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Sail Date: December 2016
We had never been to Burma and were intrigued by the political developments there. The cruise itself was very somfortable witrh an extremely attentive staff and the usual Viking good planning for shore excursions The stay at Inle ... Read More
We had never been to Burma and were intrigued by the political developments there. The cruise itself was very somfortable witrh an extremely attentive staff and the usual Viking good planning for shore excursions The stay at Inle Lake was magical, with outstanding accomodations, and the discovery of a waterborne way of life we had never seen before (or since)! The depth of the Budhist faith was another unexpected discovery. It was impossible not to see some temple or other wherever we looked. The Shangri-La hotels at the beginning and end of the cruise were excellent in every way, the Bankok one on the river is incredibly pleasant, indeed we stayed there a few more days. The food on the Mandalay was fine but not quire as good as on othet Viking cruises, probably due to limited availability of ingredients in a very, very poor country. Finally perhaps the best part of the cruise were the other guests all of whom vere interesting and congenial people, maybe there was something special about people chosing to go to a relativelly little travelled country. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2016
A fantastic opportunity to experience a difference culture and a far different way of life. We were not disappointed. From a taste of opulent life in a grand hotel in Bangkok to the simple and basic life in Myanmar. Beautiful people ... Read More
A fantastic opportunity to experience a difference culture and a far different way of life. We were not disappointed. From a taste of opulent life in a grand hotel in Bangkok to the simple and basic life in Myanmar. Beautiful people with a welcome smile for all. A marvelous experience to find a third world country with no begging. A rare experience, there were the usual "vendors", mostly children and young adults, all trying to sell their goods, but no begging and fair pricing for the most part. What a shame that the cruises are coming to end. Viking made the experience a "once in a lifetime" event with a superb agenda delivered from a marvelous old style, classic, mostly teak, river boat, with very large and fully equipped cabins. More like a large hotel suite than a river boat cabin.. A floating hotel staffed by a service oriented crew that sought out ways to make your trip special. Every aspect of the trip was outstanding! From booking, to transfers, to accommodations, to the great meals, and the above average guides. Based on this trip, I will be taking another Viking cruise in Asia. This trip is gone, but if it ever comes back, grab it., Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
We wanted to see Myanmar before it is changed forever by mass tourism. This itinerary allowed us to visit not only the major centres of Yangon and Mandalay but also small remote villages only accessible easily by river. We thoroughly ... Read More
We wanted to see Myanmar before it is changed forever by mass tourism. This itinerary allowed us to visit not only the major centres of Yangon and Mandalay but also small remote villages only accessible easily by river. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting some of the local people, especially the children who were so eager to practice their language skills on us. Visiting local markets was very interesting and colourful, as were the gold leaf factory and lacquerware workshop. The addition of a stopover at Inle Lake with a visit to the silk weaving workshop was very special. The ship was wonderful - lovely teak decor and a spacious sundeck. The crew were superb, always ready to assist us, even to the extent of cleaning our shoes whenever we came back onboard. We are so glad we went but disappointed to learn that Viking has withdrawn from Myanmar and this trip is no longer available. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Viking has a wonderful Myanmar cruise/tour itinerary. You get a chance to see some of the major tourist sites but also visit small villages. Many people loved the villages most of all. The trip starts in Bangkok at the beautiful ... Read More
Viking has a wonderful Myanmar cruise/tour itinerary. You get a chance to see some of the major tourist sites but also visit small villages. Many people loved the villages most of all. The trip starts in Bangkok at the beautiful Shangri-La Hotel. We arrived 2 days ahead but did not use the Viking pre-tour extension. It was less expensive to take a cab to the hotel (500 baht), upgrade to a deluxe river view room instead of the Viking standard room (still very nice) and book a couple of tours on our own. FYI the hotel will let you store things until your return at the end of the cruise. I enjoyed every single excursion. This is an interesting country. There are no optional excursions. What you see is what you get, plus a lot more! Viking makes this trip worry free. We were taken care of every step of the way. The staff is friendly, helpful and just can’t do enough for you. We travelled in January (a great month to go). It was sunny every day and I did not see a single mosquito. There were very few bugs. Viking said the areas we were travelling had no malaria. A couple of people took malaria pills and stopped because the medication made them feel sick. In January it is very cold at Inle Lake. It dropped to 5C (41F) at night. I wish I had packed warmer clothes. It gets very warm in the day but nights and mornings are chilly. Even if you are not an American, bring US cash. Most of the places we visited took US dollars. I thought I would use local currency from ATMs. In Yangon I tried my bank card plus 3 credit cards and was unable to withdraw cash. Myanmar does not have systems in place to handle all cards. Fortunately at the Mandalay airport there was a KBZ bank ATM that accepted my debit card. Although perfect for me but this trip is not for everyone. You will walk barefoot in temples and walk on some pretty dirty surfaces. (Viking provides moist wipes to clean your feet after.) There are a lot of stairs to climb and some are very steep. At the smaller villages the ship is tied up to a tree. A gang plank lowered and once you cross it, the climb up the bank is steep. This would not be a good trip for anyone with mobility issues. I would say the Viking Mandalay is a bit less refined than European cruises. The cabins and food may not be as fancy but the ambience is more what you expect from being on the Irrawaddy. The experience of seeing Myanmar in more of a traditional way before it changes is what is important. This was an amazing trip that I will never forget and unlike any other cruise I have been on. Kudos Viking! