NAVIGATING BURMA ON THE ORCAELLA

MANDALAY + NORTH TO BHAMO.

19TH SEPTEMBER - 3RD OCTOBER 2015
* Flights are not included / View our Terms and Conditions

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An Inspired Journey

The Northern route with Bestselling Author, Peter Popham

After such a terrific response to our 2014 Inspired Journey to Burma we have chartered the Belmond (the new name for Orient-Express) Orcaella vessel again in September 2015. This will give guests the opportunity to discover Rangoon and see the cultural highlights there and in Mandalay and Bagan but to explore the Northern part of the Irrawaddy River with the same fantastic balance of adventure and luxury as our guests enjoyed this year further South.

Travelling this part of the river in the second half of September should mean that the main rains have passed but there is still enough water in the upper gorges of the river to ensure navigation up to Bhamo. And the landscape is at its most lush and beautiful for photographers and painters.

With a combined experience in Burma of over 20 years, cazenove+loyd and Belmond know what it takes to create the very best experience of this beautiful and enchanting country. The trip begins in Rangoon where we have set aside two nights and a full day to give our guests time to explore and settle in. In keeping with the high level of style and charm, nights here will be based out of The Governor’s Residence, a Belmond property with the excellent service you would expect from them.

From here a short domestic flight takes our group to Mandalay where the Orcaella will be waiting by the banks of the Irrawaddy River. This will be the beginning of an 11 night adventure all the way to Bhamo in the north of the country and not far from the source of the river. This gives passengers a fascinating discovery of some of the most remote and untouched monuments, villages and stunning landscapes that can only be visited by boat.

The area north of Bagan is much less susceptible to the monsoon as it is technically the dry zone. This means that the river is completely different, flowing right up to the banks, with river villages showing why they are built on stilts.

With towering mountain gorges, thick teak forests and distant planes, accessing Burma by land is not easy. For this reason, we know from our own experience that travelling by boat gives our guests the very best chance to take in the variety of culture and landscape without having to sacrifice on comfort and relaxation. There’s no hassle of packing and unpacking, frantically rushing about between airports and long, bumpy road transfers; simply rest by the pool of the top deck of the boat or lean out on the balcony of your cabin and watch the world slip steadily by. Each day there will be exciting land excursions to visit the local people and see some truly mesmerising pagodas and ancient monuments. This way our guests will never feel distanced from a sense of discovery and adventure.

19th September

Arrive in Rangoon

On arrival in Rangoon, you will be met by your guide and driver and taken by private transfer to Belmond Governor's Residence.

Some of today's highlights:

  • Relax at the luxurious Belmond Governor's Residence.
  • A chance to explore Rangoon with our expert, private guide.
  • This evening, the group will come together for a welcome dinner.
Arrive in Rangoon

20th September

A Day of Discovery in Rangoon

Today you will be greeted by your expert, local guide to begin a fascinating day exploring Rangoon.

Some of today's highlights:

  • Journey from Rangoon's bustling harbour to the Botathaung Pagoda, then onto Chinatown's array of colourful markets.
  • Visit Sule Pagoda, a landmark in the heart of downtown Rangoon.
  • Enjoy a private lunch at the famous Strand Hotel
  • Marvel at the spectacular views of Shwedagon Pagoda, the ‘heart’ of Buddhist Myanmar
  • Admire the sunset as local Burmese people make offerings amongst the dozens of intricately decorated statues around Shwedagon
A Day of Discovery in Rangoon

21st September

Set Sail to Mingun

After a visit to the small town of Sagaing, a private vehicle will take you to board The Orcaella.


Some of today's highlights:

  • Begin your exciting voyage to Mingun whilst enjoying a delicious lunch on board with views of the river sweeping by.
  • Dock at the ancient city of Mingun to visit one of the world's most impressive pagodas and the largest ringing bell to date.
  • Enjoy welcome cocktails on the top deck.
Set Sail to Mingun

22nd September

Visit the Pottery Village of Nwe Nyein

This morning you will wake to new views passing by, before travelling by fast boat to the village of Nwe Nyein.


