Sanctuary Ananda

The Sanctuary Ananda is a luxurious all suite ship which will take you in style on voyages of breathtaking beauty and discovery on the mysterious rivers of Myanmar (Burma). Visit temples, pagodas, palaces and monasteries along the Irrawaddy River on a choice of cruises from Mandalay to Bagan, Bhamo or Yangon. Journeys on its great tributary, the Chindwin, will take you to places visitors rarely see – through the jungles of the north, forgotten villages, and ancient towns almost to the Indian border.

Sanctuary Ananda is custom built by local craftsmen using traditional materials while offering sleek contemporary luxury. Sanctuary Ananda set sail on the Myanmar Rivers in November 2014 and offers 21 spacious suites on three decks, the luxurious Owner's suite, a sundeck with an outdoor pool and the Kansi panorama lounge. A variety of cruises between 2-11 days are on offer.

Sanctuary Ananda is a perfect combination of local culture and luxury, because we understand that even when you are immersing yourself in a new experience, there are some things you should never be without, such as a large comfortable bed, the pleasure of a good drink, excellent food, immaculate service, and the company of like-minded people.

Custom-built with just 21 suites, Sanctuary Ananda showcases original Burmese design and contemporary chic in an atmosphere of five-star comfort. In every suite, lush silks, polished teak and beautiful lacquerware celebrate Myanmar’s rich heritage of arts, crafts and textiles and Malaika Egyptian-cotton sheets ensure that we make you as relaxed as can be. Expect L’Occitane-stocked ensuite bathrooms, individually controlled air-conditioning and, naturally, consummate craftsmanship throughout. Choose from having a double or twin bed, and look forward to your own relaxing space to lounge in – every suite has its own private balcony.

Boat Layout


Available between October and March. Early in the morning, at about 5.30am, you can take an optional excursion and ride in a hot air balloon over the pagoda-filled landscape of Bagan. From this view you can see the temples stretch into the horizon while watching the beautiful sunrise. Subject to availability at an additional charge.


The food is always an important part of the culture of any country. Onboard you can enjoy both local and international meal options. For those who would like to learn how to cook some of the delicious traditional meals served onboard there will be cooking demonstrations run by professional chefs.


Professional guides and guest speakers will hold regular lectures on an array of interesting topics about Myanmar's history and culture. These lectures will increase your knowledge of the country and describe interesting facts and stories which you can share with friends and family when you return home. Don't forget to ask your guides for a few 'Nat' stories. After seeing the local customs during the excursions and learning about them from your guide why not try some of them during our onboard demonstrations. You will be taught how to tie a longyi (the skirt that both men and women traditionally wear) and how to make and apply tanaka (natural sun cream).


During some of your evenings onboard, there will be evening entertainment consisting of local performances after dinner. Skilled dancers will captivate you with Burmese  local dances which often tell stories about their myths and legends. Filled with bright costumes these performances will be enjoyed after a delicious dinner.

The Trip

The boat offers a variety of 2-11 night cruises; this 4-day trip from Mandalay to Bagan is a popular option:



Check in at 12:30pm and settle into your suite. If you arrive on an earlier flight we can arrange a tour of Mandalay. This will include a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, Shwenandaw Monastery and lastly a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda (Maha Lawka Marazein). Kuthodaw is often called the biggest book in the world, for surrounding it are 729 marble slabs inscribed with the Tripitaka texts (Buddhist cannon).

Lunch will be served on board as we cruise towards the pagoda sprinkled hills of Sagaing.

In the afternoon visit the pagoda sprinkled Sagaing Hill, an important religious and monastic centre, home to some 554 monasteries and 6,000 monks and nuns.

Next, take in 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.

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.

A local performance will be followed by dinner on board.


Today is spent sailing south towards Salingyi. Take the opportunity to enjoy the on board activities and amenities.

After breakfast, our Executive Chef will take you on a culinary journey through the unique favours of Myanmar with a cooking demonstration. This is a great opportunity to discover what spices, meats and vegetables are used in traditional Burmese cooking, giving you lots of recipe inspiration you can take home with you.

After lunch a variety of on board activities will be offered including a back of house tour, a longyi (sarong) and thanaka (cosmetic) demonstration and a talk on Myanmar – covering the country’s incredibly rich history, the recent controversial decades to the outlook for the future of The Golden Land.

As we continue to sail south, enjoy the scenery of Myanmar’s river from Sanctuary Ananda’s sundeck. The inviting sun-loungers are shaded by canopies for when the sun is too high, while the plunge pool provides a cooling experience. There is also the option to visit our in-ship spa where there is a wide selection of treatments to choose from. Try therapies such as a traditional Thai massage or reflexology session. Our signature treatments include the ‘Ananda body scrub’ and ‘Ananda facial’, all using L’Occitane products and guaranteed to leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready for everything Myanmar has to offer.

Just before sunset we will enter the Chindwin River and start sailing upstream towards Monywa. This is an altogether different river to the Irrawaddy so expect the scenery to change dramatically and beautifully.

A delicious dinner will bring the day to an end.


This morning, visit the Po Win Taung caves near Shwe Ba Taung. Carved out of the sandstone hills, this setting is breathtakingly special to behold, and a highlight of any trip to Myanmar. More ancient than the Thanbodday pagoda are the two cave pagoda complexes of Po win taung and Shwe ba taung, believed to be over 300 years old. There are almost one thousand caves in which both the Buddha images and the thrones were carved out of living rock. The natural shape of the caves was kept, and 17th century wall paintings in exquisite detail cover the interior walls. The entrances are rimmed with traditional motifs of vines and flowers, in high or low relief. Figures of mythical beings and traditional design elements are seen both carved and painted.

After the morning’s exciting excursion, we’ve chosen the perfect spot to serve a gourmet picnic lunch, offering exceptional views of the surrounding scenery.

Next we’ll head on to the intricately decorated golden Thanboddhay Pagoda, a truly staggering sight with its hundreds of crumbling stupas and almost half a million images of Buddha located in the niches around the inner wall. Afterward, visit Bodhi Tataung where you can see the two enormous Buddha statues – the one reclining is about 333 foot long, and the other stands at a record height of 424 feet. The reason we bring you here at this time of day is that it is best appreciated in the afternoon light. Back on board, enjoy a delicious dinner and cocktails on board.


After breakfast, join one of our chefs who will take you to the local market in Pakokku where mouth-watering fruit and vegetables are laid out with consummate style. We will return to the Sanctuary Ananda for lunch as we sail on to Bagan.

After lunch on board, we will visit a small pagoda complex to see the different architecture of the stupas first-hand.

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.

Enjoy the sunset over the Bagan plains. 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 local performance will be followed by dinner on board.


Enjoy an early breakfast on your final morning before check out at 9am.

If you are departing on a later flight we will arrange for you to take a tour in Bagan. Leaving at 9am we will visit a local village in the heart of the Bagan plain, to see the way of life of the local people.

Next visit a lacquerware workshop. This ancient craft has been produced in Bagan since the time of King Anawrahta around 1050 AD. Here in the workshop the traditional methods are still used.