Tailor-Made Holiday

Irrawaddy River Cruise - The Sanctuary Ananda

Three night cruising with Sanctuary with city sightseeing of Bagan , Yangon , and Inle Lake

10 days

from £2,595pp

One of the newest boats on the river, the Sanctuary Ananda is really turning heads with its beautiful interior decoration and small boutique design, creating an intimate atmosphere.

  • A more experiential voyage, less generic with fewer tourists
  • The Ananda will sail every day where possible
  • Guests will be inspired through knowledgeable and dedicated guides
  • The Ananda menu has been designed by a celebrity chef
  • Visit the magical plain of temples at Bagan at sunrise
  • Extended travel to visit the famed "leg rowers" on Inle Lake

Spend a night in Yangon on your arrivel in Myanmar before joining Sanctuary Ananda in Bagan. Board the boat in Bagan where your cruise starts, sailing north towards Mandalay. There is plenty of time for shore excursions , including the magnificent archeological temples and pagodas. Visit markets and take a mesmerising balloon ride over Bagan at sunrise.

During excursions guests will experience the fun of local transport, horse drawn carts, trishaws and small boats rather than seeing the sites from behind the windows of an air conditioned bus. By combining must see sights and smaller villages the Ananda really gives a chance to meet the Burmese people going about their everyday lives.

Steppes Travel has had the pleasure to personally meet with the Burmese expert whom will accompany you during your time on board. Golden, along with her strong team of dedicated guides has crafted some wonderful lectures and tastefully presented demonstrations on Myanmar customs. You will return from Burma with a better understanding of the Burmese and their rich culture. The food is going to be a highlight, with celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein creating Signature "Burmese Fusion" dishes on board the Ananda.

On leaving the boat in Mandalay, take a flight to Inle Lake , allowing time to fully explore this fascinating area. Returning to Yangon for a day of sightseeing , finished with high tea at The Strand, before boarding the international flight.

Ananda offers a collection of 8 itineraries to include 3, 4, 7 night Discovery Cruises. Please see the Sanctuary Ananda for sailing dates.The shallow draft also allows the ship to sail the Chindwin (a tributary river) and the Upper Irrawaddy when they become navigable during monsoon season from late June to early September.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE ABOVE FLIGHT COST IS A SUGGESTED FROM PRICE. FLIGHT COSTS WILL BE CONFIRMED AT TIME OF BOOKING. ALL FLIGHTS ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Bangkok

Day 2

Fly Bangkok to Yangon


No longer the capital but still Myanmar's largest city, Yangon remains one of the country's most important commercial hubs. International isolation over the last five decades has left the city with an enduring colonial charm. Architecture from a bygone era lines the streets of the old centre, whilst the beautiful Shwedagon Pagoda - a dazzling Buddhist temple attracting pilgrims from all over the world - dominates the skyline.


Half Day Yangon Heritage Walk
Yangon downtown is unique with much of its colonial era architecture still standing. This relaxed tempo walking tour follows a route through downtown Yangon focusing on the old colonial buildings. At the end enjoy a well-earned gin and tonic at Gekko.


You will be staying at Strand Hotel, Yangon, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Spiritual Shwedagon Pagoda
After breakfast this morning you will be met by your guide for a tour of the Shwedagon pagoda, which dates back more than 2,500 years and is one of the holiest places in Myanmar. Originally built to house eight hairs of the Buddha, it has been added to and rebuilt almost continuously since.

During your tour learn about the history of the pagoda, witness daily prayers and gain a deeper insight into Buddhist Myanmar and how it is mixed with a belief in nats - the Myanmar spirits. This intriguing tour will also include a traditional Burmese meal and a visit to a fortune teller.


Th rest of the day free at leisure


You will be staying at Strand Hotel, Yangon, Bed & Breakfast

Day 4

Fly Yangon to Bagan


Half Day Visit to Minnanthu Temple
Minnanthu is arguably our favourite temple area - it’s quiet, in a beautiful area and the temples here are often completely deserted. Your guide will take you to this forgotten part of Bagan and spread out a blanket and serve a great picnic lunch in this historical setting before or after visiting two or three ancient temples ruins in the area.


Bagan
Arrive and transfer to the ship. After lunch on board, venture into Bagan and visit the Ananda Temple Complex. Completed in the 11th century, this impressive feat of architecture is regarded as one of the city's four great temples. Continue to the Indian-influenced Pyathatgyi Temple, with its deep-red bricks and vaulted ceilings. Watch the sun set on the surrounding pagodas as the last of its warming rays dance over the landscape.

The ancient, lost city of Bagan in Myanmar is a truly extraordinary sight. Set in a 70 square kilometre expanse of open countryside and farmland, framed by a backdrop of distant mountains, the 4000 or so temples scattered across the plain are all that remain of a once important capital.