Some of today's highlights:

  • Arrive in the tiny pottery village of Nwe Nyein, alive with burning kilns and clay diggers, known for its production of traditonal pottery. Meet local artisans to understand the importance of their trade and see the traditional methods they use.
  • Listen to the first of Peter's fascinating lectures on Burmese life and the importance of the sites visited on the trip.
  • Drop anchor off Malae, where you will release traditional Shan Balloons off the deck as the sun sets on the Irrawaddy River.
Visit the Pottery Village of Nwe Nyein

23rd September

Discover Burmese Village Life

Take some time to walk around and exploring the village where Burmese civilisation began.

Some of today's highlights:

• Take a walking tour of Tagaung village where the first inhabitants of Burma lived.
• Experience the local village way of life and visit the archaeological museum
• Understand more about Burmese civilisation through another of Peter Popham’s insightful lectures

Discover Burmese Village Life

24th September

Visit Katha, the Setting of Orwell's 'Burmese Days'

Today you will take a fast boat to Katha, a sleepy riverside town famous as the setting for George Orwell's 'Burmese Days'.

Some of today's highlights:
• Take a morning walk in Htijiang village and enjoy its panoramic views over the Irrawaddy river
• Wander through Katha's bustling, colourful market to the Katha Tennis Club, practically unchanged since its starring role in ‘Burmese Days'.
• Have dinner at the Police Commissioner's House, once vital to British Colonial life, and reputed to be where Orwell himself once lived

Visit Katha, the Setting of Orwell's 'Burmese Days'

25th September

Cruise further North along the Irrawaddy

This morning as The Orcaella cruises North along the Irrawaddy, you will see the dramatic changes in scenery.

Some of today's highlights:

• Cruise further North along the Irrawaddy River as the dramatic scenery changes, taking in the breathtaking gorges and mountain tops as they deflate into lush forest plains stretching lazily from the riverbanks.
• Learn about the traditional Burmese dress known as 'Longyi' tying and 'Thanakha' (make-up) on board.

Cruise further North along the Irrawaddy

26th September

Visit Northern Town of Bhamo and Working Elephants in the Teak Forest

Some of today's highlights:

• Drop anchor and travel by fast boat to the lively and attractive port of Bhamo, the major trading post between China and Burma
• Visit Weima village and watch elephants working in the teak forest
• Look round a local school where you will have the chance to donate school supplies for the children

Visit Northern Town of Bhamo and Working Elephants in the Teak Forest

27th September

Travel by Train to Naba

Today you will start the return southward journey, stopping en route for a train ride deep into the teak forest.

Some of today's highlights:


• Travel by specially chartered train to Naba, a small village deep in the teak forest of Nothern Burma. Here you will be taken by your private guide into the beautiful Kachin jungle for a picnic lunch.
• Spend a leisurely afternoon on board, gliding towards Kenni.

Travel by Train to Naba

28th September

Witness a traditional Noviciation Ceremony

Some of today's highlights:

• Enjoy another fascinating lecture from Peter Popham this morning
• Take an afternoon walk to the scenic village of Sithae
• At the village monastery, witness a traditional Noviciation Ceremony, a day of great importance when young boys embark on their life as a monk, have their heads shaved and don their robes for the first time.
• Continue to sail downstream in the afternoon and drop anchor off Sheinmakar.

Witness a traditional Noviciation Ceremony

29th September

A Full Day in Mandalay

The iconic views of Mandalay will begin to appear on the horizon and you will spend the day exploring this last royal capital of Burma.

Some of today's highlights:


• Discover "the world's biggest book" at Kuthodaw Pagoda and the atmospheric Shwenandaw Monastery.
• Explore the famous Mandalay Palace and the Mahamuni Temple, where you can witness local gold leaf beaters. You will also have a chance to see marble carving workshops, puppet-making and weaving.
• Take in the sunset at the 200 year old U Bein Bridge.

