Tuesday 18 April 2017

Myanmar with The Strand Cruise: a spectacular experience from ship to shore

While the exceptional on-board amenities may make it difficult to leave The Strand Cruise, the luxury line's latest shore excursions make exploring Myanmar's stunning scenery irresistible, and easily accessible to travellers along the Ayeyarwady River.

The Strand Cruise, sister ship of the world renowned Sarkies brothers hotel The Strand Yangon, offers a selection of three-and-four-night cruises along Myanmar's epic Ayeyarwady River between Bagan and Mandalay. The à la carte shore day trips, many of which are not readily available to many visitors, include ancient cities, monasteries, pagodas and temples and unforgettable and exclusive experiences, such as horse-and-cart rides and hot air ballooning.

The Strand Cruise's shore experiences allow travellers to discover the hidden authentic gems of Myanmar, experience the rich tapestry that makes up this colourful and stunning country, and immerse themselves in the rich culture of one of the hottest emerging destinations for Australian travellers. Each guide has no more than five passengers with them during the excursions, making each journey ashore personalised and unique to the needs and wants of guests.

Guests on board The Strand Cruise can choose from a menu of unique tailor-made, shore excursions designed to allow travellers to customise their cruise experience.  Highlights of the shore excursions include:

·         Mandalay's magnificent U Bein Bridge, a crossing that spans the Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura which is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world

·         Former capital Mingun which lies at the foot of 'the unfinished pagoda', one of the largest ever constructed in Myanmar. Visit the pagoda via local Tuk Tuk transport and see the Mingun Bell – renowned as the largest un-cracked hanging bell in the world

·         Paya Hsinbyume, an impressive pagoda that rises in seven curved whitewashed terraces representing the seven mountain ranges around Mt Meru - the centre of the Buddhist universe

·         Embark upon a romantic horse-and-cart ride to ancient imperial capital Ava, which presided over successive Burmese kingdoms from the 14th to the 19th centuries. Admire key landmarks of this ruined abandoned city, which has been ravaged by war and natural disasters. Visit the Yadana Shemee and Wingaba temples, as well as the Bopaya monastery

·         The architecturally significant ancient city of Bagan, beginning of the Bagan Heritage Trail and home to wonders including the exquisite Ananda temple, the gold-leaf bedecked Shwezigon Pagoda, and the five-terraced Shwe San Daw temple with its bejewelled umbrella and panoramic views from cylindrical stupa

·         A sunrise hot-air balloon ride floating above the 2000 glorious pagodas of Bagan (additional costs apply)

Formerly known as The Elephant River or Irrawaddy River, the Ayeyarwady River is Myanmar's lifeline, running from the snow-capped Himalayas through 1500 kilometres to the Andaman Sea. Its banks are home to hundreds, if not thousands of temples, stupas and nats, while its stories have inspired poets, authors, artists, photographers and modern day adventurers.

A luxury touring experience, The Strand Cruise is acclaimed for its flawless service, insightful guides, exceptional comfort and extensive on-board activity options, including a swimming pool, spa, series of fascinating lectures, regional cooking demonstrations and crew-hosted cocktail parties.

The Strand Cruise itineraries include three meals a day, soft drinks and local beer, house wine during meals, port charges, English-speaking guides, many on-board activities, shore excursions and satellite Wi-Fi in all cabins and public areas.

Throughout 2017 and 2018, The Strand Cruise will host a series of expert-led themed cruises designed to enrich guests' experience of Myanmar and its culture, including a photography cruise hosted by professional photographer Lucas Gurdjian in October and classical music-themed cruises in November 2017 and February 2018 featuring musicians from Orchestre de Paris.

New to The Strand Cruise in 2017 will be an 11-night voyage from Mandalay to Yangon, providing passengers with an immersive cultural experience and access to lesser known temples and villages along one of Myanmar's most majestic waterways.

Highlights will include a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, a 2,500-year-old gold-leaf and diamond encrusted pagoda and one of the country's most sacred and impressive Buddhist sites; the forts of Gwechaung, the bejewelled Shwe San Daw temple in Bagan; and the U-Bein Bridge, believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world.

The Strand Cruise is a reinvention of the legendary style and unique personality of its sister hotel, The Strand Yangon, within a contemporary river cruise experience, with design touches that evoke the character of the Strand in its heyday as a meeting place for explorers and raconteurs, combined with latest creature comforts and technology. Passengers can complement their cruise with a stay at the recently refurbished The Strand Yangon:  www.hotelthestrand.com

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