8-Day / 7-Night Ananda Myanmar Cruise
Mandalay – Bagan – Mandalay
Downstream and upstream river cruise on the beautiful Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to Bagan and then back to Mandalay. An 8-Day cruise will give you enough time to explore and enjoy everything Myanmar has
to offer. Each day on Sanctuary Ananda brings you new experiences, new sights, and new delights while exploring this fascinating emerging destination. What are you waiting for?
The itinerary below is dependent on the river water level, weather conditions, and accessibility to locations, so touring may vary.
Day 1 – Mandalay
Check in at 12:30pm 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.
Day 2 – Sin Kyun
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 specialises in farming and hat making. Take an optional tour to witness firsthand the way of life in this unspoilt location seldom viewed by outsiders.
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.
Day 3 – Pakokku
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.
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.
Day 4 – Bagan
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.
En route to Mount Popa, visit a jaggery workshop which 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.
Day 5 – Bagan
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.
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.
Day 6 – Bagan
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. 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.
Day 7 – Mandalay Hill
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.
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.
Day 8 – 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 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).
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).