Christmas Celebration on The Ayeyarwady (5 Days)

Cruise Line: Belmond Cruises
Bagan, Myanmar to Mandalay, Myanmar
Bagan, Myanmar

On arrival guests will visit a local market, explore off-the-beaten-track temples near Minnanthu, and take in the panoramic views from Thitsawaddy pagoda. All guests will meet the ship at Taung Bi village. Get to know your crew before enjoying lunch onboard. Later, disembark to visit Ananda Temple, one of the most significant in Bagan. Continue on for a torchlight tour of a small temple, an experience exclusive to Belmond guests, and enjoy great views of Thatbyinnyu, one of Bagan's tallest pagodas. You'll also visit a lacquerware workshop to see the staggering amount of work that goes into creating finely detailed pieces. As daylight starts to fade, gather to watch the sun set over plains. Continue on to a small temple to take part in a spellbinding candle-lighting ceremony. Back onboard, grilled specialities are a highlight of dinner, which is served from live cooking stations under the stars.

Bagan, Myanmar

Start the day with a stunning breakfast before a choice of morning excursions. Explore Bagan by bicycle, horse and cart, or on an insightful walking tour. Alternatively, there is an option to visit Belmond's free health clinic and participate in our ongoing community projects. There's also the chance to take to the skies in a breathtaking hot-air balloon (supplement applies). Return to the ship and settle in for a leisurely day onboard. Indulge in a treatment at the spa, relax by the pool, enjoy lunch on the Observation Deck and admire the breathtaking vistas. Art lovers may wish to visit our exhibition of local works. In the afternoon, you can sit in on longyi-tying and thanaka paste-making demonstrations. Enter into the holiday spirit at the gingerbread station, enjoy a taste of local culture at the "Burmese Tea Shop", or attend a lecture on the country's past, present, and future. In the evening, join the Captain and your fellow passengers on the Observation Deck for a special holiday toast. A live band sets the scene as the sun sets over the Ayeyarwady River. For dinner, our Chef has prepared an exquisite four-course Christmas feast with wine pairings.

Mingun, Myanmar

Enjoy a selection of morning activities as the ship continues north. Options include a sunrise yoga session, a meditation class, an enticing cookery demonstration and a talk on our community projects with Dr. Hla Tun. At lunch, raise a toast to the holiday season with a sumptuous Christmas feast. Later, disembark for a choice of excursions in Mingun. Take a walking tour of the city highlights, or visit a rural village to experience Myanmar at its most bucolic. Back onboard you are invited to dress in your longyi for a special cocktail party on the Observation Deck.

Mandalay, Myanmar

Your journey continues to Mandalay, the home of traditional Burmese arts. Uncover the treasures of the city with a choice of tours. "Highlights of Mandalay" takes you to the unmissable sights, including the UNESCO-listed Kuthodaw Pagoda and the busy Marble Quarter. "Mandalay Arts and Shopping" explores the city's crafts and cottage industries, visiting candy makers, sculptors, wood carvers, and silk weavers. Rejoin the ship for lunch. In the afternoon, disembark for an excursion into the hills of Sagaing, the spiritual centre of Myanmar. Visit a Buddhist nunnery, then end the day at the stunningly photogenic U Bein Bridge. Tonight a sumptuous farewell dinner is served in the Restaurant.

Mandalay, Myanmar

Enjoy an early breakfast before you disembark for your onward travel arrangements.

Christmas Celebration on The Ayeyarwady map

About the Ship

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


  • 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 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