Sanctuary Myanmar River Cruiser

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11 Night Mandalay - Yangon Cruise Ananda

Sail upstream from Myanmar's biggest city Yangon to Mandalay via Pyay and Bagan. From the river you will be provided with fantastic views of the passing scenery and the shore excursions will allow you to meet the local people in their villages.

Please note that this itinerary also operates from Yangon to Mandalay.

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Day 1


Begin with a tour of Mandalay including the Mahamuni Pagoda, Shwenandaw Monastery and Kuthodaw Pagoda, then, after sailing past the monasteries of Sagaing and visiting a Ywataung silversmith, either see silk weavers in Amarapura or witness traditional village life in Sin Kyun. Finally visit U Bein Bridge. This long teak bridge snakes across Taungthaman Lake and it really is a spectacular spot to enjoy sunset.

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Day 2


Explore Mingun by ox cart, taking in the unfinished Mingun Pagoda, huge Mingun Bell and Myatheindan Pagoda. After lunch, sail south, enjoying talks, longyi (sarong) and thanaka (make-up) demonstrations, or a cooking class before dinner. 

Early evening, Sanctuary Ananda will drop anchor at the confluence; this is the ideal time to ask the barmen to create your favourite sundowner as an aperitif in a setting you'll never forget. Without wanting to spoil the surprise, while you enjoy your dinner, keep your eyes out for beautiful traditional lanterns floating past down the river...


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Day 3

Pakokku to bagan

Take a trishaw to Pakokku's local vegetable market and traditional cigar factory then, come afternoon, visit the Htilominlo temple of Bagan and the lacquerware workshops of Myinkaba before sunset on the terrace of the ancient Pyathatgyi Temple. 

Back on the Ananda, experience a traditional Shan dinner with our Captain as well as see a local performance.

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Day 4

bagan to sale

Start with sunrise meditation or a hot-air-balloon tour (available for an extra charge. Subject to availability, seasonality and weather conditions). After breakfast visit the busting Nyaung U market, where traders meet daily to buy and sell fruit and vegetables. Next, on to Shwezigon Pagoda - an iconic landmark. In the afternoon explore Sale and its Yoke Sone Kyaung monastery, and Tha-ta-na Kyaung temple.

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Day 5

magwe & minbu to Minhla

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. 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, which harks back to the Konbaung era.

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Day 6

Minhla fort to thayet

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. Next, visit the charming village of Thawutti. 

Spend the rest of the day sailing, giving you the opportunity to drink in the magic of the Myanmar countryside, riverlife and sheer beauty of the place. The time on board gives guests the opportunity to learn more about the traditions and customs of Myanmar from cigar making to cookery demonstrations to lectures on the history and arts of the country.

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Day 7

thayet to pyay

The next chapter in our adventure includes the mystical white pagodas and charming colonial houses as we explore postcard-perfect rural Thayet on foot. Built by the British in 1887, Myanmar's first golf course is also here. Pyay (pronounced by some as 'pyay' and 'pyi' by others) is a charismatic dock with a startlingly beautiful pagoda. After lunch 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.

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Day 8

pyay to htonbo

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 in itself, 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-metre-high Buddha statue. Returning to the boat at in time for lunch, you'll be able to enjoy an afternoon on board as we travel 29 miles to Htonbo.

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Day 9

Akauk taung to kenaung to zalun

Breakfast as we sail, before we drop anchor at Akauk Taung; here you'll be able to capture the best possible photos of these truly staggering caves. 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. At about 10am we will pause at Kenaung village; if you're lucky you'll get a chance to see locals having a game of chinlone - a traditional team sport, which involves balletic moves from the players. After lunch, as we sail 68 miles south towards Zalon, this is another chance to savour 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. 

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Day 10

zalon & danuphyu

Serene from sunrise meditation, you'll be raring for our morning visit to the small port town of Zalon. Here we'll whisk you on the local tricycle rickshaws 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. After sailing south to Danuphyu, we will dock 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.

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Day 11

danuphyu to Yangon

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 performance.

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Day 12


The ship will arrive late morning for you to check out in Yangon, formerly the capital of Burma known as Rangoon.