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MYANMAR: See Asia's Forbidden Country
The circuit: Around Myanmar (Burma) on the Irrawaddy River
Boat basics: Orient-Express's 108-passenger Road to Mandalay was designed for travel in Myanmar, and the onboard decor reflects the local feel, with wicker furniture on the pool deck and Burmese materials throughout. In keeping with the company's ethos of Old World luxury, service is excellent and the food top-notch.
Shore thing: Picture a non-Westernized Thailand 50 years ago, and you have an idea of what to expect from this isolated country, formerly known as Burma. Its military dictatorship has made independent travel difficult (and, for some, unethical), but you can still experience the passionate hospitality of the locals on a cruise. And a trip along the storied Irrawaddy is a singular way to see the countryside and its pagodas, teak forests, rice paddies, and lush green mountainsides—as well as saffron-robed monks, smiling septuagenarians, and yelping youngsters. Watching the sun set over Bagan, an ancient site with more than 4,000 temples built between the 11th and 13th centuries, is a lifetime joy.
The details: Eleven-night cruises depart in August and September 2007.
From $2,340 per person
Tel: 800 524 2420