- 0 Sorry, fully booked
18th January 2014 –
1st February 2014
- 15 View Itinerary
- Keen for culture, Cruising
Robert Gordon CMG OBE with Amelia Dalton
- View Accommodation
An Inspired Journey
A luxury guided cruise and tour of Burma with Robert Gordon CMG OBE.
Our charter to Burma in 2014 is now fully booked but we are taking reservations for a similar experience on the Orcaella in January 2015.
At last it is possible to navigate all the way up to Bhamo on the Ayeyarwady in the dry season on a boat which is at the same time small enough to be intimate and large enough to be luxurious. We have chartered the new and very special Orient-Express boat, Orcaella, in January 2014 and we are delighted that Robert Gordon, former British ambassador to Burma will lead this exclusive cruise. With Robert on board it will be an experience of Burma unlike any other and it is a rare chance to get beneath the skin of this intriguing country.
Robert has had remarkable experiences during his time in Burma and he will be giving informal lectures during the trip to help explain Burma’s fascinating and troubled history. (We have also built in a donation to Prospect Burma, a charity which helps to fund the education of local students. Money raised from this trip will provide a full scholarship for one of their pupils.)
In Rangoon not only are you based out of the luxurious Governor’s Residence, we have planned a full day in this extraordinary city with Robert as well as organising a very special dinner in an extraordinary location in ‘Old Rangoon’ to set the tone of the trip ahead.
To ensure the trip runs as smoothly as the waters of the Ayeyarwady, you will also be in the safe hands of Amelia Dalton, who knows Burma very well and has over 20 years of experience in what it takes to make a cruise faultless.
- This is one of the first cruises to access the temples and endless plains of Bagan on board a small ship in the dry season.
- An inside track into Rangoon off the tourist trail with Robert Gordon, former British ambassador to Burma.
- Cocktail parties and special events on board Orient Express’s newest luxury vessel.
- Visit the town which inspired George Orwell’s novel, Burmese Days.
Our charter to Burma in 2014 is now fully booked but we are taking reservations for a similar experience on the Orcaella in January 2015.
Day 1: 18th JanuaryArrive Rangoon
Day 2: 19th JanuaryFull Day Discovering Rangoon
Day 3: 20th JanuarySail Mandalay to Mingun
Day 4: 21st JanuarySail Mingun to Nwe Nyein
Day 5: 22nd JanuarySail Kyan Hnyat - Katha
Day 6: 23rd JanuarySail Katha - Shwegu
Day 7: 24th JanuarySail Zinbon - Bhamo - Shwe Paw
Day 8: 25th JanuarySail Shwe Paw – Moe Dar - Katha
Day 9: 26th JanuarySail Katha - Kyan Hnyat and train to Naba
Day 10: 27th JanuarySail Kyan Hnyat and drive to Mogok
Day 11: 28th JanuarySail to Mandalay
Day 12: 29th JanuarySail to Bagan
Day 13: 30th JanuaryBagan - Mt Popa
Day 14: 31st JanuaryRangoon
Day 15: 1st FebruaryRangoon
On arrival at Rangoon international airport you will be met and driven 30 minutes to The Governor’s Residence in the elegant Embassy Quarter of the city. We have left today free for you to settle in and unwind. We can arrange a private guide for those who would like to explore the city and we will be sure to give you plenty of restaurant recommendations for lunch and dinner.
Full Day Discovering Rangoon
After a leisurely breakfast Robert will take you into the city to give you his unique viewpoint on the culture and politics of Rangoon. He will take you to the highlights of the city as well as to meet some of Prospect Burma’s inspiring students so you can see first-hand how this wonderful charity is helping to support the education of the Burmese people. Robert knows the city inside out and, with his guidance and our local knowledge, you will have the chance to really discover Rangoon from a real and authentic perspective.
In the evening you will visit the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda where a local Monk will talk to you about his experiences before Robert hosts a fun and special dinner nearby.
Sail Mandalay to Mingun
Early this morning you will be driven to the airport in good time to board your 7am domestic flight from Rangoon to Mandalay. In Mandalay you will be driven to the pier, where you will board the Orcaella and settle into your cabins. There will be a brief introduction on board before the engine is geared up and your journey of the Ayeyarwady River begins.
