Irrawaddy River, Burma
At a Glance
Brand new boat set to sail for first time November 2014
A selection of different itineraries to choose from, ranging from 3 nights to 11 nights
A good range of onshore excursions to include visiting workshops and pagodas
Spacious suites with modern amenities
Many on board activities to keep you entertained such as live evening performances, cooking classes and meditation classes
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
The best time to visit Burma is during the dry season from November to April. At this time the warm and sunny days are ideal for sightseeing throughout the country. The temperatures start to rise in March and May to September is best avoided as this is the rainy season when sightseeing can become difficult.
To start planning your vacation to Sanctuary Ananda
Discover the real Myanmar by journeying through its many magical rivers on board the luxurious Sanctuary Ananda. Each day you will see new sights, have new experiences, increase your knowledge and sit back in awe by the trip you're taken on.
Sanctuary Ananda is to first set sail in November 2014 and it already has a lot to promise guests. It has been custom built in a local ship yard in Yangon to ensure the maximum benefits for its guests with its 5 star contemporary luxury combined with authentic Burmese design. The opportunity to voyage up or down the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin rivers is one that cannot be passed. The authentic sailing experience will not only allow you to take in the varied scenery, observe local life and embark on onshore excursions but you will also be able to partake in cooking, meditation and yoga classes, listen in on lectures and enjoy live entertainment on board.
Some of the best features are the completely bespoke river bank lantern dinners, or the sunset drinks at U Bein Bridge, nothing is too much for these highly competent and friendly staff. There are eight exciting itineraries for you to choose from to include three, four and seven night 'Discovery Cruises' between Bagan and Mandalay or the longer 'Exploration Cruises' which add on extra time to explore the Upper and Lower Ayeyarwady and the shallower Chindwin River. You will be sailing each day so you will be making progress along the river but you will also have the opportunity to use local transport to reach off the beaten track villages and other must-see attractions. Guides will be on hand to part with their local knowledge and acquaint you with local customs.
The boat itself is nothing short of luxurious. With en-suite accommodation, a selection of spacious social areas, a pool, gym, spa, library and restaurants you will not be without your creature comforts. Rates are inclusive of all meals so you can enjoy the delicious traditional as well as western dishes on board in Taliffo and Mindoon restaurants. Make the most of the complimentary mini bar and soft drinks or local beer on offer, to really enjoy these drinks watch the sunset with a cocktail on the pool sundeck.
There are 21 suites on board Sanctuary Ananda and they are reflective of Burmese culture of arts, crafts and textiles. All suites features air-conditioning, iPos docking station, iPad TV connections, Malaika Egyptian cotton sheet and L'occitane bathroom products. All suites have proper sit out balconies with tables and chairs so you can enjoy the river views from the privacy of your room. There are interconnecting suites available for families.
Children 10 years old and over are welcome on board. However, for their safety it is asked of parents to supervise children at all times. Child amenities such as cots and high chairs are available upon request and there are two pairs of interconnecting rooms available. Alternatively, the luxury suites have a third convertible bed.
Being in Burma, the talented chefs are keen for you to sample some delicious Burmese cuisine, however they also rustle up some western favorites too.
The Burmese fusion menu has been designed by celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein and Talifoo Restaurant welcomes guests from breakfast through to evening dinner. The relaxed and contemporary atmosphere with large windows make it a delightful place to enjoy your meals. If you want to head outdoors, Mindoon Al Fresco serve light lunches and snacks. A full continental and cooked breakfast is served daily, lunch comprises a wide selection of cold salads and hot a la carte specials. Dinner is a choice of western or Burmese and the dishes are created using deliciously fresh ingredients and you will find that a lot of them are enhance by herbs and spices such as tamarind, ginger, lemongrass and chilli - sumptuous. Soft drinks and local beer are included in the rates.
Whichever itinerary you choose there will be an array of activities taking place daily - onshore and offshore.
