What You Need To Know
|The fascinating land of Myanmar has been hidden from the world, ensuring that its beauty and charm have remained unspoilt. Now welcoming visitors, it is an intriguing country and much of its appeal to travellers lies in the way it has been unaffected by modern developments.
Advice on up-to-date requirements should be sought from the consulate office in your country of residence, or from your travel agent. For general guidance please note the following:
(i) Your passport must have at least 6 months’ remaining validity at time of travel.
(ii) Visas are required by all visitors to Myanmar and are valid for 28 days. A visa must be obtained before entering Myanmar. Your reservations office/travel agent will issue you with a package tour letter prior to you contacting your local Myanmar Embassy or Consulate for a package tour visa.
Please note that it is the responsibility of each passenger to ensure that they are in possession of any necessary and valid documentation and the Company assumes no responsibility for the consequences of any failure to comply.
Any passenger without a valid visa will not be allowed to board their flight to Myanmar.
Passengers are strongly recommended to take out travel insurance as soon as the journey is booked.
Please note when visiting temples and pagodas clothing should cover shoulders and legs and bare feet are required.
The local currency in Myanmar is Kyat. FEC’s (Foreign Exchange Certificates) and US$ notes in good condition are also widely used in Myanmar and accepted almost everywhere. Credit cards are not generally accepted in Myanmar. Vendors who do accept cards usually add a handling commission and also currency exchange charges. There are some ATM machines in Myanmar however only for local banks, not yet for international credit/debit cards.
On the Road To Mandalay, major international credit cards are accepted for on-board costs. Travellers cheques are not accepted in Myanmar or on board Road To Mandalay. We recommend that passengers carry US$ (small denomination notes) for miscellaneous spending. Only newly issued, clean and intact USD bills are widely accepted. Other currencies (pounds, euros etc) cannot be used.
Departure tax from Myanmar is included in the cost of the air ticket/holiday.
Climate and Weather
Myanmar has three seasons. From September to February the daytime temperature is about 28 degrees C (80 F) with cool evenings. March to May is hot but dry. From June to September it is the rainy season. The area visited by Road To Mandalay is protected from most of the monsoon and is described as the dry zone.
We endeavour to cater for special dietary requirements, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free etc, and will be pleased to note your personal requirements in advance. However, we are unable to provide meals requiring strict religious observance in their preparation.
We are able to accommodate passengers with slight walking difficulties but recommend that they are escorted by an able-bodied passenger. The sites visited and facilities on location and on board are not suitable for wheelchair-bound passengers or those with severe walking difficulties.
Electricity in Myanmar is 220/230v.
Myanmar is a land of numerous festivals. One of the merriest is Thingyan Water Festival in mid-April. During this religious festival water is thrown on everyone and no passer-by is spared.
Observe local notices – some pagodas and temples do not allow photography while others ask for a small payment. Treat Buddhist images with respect and seek permission from monks before photographing them. Photography of airports, railway stations, bridges, police stations, military installations and government offices may result in film being confiscated.
The Burmese have a high regard for religious customs and traditions. When entering the grounds of a pagoda or monastery it is important to remove all footwear (including socks and stockings).
The local markets offer good shopping for lacquerware, silver, jewellery and fabrics. Not all gemstones offered on the streets are genuine.
Local time is GMT +6.5 hours. For example on Monday at midnight in Yangon, it will be:
New York (Eastern Standard) - 12.30 Monday
London (GMT) - 17.30 Monday
Bangkok - 00.30 Tuesday
Passengers Travelling on Road To Mandalay Bangkok/Bangkok Programme
Check-in: At your airline counter at Bangkok Airport two hours prior to departure. We recommend that passengers staying in Bangkok check with their hotel to ensure they allow sufficient transit time between the city and the airport due to traffic congestion.
Domestic Flights: A Road To Mandalay representative will meet you at your hotel and escort you on your transfer to the domestic terminal where you will receive your flight ticket.
Returning to Bangkok: Depending on the flight departure from Yangon, passengers will be taken either to the airport hotel for light refreshments or to a hotel for lunch.
Passengers Travelling on Road To Mandalay/Yangon Programme
Where your accommodation in Yangon has been arranged through Orient-Express, your onward flight details will be confirmed directly with you at your hotel. Passengers whom have booked a package journey with Orient-Express benefit from an inclusive transfer to the airport, for which a Road To Mandalay representative will meet you at your hotel and escort you on your transfer to the domestic terminal - where you will receive your flight ticket. Guests whom have not booked to enjoy the benefit of a package or a pre-arranged transfer are welcome to do so through their local Orient-Express reservations centre.
