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Sanctuary Ananda on the river
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Sanctuary Ananda

This luxurious all-suite riverboat offers exciting voyages, gourmet dining and a pampering spa.

Overview

Sanctuary Ananda is a 48-passenger river vessel, custom built by local craftsmen and launched in 2014. This luxurious all-suite ship will take you in style on voyages of astonishing beauty and discovery on the mystic rivers of Myanmar. Visit temples, pagodas, palaces and monasteries along the Irrawaddy River, or journey along its great tributary, the Chindwin, to places visitors rarely see – through the jungles of the north, forgotten villages, and ancient towns.

Cabins

Sanctuary Ananda’s 21 cabins, located on three decks, include four lavish Staterooms measuring 334 to 356 square feet. Other cabins range from 291 to 301 square feet, and all have floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies, while the Staterooms have full balconies with outdoor furniture.

Additionally, the signature Owner’s Suite, which measures an expansive 807 square feet comes with a king-sized bed, dressing area, separate living and dining areas, a freestanding bathtub and a monsoon shower, and also offers butler service.

In every room, vintage photographs, lush silks, polished teak and exquisite lacquerware pieces celebrate Myanmar’s rich heritage of arts, crafts and textiles, while Egyptian-cotton sheets ensure a comfortable night’s rest. Each has an en-suite bathroom, individually controlled air-conditioning, a safe deposit box, and an iPad with free Wi-Fi albeit with limited internet coverage outside of the main cities of Mandalay & Bagan.

The smaller suites each have double or twin beds and a bathroom with a monsoon shower; the Staterooms have additional indoor seating areas and an extra convertible bed for a child. Two pairs of interconnecting cabins are also available for families.

Dining

Look forward to the delicious cuisine of Myanmar alongside a choice of Western favorites and international dishes. Specially crafted menus and inspired dining experiences encompass dishes such as soft-shell crab, red curries, and mango and pomelo salad enhanced with fragrant flavors including lemongrass, kaffir lime and sweet chilli.

Meals are served in the main dining room, Talifoo Restaurant, and alfresco lunch is available in the Mindoon Restaurant. The on-board library can also be used for private dining.

Facilities on board

The upper Bhamo Deck, where all the Luxury Suites are situated, houses the Kansi panorama lounge and there is also a Sun Deck and an outdoor plunge pool. Other facilities on your Sanctuary Ananda Cruise include the Thambayadine Spa by L’Occitane, where you can indulge in traditional therapies and soothing massages.

On board Activities

Be captivated by performances of Burmese dances which often tell stories of local myths and legends. Enjoy lectures on an array of interesting topics about Myanmar’s history and culture. Join a cooking demonstration run by the ship’s professional chefs and learn how to cook some of the delicious local meals served on board. Learn how to tie a longyi − the skirt that both men and women traditionally wear − and how to make and apply tanaka natural sun cream.

Excursions

Shore excursions on these voyages of discovery combine the ‘must see sights’ and fabulous landscapes with visits to small villages to meet the local people and observe the hand production of time-honored crafts.

Suitable for families, couples, solo travelers and friends, the Sanctuary Ananda offers a wonderful insight into Myanmar on a choice of cruises from Mandalay to Bagan, Bhamo or Yangon.

Itineraries & Prices

1 / 8
3-Day UP
4-Day UP
5-Day DOWN
5-Day DOWN
8-Day A
8-Day B
11-Day
12-Day

3 Day - Bagan to Mandalay (Upstream)

itinerary map

Embarkation

AM: Check-in and settle into your suite. If you arrive on an early flight we will arrange for you to take a tour of Bagan. Leaving at 9am we will visit the bustling market of Nyaung U. The daily market is where the farmers meet to buy and sell a variety of goods, ranging from fruit and vegetables to china and lacquerware. After our visit to Naung U, we will move on to the great golden Shwezigon Pagoda before returning to Sanctuary Ananda.

Start sailing upstream towards Sagaing. Relax as we past villages set against a backdrop of soft browns, rich tamarind trees, with white and golden pagodas gracing the distant hills. There is no better way to enjoy this riverine picture than from the Kansi panorama lounge.

PM: After lunch, a variety of onboard activities will be offered including a longyi (sarong) and thanaka (cosmetic) demonstration, a back of house tour, and a talk on Myanmar – covering the country’s incredibly rich history, more recent and controversial events, and prospects for the future. A delicious dinner in the Talifoo Restaurant will then follow.

Sanctuary Ananda's 3-Day Bagan to Mandalay - Day One - Ananda in Sunrise
Location
Bagan
Day
1 / 3

Bagan

AM: The morning will be spent sailing as you enjoy the passing countryside. A cooking class with our Executive Chef will be available.

PM: In the afternoon visit the pagoda sprinkled Sagaing Hill, an important religious and monastic centre, home to some 554 monasteries and 6,000 monks and nuns. Here we will visit a Monastic school and orphanage where you will have the opportunity to meet some of the residents and understand the teachings of Buddhism.

Next, take in the views from the top of the hill on the terraces of the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda which are truly breathtaking. Below and all around, pagodas of different shapes and sizes dot the landscape. Amarapura was once known as ‘The City of Immortals’. Today, the leisurely ‘clack-clack’ from the looms of the cotton and silk weavers has replaced the noisy bustle of this former capital.

Visit the U Bein Bridge, a spectacular place to enjoy the sunset. This long teak bridge snakes across the Taungthaman Lake and each evening you can watch monks crossing the bridge to collect food donations. This is a very spiritual and time traveling experience. The view of the bridge as the sun goes down is perhaps one of the most beautiful sights in Mandalay, making it an excellent photography opportunity. After sunset, return to the Sanctuary Ananda.

A local performance will be followed by dinner on board.

Sanctuary Ananda's 3-Day Bagan to Mandalay - Day Two - Dinner Set Up
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
2 / 3

Disembarkation

AM: Breakfast is served before check out in Mandalay. If you are leaving on a later flight we can include a tour of Mandalay. This will include a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, one of Myanmar’s most religious monuments housing the revered Mahamuni Image. Continue on to visit Shwenandaw Monastery, the only palace building to survive the bombings of World War II. This beautiful teak monastery had been the apartment of King Mindon, and after his death in 1879, his son King Theebaw removed it from the Mandalay palace.

Lastly a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda (Maha Lawka Marazein), built by King Mindon in 1857, in effect a copy of the Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan. Kuthodaw is often called the biggest book in the world, for surrounding it are 729 marble slabs inscribed with the Tripitaka texts (Buddhist canon).

Sanctuary Ananda's 3-Day Bagan to Mandalay - Day Three - Enjoying a Massage
Location
Mandalay
Day
3 / 3
1 / 3

4 Day - Bagan to Mandalay (Upstream)

itinerary map

Embarkation

PM: Check-in and settle into your suite. If you arrive on an early flight we will arrange for you to take a tour in Bagan. Leaving at 9am we will visit a local village in the heart of the Bagan plain, to see the way of life of the local people. Next visit a lacquerware workshop. This ancient craft has been produced in Bagan since the time of King Anawrahta around 1050 AD. Here in the workshop the traditional methods are still used.

After lunch on board, we will visit Kayminga pagoda complex to see the different architecture of the stupas first-hand. This is the perfect starting point to understand how Bagan was built over several centuries and how the architectural style has evolved.

Next, visit Bagan to see the Ananda Temple. Completed in 1091 AD, it is commonly referred to as one of the four great temples in Bagan. The Ananda is regarded by folklore as one of the most beautiful temples in Myanmar. 

Enjoy the sunset over the Bagan plains and admire the light change on the pagodas as they exude antiquity and mystery. Finally the sun sets behind the hills on the far side of the Ayeyarwady River, filling the sky with a reddish glow, a truly magic moment. 

A welcome briefing and champagne reception will be hosted in the Kansi Panorama Lounge before a candlelit sandbank dinner is served with the backdrop of the twinkling lights of Bagan.

