LOS ANGELES, Calif.
- The spirit of exploration at the heart of Viking River Cruises continues to inspire new journeys for the world's leading river cruise line. Viking today announced a new 16-day itinerary in Myanmar (Burma) and ThailandâMemories of Mandalayâmarking the company's first-ever offering on the majestic Irrawaddy River.
"Burma is a magical destination in Southeast Asia, and we are pleased to offer our guests the opportunity to explore its rich history and spiritual wonders first hand," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking River Cruises. "President Obama's recent visit to the region has inspired many American travelers, so we look forward to bringing our considerable experience and award-winning service to the Irrawaddy River in 2014."
Memories of Mandalay
Ancient temples and exotic scenery serve as the backdrop for Viking's new Memories of Mandalay itinerary in Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand. This 16-day journey begins in the lively metropolis of Bangkok, 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 itinerary continues in Yangon, the former Burmese capital also known as Rangoon. Guests will admire the city's colonial-era architecture along Strand Road and historic Buddhist temples, some thought to be more than 2,500 years old. Guests will also have a chance to visit a local marketplace and to see Shwedagon Pagoda, sometimes called the Golden Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda for the Burmese.
A tribute to the grand tradition of riverboat exploration in Southeast Asia, the newly refurbished Viking Mandalay offers guests the chance to experience the diverse destinations along the Irrawaddy River from the comfort of one of the newest and most beautifully designed vessels in the region. From the colonial frontier post of Thayetmyo and the Italian-built forts of Minhla & Gwechaung, to the Golden temple of Mya-Tha-Lun Pagoda in Magway and the monasteries of Sale and Bagan, guests will visit the region's most magnificent sites. Passengers will also gain a sense for everyday life in Burma in the pottery villages of Yandabo and an understanding of its ancient past in the former Burmese capitals of Ava and Amarapura.
In historic Mandalay, the Mahamuni Pagoda, with its serene gold-leaf statue of the Buddha, and Shwenandaw Golden Palace monastery, with its exquisite teak carvings, are just a few of the city's incredible offerings. Guests will also have the chance to take home traditional local craftworks including tapestries and woodcarvings.
On the final stop of the itinerary guests return to Bangkok, where they may explore the city's famous canals and distinctive stupas (spires) and wander through local marketplaces to celebrate their last nights in this magnificent region.