Gorges of The Far North (12 Days)

Cruise Line: Belmond Cruises
Shwe Kyat Yat, Myanmar to Bagan, Myanmar
DAY
PORT
ARRIVE DEPART
DAY 1
Shwe Kyat Yat, Myanmar
Mingun, Myanmar

Join us for check-in aboard the ship at Shwe Kyat Yat village. A buffet lunch is served as we set sail towards Mingun, passing the magnificent Sagaing Hills en route. After lunch, prepare for a short boat transfer to the shore where your walking tour begins. Explore the fascinating sights of Mingun including Pahtodawgyi, an enormous unfinished pagoda tainted by prophecy. Celebrate the start of your wonderful journey by ringing the world's largest uncracked bell, then wander through the village to the base of the stunning Myatheindan Pagoda, a beautifully intricate temple built with rising whitewashed layers to symbolise Mount Meru. As the sun begins to set, return to the ship for a welcome cocktail party on the observation deck before we serve a delicious dinner in the restaurant.

DAY 2
Nwenyein, Myanmar
Thihadaw, Myanmar, Myanmar

Today we sail for Nwe Nyein. Early risers can head to the Observation Deck for a refreshing beverage from the Healthy Juice Bar before we serve an extensive breakfast in the restaurant. Once we reach Nwe Nyein meet your guide for a walking tour of the village, renowned for its high-quality pottery. Discover the age-old secrets of traditional stoneware before trying your hand at spinning a pot for yourself. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy a leisurely afternoon onboard as we make our way north. Our crew host a range of onboard activities including afternoon tea and a talk about traditional Myanmar culture. Alternatively, unwind by the pool and enjoy spectacular views as we sail through a dramatic river gorge. This evening, after a sumptuous fusion dinner in the restaurant, take part in a magical, glowing spectacle as we light up the sky from the Observation Deck.

DAY 3
Kya Hnyat, Myanmar

This morning begins with an early stroll through the village of Kyan Hnyat, where you will discover traditional life still thriving on the riverbanks. Enjoy a wander through the vibrant morning market, and join our resident onboard doctor Dr. Hla Tun at the local school, where he invites you to participate as he donates stationery to schoolchildren. Lunch is served back onboard the ship before an afternoon at your leisure. Take time to unwind in the spa or enjoy a cooling dip in the pool. We have a range of activities available for you including a relaxing tai chi class or a presentation from Dr. Tun on the healthcare system in Myanmar and Belmond's Social Contribution Projects. Dine on another mouth-watering gourmet menu of Asian and Western delicacies in the restaurant tonight.

DAY 4
Katha, Myanmar
Shwegu, Myanmar

Today we arrive in Katha, where the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company famously sunk a fleet of ships in 1942 to prevent their use by the invading Japanese. Enjoy a walking tour of the bustling local market, then travel by trishaw to Katha Tennis Club, a beautiful relic of the colonial era, unchanged since its starring role in George Orwell's Burmese Days. We stop by the house where the author began many of his works before returning to the ship for a delicious buffet lunch. This afternoon, enjoy a fascinating showcase of Myanmar lifestyle, including typical market produce and traditional items. During afternoon tea we host a talk in the Lounge & Bar giving an insight into Buddhism in Myanmar. After dinner this evening, head to the Observation Deck for a mesmerising performance of mythical tales by Shan dancers from Northeast Myanmar.

DAY 5
Shwe Paw Kyun, Myanmar
Bhamo, Myanmar

Your day begins with an exclusive visit to Shwe Paw Kyun island to see the intriguing stilt houses of the Kachin fishermen. Afterwards, we lead you to a small island monastery for a fascinating tour before returning to the ship. Our onward journey encompasses stunning scenery as we meander through impressive gorges distinctive of the northern Ayeyarwady River. Don't miss the views from the observation deck as the ship approaches Bhamo. After we reach the shore, board a tuk-tuk and explore the town. Continue to a Buddhist nunnery for a rare glimpse into the monastic way of life including the educational support provided for poor and orphaned children. Return to the ship for a sumptuous dinner followed by an unforgettable surprise staged on the river.