Sanctuary Ananda's 4-Day Bagan to Mandalay - Day One - Private Balcony
Location
Bagan
Day
1 / 4

Bagan, Ananda Temple

AM: Take an optional early morning balloon tour to capture a birds-eye view of the Bagan plain (an additional charge applies, please book in advance. Available October – March only. Subject to weather conditions on the day of the flight), followed by breakfast back on board. Alternatively, visit the bustling local market of Nyaung U. The daily market is where the farmers meet to buy and sell a variety of goods, ranging from fruit and vegetables to china and lacquerware.

After our visit to Nyaung U, we will move on to the great golden Shwezigon Pagoda. This holds a special place among Burmese pagodas for two reasons: it was the first major monument built in the Burmese style (as distinct from Mon style) following the country’s conversion to Theravada Buddhism, and was the first pagoda to have nat (spirit) images allowed within the precinct. The Shwezigon is said to contain important relics of the Gautama Buddha, two bones and a copy of a tooth. We will then return to the ship for lunch and start sailing upstream towards Sagaing. Relax as we past villages set against a backdrop of soft browns, rich tamarind trees with white and golden pagodas gracing the distant hills. There is no better way to enjoy this riverine picture than from the Kansi panorama lounge.

PM: After lunch, a variety of onboard activities will be offered including a longyi (sarong) and thanaka (cosmetic) demonstration, a back of house tour, and a talk on Myanmar – covering the country’s incredibly rich history, more recent & controversial events and prospects for the future. A delicious dinner in the Talifoo Restaurant will then follow.

Sanctuary Ananda's 4-Day Bagan to Mandalay - Day Two - Sailing in Irrawaddy River
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
2 / 4

U Bein Bridge, Sagaing Hill

AM: The morning will be spent sailing as you enjoy the passing countryside. A cooking class with our Executive Chef will be available.

PM: In the afternoon visit the pagoda sprinkled Sagaing Hill, an important religious and monastic centre, home to some 554 monasteries and 6,000 monks and nuns. Here we will visit a Monastic school and orphanage where you will have the opportunity to meet some of the residents and understand the teachings of Buddhism.

Next, take in the views from the top of the hill on the terraces of the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda which are truly breathtaking. Below and all around, pagodas of different shapes and sizes dot the landscape. Amarapura, was once known as ‘The City of Immortals’. Today, the leisurely ‘clack-clack’ from the looms of the cotton and silk weavers has replaced the noisy bustle of this former capital.

Visit the U Bein Bridge, a spectacular place to enjoy the sunset. This long teak bridge snakes across the Taungthaman Lake and each evening you can watch monks crossing the bridge to collect food donations. This is a very spiritual and time traveling experience. The view of the bridge as the sun goes down is perhaps one of the most beautiful sights in Mandalay, making it an excellent photography opportunity. After sunset, return to the Sanctuary Ananda.

A local performance will be followed by dinner on board.

Sanctuary Ananda's 4-Day Bagan to Mandalay - Day Three - Pool on Deck
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
3 / 4

Disembarkation

AM: Breakfast is served before check out in Mandalay. If you are leaving on a later flight we can arrange a tour of Mandalay. This will include a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, one of Myanmar’s most religious monuments housing the revered Mahamuni Image. Continue on to visit Shwenandaw Monastery, the only palace building to survive the bombings of World War II. This beautiful teak monastery had been the apartment of King Mindon and after his death in 1879, his son Kong Theebaw, moved it out of the palace.

Lastly, a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda (Maha Lawka Marazein) built by King Mindon in 1857, in effect a copy of the Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan. Kuthodaw is often called the biggest book in the world, for surrounding it are 729 marble slabs inscribed with the Tripitaka texts (Buddhist cannon).

Sanctuary Ananda's 4-Day Bagan to Mandalay - Day Four - Enjoy Luxury Service on Board
Location
Mandalay
Day
4 / 4
1 / 4

5 Day - Mandalay to Bagan (Downstream)

itinerary map

Embarkation

PM: Check-in and settle into your suite. If you arrive on an earlier flight we can arrange a tour of Mandalay. This will include a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, Shwenandaw Monastery and lastly a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda (Maha Lawka Marazein). Kuthodaw is often called the biggest book in the world, for surrounding it are 729  marble slabs inscribed with the Tripitaka texts (Buddhist cannon).

Lunch will be served on board as we cruise towards Sagaing. In the afternoon visit the pagoda sprinkled Sagaing Hill, an important religious and monastic centre, home to some 554 monasteries and 6,000 monks and nuns. Here we will visit a Monastic school and orphanage where you will have the opportunity to meet some of the residents and understand the teachings of Buddhism.

Next, take in the views from the top of the hill on the terraces of the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, which are truly breathtaking. Below and all around, pagodas of different shapes and sizes dot the landscape. Amarapura, was once known as ‘The City of Immortals’. Today, the leisurely ‘clack-clack’ from the looms of the cotton and silk weavers has replaced the noisy bustle of this former capital.

Visit the U Bein Bridge, a spectacular place to enjoy the sunset. This long teak bridge snakes across the Taungthaman Lake. After sunset, return to the Sanctuary Ananda for dinner.

Sanctuary Ananda's 5-Day Mandalay to Bagan - Day One - Sunrise
Location
Mandalay
Day
1 / 5

Sin Kyun Village, Mingun

AM: Early this morning Sanctuary Ananda will sail north to the quaint village of Sin Kyun, a village just north of Mandalay which is sponsored by Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy. It has a population of just under 1,000 inhabitants and specialises in farming and hat making.

Take an optional tour to witness first-hand the way of life in this unspoiled location seldom viewed by outsiders. Following the village Chief’s request for a library and a house for an English teacher, Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy donated the money necessary to begin this new partnership. We hope that with the support of Sanctuary Ananda guests, we will be able to provide further funds to improve the quality of life of the villagers.

After the village tour we set sail towards Tan Chi Taung Mountain. Enjoy the beautiful sightseeing from the ship while passing Mingun, where you can see the unfinished Mingun Pagoda. As we continue to sail south, relax as we sail past villages, set against a backdrop of soft browns and rich tamarind trees with white and golden pagodas gracing the distant hills. There is no better way to enjoy this riverine picture than from the Kansi Panorama Lounge.

PM: After lunch, a variety of on board activities will be on offer including a longyi (sarong) and thanaka (cosmetic) demonstration, a back of house tour, and a talk on Myanmar – covering the country’s incredibly rich history, the recent controversial decades and the outlook for the future of The Golden Land. A delicious dinner will bring this thought-provoking day to an end.

 

Sanctuary Ananda's 5-Day Mandalay to Bagan - Day Two - Guests Enjoying Pool
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
2 / 5

Pakokku

AM: After breakfast, join our Executive Chef for a cooking demonstration to test your knowledge of local delicacies and learn how to create delicious Asian dishes.

We’ll spend the rest of the morning sailing downstream towards Bagan, which means you have ample time to enjoy the luxuries on board Sanctuary Ananda. Maybe have a spa treatment or relax by the pool with a book from our library? Enjoy lunch as we enter pagoda sprinkled Bagan.

PM: After lunch on board, we will head to the top of Tan Chi Taung mountain to enjoy your first glimpse of the Bagan plain, containing more than 2,000 pagodas and stupas. Next, we will watch an Elephant dance on the shore, an age-old acrobatic dance used to entertain the Bagan people, before re-boarding the Sanctuary Ananda. As we sail back to our jetty, enjoy the breathtaking and beautiful sunset from the Kansi Panorama Lounge with one of our signature cocktails. Tonight, a candlelit dinner is served on the banks of the Irrawaddy river.

