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
4-Day
5-Day
5-Day
8-Day
8-Day
11-Day
12-Day

3 Day / 2 Night - Bagan to Mandalay

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 / 3 Night - Bagan to Mandalay

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 / 4 Night - Mandalay to Bagan

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 / 4 Night - Monywa Sailing

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 / 7 Night - 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 / 7 Night - Bagan

itinerary map