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Our 21 day tour began in Bangkok and ended Cambodia at Angkor Wat. The guides and service staff were outstanding. The tours were interesting, however, they did not include a downtown tour of the city of Bangkok. It would have been much ... Read More
Our 21 day tour began in Bangkok and ended Cambodia at Angkor Wat. The guides and service staff were outstanding. The tours were interesting, however, they did not include a downtown tour of the city of Bangkok. It would have been much more interesting to see this city than do the railroad market. The tours left a lot to be desired in regard to seeing life in the larger cities. I grew up on a farm and did not need to see a pepper field or go to a brick factory. In regard to the later, this was an area that was not safe to walk around in. Industrial clutter was everywhere and easily one could have hurt themselves. The junk rides were fun but the areas to disembark were steep, wet and again very unsafe. The saving grace was the guide, Ut, who was wonderful. Viking needs to consider a more modern and up to date ship. The "cute little ship" we were on was the worst one we have taken on a river cruise. The stairs were very narrow and steep much like on a naval vessel. There were thresholds everywhere at each door. This is not a good thing when the travelers were all over 60! I tripped on one and broke my ankle while on the tour. No wheelchair was available either and no elevator! As a temporary measure I had to use an office chair with wheels to try to get around my room. I had to convince the administrator to get a wheelchair which he did for me. The lounge area for movies and spa was in the lower level of the ship with again a very steep narrow stairwell. This was very poorly supplied with old worn out furniture I would have had placed in my basement for the grand kids to jump on. I would recommend the tour but not on the current ship. Avalon had one of their ships pulled up next to us and it was a smaller version of the big Viking ships. If I had known this ship was available I would have selected them to travel with. The evening briefing was held on the sundeck with another steep and narrow naval stairwell to climb. With the broken ankle I was left with the choice of not to go or slide on my butt up each stair to the top of the ship. Don't get me wrong I have taken many tours with Viking and been very happy with them. This simply is an issue that Viking needs to correct and upgrade. The staff and the tour guide made this tour as great as it could be. Bravo for hiring and training great people! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
While we started in Bangkok, we flew to Mandalay, Myanmar where we boarded our ship. We then proceeded to sail down the Irawady river for 12 days, then stayed in Yangon (formerly Rangoon) one night. The country is not terribly developed ... Read More
While we started in Bangkok, we flew to Mandalay, Myanmar where we boarded our ship. We then proceeded to sail down the Irawady river for 12 days, then stayed in Yangon (formerly Rangoon) one night. The country is not terribly developed with practically no docks to pull into on the stops. We climbed up dirt banks to the roads. There was a lot of walking but it was all worth it. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, the crew, the boat, the guide and our guide. Food was great too. The only minor problem was a several hour long bus trip from the town where we left the boat to Yangon. Still it was an opportunity to see the countryside away from the river (including seeing a farmer washing his elephant before going off to work. Myanmar is mainly a Buddhist country with many beautiful temples including the spectacular one in Rangoon. It was also wonderful to see the small towns with smaller temples, markets, houses, shops and schools. It was a great trip. I highly recommend it (even in its new iteration with less time on the river, more on airplanes, and no long bus trip. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
A trip down the Irrawaddy, this s a small river ship, 28 cabins and maximum of 56 passengers. We had already sailed on this river ship in Vietnam and Cambodia, so knew the layout and quirks. This cruise is all inclusive, all meals are ... Read More
A trip down the Irrawaddy, this s a small river ship, 28 cabins and maximum of 56 passengers. We had already sailed on this river ship in Vietnam and Cambodia, so knew the layout and quirks. This cruise is all inclusive, all meals are served in the only dining room at set times, limited menu choices but caters for most tastes. The sail down the Irrawaddy has stops every day to visit either a village or sights but always returning to the ship for all meals. Single beds unless you ask for a double, but a double makes storage access difficult as the beds have cupboards built in. The crew were excellent, drinks included unless you want premium liquors, bar staff remembered your favourite drink. Food amazing, both Burmese and European. Lots of temple viewing, watching sunrise over Bagan was a special moment. Village stops were great but dusty. Read Less

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