There are many workshops to visit as there are so many local crafts produced in Myanmar such as textiles and shoes. As 90% of the Burmese are followers of the Buddhist religion there are many pagodas and monasteries dotted along the rivers which are fascinating to visit. Local villages are the best way to get an insight into the local culture, speak with the inhabitants, watch the processes behind their craft making, visit the markets and even take a look inside some of their houses.
Onboard, you can enjoy evening entertainment which includes local dances and performances. During the day, guides and guest speakers hold lectures on some fascinating subjects about Burma's past and culture increasing your knowledge of the country. If you are inspired by the delicious cuisine you've been sampling, why not watch a cooking demonstration or even better, attend a lesson? The professional chefs can teach you how. Yoga and meditation is a peaceful way to start your day as the sun rises, in Bagan you can do this at a temple and for the rest of the trip the sun deck with its panoramic views provides the perfect setting. But some of the most memorable moments are bound to be the riverbank cocktails, the off-ship surprise dinner and the unique sunset event at U Being Bridge.
Clare Monro (Staff)
The Sanctuary Ananda offers a very luxurious experience on the Irrawaddy River, with slightly more spacious cabins than other cruise boats. Everything is of a very high standard.
Sophie Jones (Staff)
The design of The Sanctuary Ananda is simply stunning utilising local materials and beautiful handicrafts to make it truly unique and very special. The attention to detail aboard is also amazing providing a truly luxurious experience floating from site to site along the Ayarwaddy river. The real standout highlight of the boat is definitely the food and the spa treatments. Every meal onboard was a delight and hands down the best food that I had during my whole time in Myanmar. Adding to the indulgence the spa treatments were the icing on the cake as I had one of the best massages of my life on board, made even more incredible given that we were on the move up motoring up the river at the time!
Archaeology Tour of Bagan
A full-day experience, with an expert on-hand, exploring one of Asia’s most striking archaeological sites. Bagan’s architectural wonders include the famous Ananda and Shwezigon pagodas, showcasing Burma’s legendary kings and the country’s glorious culture
Bagan Balloon Experience
Serenely float over Bagan’s remarkable temples in a hot air balloon at sunrise and appreciate the sheer scale of these archaeological wonders while watching the Irrawaddy River flow far below.
Bagan Cooking Class
A fantastic half-day insight into Burmese cookery exploring local food with a local and highly experienced chef. From shopping at the market, to cooking and plating up, this is a truly unique experience.
Bagan Village Biking
Hop on a bicycle for a unique and memorable day in Bagan’s countryside. A slow-paced journey through narrow lanes reveals a land of farms, rolling hills and tiny villages, much unchanged over the centuries.
Pedal your way through the outskirts of Mandalay on this half-day guided excursion for a chance to see a different side of the city. Pass through small villages, monasteries and temples and visit a local market while stopping chat with locals.
Discover Mandalay and Mingun
This thrilling full-day tour showcases the best of Mandalay and Mingun and involves ascending Mandalay Hill for a bird's-eye view of the city below, exploring the former Royal Capital’s temple and cruising up the Irrawaddy River for a visit to Mingun.
Half Day Local Color Tour, Bagan
Experience a taste of local Burmese life and see the world from a local’s point of view by visiting neighborhoods barely touched by the modern world and mixing with the locals at Nyaung U Market.
Mandalay Nights by Motorbike
During this exciting night-time tour, you’ll travel like a local, on the back of a motorbike, taking in the evening scenery, meeting friendly locals and stopping at markets, restaurants and bars perhaps to try some crispy duck and a frosty local beer.
Trading Jade in Mandalay
This half-day tour takes in the wonderful Jade Market in Mandalay. A truly authentic market, where tourists are the minority, the market brings together local, Chinese, Indian and Thai traders.
Location & directions
Irrawaddy River, Burma
The cruise takes you from Bagan to Mandalay or vice versa along the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin rivers.