After lunch you will dock at the ancient city of Mingun to visit one of the world’s most impressive pagodas and the largest ringing bell to date.
This evening Robert will give the first of his fascinating lectures. Tonight he will discuss his experiences in Burma as well as talking about the importance of some of the sites you will visit over the next ten days. This will be followed by a special welcome dinner as you continue to glide North.
Sail Mingun to Nwe Nyein
This morning you will wake to new views sweeping by before you dock at Nwe Nyein. This little pottery village is alive with talented sculptors, burning kilns and clay diggers creating traditional pots and artefacts. The ceramic trade in Burma is centuries old and it’s fascinating to watch how ancient traditions are still used today. With your guides translating you’ll have a chance to meet some of the local artisans and understand the importance of their trade.
Back on board you will watch the world slip by and the beautiful, changing scenery will include the island pagoda of Thihadaw. Tonight there will be a sunset cocktail party on the top deck before dinner.
Sail Kyan Hnyat - Katha
After breakfast you will disembark at the pretty market town of Kyan Hnyat. Your guide will explain the traditions of rural life in Burma and, perhaps, you’ll have a chance to visit the local school and its friendly pupils. What can be so striking about visits to these villages is how relaxed and accommodating the inhabitants are. Their beaming faces will make you feel immediately welcome and at home.
The afternoon and evening will be spent enjoying the Orcaella’s pool, massage room or simply relaxing on deck as you watch villages and forests drift by.
Sail Katha - Shwegu
Today you’ll wake to views of Katha, a sleepy riverside town which inspired George Orwell to feature it as the setting for his novel Burmese Days. Katha was once an important settlement of the British Empire and it is where Orwell served as a police officer from 1926 – 1927.
After lunch back on board you’ll take smaller boats to the port of Shwegu where you’ll get a better understanding of life in a typical riverside Shan village. Using our insider knowledge we’ll also arrange for you to visit some lesser known spots beyond the port and a full and detailed itinerary will be confirmed nearer to the time.
Sail Zinbon - Bhamo - Shwe Paw
As you continue North you’ll notice that the narrower waters of the Ayeyarwady begin to spread and the dramatic gorges and mountain tops deflate into lush forest plains stretching lazily from the riverbanks. Today your guides will discuss the politics and history of the teak trade as you sail past logging camps as well as the Shwegu village of Zinbon.
In the afternoon you’ll drop anchor at the attractive trading port of Bhamo. There will be time to explore the town centre with your guide and discover how trade between China and Burma has played an important role in the history of this town.
Sail Shwe Paw – Moe Dar - Katha
The day will begin visiting ancient pagodas on the scenic island of Shwe Paw. From here you’ll journey to the riverside village of Moe Dar where you’ll have the privilege to witness part of a traditional noviciation ceremony. During this coming of age ceremony, which can last for over a week, novices are dressed in elaborate garments and processed around the town accompanied by their guardians. This is a time when the streets are alive with colour and celebration and when the importance of the community is reaffirmed. This evening you’ll sail back to Katha where you will drop anchor for the night.
Sail Katha - Kyan Hnyat and train to Naba
In the early morning, you will travel by train to Naba, a railway station deep in the teak forest. Here your guides will accompany you into the beautiful Kachin jungle and talk of the history and politics behind this once troubled state.
After lunch back on board you will enjoy a leisurely afternoon gliding back towards Kyan Hnayt. At the end of another extraordinary day you will come together on the top deck for another refreshing cocktail as the sun sinks over the forest plains.
Sail Kyan Hnyat and drive to Mogok
This morning you will sail to Thabeikkyin, a town which was devastated by an unusually powerful earthquake in November 2012. Today the town’s foundations and spirit have been rebuilt and it is, once more, part a bustling riverside community. From here a winding road will take you into a beautiful forest reserve to the town of Mogok, famous for its gemstones. Here you’ll explore the local market and meet elephants working in the teak forests.
Sail to Mandalay
Early this morning the iconic views of Mandalay will begin to appear on the horizon. After breakfast you will disembark and explore the last royal capital of Burma. The city is northern Burma’s most important commercial centre and a world away from the slow-paced villages you have seen in the last few days. Highlights include unbroken views from Mandalay Hill and the impressive Buddha image at Mahamuni Paya.
