Viking River Cruies adds the Irawaddy River in Burma on the Viking Mandalay. // © 2012 Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruises has created a new 16-day itinerary in Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand — Memories of Mandalay — marking the company’s first-ever offering on the Irrawaddy River.
“Burma is a magical destination in Southeast Asia, and we are pleased to offer our guests the opportunity to explore its rich history and spiritual wonders firsthand,” said chairman Torstein Hagen. “President Obama’s recent visit to the region has inspired many American travelers, so we look forward to bringing our considerable experience and award-winning service to the Irrawaddy River in 2014.”
The trip begins in Bangkok, where guests will explore the city’s colorful landmarks, including the floating markets on the Chao Phraya River and the famous Grand Palace. The land portion of the itinerary continues in Yangon, the former Burmese capital also known as Rangoon, to see colonial-era architecture along Strand Road and historic Buddhist temples, some thought to be more than 2,500 years old, and to visit a local marketplace.
The newly refurbished Viking Mandalay will sail the Irrawaddy River from the colonial frontier post of Thayetmyo and the Italian-built forts of Minhla and Gwechaung, to the Golden Temple of Mya-Tha-Lun Pagoda in Magway and the monasteries of Sale and Bagan. Passengers will also gain a sense of everyday life in Burma in the pottery villages of Yandabo and an understanding of its ancient past in the former Burmese capitals of Ava and Amarapura.
In Mandalay, attractions include the Mahamuni Pagoda with its serene gold-leaf statue of the Buddha, and Shwenandaw Golden Palace monastery. Guests can also shop traditional local craftworks including tapestries and woodcarvings.
In the final stop of the itinerary guests return to Bangkok, where they may explore the city’s famous canals and distinctive stupas (spires) and wander through local marketplaces.
Through Feb. 28, Viking is offering a 2014 Early Booking Discount with 2-for-1 cruise pricing and $1,000 per couple off all-inclusive air. Viking’s all-inclusive pricing covers accommodations, all onboard meals, daily guided shore excursions, port charges, hotel stays, intra-itinerary flights, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with onboard dinner and lunch service.