Sanctuary Ananda's 5-Day Mandalay to Bagan - Day Three - Restaurant On Board
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
3 / 5

Bagan

AM: Take an optional early morning balloon tour* to capture a birds-eye view of the Bagan plain, followed by breakfast on board. Visit the bustling local market of Nyaung U, the daily market where farmers meet to buy and sell a variety of goods, ranging from fruit and vegetables to china and lacquerware. 

We will then move on to the great golden Shwezigon Pagoda. This holds a special place among Burmese pagodas for two reasons: it was the first major monument built in the Burmese style following the country’s conversion to Theravada Buddhism, and was the first pagoda to have nat (spirit) images allowed within the precinct. The Shwezigon is said to contain important relics of the Gautama Buddha - two bones and a copy of a tooth. A horse-cart will be your mode of transport through the Bagan plains, 

with several photo stops and a visit to Sulamani pagoda. 

PM: After lunch on board, visit the Ananda Temple. Completed in 1091 AD, it is commonly referred to as one of the four great temples in Bagan. The Ananda is regarded by folklore as one of the most beautiful temples in Myanmar. Visit a lacquerware workshop. This ancient craft has been produced in Bagan since the time of King Anawrahta around 1050 AD. Here in the workshop, the traditional methods are still used. 

Enjoy the sunset over the Bagan plains. Admire the light change on the pagodas as they exude antiquity and mystery. Finally, the sun sets behind the hills on the far side of the Irrawaddy River, filling the sky with a reddish glow - a truly magic moment. A local performance will be followed by a farewell dinner on board.

Sanctuary Ananda's 5-Day Mandalay to Bagan - Day Four - Local People
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
4 / 5

Disembarkation

AM: Enjoy an early breakfast on your final morning before check-out. If you are departing on a later flight we will arrange for you to take a tour in Bagan. Leaving at 9am we will visit a local village in the heart of the Bagan plain, to see the way of life of the local people.

Sanctuary Ananda's 5-Day Mandalay to Bagan - Day Five - Dinner Set Up
Location
Bagan
Day
5 / 5
1 / 5

5 Day - Monywa Sailing (Downstream)

itinerary map

Embarkation

PM: Check-in and settle into your suite. If you arrive on an earlier flight we can arrange a tour of Mandalay. This will include a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, Shwenandaw Monastery and lastly a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda (Maha Lawka Marazein). Kuthodaw is often called the biggest book in the world, for surrounding it are 729  marble slabs inscribed with the Tripitaka texts (Buddhist cannon).

Lunch will be served on board as we cruise towards Sagaing. In the afternoon visit the pagoda sprinkled Sagaing Hill, an important religious and monastic centre, home to some 554 monasteries and 6,000 monks and nuns. Here we will visit a Monastic school and orphanage where you will have the opportunity to meet some of the residents and understand the teachings of Buddhism.

Next, take in the views from the top of the hill on the terraces of the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, which are truly breathtaking. Below and all around, pagodas of different shapes and sizes dot the landscape. Amarapura, was once known as ‘The City of Immortals’. Today, the leisurely ‘clack-clack’ from the looms of the cotton and silk weavers has replaced the noisy bustle of this former capital.

Visit the U Bein Bridge, a spectacular place to enjoy the sunset. This long teak bridge snakes across the Taungthaman Lake. After sunset, return to the Sanctuary Ananda for dinner.

Sanctuary Anand's 5-Day Monywa Sailing - Day One - Sailing on Irrawaddy River
Location
Mandalay
Day
1 / 5

Salingyi

AM: Today is spent sailing south towards Salingyi. Take the opportunity to enjoy the onboard activities and amenities.

After breakfast, our Executive Chef will take you on a culinary journey through the unique favours of Myanmar with a cooking demonstration. This is a great opportunity to discover what spices, meats and vegetables are used in traditional Burmese cooking, giving you lots of recipe inspiration you can take home with you.

PM: After lunch a variety of onboard activities will be offered including a back of house tour, a longyi (sarong) and thanaka (cosmetic) demonstration and a talk on Myanmar – covering the country’s incredibly rich history, the recent controversial decades to the outlook for the future of The Golden Land.

As we continue to sail south, enjoy the scenery of Myanmar’s river from Sanctuary Ananda’s sundeck. The inviting sun-loungers are shaded by canopies for when the sun is too high, while the plunge pool provides a cooling experience. There is also the option to visit our in-ship spa where there is a wide selection of treatments to choose from. Try therapies such as a traditional Thai massage or reflexology session. Our signature treatments include the ‘Ananda body scrub’ and ‘Ananda facial’, all using L’Occitane products and guaranteed to leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready for everything Myanmar has to offer.

Just before sunset we will enter the Chindwin River and start sailing upstream towards Monywa. This is an altogether different river to the Irrawaddy so expect the scenery to change dramatically and beautifully.

A delicious dinner will bring the day to an end.

Sanctuary Anand's 5-Day Monywa Sailing - Day Two - Local Kids at School
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
2 / 5

Po Win Caves, Bodhi Tathaung

AM: This morning, visit the Po Win Taung caves near Shwe Ba Taung. Carved out of the sandstone hills, this setting is breathtakingly special to behold, and a highlight of any trip to Myanmar. More ancient than the Thanbodday pagoda are the two cave pagoda complexes of Po win taung and Shwe ba taung, believed to be over 300 years old. There are almost one thousand caves in which both the Buddha images and the thrones were carved out of living rock. The natural shape of the caves was kept, and 17th century wall paintings in exquisite detail cover the interior walls. The entrances are rimmed with traditional motifs of vines and flowers, in high or low relief. Figures of mythical beings and traditional design elements are seen both carved and painted.

After the morning’s exciting excursion, we’ve chosen the perfect spot to serve a gourmet picnic lunch, offering exceptional views of the surrounding scenery.

PM: Next, we’ll head on to the intricately decorated golden Thanboddhay Pagoda, a truly staggering sight with its hundreds of crumbling stupas and almost half a million images of Buddha located in the niches around the inner wall. Afterward, visit Bodhi Tataung where you can see the two enormous Buddha statues – the one reclining is about 333 feet long, and the other stands at a record height of 424 feet. The reason we bring you here at this time of day is that it is best appreciated in the afternoon light.

Back on board, enjoy a delicious dinner and cocktails onboard.

Sanctuary Anand's 5-Day Monywa Sailing - Day Three - Enjoy Massage On Board
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
3 / 5

Pakokku, Bagan

AM: After breakfast, join one of our chefs who will take you to the local market in Pakokku where mouth-watering fruit and vegetables are laid out with consummate style.

PM: We will return to the Sanctuary Ananda for lunch as we sail on to Bagan. After lunch on board, we will visit a small pagoda complex to see the different architecture of the stupas first-hand.

Next, on to the great golden Shwezigon Pagoda. This holds a special place among Burmese pagodas for two reasons: it was the first major monument built in the Burmese style (as distinct from Mon style) following the country’s conversion to Theravada Buddhism, and was the first pagoda to have nat (spirit) images allowed within the precinct. The Shwezigon is said to contain important relics of the Gautama Buddha, two bones and a copy of a tooth.

Enjoy the sunset over the Bagan plains. Admire the light change on the pagodas as they exude antiquity and mystery. Finally the sun sets behind the hills on the far side of the Irrawaddy River, filling the sky with a reddish glow, a truly magic moment.

A local performance will be followed by dinner on board.

Sanctuary Anand's 5-Day Monywa Sailing - Day Four - Local Tobacco Making
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
4 / 5

Disembarkation

AM: Enjoy an early breakfast on your final morning before check-out. If you are departing on a later flight we will arrange for you to take a tour in Bagan. Leaving at 9am we will visit a local village in the heart of the Bagan plain, to see the way of life of the local people.

Next visit a lacquerware workshop. This ancient craft has been produced in Bagan since the time of King Anawrahta around 1050 AD. Here in the workshop the traditional methods are still used.

