The magnificent route taken by Road To Mandalay, A Belmond Boat, Myanmar, leads you along the fabled Ayeyarwady River and through some of the most peaceful areas in Southeast Asia. This is a chance to forge your own adventure while crafting a meaningful and lasting connection with the land and its people.
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Bagan is the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, and home to over two thousand ancient pagodas. There are a multitude of ways to navigate its network of paved and dirt roads. Rent a bike and travel to the Shwesandaw Phaya, a teak pagoda offering sweeping views of the city from the top of its turrets. The surrounding countryside is stunning, with curving palm trees and soft sandstone stupas set against undulating hills.
Steeped in mystique and immortalised in Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, Mandalay more than lives up to its romantic reputation. Located on the east bank of the Ayeyarwady River, it is the centre of Myanmar’s gold leaf and marble craftsmanship. You can even watch the gold leaf being made and rubbed by hand onto Buddhas at the pagodas. For tranquility in the city, we love Shwenandaw Monastery near Mandalay Hill.
The largest city in Myanmar’s Sagaing Region, Monywa is also known as Neem city due to its abundance of verdant neem trees. The stunning gilded Thanboddhay Paya temple is a sight that needs to be seen to be believed. Or be awed by Hpo Win Daung Complex, which houses nearly 500 Buddha chambers dating from the 14th century.
This township on the river’s east bank is the perfect point to visit the Mogok forestry reserve. Here is one of the most awe-inspiring things to do in Myanmar: spot majestic elephants roaming the Burmese teak forest. Breathe in the aroma of precious plants, grown for their essential oils.
There are endless things to see in Mingun. Wander through the village to the base of the stunning Myatheindan Pagoda. This beautifully intricate temple is built with rising whitewashed layers to symbolise Mount Meru. Visit a local village and engage with the locals. Or explore the immense Mingun Pahtodawgyi, an incomplete stupa which holds the record for being the largest pile of bricks in the world.
Sail to Ava and try out a horse and cart tour of this historic city. It was the ancient imperial capital of several Burmese kingdoms from the 14th to 19th centuries. Go back in time to admire the watchtowers, city walls, temples and monasteries that survived the many earthquakes and invasions over the years.
This historic and religious town houses over a hundred pagoda ruins and over fifty active Buddhist monasteries. Visit colonial-era buildings that feature remnants of the Burma Oil Company or be awed by Mann Paya, a pagoda housing a 13-century gold buddha made of straw lacquer.
From Mandalay to Yangon
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