“And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” There are few things sweeter than the start of a journey, as the ancient mystic Meister Eckhart knew. We like to think our guests discover such enchantment aboard Belmond Road to Mandalay.

THE MAGNIFICENT ROUTE taken by our celebrated cruise takes you along the fabled Ayeyarwady River through some of the most untouched and peaceful areas in Southeast Asia. The bustling cities of Mandalay and Bagan bookend your journey. Here, too, you’ll find singular and special experiences to treasure. This is a chance to forge your own adventure while crafting a meaningful and lasting connection with the land and its people.

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. For an authentic experience, 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 countryside surrounding the city is stunning, with the curving palm trees and soft sandstone stupas set against undulating hills.

Steeped in mystique and immortalised in Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, Mandalay is a city that more than lives up to its romantic reputation as Myanmar’s last royal city. 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. This serene and beautiful teak mansion is filled with exquisite carvings.

Our favourite stops on your journey down the river is U Bein bridge at Lake Taungthaman. At sunset, we will row you out in a small wooden boat to the middle of the serene lake. You’ll get a perfect view of the dramatic sky as it changes colours against the landscape.

Find enchantment at Sagaing Hill, its leafy green slopes studded with twinkling gold pagodas. Watch the monks and nuns in their burgundy and pink robes gathering here. Then climb the mirrored Soon U Shu pagoda for a truly spectacular view across the plains, stretching down to the river. From the first exciting moments of your Belmond Road to Mandalay cruise to its serene and beautiful conclusion, this is a truly magical journey.

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