Sanctuary Anand's 5-Day Monywa Sailing - Day Five - The Famous U-Bein Bridge
Location
Bagan
Day
5 / 5
1 / 5

8 Day - Mandalay

itinerary map

Embarkation

PM: Check-in and settle into your suite. If you arrive on an earlier flight we can arrange a tour of Mandalay.

Lunch will be served on board as we cruise towards the pagoda sprinkled hills of Sagaing. In the afternoon we will visit a Monastic school and orphanage where you will have the opportunity to understand the teachings of Buddhism. Next visit the Sagaing Hill, an important religious and monastic centre, home to some 554 monasteries and 6,000 monks and nuns. Take in the views from the top of the hill on the terraces of the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda which are truly breathtaking. 

We will visit Amarapura, which was once known as 'The City of Immortals' which in its heyday held some 200,000 inhabitants, before arriving at the U Bein Bridge. This long teak bridge snakes across the Taungthaman Lake and is the perfect place to watch the sunset. A local performance will be followed by dinner on board Sanctuary Ananda.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Mandalay - Day One - The Famous U-Bein Bridge
Location
Mandalay
Day
1 / 8

Sin Kyun

AM: Early this morning Sanctuary Ananda will sail north to the quaint village of Sin Kyun, a village just north of Mandalay sponsored by Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy. It has a population of just under 1,000 inhabitants and specializes in farming and hat making. Take an optional tour to witness firsthand the way of life in this unspoiled location seldom viewed by outsiders. 

PM: Departing the village after breakfast we sail towards Pakokku. Enjoy the beautiful scenery from the ship while passing Mingun, where you can see the unfinished Mingun Pagoda. As we continue our journey south, relax as we sail past villages, set against a backdrop of soft browns, rich tamarind trees with white and golden pagodas gracing the distant hills. There is no better way to enjoy this riverine picture than from the Kansi panorama lounge or your suite balcony. Enjoy the wide variety of onboard activities before tucking into delicious dinner to bring the day to a close.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Mandalay - Day Two - Sunrise on Irrawaddy
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
2 / 8

Pakokku

AM: After breakfast, join our back of house tour and take a cooking class with our Executive Chef. One of our chefs will take you to the local market in Pakokku where mouth-watering fruit and vegetables are laid out with consummate style. We will return to the Sanctuary Ananda for lunch as we sail on to Bagan.

PM: After lunch on board, we will visit a small pagoda complex to see the different architecture of the stupas first-hand. Next, on to the great golden Shwezigon Pagoda which is said to contain important relics of the Gautama Buddha, two bones and a copy of a tooth. Enjoy the sunset over the Bagan plains. Admire the light change on the pagodas as they exude antiquity and mystery. Finally the sun sets behind the hills on the far side of the Irrawaddy River, filling the sky with a reddish glow, a truly magic moment. A local performance will be followed by dinner on board.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Mandalay - Day Three - Inside a Temple
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
3 / 8

Bagan

AM: Take an optional early morning balloon tour to capture a bird-eye view of the Bagan plain (an additional charge applies, please book in advance. Available October - March only), followed by breakfast back on board. This morning visit the temples of Bagan. First, visit the Ananda Temple. Completed in 1091 AD, it is commonly referred to as one of the four great temples in Bagan. A horse-cart will be your mode of transport through the Bagan plains, with several photo stops and a visit to Sulamani pagoda.

PM: En route to Mount Popa, visit a jaggery workshop that produces unrefined sugar. Lunch will be served at Popa Mountain Resort with spectacular views of the site. Choose to climb the 777 steps where pilgrims give offerings and pray to carved figures. Return to the ship in the early evening and enjoy the sunset as we sail. Tonight, a candlelit sandbank dinner is served with the backdrop of the twinkling lights of Bagan.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Mandalay - Day Four - Watching Hot-air Balloon at Sunrise
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
4 / 8

Bagan

AM: Enjoy a morning tour of Bagan. Leaving at 9am we will visit a local village in the heart of the Bagan plain, to see the way of life of the local people. Next visit a lacquerware workshop. This ancient craft has been produced in Bagan since the time of King Anawrahta around 1050 AD. Here in the workshop the traditional methods are still used.

PM: After lunch on board, depart to visit Kyauk Gu U Min Temple, one of only four temples in Bagan built from stone brick. Known as the 'Rock Cave Tunnel', this cave-like temple is the perfect place to meditate. Built into a river bank, this is a temple unlike any other build in Bagan. Enjoy this wonder as you stroll past the underground corridors lit up by light wells.

En route back to the ship, visit a local village where you will be able to witness the traditional way of life for the Burmese people of this region. Get the chance to feel like a local as you wander past their settlements. It is interesting to see how unaffected their daily routine is in the shadow of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Mandalay - Day Five - Temple Visit
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
5 / 8

Bagan

AM: Today marks another opportunity to take an optional early morning balloon tour over the Bagan plains (an additional charge applies, please book in advance. Available October - March only). Breakfast will follow onboard.

In the morning, visit the bustling local market of Nyaung U. The daily market is where the farmers meet to buy and sell a variety of goods, ranging from fruit and vegetables to china and lacquerware. We will then return to the ship for lunch and start sailing upstream towards Sagaing.

PM: Relax as we past villages set against a backdrop of soft browns, rich tamarind trees with white and golden pagodas gracing the distant hills. There is no better way to enjoy this riverine picture than from the Kansi panorama lounge. After lunch enjoy the onboard activities followed by a delicious dinner in the Talifoo Restaurant.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Mandalay - Day Six - Local Cultivating Tools Shop
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
6 / 8

Mandalay Hill

AM: This morning offers another chance to cook with our Executive Chef, Sumet. Enjoy putting together the amazing Asian flavours while passing by Myanmar's spectacular countryside.

PM: In the afternoon, visit a gold leaf beating workshop where you will see how the thin gold leaf that covers Buddha statues is produced. Continue to a bronze-casting workshop to learn how the impressively-large statues you've seen across Myanmar are made. Your last stop of the day will be at the 774-ft (236-m) high Mandalay Hill upon which the Su Taung Pyai Pagoda rests. Once you reach the summit (via either one of the lengthy staircases or more relaxing escalators) you will be rewarded by a 360-degree view of Mandalay, from the Shan mountain range to the east to the Royal Palace in the south. A local performance will be followed by dinner on board.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Mandalay - Day Seven - Traditional Weaving
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
7 / 8

Disembarkation

AM: If you are leaving on a later flight we can arrange a tour of Mandalay. This will include a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, one of Myanmar's most religious monuments housing the Mahamuni Image. Continue on to visit Shwenandaw Monastery, the only palace building to survive the bombings of World War II. This beautiful teak monastery had been the apartment of King Mindon and after his death in 1879, his son Kong Theebaw, moved it out of the palace.

Lastly a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda (Maha Lawka Marazein) built by King Mindon in 1857, in effect a copy of the Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan. Kuthodaw is often called the biggest book in the world, for surrounding it are 729 marble slabs inscribed with the Tripitaka texts (Buddhist canon).

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Mandalay - Day Eight - Traditional Weaving Shop
Location
Mandalay
Day
8 / 8
1 / 8

8 Day - Bagan

itinerary map

Embarkation

PM: Check-in and settle into your suite.

If you arrive on an early flight we will arrange for you to take a tour in Bagan. Leaving at 9am we will visit a local village in the heart of the Bagan plain, to see the way of life of the local people, before visiting a lacquerware workshop. This ancient craft has been practised in Bagan since the time of King Anawrahta around 1050AD. Here in the workshop, the traditional methods are still used.

 After lunch on board, we will visit Kayminga pagoda complex to see the different architecture of the stupas first-hand. This is the perfect starting point to understand how Bagan was built over several centuries and how the architectural style has evolved. Next, we visit the Ananda Temple. Completed in 1091 AD, it is commonly referred to as one of the four great temples in Bagan. The Ananda is regarded by folklore as one of the most beautiful temples in Myanmar.

