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Burma Aboard the Road To Mandalay & the Sanctuary Ananda.

Come explore ancient Burma—today’s Myanmar—on one of two journeys that include time on the historic Irrawaddy River, the nation's main thoroughfare.

     Begin in Yangon (once, Rangoon), a remnant of British colonial days. Fly to Inle Lake for a look at floating farms, balletic leg rowers, and ethnic villages. Then trace the Irrawaddy River to the royal capital of Mandalay, ancient (and sacred) Sagaing, and Bagan's exquisite Plain of Pagodas.

     Once Southeast Asia’s most secretive sister, shy Myanmar has dropped her veil to give us a peek at her cultural beauty and richness. This country goes beyond unspoiled—she is graceful, intoxicating, serene, “quite unlike any land you know about.” Even 100 years after Rudyard Kipling wrote these words, they still ring true.

     R. Crusoe & Son offers two sample itineraries in Burma to get your wheels turning. We use two excellent river cruisers: the Road To Mandalay and the Sanctuary Ananda.

Burma (Myanmar)

Type:Custom Journeys


Sample Journeys

Here are two sample journeys to Burma. Both include time on the historic Irrawaddy River aboard a luxurious riverboat, either the Road To Mandalay or the Sanctuary Ananda. Both journeys visit the most important sites of old Burma. Remember that R. Crusoe can create a Burma journey of any length to meet your exact specifications. R. Crusoe travelers share the Road To Mandalay and the Sanctuary Ananda riverboats with other, non-Crusoe travelers. For more information about the riverboats, please go to the "About Our Ships" tab on this web page.

Burma Aboard the Road To Mandalay.
Day 1: Yangon, Myanmar

• Arrive in Yangon.
• City tour including Sule Pagoda, Chaukhtatgyi Paya and its Reclining Buddha, and Shwedagon Pagoda.
Overnight in Yangon

Day 2: Yangon
• Royal barge replica.
• Option to participate in morning meal ceremony at Kalaywa Tawya Monastery by special invitation.
• National Museum, Scott Market.
Overnight in Yangon

Day 3: Heho, Inle Lake
• Fly to Heho, drive to Inle Lake.
• By private longtail boat, explore the lake to see leg rowers, floating farms, and Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda.
Overnight at Lake Inle

Day 4: Inle Lake Region
• Visit the five-day market.
• Temples in Indien, crafts villages.
• Take a traditional canoe to a local village to visit a family in their private home.
Overnight at Inle Lake

Day 5: Mandalay
• Fly to Mandalay.
• Embark your river cruiser on the Irrawaddy River.
• City tour including Mahamuni Paya, Shwenandaw Kyuang, U Bein Bridge.
Overnight aboard Road To Mandalay

Day 6: Irrawaddy River, Ava
• Option to see monks alms-gathering at Shwe Kyet Yet Pagoda.
• Irrawaddy River cruising.
• Ava tour by pony carts including Bagaya Kyaung, watchtower of King Bagyidaw's palace, and Me Nu Okk Kyaung monastery temple, Yadnasini Paya.
• Return to your ship, cruise toward Bagan.
Longyi and thanka demonstrations, cocktail reception.
Overnight aboard Road To Mandalay

Day 7: Bagan
• Sunrise cruise into Bagan.
• Explore Bagan Plain of Pagodas including Shwezigon Paya, Htilominlo Pahto, Ananda Pahto, Gubyaukgyi cave temple, sunset on the Plain of Pagodas.
Overnight aboard Road To Mandalay

Day 8: Bagan
• Option for a hot-air balloon ride over the Plain of Pagodas.
• Disembark the Road To Mandalay.
• Palm tree plantation, toddy demonstration, local village visit.
Overnight in Bagan

Day 9: Bagan, Yangon
• Fly Bagan to Yangon, connect to your flight home.

Please speak to an R. Crusoe travel specialist about other riverboat possibilities on the Irrawaddy, including the 50-passenger Orcaella.

Burma Aboard the Sanctuary Ananda.

