4-Day / 3-Night Ananda Myanmar Cruise: Bagan to Mandalay
An upstream river cruise on the beautiful Irrawaddy River from Bagan to Mandalay, inclusive of daily shore excursions to historical Bagan and Mandalay and visits to local villages and river markets.
Each day on Sanctuary Ananda brings you new experiences, new sights, and new delights while exploring this fascinating emerging destination.
The itinerary below is dependent on the river water level, weather conditions, and accessibility to locations, so touring may vary.
Day 1 – Arrival, Bagan
Check in at 12:30pm 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.
Day 2 – Bagan, Ananda Temple, Irrawaddy River
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.
After lunch a variety of on board 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.
Day 3 – U Bein Bridge, Sagaing Hill, Mandalay
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.
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 travelling 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.
Day 4 – Mandalay
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).
NOTICE: The cruise schedule includes the latest information regarding your program, but last minute adjustments may occur. The schedule may shift due to the weather, site closure, or unexpected circumstances beyond our control. The exact time for each activity will be announced or posted by the on-board tour staff. The touring is active, so all participants should be in good health. Due to the rural location, handicapped accessibility is not available in Myanmar (Burma).