 Enjoy the sunset over the Bagan plains and admire the light change on the pagodas as they exude antiquity and mystery. Finally the sun sets behind the hills on the far side of the Ayeyarwady River, filling the sky with a reddish glow - a truly magic moment. A welcome briefing and champagne reception will be hosted in the Kansi Panorama Lounge, before a candlelit sandbank dinner is served with the backdrop of the twinkling lights of Bagan.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Bagan Cruise - Day One - Temples in Bagan
Location
Bagan
Day
1 / 8

Bagan

AM: Take an optional early morning balloon tour* to capture a birds-eye view of the Bagan plain, followed by breakfast back on board. Alternatively, visit the bustling local market of Nyaung U, the daily market where farmers meet to buy and sell a variety of goods, ranging from fruit and vegetables to china and lacquerware.

 After our visit to Nyaung U, we will move on to the great golden Shwezigon Pagoda. This holds a special place among Burmese pagodas for two reasons: it was the first major monument built in the Burmese style following the country’s conversion to Theravada Buddhism, and it was the first pagoda to have nat (spirit) images allowed within the precinct. The Shwezigon is said to contain important relics of the Gautama Buddha - two bones and a copy of a tooth.

PM: We will then return to the ship for lunch and start sailing upstream towards Sagaing. Visually, Myanmar is unique: the eye is constantly delighted by scenes of beauty. A group of ladies perches on rocks chatting during their daily wash. An ox-cart waits on the banks for a boat to arrive and unload its goods. There is no better way to enjoy this riverine picture than from the Kansi Panorama Lounge.

 After lunch, a variety of onboard activities will be on offer, including a longyi (sarong) and thanaka (cosmetic) demonstration, a back of house tour, and a talk on Myanmar – covering the country’s incredibly rich history, more recent and controversial events and prospects for the future. A delicious dinner in the Talifoo Restaurant will then follow.

 Note*: A balloon tour is available at an additional cost. Please book in advance. Available 1 October - 30 March. Subject to weather conditions on the day of the flight.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Bagan Cruise - Day Two - Excursion on Horse Cart
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
2 / 8

Mandalay

AM: The morning will be spent sailing as you enjoy the passing countryside. A cooking class with our Executive Chef will be available. In the afternoon visit the pagoda sprinkled Sagaing Hill, an important religious and monastic centre, home to some 554 monasteries and 6,000 monks and nuns. Here we will visit a Monastic school and orphanage where you will have the opportunity to meet some of the residents and understand the teachings of Buddhism.

Next, take in the views from the top of the hill on the terraces of the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda which are truly breathtaking. Below and all around, pagodas of different shapes and sizes dot the landscape. Amarapura was once known as ‘The City of Immortals’. Today, the leisurely ‘clack-clack’ from the looms of the cotton and silk weavers has replaced the noisy bustle of this former capital.

PM: Visit the U Bein Bridge, a spectacular place to enjoy the sunset. This long teak bridge snakes across the Taungthaman Lake and each evening you can watch monks crossing the bridge to collect food donations. This is a wonderful spiritual experience. The view of the bridge as the sun goes down is perhaps one of the most beautiful sights in Mandalay, making it an excellent photo opportunity. After sunset, return to the Sanctuary Ananda. A local performance will be followed by dinner on board.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Bagan Cruise - Day Three - Guests On Board
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
3 / 8

Mandalay

AM: This morning enjoy a tour of Mandalay. This will include a visit to Shwenandaw Monastery, the only palace building to survive the bombings of World War II. This beautiful teak monastery had been the apartment of King Mindon and after his death in 1879, his son King Theebaw, moved the monastery out of the palace.

Lastly a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda (Maha Lawka Marazein) built by King Mindon in 1857, in effect a copy of the Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan. Kuthodaw is often called the biggest book in the world, for surrounding it are 729 marble slabs inscribed with the Tripitaka texts (Buddhist canon). Then, we will move to Mahamuni Pagoda, one of Myanmar’s most religious monuments housing the revered Mahamuni Image. Enjoy lunch in one of the local restaurants.

PM: In the afternoon, visit a gold leaf beating workshop where you will see how the thin gold leaf that covers Buddha statues is produced. Follow this with a visit to a bronze-casting workshop to learn how the impressively-large statues you’ve seen across Myanmar are made.

Your last stop of the day will be at the 774 foot (236m) high Mandalay Hill upon which the Su Taung Pyai Pagoda rests. Once you reach the summit (via either one of the staircases or more relaxing escalators) you will be afforded a 360-degree view of Mandalay, from the Shan mountain range to the east to the Royal Palace in the south. Dinner will be served on board.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Bagan Cruise - Day Four - Enjoy Massage On Board
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
4 / 8

Sin Kyun

AM: Early this morning Sanctuary Ananda will sail north to the quaint village of Sin Kyun, a village just north of Mandalay which is sponsored by Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy. It has a population of just under 1,000 inhabitants and specializes in farming and hat making.

Take an optional tour to witness first-hand the way of life in this unspoiled location seldom viewed by outsiders. Following the Village Chief’s request for a library and a house for an English teacher, Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy donated the money necessary to begin this new partnership. We hope that with the support of Sanctuary Ananda guests, we will be able to provide further funds to improve the quality of life for the villagers.

PM: After the village tour we set sail towards Tan Chi Taung. Enjoy the beautiful scenery from the ship while passing Mingun, where you can see the unfinished Mingun Pagoda. As we continue our journey south, relax as we sail past villages, set against a backdrop of soft browns and rich tamarind trees with white and golden pagodas gracing the distant hills. After lunch, enjoy our onboard activities, including a back of house tour, followed by a delicious dinner.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Bagan Cruise - Day Five - Temples in Bagan
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
5 / 8

Tan Chi Taung

AM: After breakfast, join our Executive Chef for a cooking demonstration to test your knowledge of local delicacies and learn how to create delicious Asian dishes.

We’ll spend the rest of the morning sailing downstream towards Bagan, which means you have ample time to enjoy the luxuries on board Sanctuary Ananda. Maybe have a spa treatment or relax by the pool with a book from our library? Enjoy lunch as we enter the pagoda sprinkled Bagan.

PM: After lunch on board, we will head to the top of Tan Chi Taung mountain to enjoy your first glimpse of the Bagan plain, containing more than 2,000 pagodas and stupas. Next, we will watch an Elephant dance on the shore, an age-old acrobatic dance used to entertain the Bagan people. As we sail back to our jetty, enjoy the breathtaking and beautiful sunset from the Kansi Panorama Lounge with one of our signature cocktails. Tonight, a candlelit dinner is served on the banks of the Irrawaddy River.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Bagan Cruise - Day Six - Shwe Kyet Yet Temple
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
6 / 8

Bagan

AM: Enjoy a morning tour of Bagan. Leaving at 9am we will visit the three-tiered Htilominlo temple built during the regin of King Htilominlo in the heart of the Bagan plain, to see the way of life of the local people. A horse-cart will be your mode of transport through the Bagan plains, with several photo stops and a visit to Sulamani pagoda along the way.

PM: After lunch on board, depart to visit Kyauk Gu U Min Temple, one of only four temples in Bagan built from stone brick. Built into a riverbank, this is a temple unlike any other in Bagan. Known as the ‘Rock Cave Tunnel’, this cave-like temple is the perfect place to meditate. Enjoy this wonder as you stroll past the underground corridors lit up by light wells.

Before returning to the ship, visit a local village where you will be able to witness the traditional way of life for the Burmese people of this region. Get the chance to feel like a local as you wander past their settlements. It is interesting to see how unaffected their daily routine is in the shadow of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The day will come to an end with a farewell dinner on board.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Bagan Cruise - Day Seven - Hot-air Balloon in Sunrise
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
7 / 8

Disembarkation

AM: Enjoy an early breakfast on your final morning before check-out. If you are departing on a later flight we will arrange for you to take a tour in Bagan, departing at 9am.

