Viking River Cruises adds Myanmar to 2014 itinerary

Starting in 2014, Viking River Cruises will be offering adventuresome travelers the opportunity to cruise the majestic Irrawaddy River in Myanmar and Thailand.

The line’s 16-day Memories of Mandalay itinerary announced in December is the company’s first-ever offering on the Irrawaddy, and will carry guests along the river through Myanmar, previously known as Burma, and Thailand on the newly refurbished 60-passenger Viking Mandalay.

Calling Myanmar “a magical destination [with a] rich history and spiritual wonders,” Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking River Cruises, cited President Obama’s recent visit to the region as inspiring many Americans to visit the area.

The journey will begin with two days in Bangkok, Thailand, 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 journey will continue following a flight to Yangon, the former Burmese capital also known as Rangoon (meaning “The end of strife”).  

Guests will be able to take in the city’s colonial-era architecture and visit historic Buddhist temples, some of which are thought to be more than 2,500 years old.  Travelers can also visit a local marketplace and see Shwedagon Pagoda (or “Golden Pagoda”), the most sacred Buddhist pagoda for the Burmese.

Viking Mandalay
After exploring Yangon for two days, guests will board the Viking Mandalay, which will ply the Irrawaddy River and take 60 guests to a range of diverse destinations along the waterway.

Sailing round-trip from Bangkok, the ship will spend almost its entire itinerary in Burma and will visit significant sites like the colonial frontier post of Thayetmyo, the Italian-built forts of Minhla and Gwechaung, the Golden temple of Mya-Tha-Lun Pagoda in Magway and the monasteries of Salé and Bagan, along with pottery villages and former Burmese capitals.

 In historic Mandalay, travelers will be able to visit the Mahamuni Pagoda, with its gold-leaf statue of the Buddha, and Shwenandaw Golden Palace monastery, with its exquisite teak carvings. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase traditional local craftworks including tapestries and woodcarvings. The final stop on the itinerary is a return to Bangkok.

More details on the Memories of Mandalay itinerary are available at Viking is offering a 2014 Early Booking Discount with up to 2-for-1 cruise pricing and $1,000 per couple off all-inclusive air through Feb. 28, 2013.   

Visit my main page at for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.

Photo courtesy Viking River Cruises
Click on photo to view larger image