You will be staying at Sanctuary Ananda, Full board

Day 5

Bagan
Before breakfast, have the option (advanced booking and additional payment required) to take a balloon flight over Bagan's ethereal dawn landscape. Alternatively, visit the busy local market of Nyaung U to browse local wares and shop for souvenirs. After returning to the ship for breakfast, have time to explore the impressive Shwezigon Pagoda. Overlooking the Irrawaddy River, this beautifully-gilded 12th-century pagoda sits on three rising terraces.

Afterwards, set sail upstream, towards Sagaing. Have lunch on board, before participating in a variety of ship-based activities. Options will include demonstrations of traditional clothing and cosmetics, as well as a presentation on Myanmar's past, present and future.

No visit to Myanmar is complete without a trip down the Irrawaddy. Be it on a humble local ferry or a deluxe river boat offering luxuries galore, the chance to experience life on both the river and its banks should not be missed. Witness the locals going about their daily business and trade, and admire the range of memorable landscapes that unfold as you journey down the river.


You will be staying at Sanctuary Ananda, Full board

Day 6

Mandalay
After the option of an early-morning meditation session, sit down for breakfast on board. Spend the morning cruising through idyllic Myanma countryside. Have the chance to take a back-of-house tour or participate in a cooking class led by the ship's executive chef.

In the afternoon, arrive beside Sagaing, an important religious centre. The nearby hills are dotted with pagodas and monasteries, whilst the town itself is home to around 6,000 monks and nuns. Continue on to Amarapura, once known as 'The City of Immortals'. Here, visit a local textile workshop, before admiring the sunset from the U Bein Bridge.


You will be staying at Sanctuary Ananda, Full board

Day 7

Mandalay
Early in the morning, sail north to visit the picturesque village of Sin Kyun. Located just past Mandalay, this rural community is sponsored by Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy. Afterwards, transfer to the airport.

Alternatively, if taking a later flight, have time for a short tour of Mandalay, before transferring to the airport. Sights include the revered Mahumuni Pagoda and the Shwezigon-inspired Kuthodaw Pagoda.

The city of Mandalay lies on the eastern banks of the Irrawaddy River and is the modern-day economic hub of Myanmar. Mandalay is almost a byword for exotic, yet nowadays the city centre has become standard modern fare. Look beyond the norm, however, and its backstreets and surrounding areas hold more than their fair share of culture and old-world charm.

Fly Mandalay to Inle Lake


A day on the lake
This morning ride in a private motorboat around the lake to take in its natural beauty. Visit floating gardens, see some of the famous leg rowers and be welcomed into a local family’s house for a cup of tea.
On and around the lake, traditional markets are held in different villages according to a five-day rotating schedule. Enjoy one of these colourful markets frequented by Shan and PaO people. There will also be time to visit a local cheroot factory, where the Burmese cigars are made, floating tomato gardens, Phaung Daw Oo pagoda, Intha Heritage House, where Burmese cats are bred, and if you wish, a local weaving factory.

Nestling in a valley of the Shan Plateau, Inle Lake is a spectacular freshwater lake at an altitude of almost 1000 feet. It is notable for its inhabitants, known as the Intha people or 'leg rowers', who developed a culture that has survived for centuries. Floating markets and the surrounding villages make this a fascinating place to visit during a trip to Myanmar.


You will be staying at Villa Inle Resort & Spa, Bed & Breakfast

Day 8

Half Day Tour of Indein
In the south of the lake the ruins of Indein are certainly worth a visit. Partly covered by vegetation the area looks like a 'pagoda forest'. Walk for about one hour to enjoy a fantastic view over the lake. A home-made cooked lunch is served in a local house. Continue towards the Nam Pan village for a very interesting trip going local with a small canoe. Whenever you are tired paddling yourself, continue by motorboat back to your hotel.


You will be staying at Villa Inle Resort & Spa, Bed & Breakfast

Day 9

Fly Inle Lake to Yangon


Pampering and Shopping Half Day Tour of Yangon
An excellent half day tour starting with a lunch at Sharky's restaurant - a local entrepreneur who is growing organic vegetables and producing locally made "French" cheese, ham and other delicious food. A one hour foot massage is what is deserved after a long trip to Myanmar and afterwards, enjoy a personal shopping guide, to ensure you bring home only the best souvenirs. The specialists know where to find it.


Car and Guide available until departure to international flight this evening.

Fly Yangon to Bangkok

Fly Bangkok to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Villa Inle Resort & Spa

Villa Inle Resort & Spa

Occupying a 20 acre plot on the banks of Inle Lake the Villa Inle Resort comprises 27 spacious wooden villas....

View Accommodation

Strand Hotel, Yangon

Strand Hotel, Yangon

The Strand, Yangon has timeless colonial charms with high ceilings, teakwood floors, hand carved wood frame beds and ceiling fans, tastefully balanced by Burmese lacquerware and antiquities....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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