DAY 6
Bhamo, Myanmar

Early risers can start the day with a sunrise yoga session. After a delicious breakfast, we head out on a morning tour leading to a community of mahouts. Skilled in the art of elephant training, the mahouts will teach you about their way of life and introduce you to their treasured elephant companions. This afternoon is spent at leisure as we sail along the river. Slip away for an indulgent treatment at the spa or relax by the pool and take in the views. Our ship's engineer will delight you with a talk about life on the rivers of Myanmar before hosting a tour of the bridge and the ship's engine. Dinner is served onshore tonight at one of Bhamo's most impressive original colonial buildings. Enjoy an evening of glittering nostalgia at the former home of the British District Commissioner.

DAY 7
Katha, Myanmar
Naba, Myanmar
Katha, Myanmar
Kya Hnyat, Myanmar

Today presents the perfect opportunity to explore further inland. You will board a specially chartered train heading towards Naba, a small rural village deep in the teak forest. As the train journeys further into the lush Myanmar jungle, our route will encompass the old teak railway, established in 1895 with the purpose of transporting one of the country's most precious exports. After you emerge from an enchanting trail through secluded landscapes, return to Belmond Road to Mandalay and enjoy an afternoon of relaxed cruising. Our crew will lead a longyi-tying masterclass covering all the fun and formal uses of this traditional outfit in preparation for your longyi cocktail party this evening.

DAY 8
Male, Myanmar

After breakfast, Belmond Road to Mandalay arrives in Ma Lae where you disembark for a morning walk. Here you will witness a Buddhist novitiation ceremony, a vibrant rite of passage marked by a horse-back procession to the monastery where a traditional ceremony takes place. Return to the ship for a leisurely lunch as we continue sailing south. During afternoon tea our guides lead an engaging talk on the past, present, and future of Myanmar. This evening the tempo is relaxed with a movie night hosted in the Lounge & Bar after a delicious dinner. Watch a local classic and enjoy homemade ice cream and popcorn served by the chef.

DAY 9
Mandalay, Myanmar
U Bein Bridge, Myanmar
Mandalay, Myanmar

The sprawling heights of Mandalay approach on the horizon this morning, as we return to the religious heart of Myanmar. Disembark for a full day of discovery in the city. Explore some of its greatest historical treasures including Kuthodaw Pagoda and Shwenandaw, an intricately carved teakwood monastery, previously part of King Mindon's living quarters. Enjoy lunch in the city centre at Bistro at 82nd before an afternoon visit to the marble quarter, where artisans sculpt Buddhas of all sizes. More artisanal delights follow before you watch the daylight disappear with a breathtaking visit to U Bein Bridge, one of Myanmar's most photographed sites. Tonight you dine under the stars at the Road to Mandalay Grill on the Observation Deck.

DAY 10
Shwe Kyat Yat, Myanmar
Bagan, Myanmar

This morning join our guides on a visit to the village of Shwe Kyat Yat, where you joined us on day one of your journey. Visit the village pagoda where you will have an opportunity to donate food to a procession of monks from the local monastery. During the day's sailing to Bagan, we have a host of activities available including yoga and meditation on the observation deck, fortune telling from a renowned astrologer, and even a Burmese cookery demonstration from our very own chef. As the ship draws closer to Bagan, our guides will give an introduction to this magnificent ancient city. As we approach, head to the Observation Deck to marvel at the sight of over 3,000 temples rising from the plains. On arrival, you'll disembark for a sunset horse and cart tour followed by an inspiring candle lighting ceremony. A sumptuous dinner is followed by a classical marionette performance this evening.

DAY 11
Bagan, Myanmar
Mount Popa, Myanmar
Bagan, Myanmar

Today a choice of tours await. Early risers can soar into sunrise with a magical hot air balloon ride, or set off by bike to explore the temples. After breakfast, all disembark to visit Old Bagan. Your tour includes Ananda temple, as well as an inspiring lacquerware workshop. Return to the ship for lunch before heading back inland to Sulamani temple, then watch the sunset over plains peppered with ancient pagodas. Alternatively, you can travel to Mount Popa, the traditional home of the animist spirits worshipped here long before Buddhism. Stop en route at a toddy palm plantation to discover the skills still employed to produce jaggery. Back onboard, farewell celebrations await. Your last evening with us begins with a cocktail party featuring an elephant dance on the Observation Deck, before culminating in a splendid final dinner.

