Saturday, 13 July 2013

Sanctuary Ananda’s Itineraries in Myamnar

There are eight exciting itineraries available on the luxurious all-suite Sanctuary Ananda in Myanmar.  These itineraries include three, four and seven night ‘Discovery Cruises’  between Bagan and Mandalay as well as a selection of longer and more unusual ‘Exploration Cruises’ allowing guests time to explore the Upper and Lower Ayeyarwady and the shallower Chindwin River. 
Sanctuary Ananda will sail every day on each itinerary and where possible guests will experience local transport to reach off the beaten track villages and must-see sights to ensure a true local and unique experience.
Discovery Itineraries:
Three Nights – Bagan to Mandalay
Setting off from Bagan, this three night experience includes a visit to some of the most important temples and pagodas in Bagan, a horse-drawn cart visit to Ava, the old imperial capital and archaeological site, Sagaing with its convents, pagodas and silversmiths, Amarapura to visit textile workshops and drinks at sunset at the mile-long U Bein bridge.

Four Nights – Mandalay to Bagan
This four night itinerary begins in Mandalay, the cultural capital of Myanmar, and makes its way down to Bagan, the spiritual heart of the country and home to over 2,000 gilded pagodas.  Highlights on the journey include the textile workshops of Amarapura, Sagaing the centre of Myanmar Buddhist faith, Pakokku with its local markets and traditional shoe factories and the Sale monasteries
Seven Nights – Bagan-Mandalay-Bagan
This longer seven night itinerary is a combination of the three and four night itineraries but also offers a train ride across the Gokteik Viaduct to Naung Pein and a visit to Pyin Oo Lwin and its Botanical Gardens. As well as visits to jaggery, lacquerware and brick workshops, the Thone Zu Pagoda with its Nat shrine as well as a hike up Mount Popa, an extinct volcano, to see the stunning summit monastery, pagodas and shrines. 

Exploration Itineraries:
Seven Nights – Mandalay to Pyay
The old imperial city of Pyay (Prome) is the final destination of this seven night itinerary setting off from Mandalay.  Highlights include Ava, Sagaing, the Sale monasteries, the Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan which houses the Buddha’s bone and tooth and A Magwe from where the hilltop Myat Than Lun Paya can be visited which is built from solid gold bricks.

Ten Nights – Mandalay-Homalin – Bagan
This ten night itinerary sails along the Chindwin River through western Myanmar up to Homalin, just 30 miles from India, showcasing more remote parts that few tourists see, along the route.  Highlights include Maukkdaw, a famous teak port, tiny riverside villages, markets and tea shops, jungle treks and the Mahar Minkyaung Monastery in Mingin where the Shew Sagar Buddha, one of ten carved from a single trunk of wood almost 1,000 years ago, can be seen.
Eleven Nights – Mandalay-Bhamo-Bagan
This eleven-night cruise heads towards Bhamo which is close to the border with China.  The beautiful towns of Amarapura, Bhamo and Katha offer a fantastic insight into Myanmar’s culture and history with stunning gorges below Bhamo to be marvelled at.  Settlements and villages can be visited which have barely changed in the last century such as Mae Dar which can be explored on foot.  The port of Shwegu can be visited from smaller boats and a Shan village provides the opportunity to meet the local people and get an insight into their lives and customs.
Eleven Nights – Mandalay – Yangon
Yangon is the final destination of this eleven-night cruise which includes the Mandalay-Pyay itinerary before it continues down to Yangon.  Along the way, the cruiser sails close to the Akauk Taung caves where hundreds of Buddhas are carved along the river bank.  The beauty of Myanmar can be admired with stunning scenery of pretty villages, paddy fields and distant pagodas.   A visit is made to the Pyi Taw Pyan pagoda in Zalon, which is home to a bronze Buddha stolen by the British Army and returned by order of Queen Victoria. Other highlights on the way include the Minbu mud volcanoes and the Shwedagon Paya pagoda where a Buddha wearing gold sun glasses can be viewed.

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