Jewels of the Ayeyarwady
Set sail on a luxurious nine-day river cruise and uncover the secrets of this historic region.
Day 1: Yangon and Twante Canal (B,L,D)
"Mingalarba" - welcome on board Belmond Orcaella!
The Belmond Orcaella crew are delighted to welcome you on board. We strive to ensure that your cruise is an unforgettable one, coupled with riveting land excursions and heart-warming experiences. The crew will escort you to your cabin and will give you a brief on the facilities. Buffet breakfast is served in the restaurant. Belmond Orcaella will depart this morning from Yangon's Nanthidar Jetty.
Leaving the busy ports of Myanmar's trade centre, you will find an interesting landscape with small villages and farms dotted along the river bank of the Twante Canal. This canal connects the Yangon River with the Ayeyarwaddy, constructed in 1883 during the British colonial rule. During this time it was used by the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, however today it still remains a major thoroughfare for cargo ships and local boats travelling from Yangon to the Delta Region and Upper Myanmar.
This morning there will be a welcome briefing on the Top deck. Our topic "Life on board and safety" presented by Win Min, Hotel Manager. Buffet lunch served at the Restaurant on the upper deck. Late afternoon enjoy a Lecture: "Heritage Buildings in Yangon and along the River" by Robert Percival in the lounge bar.
A Welcome cocktail party and introduction to officers and Head of department will take place on top deck before a delicious welcome dinner is served in the restaurant.
Tonight, the ship moors near Nyaungdone
Day 2: Danuphyu (B,L,D) This morning, disembark for a trishaw tour of the small town of Danuphyu, where the revered General Maha Bandula led a Burmese defensive against the British troops during the Anglo-Burmese war. You will see his memorial at Pali University (a Buddhist monastery) before visiting a small cottage industry that produces cheroots (cigars) and trying a typical sweet tea and snack at a teashop. You will also have the chance have a wander through a bustling market. Most markets are very active in the early hours, when farmers and vendors gather from miles around, often travelling before dawn, to sell and trade their wares.
NB, if you are feeling particularly energetic, you are welcome to pedal your own trishaw and take your driver on a trip around Danuphyu!
Return to the ship for an afternoon of sailing. Join one of our Belmond guides for a Myanmar language lesson. Learn basic greetings, numbers and key phrases that might help you with your bargaining skills in the market later in the trip.
Belmond Orcaella moors at Italoke.
Day 3: Sailing and Akauk Taung (B,L,D) Spend the day relaxing on board and taking in the beautiful scenery of the Ayeyarwady River. Join a sunrise yoga and meditation session, indulge in a treatment at the spa or have a swim in the outdoor pool. Our guides are always available to point out sites of interest along the way.
Today there will be an astrologer on board for those who would like their numbers and palm read. Astrology is an important aspect of Myanmar culture and is believed to determine a person's fortune and fate.
In the afternoon Belmond Orcaella passes the site of Akauk Taung ("Tax Mountain"), where steep cliffs have been carved with hundreds of Buddha images and merchants once stopped to pay tolls.
Enjoy afternoon tea followed by a talk on Buddhism in Myanmar. Later, our housekeeping team demonstrates how to tie a longyi, the Myanmar sarong worn by both men and women, and how to prepare thanaka, a paste that serves as both decorative make-up and protection from the sun.
This evening you are invited to practice your new longyi-tying skills to attend a cocktail party before dinner.
Day 4: Pyay and Sri Ksetra (B,L,D) This morning we arrive in Pyay, once a booming trade town in the days of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company and still an important transit point. You will visit Shwesandaw Pagoda, which boasts views over the city and an imposing 10-storey sitting Buddha. You will also have the opportunity to give an offering to your personal planetary post at the pagoda, according to the day of the week that you were born. Your guide will inform you about Myanmar astrology and the significance of spirit animals.
You will also visit the ancient city of Sri Ksetra ("Fabulous City"), one of three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Myanmar, with its unique, cylindrical-shaped stone stupas.
Return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon's sailing. One of our guides will give a talk on Myanmar: Past, Present and Future, after which there will be time for a Q&A session.
After dinner enjoy the movie "The Lady", the fascinating story of Aung San Suu Kyi, as Chef serves fresh popcorn and homemade ice cream.
Day 5: Gwechaung (B,L,D) During a morning of leisurely sailing there is the chance to make your own kite on the Observation Deck using bamboo and recycled materials. Have fun flying it off the stern and, if you wish, save it to give to schoolchildren we meet later on in the journey.
Our onboard doctor will give a presentation on the healthcare system in Myanmar and Belmond's Social Contribution Projects. These include pop-up health clinics, constructing schools and providing clean water and solar panels in villages we visit along the rivers of Myanmar.
Disembark for a late-afternoon excursion to the hilltop fort at Gwechaung. This fort was one of the strongholds built by Italian architects for the Burmese king in 1860 to keep the British at bay. Journey by ox cart across fields and farmlands for a glimpse of rural life and enjoy panoramic views across the Ayeyarwady River to the Min Hla Fort, site of a great battle during the third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885. Those feeling active may join one of our guides on a hike to or from the fort.
Tonight's dinner will be specialities from the grill, either under the stars on the Observation Deck or on a sandbank of the river (weather and water level permitting).
Day 6: Magwe (B,L,D) Mid-morning, Belmond Orcaella reaches Magwe. Discover the town by tuk-tuk before heading to the splendid gilded Myathalon Pagoda. You will also have the opportunity to visit a monastic school run by a Chief Nun, who gives free education to poor students. Our onboard doctor will be donating stationary to the schoolchildren and you are welcome to participate.
Continue sailing this afternoon. After lunch, you may like to join our Chief Engineer for a tour of the ship, including the engine room and bridge.
