Belmond Orcaella River Cruise – 12 DaysMandalay, Bagan
Orcaella river cruise is the best that Myanmar luxury cruises has to offer. Imagine yourself in no hurry at all, floating on calm river and watching the countryside go by. This and much more is possible with the superior Belmond Orcaella river cruise.
Orcaella is the newest ship of the Belmond high class cruisers. Orcaella offers seven- and 11-night luxurious river cruises for 50 passengers along both the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin Rivers. The ship’s smaller size means that passengers can be taken to the two rivers’ more remote and secret regions.
Back on board, a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere awaits. You can enjoy and watch the hypnotic river stream passing by. Our attentive on-board team invites you to enjoy the outstanding service as you cruise the country’s waterways. Our 17 years’ experience of operating luxury river cruises in Myanmar has enabled us to expertly guide you on exceptional journeys.
With offshore excursions offering genuine insights into everyday life, the country’s remarkable story and, above all, the opportunity to meet its hospitable and friendly people, this is a voyage of a lifetime, a journey of never-ending discovery.
Orcaella river cruise is a best option for luxury seeker who also wants to see local life and culture. We guarantee the best possible personal service with outstanding facilities and amazing views along the peaceful rivers of Ayeyarwady and Chindwin.
DAY 1: MANDALAY – MINGUN [-/-/D]
Please check in on board at 11:30, when our crew will escort you to your cabin and give you a brief introduction to the facilities.
At 11.45 we invite you to the Lounge Bar, located on the Observation Deck, for a welcome briefing from the Captain and officers and a presentation on “Life on board and safety” by Win Min, Hotel Manager.
At 12:00 Belmond Orcaella sets sail. As the ship sails past the picturesque Sagaing hills, dotted with pagodas and monasteries, a delicious buffet lunch is served in the Restaurant on the Upper Deck between 12:00 and 14:00.
At 14:30 prepare for a short boat transfer to shore for an afternoon walking tour of the Mingun pagoda and the chance to ring the world’s largest bell. Weighing 90 tons and standing 13 feet high, the bell was commissioned by King Bodawpaya in 1808 and was intended for the pagoda he began building in 1790 but never finished. It was then badly damaged in the earthquake of 1838. Return to the ship shortly after 16:00.
Tonight’s treat, beginning at 18:30, is a welcome cocktail party on the Observation Deck and an entertaining comedy dance duet called “U Shwe Yoe & Daw Moe”.
From 19:00 you can make your way to the Restaurant for your first enticing dinner prepared by Chef Bansani and her team, promising a delicious choice of local specialties and fusion delicacies.
DAY 2: MANDALAY [B/L/D]
Breakfast is served in the Restaurant between 07:00 and 09:00. At 08:30 Belmond Orcaella drops anchor off Htin-Win Jetty, our mooring place for Mandalay.
At 09.00 a full-day tour of Mandalay commences. This will include experiencing the view from the top of Mandalay Hill, seeing “the world’s biggest book” at Kuthodaw Pagoda and enjoying a visit to the atmospheric Shwenandaw Monastery, which used to be part of King Mindon’s living quarters and was where he died in 1878.
At 12:30 we stop for lunch at the beautiful Sedona Hotel, Mandalay. The Mandalay city tour continues after lunch with a chance to see gold-leaf beaters in action and the results of their work at the highly revered, gold-encrusted historic Buddha image at the Mahamuni Temple.
Time permitting you may also visit a silk weaving factory, pass through the dusty streets filled with marble-carving workshops and finish the afternoon admiring the sunset at the famous, 200-year-old U Bein Bridge. Return to the ship at 17:45.
From 19:00 dinner is served in the Restaurant, after which you are treated to a traditional Myanmar tribal costume show on the Observation Deck at 21:30.
DAY 3: SAGAING & SAILING [B/L/D]
This morning, breakfast is served in the Restaurant between 07:00 and 09:00.
