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

  • 7 Nights sailing on the luxurious Sanctuary Ananda cruise
  • Admire the jaw-dropping panoramic views from the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda
  • Take time to relax and enjoy a meditation & yoga training session
  • Visit the Yoke Sone Kyaung Monastery
  • Visit Mingun and discover huge earthquake ruined pagoda
  • Enjoy a spectacular sunrise at Bagan
  • See the Mahamuni Pagoda
  • Visit Pakokku market and join cooking class on board

tour details

Upon boarding the Sanctuary Ananda, you will cruise to the Mahamuni Pagoda, Shwenandaw Monastery, Kuthodaw Pagoda and Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda. After transferring to Mingun, you’ll take an ox-cart to the Mingun Pagoda & Myatheindan Pagoda before enjoying a cooking demonstration and cheroot & betel nut tasting. As you explore Pakokku the next day, a trishaw will take you to the local market, Myinkaba village & Manuha Temple. Highlights over the following days include watching the sunrise, visiting the Yoke Sone Kyaung monastery, enjoying a Shan dinner & exploring Minanthu village. You’ll conclude with visits to the Ananda & Htilominlo Temples, Nyaung U market and the golden Shwezigon Pagoda. A sandbank dinner overlooking Mingun will cap-off this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Join-in tour with departures as per schedule.

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. Depart the village after breakfast and sail towards Pakokku. Enjoy the beautiful scenery from the ship while passing Mingun, where you can see the unfinished Mingun Pagoda. As the journey continues to the south, relax and 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 on board activities before tucking into delicious dinner to bring the day to a close.
Overnight on board
After breakfast, join the back of house tour and take a cooking class with an Executive Chef. One of the chefs will take you to the local market in Pakokku where mouth-watering fruits and vegetables are laid out with consummate style. Then, return to the Sanctuary Ananda for lunch as sailing on to Bagan. After lunch on board, visit a small pagoda complex to see the different architecture of the stupas first-hand. Next, on to 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. 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.
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.
This morning, visit the great golden Shwezigon Pagoda which is said to contain important relics of the Gautama Buddha, two bones and a copy of a tooth.
temples of Bagan. On 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.
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 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 fruits and vegetables to china and lacquerware. Then return to the ship for lunch and start sailing upstream towards Sagaing. Relax as pasting 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.
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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