From here you will drive to the more peaceful village of Shwe Kyet Yet where the Orcaella will be waiting for you to enjoy a tribal dance performance on board as part of the evening’s celebrations.
Sail to Bagan
Today will move at the same slow, steady pace of the Ayeyarwady as you continue north to Bagan. Arriving in the early evening you will experience an unforgettable sunset over the Bagan plain and the sense of excitement on board will be enhanced with a magical performance by traditional Bagan artists.
Bagan - Mt Popa
Bagan and all its glory is yours to explore today. This morning we strongly recommend a ride by hot air balloon as the sun rises over the plains and temples. The bird’s eye views of the Kingdom of Bagan will be life-changing and a highlight of your journey. Other highlights of the region include Mount Popa with its jaw-dropping monastery perched on the summit of this volcano.
This evening you will celebrate the accomplishment of your journey with a special cocktail party followed by a farewell dinner.
This morning you will be driven to Bagan airport in good time for your 07:30 flight to Rangoon. Here you will be met and driven back to the Governor’s Residence. We have left the rest of the day and evening free for you to explore, do some last minute shopping or rest at the hotel.
We will arrange a transfer back to the airport today for those travelling with Thai Airways to London via Bangkok. We can also arrange private transfers for those with connecting flights elsewhere in the world.
18th January – 20th January
This is the very best hotel in town and a treat with which to start and end your exploration of Burma. You can be pampered in true Orient Express style as you prepare for the journey ahead. There is a stylish swimming pool in the courtyard garden and an excellent bar and restaurant. The rooms are traditional with a modern twist and effortlessly elegant.
20th January – 31st January
This luxurious 25 cabin vessel is the first of its kind to navigate the waters of the upper Ayeyarwady during the dry season. You will experience the seamless service and comfort you would expect from Orient Express as you glide along these timeless waters. A pool, massage room and fitness centre ensure there are plenty of areas to relax and rest when you’re not on the banks of the river exploring hidden villages and ancient pagodas. There are 2 balcony suites, 15 state cabins and 8 Deluxe Cabins.
31st January – 1st February
You will return to the Governor's Residence for one more night to end your trip.
Robert Gordon CMG OBE
This remarkable Inspired Journey will be led by Robert Gordon, the British Ambassador to Burma from 1995 to 1999. Robert is Chairman of the pioneering educational charity Prospect Burma which sponsors about 150 Burmese students a year to study abroad as well as supporting educational initiatives within Burma.
He is also President of the Britain-Burma Society and has visited Burma frequently in recent months. He was closely involved in Aung San Suu Kyi's historic visit to the UK in June 2012.
Amelia Dalton has created unusual itineraries in remote parts of the world for the past fifteen years, ranging from Scotland to Sumatra and has recently been focusing on the more inaccessible areas of South East Asia and Indonesia. Specialising in small ships operating on rivers or at sea, she fell in love with the people and beauty of the fascinating countries of this area five years ago when exploring the upper reaches of the Mekong and Ayeyarwady. She has created specialised itineraries for various British charities including The Durrell Conservation Trust and Kew Gardens; her aim is to provide an experience characterised by purpose, adventure and joie de vivre, managed with competence and professionalism. Amelia will be backed up by the on board Orient Express team including their General Manager and excellent local guides.
We recommend the following flights:
Outbound with Thai Airlines London Heathrow - Bangkok - Rangoon
Inbound with Thai Airlines Rangoon - Bangkok - London Heathrow
Please contact us for a quote including these flights.
We can also include flights from the United States so please do let us know where you are travelling from and we will send you the best flight routes with a quote.
Price per person based on two people sharing:
The top level Balcony Suites and Deluxe Cabins are currently fully booked.
State Cabin £6262
State Cabin $9894
State Cabin €7200
The price quoted includes the following:
3 nights accommodation with breakfast at the Governor’s Residence in Yangon
11 nights on board the Orcaella on a full board basis
Soft drinks and local beer on board the Orcaella
Half a bottle of wine per person at dinner
All road transfers as specified
Guiding and shore excursions as specified
Park fees and other entry fees
The price quoted does not include:
Scheduled International flights (we can quote on these if required)
Special menus and bar arrangements
Drinks and tips
Any other extras
We currently have one single cabin available, the single supplement cost is £1500