At 09:00 we embark on a morning bus trip into the Sagaing hills, commencing with a visit to the gleaming Soon U-Ponya Shin Pagoda, where you can savor stunning panoramic views over the majestic Ayeyarwady River, Sagaing town, Innwa (formerly Ava) across the water and the distant Shan hills. The tour continues with a visit to a nunnery and silversmith workshop. (Please bring some kyat or small dollar bills if you wish to make purchases.) We then travel to Ava by bus and take a horse-and-cart ride to visit Mai Nu Oak Kyaung—the “brick monastery”—the leaning tower and the wooden monastery.
Return to Belmond Orcaella at 12:30 and set sail. A buffet lunch is served in the Restaurant between 12:30 and 14:00.
At 16:00 we offer afternoon tea in the Lounge Bar and, from 16:30-17:30, a talk by Win Myint on “Myanmar ways of life”.
From 19:00 a sumptuous dinner is served in the Restaurant, after which we invite you to enjoy a surprise on the river at 21:30.
DAY 4: YANDABO & SAILING [B/L/D]
Breakfast is served in the Restaurant from 07:00 to 09:00.
At 08:00 we depart for a morning walk in Yandabo, a village famous for producing terracotta pottery from the riverbank clay. You will be able to see various stages of the pottery-making process. Historically the village is known for the Yandabo Treaty, which was signed in 1826 between the East India Company and the King of Ava, ending the first Anglo-Burmese War.Return to Belmond Orcaella at 09:45 and set sail.
Between 11:00 and 13:30 a delicious buffet brunch is served in the Restaurant. At 16:00 you are invited to the Lounge Bar for afternoon tea, followed at 16:30 by an intriguing talk on local culture.
Take your seat in the Restaurant for dinner from 19:00.
DAY 5: SALAY & MAGWE [B/L/D]
Breakfast is served in the Restaurant from 07:00 to 09:00.
At 08.30 you are escorted by bus to Salay to see the impressive 20ft bamboo-and-lacquer Buddha, after which you can walk or take a bus to visit Yout-Saun-Kyaung, a 19th-century wooden monastery with exquisite woodcarvings. A refreshment stop is offered at the oldest house in the village, where an exhibition of the work of one Myanmar’s best photographers has been arranged for us. Return to the ship shortly after 11:00 and set sail for Magwe.
Between 12:30 and 14:00 a buffet lunch is served in the Restaurant and at 16:00 you can indulge in afternoon tea in the Lounge Bar.
At around 17:30 we arrive at Magwe and alight to explore the riverside area by tuk tuk. As the sun sets we visit the gilded Myathalon Pagoda, which draws people from miles around during important religious festivals.
Belmond Orcaella moors overnight in Magwe. Dinner is served from 19:00 and afterwards, at 21:30, you can enjoy a display of innovative, local recycled products on the Observation Deck.
DAY 6: SAILING [B/L/D]
Today, as Belmond Orcaella makes its majestic way towards Pyay, you can enjoy a relaxing day on board. Breakfast is served in the Restaurant or in your cabin—as you prefer—between 07:30 and 10:00.
From 08:00 we hope to have a famous local astrologer available to read your palm and divine your future.
Between 12:30 and 14:00 a buffet lunch is served in the Restaurant. Afternoon tea is available in the Lounge Bar at 16:00, after which another illuminating talk on Burmese customs and culture is presented.
The ship arrives at Pyay at around 17:45 and moors overnight at the jetty. Dinner is served in the Restaurant between 19:00 and 21:30, and a delightful folk dance performance is given on the Observation Deck afterwards.
DAY 7: PAW-IAN GYI ELEPHANT CAMP [B/L/D]
Today offers one of the major highlights of our voyage. Breakfast is served in the Restaurant between 06:30 and 09:00.
At 07:30 we head into the nearby hills by minibus to visit the Paw-lan-gyi elephant camp at Pyay. The camp is located in the rarely visited, scenic Pago Yoma (hills) area. The drive includes a break to stretch your legs and a delicious picnic lunch, prepared on board. We return to Belmond Orcaella at 14:00 and sail northwards.
At 18:30 you are invited to attend a briefing on tomorrow’s itinerary in the Lounge Bar. Dinner is served in the Restaurant from 19:00.
After your meal head to the Observation Deck and prepare to be dazzled by the deft trickery of renowned Burmese magician, Aladdin.