Sanctuary Ananda's 8-Day Bagan Cruise - Day Eight - Local Myanmar Child
Location
Bagan
Day
8 / 8
1 / 8

11 Day - Mandalay - Paung Pyin - Bagan

itinerary map

Embarkation

Option 1: Check-in at 11.00am at the Jetty in Mandalay and settle into your suite, before sailing towards Myin Mu at 11.30am.

Option 2: Arrive at Mandalay Jetty by 1.30pm and transfer by bus to Myin Mu. Check in to Sanctuary Ananda and settle into your suite.

For those guests arriving on an earlier flight, we can arrange a tour of Mandalay.

PM: As we sail along the Chindwin towards Paung Pyin, you'll have the chance to get a true insight into Myanmar thanks to on-board talks on traditions such as the local dress, thanaka make-up (the cosmetic technique used to protect skin from the hot sun) as well as see cookery demonstrations and history lessons. 

Tonight, join us in the Kansi Panorama Lounge for a welcome briefing along with a champagne and canapés reception followed by the welcome dinner onboard the ship.

Sanctuary Ananda's 11-Day Mandalay to Paung Pyin to Bagan - Day One - Little Monks
Location
Mandalay - Sin Tae
Day
1 / 11

Sin Tae, Own Pin Seik

AM: At 5am the ship will start sailing. Enjoy the morning on board at leisure.

PM: Arrive in Monywa in the Sagaing Region at 2.30pm, when you'll no doubt continue to appreciate what's so very special about this cruise northwest of Mandalay: we take you to unspoiled scenery that rarely gets exposed to tourists.

After exploring the city, a coach will transport you to a truly spectacular part of the world: the intricately decorated golden Thanboddhay Pagoda. It is truly staggering with its hundreds of crumbling stupas and almost half a million images of Buddha located in the niches around the inner wall. Next, you'll visit Bodhi Tataung where you can see the two enormous Buddha statues - the one reclining is about 333 feet long, and the other stands at a record height of 424 feet. The reason we bring you here at this time of day is that it is best appreciated in the afternoon light.

Return to the ship at 4.30pm and enjoy dinner on board while sailing towards Own Pin Seik.

Sanctuary Ananda's 11-Day Mandalay to Paung Pyin to Bagan - Day Two - Visiting Temples
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
2 / 11

Own Pin Seik, Ngar Own

AM: Start the day with a meditation session on the Sun Deck and for those who wish to learn how to prepare Asian delicacies, our chef will be happy to demonstrate.

PM: Relax on board as we sail towards the village of Maukkadaw. Arrive at the village in the late afternoon, once an important teak port. Explore the town and its stunning teak buildings made even more exotic by the tropical jungle that surrounds them. Wander around the village and visit the brick monastery.

This evening we will screen one of the most famous movies about Aung San Suu Kyi, The Lady, in the Kansi Panorama Lounge with canapés. Overnight at Ngar Own.

Sanctuary Ananda's 11-Day Mandalay to Paung Pyin to Bagan - Day Three - Temples in Myanmar
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
3 / 11

Ngar Own, Masein

AM: Take part in a morning lecture presented by our resident guide followed by an afternoon visit to Kalewa. Kalewa is the trading post between Myanmar and India, and this town rests at the point where the Myit Tha River with its source in India joins with the Chindwin. Kalewa is right at the foot of the Western Mountain Ranges that loom over the town, the pagoda on the hill and the placid waters of the river.

PM: The cruise continues after lunch taking you through lush gorges, past wild jungle and tiny riverside villages – the scenery here looks like that of a land that time forgot. We’ll also be hosting interesting talks on board the ship during the afternoon. Tonight, the ship will dock at Masein.

Sanctuary Ananda's 11-Day Mandalay to Paung Pyin to Bagan - Day Four - Lounge on Board
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
4 / 11

Masein, Hae Nin

AM: Sail in the morning and arrive in Mawleik mid-morning. Mawleik, once the administrative centre of the Bombay Burma Trading Company, is still a lively town with a vibrant market and colonial charm. This is a part of Myanmar that very few tourists see.

Return to the ship at 11.30am and cruise north.

PM: After lunch, why not take part in one of our interesting onboard lectures.

We recommend you take tea in the panoramic lounge as we sail towards the thatched homes of our next rural village stop, Hae Nin. The ship will anchor here for the night.

Sanctuary Ananda's 11-Day Mandalay to Paung Pyin to Bagan - Day Five - Cuisine
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
5 / 11

Hae Nin, Sitthaung

AM: Enjoy an early morning meditation session on board the Sun Deck.

PM: Sail south to Sitthaung, where we will see the emerald green paddy fields on your way to the village pagoda. Near the mouth of the Yu River which drains the Kubu valley, Sitthaung was the final resting place of a number of IFC steamers scuppered there in 1942.

Later on visit Paung Pyin, the northernmost point of the cruise.

The Uyu River is a major tributary of the Chindwin River, and the sand in this part of the river gets a lot of attention from locals – lookout for folks panning for gold here in the hope of finding small nuggets.

Sanctuary Ananda's 11-Day Mandalay to Paung Pyin to Bagan - Day Six - Enjoy Massage On Board
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
6 / 11

Sitthaung, Masein

AM: As we travel towards Masein, enjoy a restful day on board and take full advantage of Sanctuary Ananda’s extensive services and facilities.

Join our chef for a cooking demonstration to test your knowledge of local delicacies and learn how to create delicious Asian dishes.

PM: Dock at Masein at 2.30pm.

Misty blue and green hills rise high on the horizon, and near the village of Masein, a row of 28 white-washed pagodas line the crest of a sloping hill and file down towards the river. The number signifies the 28 Buddhas that have brought enlightenment to the world.

Tonight we will screen the movie Rangoon and serve delicious canapés in the Kansi Panorama Lounge.

Sanctuary Ananda's 11-Day Mandalay to Paung Pyin to Bagan - Day Seven - Sunset Cocktails
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
7 / 11

Masein, Kani

AM: Sail in the morning and arrive at Minkin at 11am.

Here you’ll get a chance to see an extraordinary blend of European and Burmese architecture of the Mahar Minkyaung Monastery, the oldest wooden Monastery. The Shwe Sagar Buddha is especially remarkable – it was carved from a single piece of wood a thousand years ago. After this visit, the boat will proceed to Kani where we’ll overnight.

PM: After lunch, join an afternoon lecture to learn about Myanmar's past, present and future.

Sanctuary Ananda's 11-Day Mandalay to Paung Pyin to Bagan - Day Eight - Private Balcony
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
8 / 11

Monywa, Yesagyo

AM: This morning, visit the Po Win Taung caves near Shwe Ba Taung. Carved out of the sandstone hills, this setting is breathtakingly special to behold, and a highlight of any trip to Myanmar. More ancient than the Thanbodday pagoda are the two cave pagoda complexes of Po win taung and Shwe ba taung, believed to be over 300 years old.

PM: There are almost one thousand caves in which both the Buddha images and the thrones were carved out of the living rock. The natural shape of the caves was kept, and 17th-century wall paintings in exquisite detail cover the interior walls. The entrances are rimmed with traditional motifs of vines and flowers, in high or low relief. Figures of mythical beings and traditional design elements are seen both carved and painted.

Tonight, take part in a cocktail demonstration during which you will learn how to make Golden Land and Chindwin cocktails and taste them first hand.

Sanctuary Ananda's 11-Day Mandalay to Paung Pyin to Bagan - Day Nine - Dinner Set Up
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
9 / 11

Yesagyo, Bagan

AM: This morning sail from Yesagyo to Pakokku. This is an opportunity to watch cotton-blanket weavers and visit the local market with Sanctuary Ananda's chef. At 11am the ship will set sail to Bagan, arriving after lunch. 

