Arrive Yangon, Myanmar
Arrive in Yangon, where you are met and transferred to your hotel.
Yangon | Queen of the East
Begin your journey with a tour of Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar. Tradition holds that it has stood for 2,600 years, making it the oldest historical pagoda in the world. 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. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant followed by a stroll through Scott Market (Bogyoke Market) amid shops filled with antiques, old coins, Burmese jade and handicrafts. Return to your hotel, with time to relax.
Heho/Inle Lake | Tranquil & Traditional
Fly to Heho and drive to Nyaung Shwe, where you stop at a local Shan paper workshop. Explore the 19th-century Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, built entirely out of teak wood. After lunch at a local restaurant on the lake, board a boat and see the floating gardens of Inle Lake. Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, a local shrine that houses five small gilded images of the Buddha, as well as Nga Phe Kyaung monastery.
Inle Lake | Five-Day Market
After breakfast, pay a visit to the Five-Day Market to see regional hill tribe people in traditional dress bartering for goods and produce. Try your hand at making a cheroot (Burmese cigar) and stop at a blacksmith’s workshop and a weaving factory, followed by lunch at the Intha Heritage House, serving authentic Intha dishes from recipes handed down through generations. Return to your hotel.
Mandalay | Ancient Capital
Fly to Mandalay and drive to Ava. Explore the ruins by horse-cart, including Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, Bagaya Monastery and the Watch Tower. Return to Mandalay, where you check in to your hotel. This evening, witness evening prayers at Shwe Kyin Monastery.
Mandalay | Boarding 'Sanctuary Ananda’
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. Visit the U Bein Bridge to see the spectacular sunset. Then, return to the ship for dinner.
The Irrawaddy River | A Timeless Journey
Pay a philanthropic visit to Sin Kyun village. Return to the ship where you may choose to relax on deck or receive a spa treatment. Later, attend a longyi (traditional Burmese cloth) demonstration, followed by a talk on Myanmar’s past, present and future.
Pakokku/Bagan | Temples & Pagodas
After breakfast at leisure, disembark to discover Pakokku Village. Visit its local market to see daily life and locals bargaining for goods. Next, learn the secrets of Burmese cuisine during a cooking class at a delightful Chef’s Table experience. Then, proceed to a small pagoda complex in Bagan, seeing Shwezigon Pagoda and watching the sun set over the Bagan plains.
Bagan | Ballooning Over Bagan
Rise early for a hot air balloon ride (seasonally and weather permitting) over Bagan as dawn illuminates the gold- and sand-colored stupas. Next, explore Ananda Temple, and visit Sulamani Pagoda. En route to Mount Popa, visit a jaggery (cane sugar) workshop. Tonight, enjoy a special candlelit dinner on Bagan’s sandbank.
Yangon | Burmese Astrology Reading
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.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and depart.