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Sanctuary Myanmar River Cruiser

7 Night Mandalay - Bagan - Mandalay Cruise Ananda

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Day 1

SET SAIL IN 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. 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 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. Below and all around, pagodas of different shapes and sizes dot the landscape.

Amarapura, was once known as ‘The City of Immortals’ which in its heyday held some 200,000 inhabitants. 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.

A welcome briefing and champagne reception will be hosted in the Kansi Panorama Lounge before dinner on board.

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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 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 for the villagers.

After the village tour we will set sail towards Tan Chi Taung. Enjoy the beautiful scenery from the ship while passing Mingun, where you can see the unfinished Mingun Pagoda. Visually Myanmar is unique: the eye is constantly delighted by scenes of beauty. A group of ladies perch on rocks chatting during their daily wash. An ox-cart waits on the banks for a boat to arrive and unload its goods. There is no better way to enjoy this riverine picture than from the Kansi Panorama Lounge or your suite balcony.

After lunch, a variety of on board activities will be on offer, including a longyi (sarong) and thanaka (cosmetic) demonstration 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 exciting day to an end.

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Day 3

Tan Chi Taung Mountain

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.

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Day 4


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 it 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.

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. Next, we will visit Kayminga pagoda complex to see the different architecture of the stupas first-hand.

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 fine-dining dinner on board.

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Day 5


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. A horse-cart will be your mode of transport through the Bagan plains, with several photo stops and a visit to Sulamani pagoda along the way.

After lunch on board, depart to visit Kyauk Gu U Min Temple, one of only four temples in Bagan built from stone brick. Built into the river bank, this is a temple unlike any other in Bagan. Known as the ‘Rock Cave Tunnel’, this cave-like temple is the perfect place to meditate. Enjoy this wonder as you stroll past the underground corridors lit up by light wells.

Before returning 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.

Dinner will be served on board.

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Day 6


Today marks another opportunity to take an optional early morning balloon tour* over the Bagan plains. Breakfast will follow onboard.

In the morning, we visit a lacquerware workshop. This ancient craft has been practised in Bagan since the time of King Anawrahta around 1050 AD. Here in the workshop, the traditional methods are still used.

We will then return to the ship for lunch and start sailing upstream towards Sagaing.

Relax as we pass villages set against a backdrop of soft browns and rich tamarind trees with white and golden pagodas gracing the distant hills.

After lunch enjoy the onboard activities, including a back of house tour, followed by a delicious dinner in the Talifoo Restaurant.

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Day 7


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 foot (236m) high Mandalay Hill upon which the Su Taung Pyai Pagoda rests. Once you reach the summit (via either one of the 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.


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Day 8


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 evered 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 moved the monastery out of the palace.

Lastly a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda (Maha Lawka Marazein) built by King Mindon in 1857, is 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).