PM: Visit the awe-inspiring Ananda Temple. Completed in 1091 AD, it is commonly referred to as one of the four great temples in Bagan. The Ananda is regarded by folklore as one of the most beautiful temples in Myanmar.

Next, visit Htilominlo Temple; a two-story redbrick temple built around 1211 AD. It is a magnificent structure, though now heavily restored. Enjoy the sunset from the terraces of the Pyathatgyi Temple. Admire the light change on the pagodas as they exude antiquity and mystery.

Finally, the sun sets behind the hills on the far side of the Irrawaddy River, filling the sky with a reddish glow, a truly magic moment. Tonight there will be a local performance on board. Enjoy your last night with a candlelit sandbank dinner, served with the backdrop of the twinkling lights of Bagan.

Sanctuary Ananda's 11-Day Mandalay to Paung Pyin to Bagan - Day Ten - Cruising along Irrawaddy River
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
10 / 11

Disembarkation

AM: Enjoy an early breakfast on your final morning before check out at 9am.

If you are departing on a later flight we will arrange for you to take a morning tour in Bagan. Leaving at 9am we will visit a local village in the heart of the Bagan plain, to see the way of life of the local people. Next visit a lacquerware workshop. This ancient craft has been produced in Bagan since the time of King Anawrahta around 1050 AD. Here in the workshop, the traditional methods are still used.

Sanctuary Ananda's 11-Day Mandalay to Paung Pyin to Bagan - Day Eleven - Enjoy Champagne on Board
Location
Bagan
Day
11 / 11
1 / 11

12 Day - Mandalay - Yangon

itinerary map

Embarkation

PM: Check-in is 12.30pm, but should you arrive on an early flight there’s an optional sightseeing tour of Mandalay. We’ll see Mahamuni Pagoda which houses the Mahamuni Image, the teak Shwenandaw Monastery, the only palace to have survived WWII’s bombings, and Kuthodaw Pagoda, which was modeled on Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan. It is often referred to as ‘the biggest book in the world’ thanks to its hundreds of marble slabs inscribed with the Buddhist canon.

Once onboard, enjoy lunch as we cruise towards the pagoda-dotted hills of Sagaing. Formerly the capital of the Shan kingdom, it’s home to hundreds of monasteries and thousands of monks and nuns. This afternoon, we’ll visit several pagodas, and a highlight will be pausing on the terrace of Soon U Pon Nya Shin on Sagaing Hill.

We’ll set off for Amarapura; once known as the City of Immortals, it held some 200,000 inhabitants in its heyday. But instead of the noisy bustle of yore in this former capital, today you’ll hear a leisurely clack-clack from the looms of the cotton and silk weavers at work. We’ll pop into textile workshops, and then pause by the U Bein Bridge. This long teak bridge snakes across Taungthaman Lake and it really is a spectacular spot to enjoy the sunset. Built by a notorious mayor in 1847, the fraudster pocketed the money raised for its construction, reusing the timbers from the abandoned Ava Palace – thankfully the king eventually saw through his ruse. After the sun has gone down, we’ll head back to the boat moored at Gawein jetty to enjoy dinner on board.

Sanctuary Ananda's 12-Day Mandalay to Yangon - Day One - Young local Monks
Location
Mandalay
Day
1 / 12

Sin Kyun, Semikhone

AM: Early morning tour of Sin Kyun - here you’ll get a true taste of traditional farming and artisanal life in our adopted village. After the village tour, we will take a small boat to cross the river and will visit Mingun. Here in this sleepy village, an ox cart will transport you to the unfinished Mingun Pagoda. Building started in 1790 but all that remains of King Bodawpaya’s ambitious scheme today is a huge pile of bricks.

Also noteworthy is the massive Mingun Bell, which measures an eye-watering 12 feet high and 16 feet wide. Lastly, you’ll see a most unusual white pagoda known as Myatheindan. King Bodawpaya’s grandson Bagyida created it in memory of his senior wife, the Queen Hsinbyumei.

PM: Return at 11.30am to the ship so that we can start sailing south, passing unspoiled scenery that rarely gets exposed to tourists. This region backdropped by rich tamarind trees and hillside white and golden pagodas is unique for its unintended beauty - lookout for scenes of ladies perched on rocks chatting as they do their daily wash, or ox carts waiting on the banks for a boat to arrive and unload its goods. A perfect place from which to observe these authentic filmic tableaux is the air-conditioned Kansi Panorama Lounge.

Early evening, Sanctuary Ananda will drop anchor at the confluence; this is the ideal time to ask the barmen to create your favorite sundowner as an aperitif in a setting you’ll never forget.

Sanctuary Ananda's 12-Day Mandalay to Yangon - Day Two - Relax in Your Private Home On Board
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
2 / 12

Pakokku, Bagan

AM: Early morning we’ll start sailing towards Pakokku, just south of the confluence of the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin Rivers. The site of a well-known battle at the end of World War II, Pakokku is famous for tobacco and sugar palm (jaggery). You will visit the local market where colorful, exotic fruit and vegetables are laid out as though for a photographer, brightened up with sprigs of tropical flowers. Then it’s on to the cheroot factory, where the girls who roll the cigars work with incredible speed and dexterity making it quite a thing to see.

PM: Return to the ship at 12.00pm and the boat will sail 25 miles so as to arrive at Bagan just after lunch. Here you’ll see the remarkable Ananda Temple. Completed in 1091 AD, it is considered one of the four great temples in Bagan, celebrated in folklore as one of Myanmar’s most beautiful. Shaped like a perfect Greek cross, the temple rises in graduated terraces to a height of about 170 feet. Inside, there are four magnificent golden Buddha statues and within the grounds is the Ananda Oakkaung, the well-preserved remains of a monastery where murals depict the secrets of Burmese life from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries.

Next is a visit to Htilominlo Temple, a two-story redbrick temple built around 1211 AD. A magnificent structure, it is heavily restored, standing at 150 feet high and 140 feet wide. Inside are four Buddha images facing the cardinal points, and some of the old murals can still be seen, as well as a number of friezes and old horoscopes, which were painted to protect the building from damage.

The day’s finale is the sunset view over Bagan. The ‘Golden Hour’ light on these mysterious ancient pagodas is mesmerizing and when the sun sets behind the hills on the far side of the Ayeyarwady River, the sky glows red.

Sanctuary Ananda's 12-Day Mandalay to Yangon - Day Three - Shwe Kyet Yet Temples
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
3 / 12

Bagan, Sale

AM: After breakfast, there’s a visit to Bagan by bus to experience the bustling Nyaung-U market. Farmers and traders meet here daily to buy and sell fruit and vegetables and china and lacquerware. Next is a visit to the golden Shwezigon Pagoda; begun by King Anawrahta it was finished by his son, King Kyanzittha, in 1087 AD. It holds a special place among Burmese pagodas for two reasons: it was the first major monument built in the Burmese style (as distinct from Mon style) following the country’s conversion to Theravada Buddhism, and it was the first pagoda to have nat (spirit) images allowed within. The Shwezigon is said to contain important relics of the Gautama Buddha: two bones and a copy of a tooth. In Myinkaba, you’ll learn about the ancient art of creating fine lacquerware from watching artisans in their workshops.

PM: Return to the ship at 12.30pm and we’ll sail downstream towards Sale, passing Chauk, one of the original oilfields where the ‘nodding donkeys’ (oil-well pumps) work away at the river’s edge. We’ll get to Sale (Salay) around 3pm. We will visit Yoke Sone Kyaung monastery, a fine teak building with some beautifully crafted reliefs. Our final stop before returning to the boat for dinner is Tha-ta-na Kyaung - this small temple has an interesting Buddha image made from bamboo.