In the late afternoon you are invited to take part in a Lahpet Thoke (Tea Leaf Salad) competition. Tea Leaf Salad, one of the most popular dishes in Myanmar, includes pickled tea leaves mixed with a variety of ingredients such as toasted sesame and peanut, fried garlic and onion, chopped tomato, dried shrimp, and more. Traditionally it was consumed as a symbolic peace offering after settling a dispute between warring kingdoms. Teams will each make their own salad, which will be judged by the Captain.
Relax over a delicious dinner on board this evening as you continue sailing north to Bagan.
Day 7: Salay & Bagan (B,L,D) Upon arrival into Salay, disembark for a walking tour. Visit the beautiful teak monastery, Yout-Saun-Kyaung, a fine example of monastic architecture of the late Konbaung period, and enjoy an adventurous ride back to the ship aboard local trucks.
Lunch is served as we cruise into the Bagan region. Before arriving, one of our guides will present an enlightening overview of the history of Bagan, including details about the different styles of architecture you will see.
Bagan has been one of the main visitor attractions in Myanmar for many years, ranking alongside Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobudur on Java as the greatest monuments in Southeast Asia. As many as 2,000 temples dot the plain beside the Ayeyarwady River, most of which were built around 800 years ago.
The ship moors at our private jetty in Taung Be, a small village near Old Bagan, where you disembark for an early evening tour. Travel in traditional style aboard your own horse and cart on a scenic route passing many ancient temples in the heart of the archaeological zone. The leisurely ride offers abundant photo opportunities. As daylight starts to fade you will return to the ship, first visiting a small temple close to the jetty to participate in an exclusive Belmond experience"”a magical candle-lighting ceremony.
This evening you will be royally entertained with a classical puppet show. Historically these shows were performed at court and usually depicted stories from the early life of the Buddha, but they were also used as a way of conveying secret messages to the king.
Day 8: Bagan (B,L,D) Early this morning you may wish to experience one of the magical highlights of Bagan - a sunrise hot-air balloon flight over the pagodas (operates October-March, advance reservations essential, supplement applies). Guests participating in this activity disembark before dawn and return to the ship at around 8:00 am. Coffee and tea are served at the launch site, followed by a light champagne breakfast after landing.
After this, there is a choice of excursions.
Join our guides for a visit to a family compound to observe the process of making ponyegyi (fermented soy bean paste), one of the food specialities of Central Myanmar. Nearby, another family produces colourful fans out of bamboo and paper, which are given as gifts on special occasions. Enjoy a walk through a temple complex near Old Bagan, where you can admire a fascinating mix of architectural styles and both restored and unrestored pagodas. You will also be led to a small temple that will be opened exclusively for us, where you can discover the murals inside by torchlight. Nearby take in the stunning view of Thatbyinnyu, one of Bagan's tallest pagodas, which dates back to the 12th century.
For the energetic there is the option to explore the monuments independently by mountain bike (a map will be provided). This is suitable for advanced beginners and above, and riders should expect a variety of road surfaces, including dirt and sand tracks and paved roads with other vehicles. On request, e-bikes can also be rented or private guides arranged for a guided bike tour. Please enquire at Reception a day in advance regarding rates and reservations.
A third option is to set off by yourself on a morning stroll around Taung Be, the small village where our jetty is located. The cool of the morning is a time of much activity, when villagers can be seen going about their business. Belmond's free clinic is open and bustling with patients, many of whom have travelled great distances to receive health care from our Belmond doctors and volunteers.
Return to the ship for lunch. In the afternoon you visit two of the most significant pagodas of Bagan, Sulamani and Ananda Temple. 12th-century Sulamani is known as the "Crowning Jewel" and is renowned for its fine brickwork and decorative features. Ananda, built in 1090, contains four gilded Buddha statues, each standing 30ft tall. You will also visit a workshop to observe Bagan's famous lacquerware being crafted.
Return to the ship and prepare for your final evening on board, commencing with a farewell cocktail party and dazzling entertainment in the form of an elephant dance before dinner.
Day 9: Bagan > Yangon (B) Early morning breakfast is served in the Restaurant before you disembark Belmond Orcaella at 10:00 am for your flight to Yangon.
Please Note: The rivers of Myanmar vary from season to season, with as much as a 30 foot variance in water level. During the months of January through June, the water levels of the Ayeyarwady may drop for a period of a few weeks to a few months, creating a narrower channel for navigation. During the months of July through October, high water levels may affect the Chindwin River. To accommodate for changes in water levels, Belmond Orcaella may operate on an adjusted itinerary during these periods and our mooring locations may be amended.
State and Deluxe Cabins • Double or twin beds • En-suite bathroom • Seating area, writing desk and satellite TV • Floor to ceiling windows with Juliet balcony • All our cabins offer satellite TV, air-conditioning, an iPod docking station
Balcony Suites and Junior Suite Amenities • King-sized bed or queen sized twin beds • En-suite bathroom • Seating area, writing desk and satellite TV • Floor to ceiling windows with balcony • Butler service • All our cabins offer satellite TV, air-conditioning, an iPod docking station
• Buffet breakfast and lunch, and table d'hote dinner - both eastern and western choices available • Complimentary soft drinks, mineral water, local beer and free flow house wine (local and international) with lunch and dinner • Internal flights within Myanmar included between Yangon and ship, as per itinerary • Fully-qualified resident doctor • All sightseeing, as per itinerary
Pricing (per person) $USD
Nov 6, 24
Booking conditions • Prices are per person in US Dollars
• Please contact World Journeys for the updated USD exchange rate
• Prices are per person in US Dollars • Please contact World Journeys for the updated USD exchange rate
Not included • Myanmar Visa
• Myanmar Visa