8-Day Sanctuary Ananda Cruise (Bagan Rountrip) – Group Explorer

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Tour type

Tour Level: Relaxed / Easy

Tour Comfort: Luxury

Tour Period: 8 Days

tour highlights

  • 7-night roundtrip cruise on the Ayeyarwaddy river to and from the ancient Bagan
  • Sightseeing around the fascinating pagodas and temples in old Bagan
  • Exploring the countryside areas of Mandalay and full day sightseeing in the city
  • Walking the largest teak bridge U Bein while mindfully enjoying the sunset
  • Discover traditional rural life at Sin Kyun village
  • Get a glimpse of pagodas-filled Bagan plains on the top of Tan Kyi Taung
  • Traditional elephant dance and candle lit dinner on the shore
  • Various on-board activities including cooking demonstration

tour details

Starting in Bagan, you will visit the famous religious sites and enjoy the mesmerizing sunset view over the pagodas-sprinkled Bagan plain. Discover the hidden gems in the countryside of Mandalay and enjoy your sightseeing in the bustling city of Mandalay. Take a relaxing stroll on the world’s largest teak bridge U Bein and enjoy the very moment watching the sun goes down the Taungthaman lake. In this tour, you will also get a chance to explore the remote village Sin Kyun where you will witness local ways of life in a riverside village. You will finish your cruise journey back in Bagan.

Join In tour with departure on Sunday.

Check in at 12:30 hours and settle into your suite. After lunch on board, 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 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.
Overnight on board
Take an optional early morning balloon tour to capture a birds-eye view of the Bagan plain (Available October - March only. An additional charge applies, please book in advance), followed by breakfast back on board.

Alternatively, 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. After that, move on to the great golden Shwezigon Pagoda which was the first major monument built in the Burmese style following the country's conversion to Theravada Buddhism and also 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. Return to the ship for lunch and start sailing upstream towards Sagaing. There is no better way to enjoy this riverine picture than from the Kansi Panorama Lounge. A delicious dinner in the Talifoo Restaurant will then follow.
Overnight on board
This morning will be spent sailing as you enjoy the passing countryside. A back of house tour and cooking class with an 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 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 before heading to Amarapura. 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. Finally, visit the U Bein Bridge, a spectacular place to enjoy the sunset. After watching the sunset, return to the Sanctuary Ananda where a local performance will be followed by dinner on board.
Overnight on board
This morning, enjoy a tour of Mandalay. This will include a visit to Shwenandaw Monastery, the only palace building to survive the bombings of World War II as well as a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda (Maha Lawka Marazein) built by King Mindon in 1857, in effect a copy of the Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan. Enjoy lunch in one of the local restaurants, after that visit a gold leaf beating workshop where you will see how the thin gold leaf that covers Buddha statues is produced. Next, move on to Mahamuni Pagoda, one of Myanmar's most religious monuments housing the revered Mahamuni Image. Continue on to visit a bronze-casting workshop to learn how the impressively-large statues you've seen across Myanmar are made. The 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 afforded a 360-degree view of Mandalay, from the Shan mountain range to the east to the Royal Palace in the south.
Overnight on board
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 specializes 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. After the village tour, set sail towards Tan Kyi Taung. Enjoy the beautiful scenery from the ship while passing Mingun, where you can see the unfinished Mingun Pagoda.
Overnight on board
After breakfast, join the Executive Chef for a cooking demonstration on board to test your knowledge of local delicacies and learn how to create delicious Asian dishes. Spend the rest of the morning sailing downstream towards Bagan. Enjoy lunch as you enter pagoda sprinkled Bagan. After lunch on board, head to the top of Tan Kyi Taung to enjoy your first glimpse of the Bagan plain, containing more than 2,000 pagodas and stupas. You will watch an Elephant dance on the shore, an age old acrobatic dance used to entertain the Bagan people. Tonight, a candlelit dinner is served on the banks of the Irrawaddy river.
Overnight on board
Enjoy a morning tour of Bagan. Leaving at 9:00 hours, you will visit the three tiered Htilominlo and 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. 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. The day will come to an end with a farewell dinner on board.
Overnight on board
Enjoy an early breakfast on your final morning before disembarkation at 09:00 hours at Taung Phi jetty.


Our tour prices are included of:

  • Accommodation in twin/sharing cabin (or single cabin)
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner)
  • All entrance fees for the places as mentioned in the program
  • Tours with English-speaking on board guide (all tours are join-in)
  • Service charges, room tax and baggage handling


Not included are:

  • Domestic airfare
  • Myanmar visa fee
  • Optional Balloon flight in Bagan
  • Transfer to and ex boat
  • Surcharges for throughout guides (English and other languages)
  • Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Laundry Service
  • Telephone calls and Fax charges
  • Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expenses, including repatriation, in the event of accident or illness)


Important Notes:

  • Myanmar's rivers are subject to seasonal variations in the water level
  • sometimes by as much as 28 metres. Such changes can occur without prior warning
  • even overnight. This may well result in the ship not being able to sail at the expected speed and/or be unable to pass under bridges or indeed the water level being too low to safely progress.

  • A beautiful feature of the river is its sandbanks, but navigationally these can also pose problems
  • not least of which is the potential to run aground. Additionally, from time to time the river authorities may also close sections of the river, although we normally receive advance notice. Such experiences are part of the excitement of any river expedition and are to be expected. Our published itineraries are an indication only and subject to change due to all the above.

  • We will always replace the itinerary based on our 'safety first' philosophy, whilst doing all we can to respect the published itinerary or substituting alternatives. It simply may not always be possible to maintain every feature. This is all part of the rich experience of travelling on Myanmar's beautiful and fascinating rivers.
Tour code: SAN7BMB

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