmar culture. Alternatively, unwind by the pool and enjoy spectacular views as we sail through a dramatic river gorge. This evening, after a sumptuous fusion dinner in the restaurant, take part in a magical, glowing spectacle as we light up the sky from the Observation Deck.
Day 3 KYAN HNYAT & KATHA
This morning begins with an early stroll through the village of Kyan Hnyat, where you will discover traditional life still thriving on the riverbanks. Enjoy a wander through the vibrant morning market, and join our resident onboard doctor Dr Hla Tun at the local school, where he invites you to participate as he donates stationery to schoolchildren.
Lunch is served back on board the ship before an afternoon at your leisure. Take time to unwind in the spa or enjoy a cooling dip in the pool. We have a range of activities available for you including a relaxing tai chi class or a presentation from Dr Tun on the healthcare system in Myanmar and Belmond’s Social Contribution Projects. Dine on another mouth-watering gourmet menu of Asian and Western delicacies in the restaurant tonight.
Day 4 KATHA & SHWEGU
Today we arrive in Katha, where the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company famously sunk a fleet of ships in 1942 to prevent their use by the invading Japanese. Enjoy a walking tour of the bustling local market, then travel by trishaw to Katha Tennis Club, a beautiful relic of the colonial era, unchanged since it’s starring role in George Orwell’s Burmese Days. We stop by the house where the author began many of his works before returning to the ship for a delicious buffet lunch.
This afternoon enjoy a fascinating showcase of Myanmar lifestyle, including typical market produce and traditional items. During afternoon tea we host a talk in the Lounge & Bar giving an insight into Buddhism in Myanmar. In the late afternoon, join a walking tour of Shwegu, a river port at the border of Kachin State and the Mandalay Division. Take a tuk-tuk ride around the town to discover local lifestyles and activities.
After dinner this evening, head to the Observation Deck for a mesmerising performance of mythical tales by Shan dancers from Northeast Myanmar.
Day 5 BHAMO
Your day begins with an exclusive visit to Shwe Paw Kyun island to see the intriguing stilt houses of the Kachin fishermen. Afterwards, we lead you to a small island monastery for a fascinating tour before returning to the ship. Alternatively, stay on board and stretch out at a yoga class on the Observation Deck.
As your journey continues along the Upper Ayeyarwady River, you enter the second defile. This is the most dramatic of the three gorges, flanked by towering limestone cliffs that soar 60-90 metres into the sky. The defile takes around two hours to navigate, so there’s ample time to soak up the stunning scenery before you reach Bhamo.
After lunch, head to shore in Bhamo for an afternoon visit. This major trading post between China and Myanmar is the northernmost point of our river journey. Here you have the choice of two excursions.
Join Raha on a trek to Tainpha Meditation Centre. You will walk to the Tainpha mountain retreat following a gentle route along the Ayeyarwady riverbank passing beautiful scenery and friendly villagers. Once at the meditation centre, you have the option of spending the night in this extraordinary setting to enjoy some enriching meditation.
Or, board a tuk-tuk and explore the town of Bhamo. In the local market, our staff will purchase supplies for a donation, which will then be presented to a Buddhist nunnery taking care of poor and orphaned children. During your visit, you’ll gain a compelling glimpse into the monastic way of life.
Dinner is served on board. For those staying at the Tainpha Mountain Meditation Centre, dinner will be provided there.
Day 6 SHWE PAW ISLAND
Early risers can start the day with a sunrise yoga session. After breakfast, alight at a rural village for a walking tour. See the local people going about their daily business and learn about their customs and traditions.
Return to Belmond Road to Mandalay for a leisurely day of sailing. Laze by the pool with a gripping book or simply gaze at the spellbinding views. Slip away for an indulgent treatment at the spa or float carefree in the pool. If you’re intrigued by the workings of the ship and life on the river in general, join our Chief Engineer for a talk and tour, including visits to the engine room and bridge.
In the evening we return to Katha, where you alight for a very special evening on shore. Enjoy a glittering dinner in one of the town’s most impressive colonial buildings, home to the British District Commissioner in the 1920s.
Day 7 NABA & KYAN HNAYT
Today brings an adventure into the lush countryside. You may choose from the following excursions:
Set off for a hike to Yazagyo, the regions highest mountain. At the peak, having passed a small monastery, you’re rewarded with 360-degree views stretching right over Katha and the Ayeyarwady River. If wished, continue for another 10 minutes to the peak of Hyam Pya Taung – Glass Signal Mountain – where British troops built a telecommunication station during World War II.
Or perhaps you will choose to enjoy a local train ride where a specially chartered local train has been arranged to take you to Naba, a small, pretty village deep in the teak forest. Travel along the mainline between Mandalay and Myitkina and through the forests of the Gangaw Taung mountain range. This section of the branch line was first opened on October 2 nd 1895 with the specific purpose of transporting teak logs down to the steamers waiting on the river to take them downstream.
Back on board enjoy a delicious lunch and an engaging talk on the past, present and future of Myanmar from one of our guides. After dinner, it’s movie night in the Lounge & Bar. Today we are showing The Lady, the fascinating story of Aung San Suu Kyi, as Chef serves fresh popcorn and homemade ice cream.
