Journey to spiritually rich Myanmar to experience the serenity of Inle Lake, observe life along the banks of the Irrawaddy River from aboard ‘Sanctuary Ananda’ and watch the rising sun illuminate thousands of temples in timeless Bagan.
Day 1 - Arrive Yangon, Myanmar
Arrive in Yangon, where you are met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2 - Yangon
Begin your explorations with a stroll through Scott Market (Bogyoke Aung San Market) amid shops filled with antiques, old coins, Burmese jade and handicrafts. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to the Reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, a 213-foot-long statue with an expressive enamel face. View the story of the Buddha’s life embossed on the soles of the statue’s staggered feet. Then, explore Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar. Standing nearly 330 feet tall, the venerated stupa is covered in gold leaf and topped by a finial encrusted with thousands of diamonds, rubies, sapphires and other precious gems. Return to your hotel, with time to relax.
Day 3 - Inle Lake
Fly to Heho, your gateway to Inle Lake, and drive to the village of Nyaung Shwe, where you stop at a local Shan paper workshop. Explore the 19th-century Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, built entirely out of teakwood. After lunch at a local restaurant, board a boat and see the floating gardens of Inle Lake, and then visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, a local shrine that houses five small gilded images of the Buddha.
Day 4 - Inle Lake
This morning, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities:
Visit an Artisan to see cigar-like cheroots hand made at a local workshop, and tour a weaving factory.
Bicycle Through the Countryside in the company of a local guide, taking in the lush surroundings and local life.
Attend a Cooking Class led by a chef, for the hands-on opportunity to prepare traditional Burmese dishes.
This afternoon, enjoy lunch at the Intha Heritage House, which serves authentic Intha dishes from recipes handed down through generations. Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
Day 5 - Mandalay
Fly to Mandalay and drive to nearby Ava. Explore the ruins, including Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, by horse cart, and stop for photos at Bagaya Monastery and the watchtower. Return to Mandalay, where you check in to your hotel. This evening, witness evening prayers at Shwe Kyin Monastery.
Day 6 - Mandalay
View the more than 700 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist religious texts, referred to by some as the biggest book in the world, at Kuthodaw Pagoda. Stop at a gold leaf workshop and visit the Mahamuni Pagoda, a major Buddhist pilgrimage site. Then, board luxurious all-balcony ‘Sanctuary Ananda,’ your home for a four-night cruise upon the Irrawaddy River. After lunch, disembark to visit Sagaing, renowned for its monasteries and pagodas. Take in views from atop the Sagaing Hills and visit the U Bein Bridge to see the spectacular sunset. Return to the ship for dinner.
Day 7 - Cruising the Irrawaddy
Early this morning, cruise north to the quaint village of Sin Kyun to witness firsthand the way of life in this location seldom visited by outsiders. Afterward, relax on deck observing local village life, or receive a spa treatment. Later, attend a longyi (traditional Burmese cloth) demonstration, followed by a talk on Myanmar’s past, present and future.
Day 8 - Cruising the Irrawaddy
After breakfast, take a cooking class with the ship’s Executive Chef. After lunch on board, head to the top of Tan Chi Taung Mountain to enjoy your first glimpse of the Bagan plain, containing more than 2,000 pagodas and stupas. Enjoy dinner on board this evening.
Day 9 - Bagan
Rise early for a hot air balloon ride over Bagan (seasonally and weather permitting), as dawn illuminates the gold- and sand-colored stupas. Then, witness a shinbyu (novitiation ceremony), a young monk’s first entry to the monastery. Enjoy privileged access to this time-honored tradition and the village festivities. This afternoon, visit Ananda Temple, an elegant pagoda dating to the 11th century that is crowned with a magnificent gilded spire. Then, proceed to a pagoda complex in Bagan to watch the sunset bathe the surrounding skyline in its glow before returning to the ship for dinner.
Day 10 - Yangon
Disembark and fly to Yangon. Meet a traditional Burmese astrologer, who specializes in advising individuals on important life decisions — such as when to marry or buy property — in order to correctly choose days for these events that will bring good fortune. Your afternoon is at leisure, perhaps for some last-minute shopping.
Day 11 - Depart Yangon
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and depart.