Professionally Handled Operations
Mandalay - Homalin - Bagan
Mandalay - Homalin - Bagan
Board the Anawrahta berthed on Mandalay’s river bank and, after a short safety briefing, enjoy lunch as we sail downstream. Today, you can enjoy a relaxing day’s sailing, an ideal way to unwind. Early in the afternoon there will be a demonstration of Myanmar traditional dress and, later, a lecture on Myanmar culture. Tonight, a longyi cocktail reception will break the ice with your fellow guests.
This morning, we enter the Chindwin River and make our way to the busy trading town of Monywa. As we cruise, join our guide for a relaxed Burmese language lesson in the Mandalay Lounge. An afternoon tour will take you to visit some cave-temple complexes outside the city at Pho Win Taung and Shwe Ba Taung. Believed to be around 300 years old, these caves contain many sandstone carvings of Buddha images, animals, plants, demons and ogres. There are also many beautiful Konbaung-period murals and paintings. We will then sail on into the late-afternoon light as the river narrows, passing small villages amid rolling hills.
After a short sail, disembark for a morning visit to the typical riverside village of Moktaw to observe the traditional way of life. If we are lucky, we may even witness a special ceremony at the local monastery. Enjoy the scenery as lunch is served and, after afternoon tea, join an explanation and demonstration of the ancient habit of betel-chewing.
Start your day with an early-morning walk through the small village of Maukkadaw, formerly a busy teak port. Visit some remaining teak enterprises before walking through this old villag with a visit to the local school. Back on board there will be another Burmese-for-beginners language lesson and a book review with Burma as its subject. During the afternoon, enjoy an engaging lecture on Myanmar’s complicated history, past and present.
This morning we will take a scenic, one-hour drive inland to visit the market at Kalaymyo. Less than 130km/80mi from the border with India, Kalaymyo serves as a gateway to Chin State and a trade post to India. Seize the opportunity to purchase traditional Chin textiles and visit a silk weaving factory. The Chin Hills stand over the town, creating a dramatic backdrop on a clear day. Return in time for lunch on board and continue sailing through wild landscapes of forested gorges and rolling hills. If the ship makes good time, there may even be the possibility of walking amongst the colonial-era houses of Mawleik before sunset.
Take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures and visit the working elephants of Pyarswal Elephant Camp. Continue on to the town of Mawleik, the former administrative capital of the region under the British. Explore this quaint town where many of the colonial-era houses built by the Bombay-Burmah Trading Company still remain. In the afternoon lecture, learn more about the the 700 ships of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, the greatest river fleet ever assembled in the world, and its impact on the development of the area. In preparation for Sittaung, our next stop, hear how many of these ships were scuppered there by the retreating British in 1942 rather than leaving them for the advancing Japanese Army.
Tiny Sittaung, with its 28 houses and 200 or so inhabitants, is the site of this morning’s village walk. Afterward, as we sail on northwards, join our staff in the Mandalay Lounge and learn how to write your name in beautiful Burmese script before enjoying another delicious buffet lunch. Early in the afternoon we will make a second stop for today at Toungdoot (or “Hswang-hsup” in Tai), a remote outpost of the Shan people far from their usual lands in the east of Myanmar, near to the border with Thailand. We will carry on into the sunset tonight, eventually mooring near Kyaing Kyaing.
Homalin is the end of the 400 navigable miles (645km) of the Chindwin for all ships of any size. Enjoy a morning walk through the town including taking in the view from the high vantage point of the Buddha Lotus Garden. Here your guide will explain the significance of the various statues depicting scenes from the life of the Buddha. As we start our downstream voyage, you may appreciate the power of the river as we now sail with the force of the current on our side. In the afternoon, we will continue the religious theme of the morning with a lecture entitled “Religion in Myanmar”.
Today you have another opportunity to simply relax, taking in the ever-changing passing scenery and making use of the facilities on board our beautiful ship. We will sail around 240km/150mi today, taking us to the area around Mingkin, an outpost of the Konbaung Kings of Burma and home to some outstanding carved, teak monasteries. If we have a good day’s sailing, there may be time to visit one of these at the end of the day, in the small village of Kanywa.
This morning, visit the small village of Gyi-taung-oo where you can discover the only surviving (and still working) wooden monastery that pre-dates the Konbaung Dynasty’s foundation in 1752. ‘Gyi-taung-oo’ means ‘Great Sacred Hill’ and as you might expect, there are some nice views to be had from the monastery over the river and surrounding area. Continue your monastic explorations with a stop at the Maha Min Kyaung Monastery in the town of Mingkin. Built in 1912, this monastery has an unusual mix of Burmese and European architectural influences, including some Italian stained glass windows. Sailing on through lunch, we will stop again early in the afternoon to visit the small town of Kani, home to the ‘Lord of the White Horse’, one of the best-known animist nats (spirits) which pre-date Buddhism but are still honoured by many Burmese.
Enjoy a leisurely morning which will include a lecture on our final destination – Bagan – the ruined city of King Anawrahta, our namesake. The Bagan Period is one of the finest in Burmese history. During this time, the newly-unified country converted to Buddhism and set to work in a frenzy of pagoda building. We arrive in time for an orientation tour which will include the magnificent Ananda Temple, the graceful Sulamani Pagoda, and end at one of the ‘sunset pagodas’ to watch the breathtaking vista of the sun setting over the temple-strewn plain. Tonight the ship moors in Bagan.
Bid farewell to the crew as you check out after breakfast.