Day 1-2: Yangon, Myanmar
• Arrive in Yangon.
• City tour including Sule Pagoda, Chaukhtatgyi Paya, Shwedagon Pagoda, Karaweik royal barge replica. 
• Option to Kalaywa Tawya Monastery morning ceremony.
• National Museum, Scott Market.
Overnights in Yangon

Day 3: Heho, Inle Lake
• Fly to Heho, drive to Inle Lake.
• By private longtail boat, explore the lake to see leg rowers, floating farms, and Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda.
Overnight at Lake Inle

Day 4: Inle Lake Region
• Visit the five-day market.
• Temples in Indien, Nampan crafts workshops.
• Take a traditional canoe to a local village to visit a family in their private home.
Overnight at Inle Lake

Day 5: Heho, Mandalay, Sagaing, Amarapura
• Drive to Heho, fly to Mandalay.
• Embark Sanctuary Ananda.
• Mandalay touring (if arrival time permits).
• Sagaing including monastery and orphanage.
• Amarapura including weavers’ workshop, U Bein Bridge.
• Onboard performance by locals.
Overnight aboard Sanctuary Ananda

Day 6: Sin Kyun, Mingun
• Cruising, option to Sin Kyun.
• Cruise past Mingun Pagoda and Mingun Bell.
• Cruising, onboard longyi and thanka lessons, mixology class.
Overnight aboard Sanctuary Ananda

Day 7: Bagan
• Traditional market with chef, small temple complex and stupas.
• Onboard cooking lesson.
• Shwezigon Pagoda.
• Candlelit sandbank dinner.
Overnight aboard Sanctuary Ananda

Day 8: Bagan
• Option for hot-air ballooning (weather permitting).
• Bagan temple visits including Ananda.
• Cultural performance, lacquer workshop.
• Bagan Plain of Pagodas at sunset.
Overnight aboard Sanctuary Ananda

Day 9: Bagan, Yangon
• Disembark ship.
• Fly to Yangon to connect to your flight home.

Download this trip Itinerary
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Aboard the Road To Mandalay
Per person sharing room from $5,980 for the nine-day Burma sample itinerary
Internal air per person (estimate) $660

Aboard the Sanctuary Ananda
Per person sharing room from $5,980 for the nine-day Burma sample itinerary
Internal air per person (estimate) $660

For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son tour specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.

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About Our Ships.

A journey along the legendary Irrawaddy is a voyage of a lifetime: From this mighty river, which runs the length of the country, all of Burma’s treasures, so long hidden from the world’s gaze, can be seen: golden spires of pagodas, opulent palaces, ancient temples, bamboo forests, saffron-clad monks. We have chosen two excellent river cruisers on the Irrawaddy: the Road To Mandala and the Sanctuary Ananda.

The Road To Mandalay.

In 2009, the river cruiser Road To Mandalay, a member of the Belmond fleet, was completely refurbished in Burma by teams of talented local craftsmen. Space and style in all the cabins have been improved, with fresh color schemes and updated facilities. A new Governor’s Suite and additional State Cabins have been created. Deluxe cabins have been reduced in number and each one has been expanded with attractive new en-suite bathroom facilities. The ship represents a new level of comfort and indulgence on an historic waterway.

     The elegant Road To Mandalay offers a unique vantage point from which to view Burma’s serene beauty. Taking it’s name from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Mandalay,” the ship takes travelers to the country’s most amazing sights during the day, then providing a relaxing base for the evening—a dip in the pool, an excellent meal, and blissful slumber in a luxurious cabin with windows looking out over the river.

The Sanctuary Ananda.

Even as you immerse yourself in a new experience, there are some things you should never be without: a large comfortable bed, fine drink, excellent food, immaculate service, and the company of like-minded people. Custom-built with just 21 suites, the Sanctuary Ananda fulfills the sophisticated traveler's wishes. She showcases traditional Burmese design and contemporary chic in a refined and elegant atmosphere. In every suite, lush silks, polished teak, and beautiful lacquerware celebrate Myanmar’s rich artistic heritage. Beyond that, you find l’Occitane products in your en suite bathroom, individually controlled air-conditioning, an iPad with complimentary WiFi in your suite, and your very own private balcony.

     Dining is a pleasure on this cruiser. Breakfast is Continental style or a full cooked hot meal, your choice. Lunch is served al fresco on the Mandalay Deck and in the indoor Talifoo Restaurant. Every evening, guests  choose between fine international a la carte dishes and local selections that represent the best of Myanmar's varied cuisine.

