Thursday 25 February 2016

Coral Expeditions explores magical Myanmar

New expeditions explore unseen and unedited parts of South East Asia's hottest destination

Myanmar, fast becoming the most sought-after and talked about South East Asian destination, will become a key feature of Coral Expeditions' new Asia itineraries during the 2016-17 wave season.

The pioneering cruise line recently launched 7 unique itineraries exploring the diverse and culture rich coastlines of South East Asia on their flag ship Coral Discoverer.

Keeping with Coral Expeditions' highly-personalised style, activities and off-shore excursions are suitable for guests of all ages and fitness levels, and slower-paced alternatives are always catered for. These voyages will be popular with Coral Expeditions' long-standing clientele in Australia, Europe and North America.

The jewel in the crown is the 12 day exploration from Singapore to Yangon (or vice versa) of the enchanting coastlines of Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar, accessing places only Coral Expeditions' small ships can.

The highlight of this expedition will be a full 6 out of the 12 nights spent exploring the remarkable coastline of Myanmar, incorporating the Irrawaddy River and the Mergui Archipelago in the Andaman Sea.

Two days will be spent in the Mergui Archipelago, a stunning marine destination which has only been open to tourists since 1996. The area is home to some 800 islands and is inhabited by 'sea gypsies', otherwise known as Moken.

At Mawlamyine, the former British capital of Burma, guests will take ground transport to Thanbyuzayat to visit the Burma World War II Railway Memorial, one of three sites associated with the infamous 'Death Railway' constructed by the Japanese military.

The Thanbyuzayat cemetery at the Burmese end of the railway is 370km from Yangon and 65km from Mawlamyine, and has 3,770 graves including 1,355 Australians, 1,588 British and 621 Dutch.

Fresh off the back of his reconnaissance trip to Myanmar, Coral Expeditions' lead Expedition Leader Steve Cox is excited to share a host of hidden gems with his guests.

'Myanmar is still a vastly unexplored country by tourists; like Vietnam a decade ago it's one of those 'get-there-before-everyone-else-does' destinations', said Cox.

'As with any of our expeditions we look for places off the beaten track to give our guests exclusive insights into the culture, history and magic of each destination, and Myanmar promises to deliver just that,' he said.

Coral Expeditions' South East Asian itineraries will begin immediately after Coral Discover undergoes a significant refurbishment which adds an entirely new level of accommodation – Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms – as well as upgraded interiors, Sun Deck bar-lounge and exercise equipment.

'It is truly an exciting time for Coral Expeditions as we will venture into new waters with our freshly refurbished flagship,' said Group General Manager, Mark Fifield.

For full itineraries and pricing download the Asia brochure here:

A passage to lost Myanmar

12 nights - Singapore to Yangon | 25 November & 19 December 2016
12 nights - Yangon to Singapore | 7 & 31 December 2016

Day 1: Singapore

Board Coral Discoverer at 5pm; gather for Captain's welcome drinks overlooking the Singapore skyline

Day 2: Melaka, Malaysia

Learn of rich cultural history and Portuguese, Dutch and British influence during a city tour, sample delicious street food, ride a rickshaw and visit the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum

Day 3: Pangkor, Malaysia

Cruise northwards; explore the island of Pangkor known for its fishing industry, guided cottage industry visits to view traditional boat building and dried fish factory, local seafood steamboat dinner

Day 4: Tarutao National Marine Park, Thailand

Cross into Thailand, cruise the Andaman Coast best known for striking limestone karst cliffs, wander pristine beaches, snorkel protected waters of this beautiful marine park, bird and wildlife haven

Day 5: Ao Nang, Thailand

Experience local village life on a guided walk Thai cooking demonstration, cruise the Thai coast passing Koh Phi Phi and Phuket

Day 6: Andaman Sea Cruising/Kawthoung, Myanmar

Surrounded by limestone cliffs and karst outcrops, we cruise north in the Andaman Sea , immigration clearances will occur at Kawthoung and time permitting, we'll make expedition stops as the mood takes us at little islands and isolated beaches en-route towards Myanmar

Day 7: Swinton Island, Myanmar

Stop at Swinton Island, take time to walk one of the most gorgeous long white beaches, the friendly fishing-families will make us welcome, optional hike to hilltop pagoda and viewpoint, take to the warm tropical waters and explore

Day 8 & 9: Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar

Two day in-depth exploration of remote and unspoilt Mergui Archipelago, swim amongst inquisitive reef fish, snorkel over colourful coral, try your hand at SCUBA diving, view eagles and gibbons, experience paradise, meet and interact with local fishing families at Moken village

Day 10: Myanmar Coast/Dawei, Myanmar

Cruise past stilted fishing villages, travel ashore to explore local markets,  picnic lunch on pristine stretch of beach

Day 11: Mawlamyine, Myanmar

Retrace history at Mawlamyine, former British capital of Burma from 1826 to 1852, board local transport to Thanbyuzayat and visit Burma WWII Railway Memorial with strong Australian war connection

Day 12: Irrawaddy Delta/Yangon, Myanmar

Cruise 40km through the Irrawaddy Delta, view shore side life up close and personal, Yangon River Port berth in the heart of Yangon, afternoon city tour, Shwedagon Pagoda, walking tour around Yangon's historic colonial buildings, Captain's farewell drinks overlooking bustling Yangon

Day 13: Yangon, Myanmar

Say goodbye to newfound friends, disembark Coral Discoverer at 8am

About Coral Expeditions

Recognised as Australia's longest established and most awarded expedition cruise operator, Coral Expeditions was started in 1983 in Queensland, Australia, by a fisherman-entrepreneur with a passion for life at sea. Starting with environmentally-sensitive cruises on the Great Barrier Reef, 32 years later the fleet has grown to three ships that include two 35-metre catamarans, Coral Expeditions I and Coral Expeditions II, and the state-of-the-art flagship Coral Discoverer. Headquartered in Cairns, Coral Expeditions offers expedition cruises to the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, the Kimberley region, Cape York and Arnhem Land, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Islands of the South Pacific, Tasmania, and now South East Asia.

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