2 Night Cruise sailing from Bagan to Mandalay onboard Road to Mandalay.
Experience the enchanting sights, scents and sounds of the Ayeyarwady River aboard the Belmond Road to Mandalay.
Cruise gently to the heart of a little-known land, where pagodas and ancient palaces line a mighty river untouched by the passage of time. This realm of Buddhist spirituality embraces a wealth of beguiling – and truly unique – sights, scents and sounds.
Highlights of this cruise:
Some 5,000 monuments, a testament to Bagan as a former centre of Buddhist spirituality and learning, are scattered over the 42 square kilometres of the Ayeyarwady River.
The kings of Burma from 1044 to 1287 devoted their energy and considerable resources to building pagodas and temples. While their great palaces which were built of wood have since burnt down or crumbled away, hundreds of temples and pagodas remain on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River.
As a World Heritage Site, Bagan stands alongside the other great centres of South East Asia, comparable only to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Mingun is a town in Sagaing Division, northwest Myanmar (formerly Burma), located 11 km up the Ayeyarwady River on the west bank from Mandalay. Its main attraction is the ruined Mingun Pahtodawgyi, the remains of a massive unfinished Buddhist stupa begun by King Bodawpaya in 1790. The temple was not completed, due to an astrologer claiming that, once the temple was finished, the king would die. Had the stupa been completed, it would have been the largest in the world at 150 meters. Despite its ruined state, the remains are impressive, making it the largest pile of bricks in the world. There are huge cracks in the structure from the earthquake of 23 March 1839, but a small shrine with a Buddha image still serves its purpose as a place of worship and meditation. Pondaw paya or a working model of the stupa can be seen nearby.
King Bodawpaya also had a gigantic bell cast to go with his huge stupa. The Mingun Bell weighs 90 tons, and is today the largest ringing bell in the world.
Built along side the Ayeyarwady River, Mandalay combines Myanmar’s royal history and the preservation of spiritual traditions. The royal heritage can be found at the Golden Palace Monastery with its exquisite wood carvings. The spiritual heart is enshrined at Mahamuni pagoda, housing the most venerated Buddha statue in Mandalay.
The large seated image is so greatly revered that layer upon layer of gold leaf, placed as a mark of homage by a ceaseless flow of worshippers, have distorted the true shape of the statue. Only the highly polished face, gazing serenely is untouched.
With its wood-carving, stone sculpting, gold-leaf-making and cheroot rolling, Mandalay comes across as a kind of huge oriental bazaar. The shopping hub of upper Myanmar, this is where the colourful hill tribes come together and mingle with the townspeople.
The nearby Sagaing Hill provides stunning panoramic views. The pagoda-studded hill at Sagaing ranks as one of the most imposing sights in the whole of Myanmar, with the view also taking in the Ayeyarwady River itself – a reminder of how the river serves as the very lifeline connecting all the major sights Myanmar has to offer.