The Strand Cruise
The sister to The Strand Hotel Yangon, a refurbished colonial landmark in Myanmar's capital, The Strand Cruise adds some healthy competition to the handful of luxury vessels plying the waters of the Irrawaddy River.
The Strand Cruise is designed and decorated with the same colonial charm of its refined predecessor and sister hotel in Yangon. Each of the 27 luxurious cabins features a king-sized bed, an en-suite bathroom with rain shower, Wi-Fi and juliet balcony, so that any guest choosing to relax in the privacy of their own suite won't miss the stunning views of the Burmese countryside drifting past. The Strand Suites offer the most luxurious option, boasting a private deck and including a complimentary spa massage for guests.
Dining on board is an event, either at the signature The Strand Restaurant, serving a blend of Asian and international dishes, at a BBQ organised by the crew, or enjoying a personalised menu with family and friends.
Guests can relax at the spa, or recline on the sun deck, toes in the pool, cocktail in hand, from a sun lounger placed just in the water. There are also gym facilities on-board for those seeking to offset the sun-bathing and culture-soaking. The bar and library corner on the upper deck offer the perfect place to savour an exclusive cocktail, to curl up with a good book, or to meet and mingle with other guests.
Daily games and shows are on offer throughout, as are lectures and demonstrations of the country's culture and traditions, interactive workshops and on-board cocktail parties set against the mesmerising backdrop of the passing riverside. The trip is also interspersed with visits to beautiful cultural sites.
Why We Love It
The upper deck includes a wine tasting corner (complete with advanced temperature-controlled cellars) run by trained sommeliers.
Sanctuary Ananda Cruise
Cruising down the winding rivers of Mayanmar Sanctuary Ananda is a beautiful Burmese cruise boat which takes guests on a tranquil journey, visiting some of Myanmar's best hidden gems.
Custom built by local craftsmen Sanctuary Ananda is traditional in style, with wide dark teak decks and ornate furnishings. There are 21 spacious suites spread across the three decks, which range through standard Suites, Deluxe Suites, Luxury Suites and the premier Owner's Suite. All of the suites feature en suite bathrooms, balconies and beautiful intricate design details which, alongside splashes of rich colour, add to the opulent décor. The lavish Owner's Suite also benefits from a private balcony, a bathroom with a free standing bathtub, and a separate dining and living room.
The Talifoo Restaurant on board Sanctuary Ananda provides authentic Burmese dishes and international cuisine, and also includes a well-stocked wine cellar. Complementary cooking courses are also on offer if guests want to get to grips with the flavours of Myanmar themselves. For drinks Kansi Panorama Lounge offers picture windows with uninterrupted river views and so makes the perfect spot to relax with a cocktail and enjoy watching the world go by.
As well as enjoying the beautiful scenery along the river banks as you cruise, guests will aslo have the opportunity to get off board and visit some of Myanmar's cultural highlights. These include various palaces, monasteries, temples, and pagodas, plus the jungles in the north, ancient towns and forgotten villages. Back on board there are also regular lectures held in the Kansi Panorama Lounge which highlight the fascinating history and culture of Myanmar. If that doesn't appeal the Thambyadine Spa offers a variety of relaxing treatments and the deck hosts a small pool to take a refreshing dip in.
Sanctuary Ananda cruises travel between Bangan and Mandaly, and range in length from three nights to eleven nights, meaning there is a trip to suit almost every itinerary.
Why We Love It
There isn't a better way to experience the varied scenery and culture of Myanmar than by gently cruising along the rivers and stopping at all of the must-see spots on the way.
Hotel by the Red Canal
The Hotel by the Red Canal is - in our humble opinion - the best boutique hotel in Mandalay.
The hotel features teak, rattan and mother of pearl inlaid furniture, with Myanmar marble lining the bathroom walls. The four types of rooms and suites each represent one of the major ethnic groups in Burma. The Chin and Shan suites feature a balcony overlooking the swimming pool and garden, while an outdoor shower with a slate wall of cascading water is the highlight of the Kachin suites, ideal for honeymooners.
The Spice Garden restaurant serves excellent northern Indian cuisine and Burmese specialities in an elegant dining room or on the terrace overlooking the garden that inspired the name.
The Prana Spa offers a menu of Ayurvedic, holistic and natural body treatments to relax, awaken and revitalise guests after a day's exploration of the city.
Why We Love It
The owner is Indian, hence the emphasis on - delicious - Indian cuisine.