DAY 8: SAILING & GWECHAUNG FORT[B/L/D]
Enjoy a relaxing morning on board, with breakfast served in the Restaurant between 07:00 and 09:00 and a fascinating lecture in the Lounge Bar between 10:30 and 11:30. At 12:30 you can enjoy a buffet lunch in the Restaurant.
At 15:30 we begin our afternoon excursion with a visit to Gwechaung Fort, one of the strongholds built by Italian architects for the Burmese king in 1860 to keep the British at bay. Transfer by local boat to Gwechaung village and enjoy a journey by ox cart for a glimpse of rural life along the Ayeyarwady River. Return to Belmond Orcaella at 17:30 to rest and freshen up.
At 19:00 you will alight again for a special dinner in the grounds of Min Hla Fort, site of a great battle during the third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885. Please gather at reception ready for the 10-minute, torch-lit walk.
DAY 9: SAILING [B/L/D]
Relax this morning as we cruise upstream along the Ayeyarwady River. Breakfast is served in the Restaurant between 07:00 and 09:30.
At 10:30 you are warmly invited to attend and participate in a “longyi” (Myanmar traditional dress) and “thanaka” (local makeup) demonstration on the Observation Deck.
A buffet lunch is served in the Restaurant between 12:30 and 14:00.
At 16:00 you can enhance your gastronomic knowledge and skills at a cooking demonstration hosted by Executive Chef Bansani on the Observation Deck.
Wear your new Burmese garment with pride at our vibrant Longyi Cocktail Party, starting at 17:45 on the sandbank. Dinner is served in the Restaurant at 19:00, after which you are invited to relax and enjoy a movie, with popcorn and ice cream, on the Observation Deck at 21:30.
DAY 10: SAILING & BAGAN [B/L/D]
After breakfast, served in the Restaurant between 07:00 and 09:00, you can hear all about Bagan—your next stop—from your guide Soe Kyaw Thu in the Lounge Bar (10:30-11:15).
Buffet lunch is served in the Restaurant from 12:00.
At 13:00 we arrive in mesmerizing Bagan. Transfer to shore at 13:30 for a tour which includes visits to the Shwesandaw and Sulamani temples, and the stunning Ananda, one of the finest and best preserved of Bagan’s temples, dating from 1100. Continue by horse and cart and enjoy magical sunset views on your return to the ship.
After dinner, which is served in the Restaurant between 19:00 and 22:00, make your way to the Observation Deck to enjoy a traditional Bagan dance performance at 21:30.
DAY 11: BAGAN [B/L/D]
Breakfast is served in the Restaurant between 07:00 and 09:00. At 09:00 there is a trip to shore for a morning tour of Bagan, beginning at the vibrant market of Nyaung Oo and continuing with the major temples of Hti-Lo-Min-Lo and the revered Shwezigon Pagoda.
From 12:00-13:30 the tour pauses for lunch at a local Bagan restaurant.
Then you have a choice of excursions. The first is a trip to sacred Mount Popa, the traditional home of the 37 “nats”, or animist spirits, which have been worshiped in Myanmar since long before the arrival of Buddhism. The excursion includes a stop en-route at a toddy palm plantation, where you can see the traditional methods still employed to produce a palm sugar used in sweets and an alcoholic drink, which you may sample. You are requested not to wear red or black.
Alternatively, if you would rather spend more time exploring Bagan, you can hire a horse and cart with a driver to do some local sightseeing, or rent a bicycle and pedal off on your own private tour.
Back on board, farewell celebrations await for your final evening, beginning with a cocktail party and an elephant dance performance on the Observation Deck at 19:00, and culminating in a splendid farewell dinner in the Restaurant from 19:30.
DAY 12: CHECK OUT FROM ORCAELLA [B/-/-]
Breakfast is served in the Restaurant at 05:30. At 07:00 you disembark from Belmond Orcaella for your transfer to Bagan Airport and onward travel arrangements.
Please contact Discovery DMC sales department for price quotation.
What’s included in trip costing
- Private transfers and tours & activities as per itinerary
- Entrance and permit fees
- Lodging with daily breakfast
- Full board meals
- Guided tours with English speaking local guides (other languages with surcharge)
- 2 complimentary waters and fresh towels daily