19 January 2017
Burma's Ayeyarwady River is one of the great waterways of Asia. Formerly known as the Irrawaddy, the river flows on a 2,000 mile course from the Himalayas before fanning out into a delta in Myanmar, and eventually emptying into the Andaman Sea. Along the way the Ayeyarwady enriches the soil, allowing for a population to thrive and a civilisation to emerge. When the British referred to the "Road to Mandalay", they were speaking about this river, which was the country's major transportation route then, as it is today. On our superb eight day boat tour, you will experience life along this mighty river as you take the Road to Mandalay!
Begin this wonderful tour with a morning flight from Burma's capital city, Rangoon, to Bagan. On arrival you will be taken to board the Road To Mandalay boat which is berthed on the Ayeyarwady River. In the afternoon your guide will take you into Bagan where more than 2,000 temples and pagodas remain on an awe-inspiring plain. Watch the sun setting over a field of glowing pagodas by the river. Return to the ship for dinner.
After breakfast join your guide to explore some of Bagan's markets selling wood carvings, fabrics, and rattan goods and see Burma's famous lacquer ware being made. Alternatively, you can hire a bicycle or horse-drawn cart and explore this enchanting area on your own. Mid morning, the ship sets sail for Mandalay. On board your guide will give lectures on the Ayeyarwady River. The ship anchors mid-river for the evening providing a marvellous opportunity to dine under the stars.
Enjoy breakfast on board followed by a lecture in the Observation Lounge. After lunch join our Chef on Top Deck for a cookery demonstration while the ship sails past the pagoda-topped hills of sagaing and the busy river banks of Mandalay City. The ship moors late afternoon, a perfect time for disembarking for a tour of Mingun,home of the world's largest uncracked bell and the huge, earthquake - ruined pagoda of King Bodawpaya. Dinner and local entertainment on board.
A full day's excursion today to Maymyo, a colonial hill station set high in the mountains. Soak up the atmosphere and appreciate its cool climate, English style houses, colourful market and beautiful botanic gardens. Enjoy a typical Shan lunch at a colonial house before returning to the ship for dinner and an evening of local entertainment.
After breakfast, enjoy an excursion to Sagaing Hills, considered to be the living centre of the Buddhist faith in Myanmar, and famous for its silversmiths who still work in much the same way as their ancestors did. Enjoy lunch back on board while the ship cruises once more to Mandalay. This afternoon, disembark for a guided tour of all the major sites of this fabled city. Return to Road To Mandalay for dinner and local entertainment this evening.
After an early breakfast, take a walking tour to a local village. This traditional Burmese village gives you the opportunity to discover the way of life first hand - from farming and handicrafts to spirit houses and tea-shops. Enjoy breakfast back on board while the ship sails down to the ancient capital of Ava. Disembark for a tour by traditional horse and cart with a visit to an ancient teak monastic school and the ruins of King Bagyidaw's palace.. The rest of the day is spent relaxing on board, watching the fascinating river life glide by from the top deck while a guide lectures on the Myanmar way of life. This evening enjoy a casual cocktail party followed by dinner on board.
Today you can enjoy a full day's excursion to Mount Popa, a national park which is believed to be the sacred home of powerful 'Nats' (spirits). On top of a rocky crag is a picturesque complex of monasteries, pagodas and shrines which can be reached via a winding, covered walkway. Lunch is taken at the Mount Popa Resort. Return to the ship for dinner and local entertainment for your final night on board.
Your wonderful cruise down the mighty Aveyarwady River on the Road to Mandalay comes to an end today.
Superior Cabin fr £2587pp
Deluxe Cabin fr £4264pp
State Cabin fr £5316pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated