For California-based Viking River Cruises, the focus as of late has been on the company’s innovative new Viking Longships, of which 24 will be in service by the end of 2014 in one of the largest newbuild orders in river cruise history. But Viking is also eager to expand further afield, and the line has its sights set on Myanmar and Thailand.
Dubbed the Memories of Mandalay, this new 16-day itinerary for 2014 will mark the first time Viking has offered cruises along the legendary 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 first hand,” says Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking River Cruises. “We look forward to bringing our considerable experience and award-winning service to the Irrawaddy River in 2014.”
Beginning with a two-night stay and touring in Bangkok, Thailand, guests will then travel to Mandalay by air before embarking the intimate, 60-guest Viking Mandalay, which will be extensively refurbished in 2013 (it was formerly the RV Indochina.) A welcome aboard dinner wraps up the day, and the following morning, guests are unleashed upon Mandalay for a full-day of guided touring.
The next day, visit Amarapura and Ava, two former capitals of Burma. Both give visitors an idea of what life in rural Burma is like, and guests will have the opportunity to tour Ava by horse-drawn cart.
The small village of Yandabo is next on the itinerary, followed by the city of Bagan, which was once home to more than 10,000 Buddhist temples, monasteries and pagodas that would attract pilgrims from as far away as India. Nearly 2,200 of these remain today, in the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
In Magway, take a short walk through the maze of narrow streets to the Mya-Tha-Lun Pagoda, a beautiful, well-kept red-and-gold stupa at the north end of the city. It is said that the temple is made of solid gold bricks. Guests can mingle with the monks, worshippers and other visitors while enjoying the views offered by this unique vantage point.
The rest of the itinerary plays out like an exotic journey back in time, with visits to Minhla & the Gwechaung Colonial Forts; the Thayetmyo Frontier Post, and ancient Pyu, Pyay, and of course, the city of Yangon, the largest city and cultural capital of the country.
To conclude this 16-day journey, guests will once again return to Bangkok for another overnight stay in this fascinating city.
By introducing this new Memories of Mandalay itinerary in 2014, Viking will offer its guests the opportunity to explore even more of the world from the comfort and convenience of their river cruise ship.
More information on Viking River Cruises can be found by viewing our complete company and fleet overview here on River Cruise Advisor.