A Full Day in Mandalay

30th September

Arrive in Bagan

Some of today's highlights:

• Take part in a local cooking demonstration and meet local Astrologer who will spend the day on board, ready to read your palm and astrological chart to see what your future holds.
• Arrive in Bagan, one of the ancient and most spectacular sites in Burma. Wander around this fascinating pagoda-studded landscape, and visit the Ananda Temple dating from 1100.
• This evening enjoy a traditional Burmese puppet show performed by local entertainers, a traditional form of Royal entertainment

Arrive in Bagan

1st October

Bagan In All Its Glory

Bagan and all its glory is ours to explore today.

Some of today's highlights:

• Glide by hot air balloon and enjoy exquisite views as the sun rises over the plains of the Kingdom of Bagan. (This is not included in the price, however we highly recommend the trip and would be delighted to make reservations for those who wish.)
• Explore the market of Nyaung Oo, visit the temples of Hti-Lo-Min-Lo and Gubyaukgyi, and Shwezigon Pagoda.
• Experience jaw-dropping Mount Popa and its monastery perched on the summit.

• Visit the Toddy Palm plantation where traditional methods are used to produce jaggery, a palm sugar used in sweets and alcoholic drinks

• Enjoy a final farewell cocktail party on board The Orcaella

Bagan In All Its Glory

2nd October

Return to Rangoon

Today you will disembark The Orcaella to fly back to Yangon (Rangoon) to return to the Governor's Residence.

We are happy to arrange any extensions so please do let us know if we can assist with this. Perhaps fly onto beautiful Lake Inle for a few days of rest by the peaceful waters, or extend your adventure with some time on the beach in Burma or neighbouring destinations in South East Asia.

Return to Rangoon

3rd October

Depart Burma

Today you will depart the Belmond Governor's Residence in time for your flight home.

Depart Burma

19th September – 2nd October

Governor’s Residence

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 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.

Governor’s Residence

21st September – 2nd October

The Orcaella

This luxurious 23 cabin vessel is the first of its kind to navigate the waters of the upper Irrawaddy. You will experience the seamless service and comfort you would expect from Belmond (previously 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, 1 Junior Suite, 13 State Cabins, 5 Deluxe Cabins and 2 Single Deluxe Cabins.

The Orcaella

2nd October – 3rd October

Governor’s Residence

You will return to the Governor's Residence for one more night to end your trip.

Governor’s Residence

Peter Popham

Peter Popham will be on board as guest lecturer and social commentator. He is author of 'The Lady and The Peacock', the best-selling biography of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Peter, a foreign correspondent and columnist with The Independent, has reported from Burma many times since his first visit in 1991, and is now working on a new book about the dramatic changes that have occurred in the country since 2010.

Peter Popham

Amelia Dalton

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 Irrawaddy. 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 Belmond team including their General Manager and excellent local guides.

Amelia Dalton

Flights

International flights are not included in the cost. Our recommended flight is with Thai Air from London Heathrow to Rangoon, via Bangkok. Schedules and prices are not yet out for September 2015 but we would be happy to advise on and arrange flights nearer the time. We would be happy to advise on other airline schedules as well - let us know where you are travelling from and we can provide you with the best flight routes.

Pricing Information

Balcony Suite: £9,700 | $16,005 | Euro 11,640
Junior Suite: £8,100 | $13,365 | Euro 9,720
State Cabin: £7,250 | $11,963 | Euro 8,700
Deluxe Cabin: £5,700 | $9,405 | Euro 6,840

Price includes:

+ All accommodation and meals as specified
+ All scheduled Domestic flights in Economy class
+ All road and air transfers as specified
+ Guiding and excursions as specified
+ Park fees and other entry fees
+ Two dinners at Belmond Governor's Residence
+ One lunch in Rangoon
+ Soft drinks, local beer, wine with lunch, pre-dinner drinks and wine with dinner on board The Orcaella

Price excludes

+ Return scheduled International flights
+ Special menus, wine and bar arrangements other than those stated above
+ Hot Air Balloon flights over Bagan
+ Tips
+ Travel insurance
+ Single Supplements
+ Visas
+ Vaccinations
+ Any other extras