Myanmar's second largest city, Mandalay is considered by many as the heartland of Myanmar as it was in this area where the Burmese Kings resided for centuries. Mandalay provides a unique mixture of old and new. Mandalay is a spiritual center and boasts numerous old wooden monasteries and unique pagodas which date back to life as it was under the reign of Myanmar's last King. It is linked by air, rail, road and river with Yangon and other principal towns of Myanmar. Mandalay, the very name evokes the splendours of the Burma of old. But, most people will be surprised to learn that Mandalay is not an old city, not even a medieval one, but rather a new city that was created by King Mingdon Min of Burma in 1857 as the new capital of the kingdom of Ava. Only two Burmese kings ruled from there, King Mingdon and King Thibaw, before the British conquest of Upper Burma in 1885. It was a city of splendour between 1858 and 1885 but most of the magnificence is gone, destroyed by the fire that consumed wooden structures and by intensive bombing by the Allies during the Second World War. The city, neatly planned with its lettered roads and numbered streets, is a British creation. The once magnificent Royal Palace and the great Atumashi (incomparable) pagoda, King Mingdon Min's finest creations, are modern reconstructions.
Cruising gently along the Irrawaddy River, The Road To Mandalay accesses the unique sights, scents and sounds of Burma (Myanmar) in Orient-Express style and luxury. From the royal city of Mandalay, this beautiful craft voyages south to the ancient capital of Bagan, with its 2,500 pagodas spread across a dusty plain; it also heads north through forested gorges to Bhamo near the Chinese border. There is no more pleasurable way to experience Burma—to feel its pulse, meet its people, live its legends and understand its history.
We began in Burma. The unique Pandaw river expedition concept evolved here from the vestiges of the colonial Irrawaddy Flotilla Company. Our ships were built here and in Burma we learnt to master river navigation at its worst. These lessons were applied to the other rivers of Asia.
Burma, after 1987 renamed by the regime Myanmar, is the largest mainland South-East Asian country and with the greatest variety of scenery from Himalayan peaks to tropical beaches. We have yet to meet a visitor to Burma who does not feel that this is the most beautiful, friendly and culturally interesting Asian country ever visited.
Most of the population live in three great river valleys encircled by impenetrable horseshoes of mountains. River life dominates the country and still to this day forms the main system of transportation, irrigation and from its rich fishing grounds the principal protein source for the majority of the population.
In the great Chindwin, Irrawaddy and Salween valleys two millennia of Buddhist art, architecture and archaeology survive, including of course the 3000 standing monuments at Pagan. There is no other Asian country with so vast and varied a range of cultural sites. Almost everywhere there are temples and monasteries, festivals and ceremonies. The Burmese are a deeply pious people and Buddhist activities dominate every aspect of life.
The Burmese are a very warm and friendly people who since Independence in 1947 have suffered terrible impoverishment and deprivation. We do our best to support the local domestic economy and make sure our suppliers and contractors are small local businesses. We are very careful to make sure our clients' money falls into the right hands. Sanctions and the politically correct refusal of most NGOs and international charities to work in the country has served to exacerbate deprivation and entrench the regime further.
Our Pandaw passengers believe that by visiting Burma we are doing something to help as has been proved by the many schools our passengers have built, not to mention the outstanding contribution made by our passengers after Cyclone Nargis struck in 2008. Most of the Burmese our passengers encounter tend to agree with this assumption. These cruises are the most acclaimed luxury vacations on the Irrawaddy river.
Paukan is the ancient name of Bagan, the old city of two thousand temples on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. This ancient capital, seat of the First Myanmar Empire, is a treasure to the people of Myanmar. Throughout the century of their existence, the temples remain a place of living worship, maintained by donations from royalty and the public.
RV Paukan was built in 2007 at the Myanmar Shipyards in Yangon for Ayravata Cruises. The Yangon River and its dockyards were commented upon over two hundred years ago as "the most favourable river in the world for naval architecture" by the first British envoy to Myanmar Captain Michael Symes of His Britannic Majesty's 7th Regiment who arrived in Yangon in February of 1795.
The lovely Paukan is a boutique hotel on the river, beautifully furnished with a unique combination of modern and traditional motifs. The timber-walled cabins are furnished with colonial style cupboards, dresser and doors while the ceiling is traditional Myanmar. The single or double beds are proper and comfortable ones and not mere bunks, enough room for 55 passengers who will be looked after by a 30-member crew.
For luxury-living, Paukan has suites, deluxe or superior cabins as well as singles for guest or guides. There are two massage rooms on the lower deck offering traditional Myanmar massage designed to give soothing relaxation.
The sun deck has a stage for cultural performances, and a bar and lounge for relaxation and fun. The upper deck has a lecture / movie room with LCD projector and LCD TV screen.
Meals in the dining room on the main deck will include both East and West cuisine, and dinner menus of delicious dishes. Vegetarian meals can be prepared when informed in advance. The price is inclusive of all meals, sightseeing tours and entrance fees at monuments.
The Ayravata Cruises is proud to have Paukan as another member to their family and is confident that she will please her guests in the same manner as her sister ship, the Pandaw
The Amara River Cruise is a traditional Myanmar riverboat travelling along the Ayarwady and Chindwin River. It is made of traditional wood and was completely refurbished by local craftsmen in 2003. It measures 30 meters / 100 feet in length by 8 meters / 24 feet in width. With a shallow draft of 1 meter / 3 feet and two Japan made 180hp Hino engines, it can go as far north as Bhamo all year wound. On board you find a total of seven Cabins, six standard double cabins and one deluxe, each with its own bathroom with hot and cold shower. Communal areas include dining room, bar and canopied sundeck.
Malikha river cruise will provide a luxurious way to escape the stress of your daily life. We assure that the only service you will have is the pleasant kind. " Malika 2 " river cruise, set off from Mandalay, the famous historic city of Myanmar, and carried by Irrawaddy, the longest river in Myanmar . Take in the natural beauty of Irrawaddy, and explore the fascinating scene of Mt. Sagaing, Pakokku, Myingyan, Bagan & other well - known cities.
Travel from one exciting destination to the next in the comfort of exquisitely unholstered chairs & sofas, why you enjoy expensive views of the ever - changing scenery & while sipping your favourite beer or cold drinks.
The cruises are designed with a verity of features and intimates amenities to make you feel as convenient as home, while experiencing locals' routing & lives.