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Sanctuary Retreats Ananda, Myanmar (Burma)

Sanctuary Retreats Ananda, Myanmar (Burma)

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Photos Courtesy of Sanctuary Retreats, Electra Gillies & Ken Spence

Meandering down the mighty Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River on the Sanctuary Retreats Riverboat Ananda is slow luxury travel at its best. Discover places that have been virtually unseen by travellers and relax into the tranquillity of sailing past pagodas, countryside and monasteries. Ananda is a beautiful way to explore Myanmar ethically aboard this stunning vessel. Voyages vary in length from Yangon up to Mandalay and beyond to the border with India.

Lounging on the deck or your private balcony watching the world drift by from this refined riverboat is an amazing and alternative way to explore the road, or rather river, to Mandalay. The twenty-one cabin suites are sumptuous and soothing, blending the traditional with modern amenities to make your journey as comfortable as being in any exclusive eco escape. Decorated elegantly with teak, Burmese silk and lacquer ware complimented by contemporary touches such as iPads and L’Occitane products throughout. Cabins are spacious and all have their own balcony to gaze out over this untouched land, drifting past temples and a rich and intricate history.

The Owners Suite is currently the largest and most luxurious floating suite on the Irrawaddy, with a dressing room, large bathroom with a free standing bath and incredible deck area with sun loungers and chairs and tables. A private butler and guide will look after you and point out the highlights of the landscape and temples visited along the way. Elegantly decorated in a neutral palette with hints of Burmese art and textiles, this suite is slow travel at its best and the most magical way to immerse oneself in the mystical journey that takes you from Yangon to Mandalay sailing along the serene and sacred shores of the Ayeyarwady River.

Yangon to Mandalay is an eleven-day adventure, however you can take shorter voyages along the route starting from three days. Explore the sites of Yangon and then board the Ananda to set sail. Shore excursions to villages and monuments along the way will give you a unique perspective into Myanmar and its people.

The first day will see a stop at Danuphyu, the town where the Burmese defeated the British in 1825 during the first Anglo-Burmese war. Explore the area with a trishaw and then return to the riverboat to spend the following day leisurely sailing and taking in the fascinating Akauk Taung Caves – a stunning display of Buddhas carved into the rock face by the men who used to collect the boat taxes on this part of the river in the 19th Century.

Onwards up the river the next few days are spent in the charming town of Pyay.

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Photos Courtesy of Sanctuary Retreats, Electra Gillies & Ken Spence

Called Prome by the British it was a predominantly British stronghold until independence. One of the most amazing attractions is the Shwesandaw Pagoda, a towering gilded golden pagoda that means ‘golden hair relic’ as it is said to contain some of Buddha’s hairs. From the top Enjoy a trip around town by trishaw exploring the sites and visit the ancient city of Sri Ksetra. This World Heritage Site said to be founded in 5th Century AD it was an extremely important trading port between China and India. The cylindrical Bawbawgyi Pagoda is an ancient monument surrounded by a palace that has reflections in the later kingdoms of Bagan and Mandalay.

After exploring these fascinating and historical attractions it is time to head back aboard the Ananda for a relaxing drink on your private balcony, by the plunge pool on the upper deck or in the Kansi Panorama Room that has a beautiful bar to enjoy a pre dinner Sanctuary Sour and take in the stunning surrounding panorama. Throughout the trip there are lectures and demonstrations on Burmese history, cooking and culture to truly immerse yourself in the landscape you are travelling through. For dinner head to Talifoo Restaurant to indulge your senses in the heady aromatic flavours of local Burmese curries and dishes. The chefs source fresh organic ingredients from village markets along the river to create succulent dishes such as the soft shell crab curry. Retire to your private cabin and sleep with the stillness and slipping through the Ayeyarwady to the next port adventure.

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Photos Courtesy of Sanctuary Retreats, Electra Gillies & Ken Spence

Bagan is a beautiful and mysterious place that rises out of the ground like a dream. Spending a few days here is an unforgettable experience, as you can see in our Gypsy Spots Guide, that will take you on an adventure and history of this incredible place. Take two days to explore the extraordinary temples, visit the lacquer artisans and view the sprawling complex from the skies by going up in a hot air balloon soaring over the temple complex of myths and legends. The most important temple in Bagan is the Ananda Temple that embodies Myanmar in art, architecture, religion and history. It is said you have not really visited Bagan unless you have visited this majestic temple. The most notable temples are the largest and some you can scale to have a view of dawn illuminating the temples or the sun dipping down behind them leaving this fairy tale landscape to be reflected by the rising moon.

Back on the Sanctuary Retreats Ananda why not relax with an onboard massage in the spa. A massage is an indulgent way to end the day and ease away the exertions of exploration. The traditional Burmese massage is an hour of pure bliss that works on pressure points and the ancient art of acupressure that originated amid the pagodas and rituals of this beautiful land. For a truly luxurious pampering experience then the Achieve Ananda Package is over two hours of head to toe perfection designed for you to reach the serenity of Nirvana.

There is also exercise equipment to invigorate the body whilst sailing on the waterway to Mandalay. With a full range of treatments this is the perfect place to pass a few peaceful hours.

The Sanctuary Retreats Ananda is a totally unique and lavish way to experience the exotic wonder and scenery in immersed in total serenity. With Sanctuary’s commitment to philanthropy it is guaranteed to give back to the communities in Myanmar. It is a magical journey that ends as the boat pulls into the glistening golden stupa festooned hills of Mandalay. As Rudyard Kipling put it

Come you back to Mandalay,

Where the old Flotilla lay:

Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay?

On the road to Mandalay,’

So what could be more apt than arriving majestically in Mandalay but aboard Ananda along the Ayeyarwady.

Photos Courtesy of Sanctuary Retreats, Electra Gillies & Ken Spence

For more about the journey www.sanctuaryretreats.com/sanctuary-ananda-myanmar-cruise-ship-burma

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Photos Courtesy of Sanctuary Retreats, Electra Gillies & Ken Spence

 
 
© 2014 The Eco Gypsy - Ethical Exploration.
   


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