Day 8 MA LAE VILLAGE & SAILING
After breakfast, Belmond Road to Mandalay arrives in Ma Lae where you disembark for a morning walk. Here you will witness a Buddhist Novitiation Ceremony, a vibrant rite of passage marked by a horse-back procession to the monastery where a traditional ceremony takes place.
Following lunch, alight for a short boat transfer to Nan Daw Kyun (Palace Island), a rural island village in the middle of the river. Stroll along narrow dirt paths and across fields of beans, corn and millet. Visit a family of talented woodcarvers who make decorative ox carts used for Ordination Ceremonies and witness the making of fried lima beans, a delicious ingredient in Burmese Tea Leaf Salad.
This evening you are invited to a Longyi Cocktail Party, enabling you to practise your longyi-tying skills and dress in your new traditional outfit. After dinner, gather in the Observation Lounge to watch an enthusiastic troupe of young actors from Mandalay’s School of Performing Arts enact scenes from the Yamayana. This Hindu creation epic is widely performed across Southeast Asia and features brightly-costumed characters from India, Bali, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Day 9 MANDALAY
The sprawling heights of Mandalay approach on the horizon this morning as we return to the religious heart of Myanmar. The ship drops anchor off Htin-Win jetty, where you disembark for a full day discovering Mandalay, the home of traditional Burmese arts. Explore some of the city’s great treasures, including Kuthodaw Pagoda, a UNESCO-listed site with 729 stone tablets inscribed with Buddhist scriptures, and the atmospheric Shwenandaw, an intricately-carved wooden monastery which used to be part of King Mindon’s living quarters.
Stop for a delicious lunch in the city centre at Bistro 82. In the afternoon visit the marble quarter, where artisans sculpt Buddhas of all sizes, before continuing to the workshop of a family of bronze casters to observe, first hand, the creation of statuesque Buddha images and ceremonial gongs. End the day at the magnificent 200-year-old U Bein Bridge, one of Myanmar’s most photographed sites.
Rejoin the ship late afternoon and relax before dinner. After dining, join us in the Observation Lounge for a presentation on Myanmar’s ethnic groups. See amazing traditional costumes and dances and learn about the customs of the main tribal groups - over 130 are officially recognised in the country.
Day 10 BAGAN
During today’s sailing to Bagan, take advantage of our onboard activities. Join a yoga or meditation session on the Observation Deck, have your fortune told by a renowned astrologer or attend a mouth-watering Burmese cookery demonstration by our Chef. View our onboard photography exhibition or listen to a talk on Bagan.
After lunch, as the ship draws nearer to Bagan, our guides will give you an introduction to this awe- inspiring ancient city, which ranks alongside Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobudur on Java as among the greatest historic sites in Southeast Asia. Over 3,000 temples dot the plain beside the Ayeyarwady River, most of which were built between the 11 th and 13 th centuries. On arrival, disembark for a sunset ride by horse and cart through Old Bagan. Your local driver will take you on a scenic route through the heart of the archaeological zone, passing many ancient pagodas and offering plentiful photo opportunities.
Tonight, you dine under the stars at our Road to Mandalay Grill. Afterwards, stay on the Observation Deck to experience an unforgettable surprise on the river (weather permitting).
Day 11 BAGAN & MOUNT POPA
Today a choice of tours await. Early risers can join Raha for a trek to the majestic Mount Popa, a 1411m-high extinct volcano that soars out of the landscape right in the center of Myanmar. Or perhaps explore Bagan by bicycle independently or with a guide. Pedal along small paths and roads that wind their way around ancient temples and pagodas. Alternatively, enjoy a tour of Bagan where you will discover off-the-beaten-track temples, ancient pagodas and magnificent gilded Buddha statues.
Return to the ship for lunch. In the afternoon, you may choose to relax on board or join another of our excursions.
For those not participating in the morning hike, enjoy a relaxed afternoon excursion to Mount Popa, the fabled home of the 37 Nats, or animist spirits, that have been worshipped in Myanmar since long before the arrival of Buddhism. The journey overland towards the fascinating Mount Popa Monastery takes about two hours by car; on the way you’ll stop at a toddy palm plantation to see how jaggery is produced. This is an unrefined cane sugar used in sweets and an alcoholic drink, which you’ll have the chance to try. Or, enjoy an independent horse-and-cart tour.
Back on board, celebrations await for your final evening, beginning with a cocktail party and a splendid farewell dinner in the Restaurant and culminating in an acrobatic show on the Observation Deck.
Day 12 BAGAN
An early bird breakfast is served before you disembark for your onward travel arrangements.
Dates and Prices 2020
16 September prices from $USD:
Superior Cabin, $2,206 per person.
Deluxe Twin Cabin, $3,250 per person.
Deluxe Double Cabin, $3,250 per person.
State Double Cabin, $4,750 per person.
BOOKING & RESERVATION
All prices are at publicly-quoted rates. We will be happy to answer any questions and make the booking for you - contact us in the UK: +44 ()) 1249 890205 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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