Wednesday 14 August 2013

Unlock Myanmar's best kept secrets with Cruiseco

Discover Myanmar (Burma), one of the world's most mysterious destinations, on board Cruiseco's Orient Pandaw.  Cruiseco offers guests the opportunity to explore the secrets of Myanmar or simply indulge in the spectacular scenery from the comfort of a luxurious cabin. With ancient temples and a history spanning 2000 years, this is one of the very few authentic destinations left in the world, which is still almost completely untouched by Western influence.

National Marketing Manager at Cruiseco, Amber Wilson, explains that this river cruise offers even the most discerning guests with an opportunity for new discoveries.

Bagan at sunset
"This is the ideal cruise for anyone who is seeking a culturally-enriched holiday experience, off the beaten track.  Since launching our charters in Myanmar in June 2012, we have been overwhelmed by our travellers' interest in this wonderful destination.  With the chance to explore exotic regions including Yangon and Mandalay, this is a journey for even the most cultured traveller," says Wilson.

This 11-night luxury holiday includes: a return economy class airfare; one night at the Chatrium Hotel in Yangon; two nights at the Mandalay Hill Resort in Mandalay; and an eight night luxury river cruise on board the Orient Pandaw. This cruise includes: all on board meals; local beers; spirits and soft drinks; breakfast daily; lunch and dinner as specified in the itinerary; extensive sightseeing and transfers; gratuities, port charges and taxes.

·         Twin Cabin is available from only $3,999 per person based on twin share. Save $2,300 per person*.

·         Single Cabin is available from only $4,999 per person. Save $5,000 per person*.

"With no sign of chain restaurants, coffee shops or ATM facilities, this stunning destination is undoubtedly one of South East Asia's best kept secret." says Wilson.  

Cruiseco's Top Ten Tips for Travelling in Myanmar:

·         UPON ARRIVAL - Items of value and currency in excess of $2000 USD are supposed to be declared and taken again on departure, but in practice things are made quite easy for tourists.  Mobile phones and laptops are no longer kept in storage on arrival as is still claimed in some guidebooks.

·         EXCHANGE RATE - It is recommended that travellers do not change money at the airport as the rate is much lower than in towns such as Yangon.  US dollars are the best currency for exchanging and the Euro is becoming popular too, especially in Yangon.  The exchange rate in Yangon is generally better and the larger the bill, the better the rate.  Travellers should bring new series US dollar bills and with series numbers not starting with CB - these are not accepted in Myanmar due to rumours that this series are counterfeit.  Notes should be in a good condition and not torn, creased, dirty or washed as these will not be accepted.

·         INTERNET - This is still in its development stages and not reliable.  The connections can be extremely slow at times so patience is required.  Internet is also regulated in Myanmar and the access to some websites is filtered.  Many internet cafes can offer a different URL that will allow access to email providers such as gmail and yahoo.  Most of the hotels now have some internet terminals and in cities like Yangon, Mandalay and Nyang Shwe (Inle Lake), you will also find some small internet cafes.

·         MOBILE PHONES - These will not work in Myanmar as it has no roaming agreement with any country.  USD20 SIM cards are available to visitors.  These work with any GSM handset and are valid for 30 days within date of activation.  Prepaid cards of USD50 are available for purchase within the country and have 90 days validity after activated.  

·         POWER OUTAGES - This is quite common but most hotels have their own generator.  Myanmar uses 220V, and a mixture of flat 2-pin, round 2-pin or round 3 pin plugs.  It is recommended to bring a universal plug adaptor.

·         ENTERTAINMENT - For those seeking a taste of the local culture in the evenings, head to a tea shop, beer hall or night market where the locals gather to relax and socialise.

·         BURMESE CUISINE - The main ingredient in is usually rice and the curries tend to be not as spicy as those from India or Thailand.  A clear soup called hingyo accompanies most meals and a fermented fish sauce or paste called ngapiye is usually served to add to the flavour.

·         NATIONAL LANGUAGE OF MYANMAR is Burmese, of which there are over 80 different dialects spoken.  The written language uses an amazing looking script based on ancient Indian characters.  In the cities, people from the older generation still speak very good English and it is also becoming popular again with the younger generation.

·         WATER - It is not advisable to drink tap water but bottled mineral water is safe and available everywhere.  All hotels provide a complimentary bottle of local mineral water per person in the room.  Some minor stomach problems are always possible when travelling in exotic countries.

For full details and the name of your nearest Cruiseco cruise-specialist agent, visit or call (02) 9492 8520.  *See Terms and Conditions, subject to availability.

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