5-Day / 4-Night Ananda Myanmar Cruise: Mandalay to Bagan
Downstream river cruise on the beautiful Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to Bagan with daily sailing and excursions to village, markets and historic sites.
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, Mandalay, U Bein Bridge
Check in at 12:30pm 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.
Day 2 – Sin Kyun Village, Mingun
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 unspoilt 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.
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.
Day 3 – Pakokku, Irrawaddy River
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.
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.
Day 4 – Bagan
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.
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.
Day 5 – Bagan
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 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.
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).