DAY 12
Bagan, Myanmar

This morning you have another opportunity to experience a morning hot air balloon ride or a bike ride through Bagan. An early bird breakfast is served before you disembark for your onward travel arrangements.

Gorges of The Far North map

About the Ship

RTM ACC CAB
Belmond Road to Mandalay

Cruise along the Ayeyarwady river on Belmond Road to Mandalay and be enchanted by temple tops and golden sunsets. Venture inland to witness daily rituals of local monks, tour ancient pagodas, and visit bustling markets. Then discover Myanmar’s mesmerising landscapes while reclining on the sun deck with a cocktail in hand.

What's Included

Included

  • Morning tea or coffee served in your cabin on request

  • Buffet breakfast served in the Restaurant daily

  • Extensive buffet lunch served daily

  • Table d'hôte dinner with both eastern and western options

  • Complimentary soft drinks, mineral water, local beer and house wine are served with lunch and dinner

  • Complimentary pre-dinner aperitif served in the Bar each day

  • Cocktail parties with complimentary drinks and canapés

  • Gala Dinner on last night with specially designed menu

  • Onboard activities such as expert lectures and presentations, longyi-tying demonstrations, sunrise yoga sessions, meditation classes and cookery demonstrations

  • Fully-qualified resident doctor

  • Choice of excursions

  • Spa treatment menu

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Reviews and Recommendations for Belmond Cruises

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definitely reccomend

By: Ellie


Reviewed on: 23 Nov 2013

My husband and I spent a month in Asia and this was one of the high lights. The Mandarin Oriental where we stayed before and after the train trip was really special. The train was comfortable, the food was delicious and the service excellent. We took the trip to Laos and had very interesting stops for sightseeing. We had heard that some of the trains have upper and lower berths but not this one. Our Pullman had both beds on the same level and had a nice bathroom.
Travel Advisor:  Marsha Dolbow

Hotel & Trains

By: Harvey


Reviewed on: 12 May 2014

Had a Great stay in Peru at Belmond Hotels. Staff were the BEST !!!!. The train from Cusco to Machu Picchu was a very memorable experience too.
Travel Advisor:  Rita Madrigali

VSOE Is All You Would Dream it To Be

By: RichieBooBoo


Reviewed on: 06 Oct 2014

Very much enjoyed the Belmond experience again. Having traveled on the Hiram Bingham to Macchu Picchu and stayed at the Lodge earlier this year, my expectations were high. The VSOE doesn't disappoint. The Staff is so exceptional I don't know how you could NOT have the time of your life. Spend some time with Walter in the saloon carriage. He is a joy. I hope to visit again soon on another of the trains many routes.
Travel Advisor:  Eleanor Hardy

Beautiful trip

By: Bob and Virginia


Reviewed on: 09 Oct 2014

See previous page.
Travel Advisor:  Angela Walker

Well-run trains

By: lassie


Reviewed on: 01 Nov 2014

I think the Orient Express is better suited to younger travelers. It is a bit of a hardship for seniors to climb up and down into top bunks and also the fact that there is no toilet is a problem Staff on board were very good. Food is somewhat old-fashioned but I guess the chef can only cook things that were popular n the 1920s and 30s
Travel Advisor:  Valerie Ann Wilson

Good trip

By: Happy Traveler


Reviewed on: 19 Feb 2015

Had a great time on the Eastern and Oriental Express. Service was outstanding.at all levels. The two stops were outstanding although more time could have been spent at Penang. Food aboard the train was very good but at times there should be more than one option. Great experience overall. Good way to see the countryside as well. Only other improvement would be to improve the mattress quality as they are quite thin and hard
Travel Advisor:  Angela Walker

Orient Express Train Trip

By: Jcutt


Reviewed on: 22 Jun 2015

Excellent trip but would not recommend it to non-train enthusiast. Fun, good food, but cramped compartments. One day is enough but glad we did it.
Travel Advisor:  Heidi Wohlert

Luxury on the Hiram Bingham train

By: Kathleen


Reviewed on: 30 Oct 2015

Our trip on the Hiram Bingham train that included lunch on our way to Machu Picchu was lovely. The scenery from the train was breathtaking, the food delicious and the service excellent. I would do it again in a heartbeat! We were very much looking forward to dinner on the HB train upon our departure from Machu Picchu but sadly that did not happen due to a train strike.
Travel Advisor:  Valerie Ann Wilson