8-Day Sanctuary Ananda Cruise (Mandalay Roundtrip) – Group Explorer

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Tour type

Tour Level: Relaxed / Easy

Tour Comfort: Luxury

Tour Period: 8 Days

tour highlights

  • Exploring the countryside areas of Mandalay and sightseeing to the main tourist attractions
  • 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
  • Sightseeing around the fascinating pagodas and temples in old Bagan
  • Traditional elephant dance and candle lit dinner on the shore
  • Various on-board activities including cooking demonstration

tour details

Upon boarding the Sanctuary Ananda, start your sightseeing tour with visits to the most important highlights in the town of royal Mandalay. Grab your chance to explore the countryside areas of Bagan; Sagaing and Amarapura. Enjoy the magical moment of watching sunset at U Bein bridge and visit the quiet and remote village Sin Kyun. Absorb the beautiful panoramic view of pagoda-filled Bagan. Set your feet on magical land of Bagan and admire the beautiful temples with its rich architecture. Your 7-night river journey will terminate back in Mandalay.

Join In tour with departure on Wednesday.

Embarkation at 12:30 hours at Gawein jetty and lunch will be served on board as you cruise towards the pagoda sprinkled hills of Sagaing. In the afternoon, 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. 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.
Overnight on board
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 specializes in farming and hat making. Take an optional tour to witness firsthand the way of life in this unspoiled 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. 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.
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
Take an optional early morning balloon tour to capture a birds-eye view of the Bagan plain (an additional charge applies, please book in advance. Available October - March only), followed by breakfast back 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. Move on to the great golden Shwezigon Pagoda which 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, 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 Ayeyarwaddy 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.
Overnight on board
Enjoy a morning tour of Bagan. Leaving at 9:00 hours, you 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 the only four temples in Bagan built from stone brick which is also 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 built 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.
Overnight on board
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 a lacquerware workshop. This ancient craft has been practiced in Bagan since the time of King Anawrahta around 1050 AD. Then return to the ship for lunch and start sailing upstream towards Sagaing. Relax as you 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.
Overnight on board
This morning offers another chance to cook with an Executive Chef. 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.
Overnight on board
Early this morning, you will disembark the ship at 09:00 hours at Gawein jetty for your onward journey.


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: SAN7MBM

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