Sanctuary Ananda's 12-Day Mandalay to Yangon - Day Four - Hot-air Balloon in Bagan
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
4 / 12

Minbu, Magwe & Minhla

AM: We’ll spend the morning sailing to Magwe, and this leg of our adventure includes passing Minbu village around lunchtime. Nga Ka Pwe Taung, meaning ‘Dragon Lake’, is a unique gas-and-mud-bubbling pool set here in what seems like a lunar landscape. Not many tourists have the opportunity to stray to this part of Myanmar.

PM: Around 2pm we’ll dock in Magwe and take you to Myat Than Lun Paya, a stunning 1929-built pagoda of solid-gold bricks set on a river-view hilltop. Later this afternoon we will carry on along the river towards Minhla where we’ll dock overnight. Minhla Fort, the dramatic military construction here, harks back to the Konbaung era.

Sanctuary Ananda's 12-Day Mandalay to Yangon - Day Five - Local Myanmar Boy
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
5 / 12

Minhla Fort, Thawutti & Pyay

AM: At 9am we will take a walking tour of the Minhla Fort. An unusual construction built for the Burmese king by Italian engineers, it was intended to resist a British invasion in the second Anglo-Burmese War.

PM: Back aboard the ship, we’ll cruise on to Thayet where we’ll dock overnight.

Sanctuary Ananda's 12-Day Mandalay to Yangon - Day Six - Traditional Weaving Shop
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
6 / 12

Thayet, Pyay

AM: The next chapter in our adventure includes the mystical white pagodas and charming colonial houses as we explore postcard-perfect rural Thayet. Built by the British in 1887, Myanmar’s first golf course is also here.

PM: Pyay (pronounced by some as ‘pyay’ and ‘pyi’ by others) is a charismatic dock with a startlingly beautiful pagoda. Late afternoon we will have a look around this destination formerly referred to as Prome by the British, this is a highlight of this cruise.

Shwe Daung village is next on our day’s agenda. Look out for the only Buddha wearing gold sunglasses at Shwe Myet Hman pagoda, before we head back to Sanctuary Ananda about 6.30pm.

Sanctuary Ananda's 12-Day Mandalay to Yangon - Day Seven - Visit Temples
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
7 / 12

Pyay, Kenaung

AM: This morning, before returning to see more of Pyay, we will visit Thayekhittata, an old Pyu Dynasty city; on display is a wealth of different-sized stupas, built between the 4th and the 13th centuries.

Worthy of a pilgrimage, Shwesandaw Paya is not only impressive in scale, but this temple is celebrated for housing supposed strands of Buddha’s hair and also an actual tooth which takes the form of a golden bell which is revealed only during November’s full-moon festival. From this hilltop pagoda, it is impossible not to be awestruck by the vision of the 10-meter-high Buddha statue.

PM: Returning to the boat in time for lunch, you’ll be able to enjoy an afternoon on board. On the way we pass Akauk Taung; here you’ll be able to capture the best possible photos of these truly staggering cliffs. Meaning ‘Tax Mountain’, this quirky site takes its name from all the 19th-century toll-takers who would kill time in between charging passing boats by carving hundreds of Buddhas right here into the steep cliffside.

Sanctuary Ananda's 12-Day Mandalay to Yangon - Day Eight - Inside a Temple
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
8 / 12

Kenaung, Zalun

AM: At about 9am we will pause at Kenaung village.

PM: After lunch, as we sail 68 miles south towards Zalon, this is another chance to savor your time on this extraordinary riverboat. As the ship continues south, enjoy a restful on your private balcony or take full advantage of Santuary Ananda’s extensive services and facilities. Whether you choose to relax and unwind or seek stimulation or conversation, boredom is never an option aboard Ananda.

Sanctuary Ananda's 12-Day Mandalay to Yangon - Day Nine - Excursion on Horse Cart
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
9 / 12

Zalun, Danuphyu

AM: This morning we will visit the small port town of Zalun where we’ll whisk you on the local tuk tuk to see the Buddhas in the remarkable Pyi Taw Pyan; these bronze figures were controversially stolen by the British Army but then returned by order of Queen Victoria.

PM: After sailing south to Danuphyu, we will take a local trishaw and visit a monastery and the Maha Bandula memorial at Pali University. It was from here that General Maha Bandula led a Burmese defensive against British troops during the Anglo-Burmese War.

Sanctuary Ananda's 12-Day Mandalay to Yangon - Day Ten - Temples in Yangon
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
10 / 12

Danuphyu, Yangon

AM & PM: Your last day will be the perfect chance to relax and reflect on all that you’ve seen and done. We’ll spend today sailing downstream, which means you have ample time to make the most of the many luxuries on board Ananda. Maybe have a spa treatment or relax by the pool with a book from our library? Or just enjoy gliding through the soul-stirring riverscapes that so few foreigners get to see...

Tonight’s farewell dinner features a special puppet performance.

Sanctuary Ananda's 12-Day Mandalay to Yangon - Day Eleven - The Famous U-Bein Bridge
Location
Irrawaddy River
Day
11 / 12

Disembarkation

AM: As your cruise comes to an end, we thank you for sailing with us onboard the Sanctuary Ananda and immersing yourself in the magic of Myanmar.

Sanctuary Ananda's 12-Day Mandalay to Yangon - Day Twelve - Traditional Tobacco Making
Location
Yangon
Day
12 / 12
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Accommodations

Social Areas

Talifoo Dining Room
Dufferin Library
Kansi Panorama Lounge
Lounge
Mindoon Al Fresco
Pool
Spa
Colourful dining room
Table and sofa in the cozy room
People spending time in the lounge
A couple on the sofa
Al fresco sitting area
A couple chatting by the pool
Massage

Suites & Cabins

Sanctuary Ananda's Suite
2 Cabins

Suite

Guests
2
Size
27 m² / 291 ft²
Beds
Double / Twin

Guests can enjoy these expansive suites that come with large windows and private balconies. These suites also feature individually controlled air conditioning and a luxurious bathroom equipped with a monsoon shower, a basin, and a separate toilet.

Sanctuary Ananda's Mandalay Deluxe Suite
7 Cabins

Mandalay Deluxe Suite

Guests
2
Size
27-28 m² / 291-301 ft²
Beds
Double / Twin

These suites are designed to ensure comfort and luxury. They feature a private balcony that comes with chairs and tables, allowing guests some intimate time to take in the breathtaking oceanic view. The Mandalay suites also feature one set of interconnected suites for bigger groups.

Sanctuary Ananda's Bagan Deluxe Suite
7 Cabins

Bagan Deluxe Suite

Guests
2
Size
27-28 m² / 291-301 ft²
Beds
Double / Twin

These suites feature one set of interconnecting suites that is ideal for either a large family or a group of friends. The suites also have a private balcony with outdoor chairs and a table where guests can relax as they sunbathe.

Sanctuary Ananda's Luxury Suite Sanctuary Ananda's Luxury Suite Sanctuary Ananda's Luxury Suite - Bathroom
4 Cabins

Luxury Suite

Guests
2
Size
31-33 m² / 334-356 ft²
Beds
King

The luxury suite features a private balcony with tables and chairs where guests can enjoy some alone time. The suites come with a stylish bathroom fully equipped with a monsoon shower and other amenities, ensuring a guest enjoys a refreshing shower.

Sanctuary Ananda's Owner's Suite Sanctuary Ananda's Owner's Suite Sanctuary Ananda's Owner's Suite
1 Cabin

Owner's Suite

Guests
2
Size
75 m² / 807 ft²
Beds
King

The owner's room is very spacious, featuring ensuite living areas, a separate dressing, and a big verandah where guests can sunbathe and take in the cool breeze. The expansive bathroom oozes luxury with a fully equipped freestanding tub, monsoon showers, and his-and-hers sinks.

Technical Information

Deck Plan

Ananda Deck Plan

Features

  • Connecting cabins
  • Cabins with balconies
  • Air conditioning
  • Pool / Jacuzzi
  • Massage room
  • Lecture room
** Use of certain equipment at additional cost, ask for details