Passengers making their own entry to Myanmar and own hotel arrangements in Yangon
Passengers will need to call (01) 242 828 extension 814 (Mon-Fri 09.00 – 17.30; Sat 09.30 – 12.30) whilst in Yangon to confirm domestic flight details. Out of the office hours please call 09 502 73 04 (mobile number).
Passengers should check in at the domestic terminal of Yangon airport for their flight to Mandalay or Bagan. A Road To Mandalay representative will greet you at the check-in desk and supply your flight ticket.
Due to airline restrictions luggage is limited to a weight of 20 kilograms per person. Your passport, travel documents, jewellery, money, camera, fragile items and any medication should be hand-carried and not checked in. On domestic flights, each passenger is allowed one piece of hand luggage. Cabin luggage: All luggage must be stored in your cabin. Please note that there are no facilities available for storage of luggage not required during your cruise. We suggest that you make arrangements to store excess baggage at your Bangkok or Yangon hotel.
Life on board
Road To Mandalay is air-conditioned throughout and has four decks: Observation Deck: top deck with pool and bar and library. Main Deck: public rooms with restaurant, bar, lounge and boutique. State Deck: Governor’s Suite, State Cabins, Superior Cabins and reception. Deluxe Deck: Deluxe and single cabins, beauty spa salon, fitness room and medical room.
All cabins are air-conditioned and have en-suite shower, hairdryer and WC facilities, wardrobe, a personal safe, telephone and TV with two DVD movie channels, selection of live news, sports and general interest channels. Sockets are suitable for 2-pin round plugs (220 volts).
4 Single Cabins: 10.6 sqm, 114 sqf with a single bed and desk/dressing table with mirror
4 Superior Cabins: 11.3 sqm, 121 sqf with twin beds and desk/dressing table with mirror.
16 Deluxe Cabins: 17.95 sqm, 193.2 sqf with twin beds, sofa area and desk/dressing table.
18 State Cabins: 23.5 sqm, 250 sqf with twin beds which can be configured into a double bed, armchair and desk/dressing table.
1 Governor’s Suite: 29.1 sqm, 313 sqf with twin beds which can be configured into a double bed, lounge area and desk/dressing table.
The on-board boutique sells Burmese crafts and books, camera film, batteries as well as guest amenities.
The on-board beauty salon offers a range of beauty treatments from aromatherapy massages, facials, manicures and pedicures.
On- board the ship all external calls are via satellite. The use of international mobile telephones is not reliable in Myanmar and phones that are not registered in Myanmar or Thailand are unlikely to work.
The atmosphere on board is relaxed. For dinner, appropriate dress is “smart casual”, e.g. open-neck shirt and jacket for men. Formal wear is not required. Please note that a laundry service (not dry-cleaning) is provided. Between September and February it is advisable to pack a light sweater for the mornings and evenings.
Food, Drinks & Meals
Early morning tea and coffee are served in cabins on request. Buffet breakfast, buffet lunch and dinner will be served in the restaurant, on an open sitting basis. Afternoon tea will be served on the Observation Deck or in the Piano Bar.
On board Road To Mandalay, gratuities are at passengers’ discretion.
The ship carries a doctor onboard.
A pianist plays nightly in the Piano Bar. In the Lounge a cultural lecture will be held on “sailing” days and a variety of local entertainers will perform in the evenings. The TV in the cabins offers film channels showing in-house movies.
All transactions on board are in US$. Items for sale are priced in US$. Major international credit cards are accepted for on-board costs. Travellers cheques are not accepted on board nor in Myanmar. Money changing facilities are not available on board.
Safety and Security
Road To Mandalay meets international safety requirements for river vessels of her classification. Safety procedures are advised prior to the ship’s sailing. For the safety of all passengers, a discreet security presence is part of our operation. Visitors are not permitted on board.
Tours are fully escorted throughout by qualified guides. Passengers who prefer may visit the sites by themselves.
Alternatively, a car or minibus for private use, including an English-speaking tour guide, can be provided at an additional cost. Please arrange with staff on board giving at least 24 hours’ notice. Passengers will find it useful to pack a torch (flashlight) for exploring the interiors of temples. Binoculars are useful. Light cotton clothes are the most practical for sightseeing and a sun hat is also recommended. When visiting temples and pagodas, clothing should cover shoulders and legs. Please respect the local culture which dictates conservative dress. “Short” shorts/skirts are not suitable (knees should be covered, and so long shorts are acceptable). In addition, please note that bare feet are required when entering places of worship and that a pair of strong slip-on shoes may therefore be useful.
Passengers may smoke on the Observation Deck. The remaining parts of the ship are non-smoking areas.