Thursday, 14.12.2017

Orient Express: Burma Deep Into Burma’s Heart of Darkness


A decade ago few travellers ventured into Myanmar, despite its acclaimed mysterious beauty. A land with a turbulent past and an uncertain future, the former Burma was all but shut off to the world, stuck in a time warp of Rocky Horror Show proportions. Of course, this appealed to some travellers looking for their own Orwellian experience, but the release of Aung San Suu Kyi – Myanmar’s beloved lady – has flung the nation’s doors wide open, and now it’s standing-room-only at Bagan’s sunset pagoda, once a place of pilgrimage for only the most intrepid of souls.

Fortunately, Orient-Express, one of the companies to first introduce luxury experiential travel to the Land of Smiles (Thailand), has now launched the Orcaella, a unique river cruiser designed to venture well beyond the pale in Burma. Plying the waters of the Chindwin River into the remote valleys of northwest Myanmar on unique 11-day itineraries, the ship’s passengers visit villages where foreigners very rarely tread, explore ancient temples and revered monasteries, and even get to help support river communities along the way. Daily shore excursions offer an up-close-and-personal perspective on the fascinating landscape, and include jungle treks to elephant camps, school visits and thriving local market tours. Of course you do this all in Colonial-esque luxury, with three meals a day, cocktails served poolside, and beautifully-appointed, air-conditioned staterooms with French windows.

And without a sweaty backpacker in sight.

Orient-Express’s Orcaella
11 days on the Chindwin River from HK$41,000


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