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Check in by 09:30 and settle into your suite before we leave the bustle of downtown Yangon to join the Twante Canal which connects the Yangon River to the Ayeyarwady River. The scenery will be both urban and rural; rows of vegetables grow in tidy allotments by the side of the canal or maybe a man dangling a long bamboo fishing line into the canal. Twante town itself is famous for ceramics. Tonight we will dock at Wartaw.
The morning will be spent sailing, enjoy a scenic introduction to Myanmar, a feast for the eye, the villages, noble tamarind trees, the dazzling green paddy fields and distant hills dotted with pagodas. The chief beauty, however, lies with her people; people in total harmony with their environment. A variety of on board activities will be offered including a longyi (sarong) and thanaka (cosmetic) demonstration.
After lunch visit the village of Danuphyu, it was here that General Maha Bandula led the Burmese against the British in 1825 during the First Anglo-Burmese war. Explore the town by trishaw, visiting the Pagoda of Tyuakalon Pun and the Maha Bandula monastery.
After your breakfast your guides will take you on a morning visit of Zalun. Based in the Hintha district you will see beautiful sights, including Pyitawpyan Pagoda, Buddha Andaw and U Thila Stupa. After lunch there will be a talk on Myanmar – covering the country’s incredibly rich history, more recent & controversial events and prospects for the future. The day will be finished with a beautiful dinner in the Talifoo restaurant.
A cooking demonstration will be on offer following breakfast by our Executive Chef, showcasing the ingredients Myanmar has to offer.
This afternoon, sail past the Akauk Taung Caves. Here you’ll be able to capture the best possible photos of these truly staggering caves. Meaning ‘Tax Mountain’, this quirky site takes its name from all the 19th century toll-takers who would kill time in between charging passing boats by carving hundreds of Buddhas right here into the steep Cliffside. Tonight we will have a Burmese dance performance in the Kansi Panorama Lounge followed by a fine dining dinner.
Today we will visit Pyay, a large town and old capital based in central Myanmar. You will be driven to Sri Kestra, the largest city built by the Pyu People between the first and ninth centuries. Their civilization once stretched north to south for hundreds of kilometers along the Irrawaddy River.
As we spend the afternoon sailing this may be a good time to unwind in our Thinyabadine Spa by L`Occitane, consider a traditional Burmese massage or maybe even a manicure.
Take in mystical white pagodas and charming colonial houses as we explore postcard-perfect rural Thayet on foot. Built by the British in 1887, Myanmar’s first golf course is also here.
In the afternoon, sail from Thayet to Minhla. We will have a movie showcase in the Kansi Panorama Lounge, a perfect occasion to learn more about the rich history of Myanmar.
Begin your day with a walking tour of the two brick Minhla Forts. An unusual construction, the fort was originally dated from 13th century and enlarged and strengthened by Italian engineers, to resist a British invasion during the Third and final Anglo-Burmese war.
Return to the ship and sail to Magwe, and on the way visit the hilltop Myat Than Lun Paya, a pagoda built in 1929 of solid gold bricks - this is an extraordinary building with stunning views of the Ayeryarwady.
Sail in the early morning enjoying the scenery and life on the riverbank. You will sail past Pakan Lay village where temple ruins lie decorously along the banks and then arrive Sale. Sale is a perfect small community to wander around on foot or by trishaw. We will visit Yoke Sone Kyaung monastery, a fine teak building with some beautifully crafted reliefs.
Our final stop before returning to the boat for dinner is Tha-ta-na Kyaung – this small temple has an interesting Buddha image made from bamboo.
This morning will be spent sailing to Bagan.
After lunch, we will visit village of Myinkaba, a centre of the ancient craft of lacquerware which has been produced in Bagan since the time of King Anawrahta around 1050 AD. Here in the workshop the traditional methods are still used.
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. A traditional horse cart will then take us to Htilominlo Temple; a two-storey red-brick temple built around 1211 AD. It is a magnificent structure, though now heavily restored.
The day’s finale is a quiet moment on the terraces of the Pyathatgyi Temple. 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.
After breakfast we will visit the bustling Nyaung U local market. The daily market is where the farmers meet to buy and sell a variety of goods, ranging from fruit and vegetables to china and lacquerware.
Next, 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 (as distinct from Mon style) following the country’s conversion to Theravada Buddhism, and 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.
We will then return to the ship and start sailing upstream towards Sagaing. Relax as we 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. As we near our overnight spot in Yandabo enjoy Happy Hour in the Kansi Panorama Lounge.
The morning will be spent sailing and enjoying the passing countryside.
In the afternoon we will arrive beside the pagoda sprinkled Sagaing hills, an important religious and monastic centre, home to some 554 monasteries and 6,000 monks and nuns. We will take a short stop at several of the monasteries and pagodas but it is 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. Enjoy a local performance, followed by dinner on board.
As your time on board Sanctaury Ananda come to an end, check out will be 09:30.
For those guests 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 revered 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 Kong Theebaw, moved it out of the palace.
Lastly a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda (Maha Lawka Marazein) built by King Mindon in 1857, 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