Bagan is a totally captivating and truly magical destination, with spiritual architecture and arid, natural landscapes.
Beautiful, in a jaw-dropping kind of way. A must on any tour to Burma. Bagan is home to one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia – probably the world – covering 42 sq kilometres of ruins. It is claimed that at one stage there were over 10,000 temples, pagodas and stupas, of which now just close to 3000 remain intact. That covers 911 temples, 834 stupas or pagodas, 431 brick monastries, 54 ordination halls and 892 still be be excavated!
Fantastic sightseeing, incredible scenic contrasts and cultures. A destination to inspire and intrigue you. There are no direct flights from the UK, so Bangkok is the suggested gateway and from there a one hour flight.
Weatherwise – The best time is usually late October through to end April. During the spring and summer months you have heavy monsoon rains which can disrupt travelling.
Inle lake is the 2nd largest lake in Burma, measuring 20 miles long and 7 wide. It is nested within the green cool highlands of the Shan State. This is the place to witness the unique one legged rowing technique of the local fisherman. It is an area of total tranquillity, and of outstanding natural beauty, with floating markets and villages, with gardens that imaginatively produce flowers and vegetables on the water surface.
Mandalay is the second largest city in Burma, with a population of 1.5 million. It is the religious and cultural centre of the country, with a sky line of glittering pagodas and temples, with equally impressive whitewashed stupas. Much more conservative, spiritual and slower paced than Yangon. Much of the colonial heritage was destroyed during the 2nd World War, and further obliterated by several fires that ravaged the city. However many of the religious sites remained wonderfully intact. The downtown area is modern, highly influenced by the many Chinese residents who have made Mandalay home.
Yangon is the commercial heart of the country and the largest city, with a population of 6 million. Formerly known as Rangoon, the city still has some of the most impressive old buildings from the British Colonial rule to be found in South East Asia, along with large parks and lakes. Yangon is probably the most diverse city in Myanmar, often reflected in the places of worship. Buddhist and Hindu temples, Mosques, Catholic and Anglican churches, and even a small synagogue.
The main beach area in Burma is Ngapali (Thandwe). One hour flight west of Yangon, on the Bay of Bengal. Here you have some fantastic soft sand beaches, crystal clear waters and a totally tropical backdrop. It is not just one beach, but a series of coves interspersed with small fishing villages. The area has been earmarked for resort development, but currently it remains wonderfully simple and unspoilt, with gentle pleasures and just a handful of international standard hotels. There are some simple dining options in beach side restaurants.
Owned and operated by Orient-Express, the Road to Mandalay has all of the attention to detail you expect. Luxurious, but in an elegant deliberately understated manner. Just 41 outside cabins, all with en suite showers, you have a choice of superior, deluxe or State in differing locations plus a rather sumptuous Governor’s suite. Facilities include swimming pool, wellbeing and fitness area, observation deck and boutique. The restaurant serves mainly delightful Asian specialities. Dress code is casually elegant, a jacket might be worn for dinner occasionally. The main schedule for the sailings is every Wednesday from Mandalay to Bagan from January to end April and then again from October to December. Following the same seasonal pattern it operates from Bagan to Mandalay each Saturday.
All of our arrangements in Burma are totally flexible and are arranged on a private basis. The itinerary detailed below is just an idea and can be tailored to your individual requirements. We suggest you select Bangkok as the international gateway and there are frequent onward connections to Yangon. Tour extensions in Thailand can easily be arranged.
A new level of boutique luxury on the Myanmar Rivers. Just 21 spacious and sophisticated suites, spread over 4 decks. Original Burmese design fused together with contemporary chic comfort.
It is all wonderfully individual, particularly emphasised on the shore excursions, which are tailored to provide you with something totally memorable and unique.