Cruise along the Irrawaddy River aboard the magnificent ‘Road to Mandalay’ and enjoy a handful of exciting excursions along the way- soaking up the culture and exploring the incredible temples and colourful markets to be found throughout Burma.
Asia Top Cruises
Asia is a stunning continent with huge areas of coastline, so there is no better way to explore Asia than by boat! Here are our top six cruises, personally selected by Asia specialist Nathan, to inspire your very own boat trip around some of Asia’s most iconic and beautiful sites.
1. Road to Mandalay - 3, 4 & 7 nights, Mandalay, Burma
Best for – Culture, History, Family
On the Road to Mandalay cruise you delve into the natural and untouched beauty of ancient Burma, along the Irrawaddy River. This Belmond-operated boat defines elegance, draped in traditional Burmese material and using the finest linens. Traditional regional cuisine is available on board as well as a mixture of eastern and western food.
Visit the timeless traditional Burmese villages off the banks of the Irrawaddy River. Explore the temples of Bagan, ancestral palaces of Mandalay and witness the extraordinary sites of Mount Popa. Enjoy this journey of a lifetime from the comfort of the boat’s canopied observation deck. Relax by the pool or enjoy a cocktail in the piano bar, whist marvelling at Burma’s untouched and natural beauty.
2. Sanctuary Ananda - 3, 4 & 7 nights, Mandalay, Burma
Best for: Cruise, Honeymoon, Luxury
“I loved my time on the Sanctuary Ananda, a brilliant way to see this stunning country and the Irrawaddy ice teas are perfect sundowners.” Nathan Drane, Asia Specialist
The Sanctuary Ananda luxury cruise will take you on a stylish voyage through the breath-taking beauty of the mysterious rivers of Myanmar. The boat décor was constructed by local craftsmen and oozes tradition.
The boat was named after a Buddhist temple, summing up its peaceful and relaxed atmosphere on board. With this boat trip you have a balance of new experiences and home comforts. You can learn how to cook traditional meals, explore the rarely visited jungles of the north, discover forgotten temples and become enchanted by ancient towns.
3. Jahan Mekong River Cruise - 3, 4 & 7 nights, Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Best for: Culture, History, Honeymoon, Luxury
The MV Jahan is a boutique boat and takes you along the Mekong River through Saigon, Phnom Penh and Siem Riep. Enjoy the dazzling scenery from the comfort of your own personal balcony. On board you will be taken aback by Jahan’s luxurious British Indian colonial themed rooms. The pool deck restaurant offers local and international food and the on board spa ensures ultimate relaxation.
Interact with locals at the floating villages or markets and explore their ancient traditions. Be blown away by the iconic ancient jungle temple of Angkor Wat, which will not fail to take your breath away.
4. MS Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer - 3 or 4 nights, Xi'an, China
Best for: Culture, History, Family, Spa
The Yangzi Explorer cruises the Three Gorges, one of the most beautiful areas of China. The team on board the Yangzi Explorer really do understand customer service and, with one member of staff per guest, every need is catered for. The excursions are led by knowledgeable team members and you really gain a true understanding of the history behind each place. From the ghost stories of Fengdu to the newly finished Three Gorges Dam project, this trip is packed with cultural history. Discover the relocated village school and market in Fengdu in a local longboat (sampan).
On board you can relax in the spa, experience traditional exercise and food, lose yourself in a book from the library or watch the world go by in the viewing lounge. Did we mention the stylist cabins with floor to ceiling windows? You can watch the ever-changing landscape from the comfort of your own bed!
5. Boutique Violet Junk - 2 or 3 days, Halong Bay, Vietnam
Best for: Couples, Families
“Violet junk is beautiful and arguably the nicest way to experience this iconic part of the world. With only 6 cabins it does sell out quickly.” Nathan Drane, Asia Specialist.
The Boutique Violet Junk will take you on a short but iconic river tour starting in Hanoi. The 1930s Indochinese-themed luxury suites are ideal for couples and families. The height of luxury, these elegant suites have a personal butler and Jacuzzi. On board you can indulge in some pampering at the spa and gym or visit the library for some quiet reflection.
If you are looking for new experiences, there are a range of activities you can take part in, including cooking demonstrations, Tai Chi at sunset and visits to local schools and clinics. Take in the mesmerising views of Halong Bay, with its steeping limestone, jade coloured waters and hidden caves. Marvel at the unspoiled areas of Lan Ha and kayak through rock tunnels. Explore local culture and visit the traditional fishing villages on a bamboo raft or kayak. Cycle through Cat Ba National Park past emerald-coloured rice paddies or simply enjoy some time on the pristine beaches.
6. Mekong Pandaw Cruise - 11 days, Laos, Thailand, Burma
Best for: History, Culture, Couples, Honeymoon
The Pandaw Cruise takes you on a voyage through Laos, Thailand and Burma, the so-called Golden Triangle. The cruise includes an adventure at every turn; explore the old French capital of Vientiane and marvel at the UNESCO world heritage site of Luang Prabang’s dazzling wood carved monasteries. The ever changing landscapes of mountains, jungles, tribal villages, countryside, rapids and gorges make this journey particularly unforgettable.
The boat boasts spacious staterooms decorated elegantly in brass and teak, which are a really extravagant and splendid feature. This cruise offers the ultimate getaway, as the spacious rooms are free from technology allowing you to switch off and really appreciate the breath-taking views. These luxury rooms leave guests with the feeling of being on board their own private yacht.