Classic Myanmar and Sanctuary Cruise Itinerary
This exciting itinerary covers the major sites along with lesser known sites. You will visit cities and villages, monasteries, pagodas and temples, learn about Buddhism, see beautiful scenery, cruise on the Irrawaddy River for 3 nights, ride in a hot air balloon over amazing Bagan, meet locals and enjoy a culinary lesson.<!–– start itin loop ––>
Upon arrival at Yangon airport, you will be welcomed by your guide and will drive to the corner of Strand and Pansodan Road that is famous for Yangon’s most impressive colonial buildings.
Start your colonial heritage walking tour seeing Myanmar Port Authority, Formal Police
Commissioner’s Office currently known as the House of Township Courts and Legal Office, Customs House, Pension House, Former New Law Court, Former Bank of Bengal built in 1914 now as Myanmar Economic Bank and the Former US Embassy. Cross the greens of Maha Bandoola Garden where the Independence Monument is situated. Just in front, you will see the City Hall and then continue onto the Former Rowe & Co. Department Store built in 1920, which is next to City Hall. This walking tour will take approximately 1 hr which can also be done by driving.
Stop at Rangoon Tea House for a drink of Burmese tea. Afterwards, check into the hotel. In the late afternoon, visit the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Bagan.
Upon arrival, start your tour with a stroll through the colorful local market and continue the day with visits to the most significant pagodas and temples of Bagan: Shwezigon Pagoda built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious shrine, Ku Byauk Gyi, a temple, with superb frescoes and Ananda Temple with its four magnificent standing Buddha images. Afterwards, you will be transferred to the hotel for check in and a short break.
In the afternoon, take a ride on a decorated horse cart to some of the more off the beaten temple sites. Enjoy sunset over the temple ruins during the ride.
At 5:30am, you will be picked up at your hotel and will be transferred to the hot air balloon launching place. The spectacular sunrise flight is about one hour. The balloon allows you a serene and peaceful bird’s eye view of the ancient temples. The balloon will land on the Irrawaddy River or in an open field where you will be served a glass of champagne. Return to the hotel by about 9am.
After breakfast, transfer to one of the monasteries around Bagan to participate in a Soon offering (seasonal fruits and local snacks). The villagers still make food donations to the monks in order to prove their gratitude towards them. You will have the opportunity to experience this offering and in return you will receive a special blessing and a holy thread from the monks to ensure good luck and happiness.
In the afternoon, learn about the manufacturing of Myanmar’s most treasured handicraft and visit a lacquerware workshop in nearby Myinkaba village. Later, explore the Nannaya Temple, a unique sandstone monument, which according to legends use to be the palace site of King Manuha.
Enjoy the sunset over the plains and mountains of Bagan while cruising on the Irrawaddy River and embark at one of the sandbanks in the river for sunset drinks.
If you would like, a temple view candlelit dinner can be arranged. The entertainment will be traditional Myanmar dance and music.
After breakfast, transfer to the jetty to board the Sanctuary Ananda. Check in at 12:30pm and enjoy lunch on board. After lunch on board, you will visit Kayminga Pagoda complex to see the different types of architecture of the stupas. Afterwards, visit the Ananda Temple regarded by folklore as one of the most beautiful temples in Myanmar.
Enjoy the sunset over the Bagan plains and 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 Irrawaddy River filling the sky with a reddish glow, a truly magic moment.
A welcome briefing and champagne reception will be hosted in the Kansi Panorama Lounge before a candlelit sandbank dinner is served with the backdrop of the twinkling lights of Bagan.
Choose between an early morning balloon tour or a visit to the bustling local market of Nyaung U. 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.
Visit the great golden Shwezigon Pagoda which is said to contain important relics of the Gautama Buddha, two bones and a copy of a tooth.
Return to the ship and sail upstream towards Sagaing during which a variety of on – board activities will be offered including a longyi (sarong), thanaka (cosmetic) demonstration and a talk on Myanmar.
Enjoy a delicious dinner in the Talifoo Restaurant.
Enjoy a house tour of the boat and a cooking class with the executive chef as you cruise the Irrawaddy.
In the afternoon, visit the pagoda sprinkled Sagaing Hill. This is an important religious and monastic center, home to some 554 monasteries and 6,000 monks and nuns. Afterwards, take in the views from the top of the hill on the terraces of the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda which are truly breathtaking.
Amarapura was once known as ‘The City of Immortals’. Today, the leisurely ‘clack-clack’ from the looms of the cotton and silk weavers has replaced the noisy bustle of this former capital.
Visit the U Bein Bridge, a spectacular place to enjoy the sunset. This long teak bridge snakes across the Taungthaman Lake. After sunset, return to the Sanctuary Ananda.
Breakfast is served before disembarkation in Mandalay which is followed by visits around Mandalay including one of the most revered religious monuments in Myanmar, the Mahamuni Pagoda.
Continue your visits to the Golden Palace Monastery, a superb example of a traditional wooden building and the Kuthodaw Pagoda, the world’s largest book made of marble. Then, transfer to Mandalay Hill for sunset viewing.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for the domestic flight to Heho.
Upon arrival, drive to Nyaung Shwe (32 km – 1 hour) for a full day excursion by boat on Inle Lake. You will see the famous Inthar leg rowers, floating gardens, local methods of fishing, village life and magnificent scenery. Visit the Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda. one of the most sacred shrines in Myanmar dating back to the 18th century, the Nga Phe Monastery with a beautiful collection of ancient Buddha images and the weaving village of Inpawkhon. You will be transferred to your hotel to check in at the end of sightseeing.
After breakfast, visit one the local markets before boarding your boat to the western shore of the lake where you will find the beginning of a stair path leading to the hidden Indein Pagoda complex. Visit one of the most amazing historical sights on the shore of the lake consisting of hundreds of small stupas overgrown by moss and greens. Continue on foot to a village nearby where several crops are grown in traditional ways.
Proceed by boat to Thei Lei Oo, a beautiful rural farming village, on the eastern shore of Inle Lake. It is at the heart of one of the most important farming areas on the lake. The inhabitants of the village are Inn Tha and Pa O ethnic minority groups. They are well known for their farming skills and organic farming methods. The major crops farmed are rice, sugar cane, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic and a variety of beans, as well as cucumber and flowers. During the winter season (November to February), the harvested sugar cane is sent to small on – site molasse’s plants where the juice is extracted, made into molasses, then sent to the city for use in the production of Mandalay Rum. You will follow an agro trail that runs from the lake through the village and the surrounding organic farmland in a wide looping curve back to the lake. It affords an excellent window into village life untouched as it is by modern development. Return to hotel by boat.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your domestic flight to Yangon. Upon arrival, car and guide will be at your disposal until you are transferred to the airport for your international departure flight.