     Between shore excursions, relax on the sundeck, view the scenery from the colonial-style Kansi Panorama Lounge, work out your kinks in the gym, or indulge in a treatment at the onboard Thambyadine Spa.

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Burmese Hero: Aung San Suu Kyi.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy (NLD). In a 1990 election, the NLD won 59 percent of the national votes and 392 of the 485 seats in Parliament.  In spite of her election, however, Suu Kyi was already under house arrest, and she remained so until her most release on 13 November 2010.

     Aung San Suu Kyi was born in 1945 in Yangon. Her father, Aung San, founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma’s independence from the Britain in 1947. He was assassinated by his rivals later that same year.

     Suu Kyi's mother, Khin Kyi, gained prominence as a political figure in Burma. She was appointed Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960, and Suu Kyi followed her there. She graduated from college in New Delhi with a degree in politics and continued her education in Oxford, obtaining a B.A. degree in philosophy, politics and economics. After graduating, she moved to New York City and worked at the United Nations, primarily on budget matters, writing daily to her future husband, Michael Aris, a scholar of Tibetan culture living in Bhutan. In 1971, they married.

     In 1988 Suu Kyi returned to Burma, at first to tend for her ailing mother but later to lead the pro-democracy movement. After 1985, Aris was denied entry into Burma. In 1999, he died of terminal prostate cancer.

     Around the time Suu Kyi returned to Burma, the long-time military leader of Burma and head of the ruling party, General Ne Win, stepped down. Mass demonstrations for democracy followed that event on 8 August 1988 (8–8–88, a day seen as auspicious), which were violently suppressed in what came to be known as the 8888 Uprising. On 26 August, Suu Kyi addressed half a million people at a mass rally in Yangon, calling for a democratic government. However in September, a new military junta took power.

     Influenced by both Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence and by Buddhist concepts, Aung San Suu Kyi entered politics to work for democratization. She helped found the National League for Democracy (NLD) in September 1988, and in mid-1989, she was put under house arrest. Offered freedom if she left the country, she refused.

     In 1990, the junta called a general election. The NLD won 59 percent of the votes, guaranteeing Suu Kyi’s party 80 percent of the parliamentary seats. But the results were nullified, and the military refused to hand over power, resulting in an international outcry. Suu Kyi was kept under house arrest in her Yangon home.

     From 1989 to 2010, Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest. During that time, she was prevented from meeting her party supporters or international visitors. The Burmese government kept her imprisoned because, as it stated in the New Light of Myanmar, a government newspaper, it viewed her as someone “likely to undermine the community peace and stability” of the country. She continuously appealed her detention, and many international figures called for her release as well as that of 2,100 other political prisoners in Myanmar. On 12 November 2010, days after the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won elections conducted after 20 years, the junta finally agreed to Suu Kyi's release,and her house arrest term came to an end on 13 November 2010, six days after an internationally criticized general election in Myanmar.

     In 2011, discussions were held between Suu Kyi and the Burmese government that led to a number of official gestures in response to her demands. In October, one tenth of Burma's political prisoners were freed in an amnesty, and trade unions were legalized. Later that year, the NLD announced its intention to re-register as a political party in order for a number of its members to run for parliament.

     International luminaries arrived in Myanmar to meet with Suu Kyi—Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, British Foreign Minister William Hague, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and others. In December 2011, Suu Kyi officially registered as a candidate for the lower Parliament. She called for international media to monitor the upcoming elections. In April 2012, she won a Parliamentary seat and the NLD won 43 of the 45 contested seats, making her the leader of the opposition party in the Lower Parliament.

     During her years of struggle Suu Kyi was recognized by myriad international organizations. She received the Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize (Norway) and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought (from the European Parliament) in 1990, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding from India and the International Simón Bolívar Prize from Venezuela in 1992. In 2007, Canada made her an honorary citizen, only the fourth person ever to receive the honor. In 2011, she was awarded the Wallenberg Medal and in 2012, she was received the Congressional Gold Medal from the United States. In June 2012, Suu Kyi was finally able to deliver her Nobel acceptance speech in Oslo, two decades after being awarded the prize.

     On 6 July 2012, Suu Kyi announced that she wanted to run for the presidency in Myanmar’s 2015 elections.

     Stay tuned.

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