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Sail Date: October 2018
My wife and I spent an incredible two weeks in Myanmar, and one of the highlights of our visit was our time in Bagan. First, I must share how we got there. We took a four day cruise up the Ayeryewaddy river on the Sanctuary Ananda cruise ... Read More
My wife and I spent an incredible two weeks in Myanmar, and one of the highlights of our visit was our time in Bagan. First, I must share how we got there. We took a four day cruise up the Ayeryewaddy river on the Sanctuary Ananda cruise boat from Yangon to Bagan. The Sanctuary Ananda is a truly five-star experience in every way. The boat itself is small and intimate - a maximum of forty passengers, and with a staff of 43, you are never lacking in friendly and gracious service. The décor is beautiful and evocative, the state rooms are luxurious and spacious, and the food was absolutely amazing. The chef on board was a former head chef at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok, which was rated the number one hotel in the world for many years. Not only was the food incredible, but you had many opportunities to meet this friendly and dignified gentleman, and even take an intimate cooking class from him on the third day of the cruise. The highlight for me was a torch-lit dinner on the beach of the river- a magical and memorable experience. The final destination of the cruise was Bagan, which should be one of the wonders of the world. Within a relatively small region, there are over 3000 pagodas, stupas and temples, some small, and many grand in scale and breathtaking beauty. These temples were build by the kings of Burma over a period of several centuries, with the oldest ones being nearly one thousand years old. Many of the temples and pagodas are worth a personal visit (cars have access to most of the larger temples, or you can rent a horse-drawn carriage if you don't mind bouncing a lot). However, the best way to see Bagan is by hot air balloon. I recognize that these trips are expensive, but the experience is well worth the cost. We recommend Oriental Balloons, but all three of the operating companies in Bagan offer very modern and professional balloon rides. Well, in closing, Bagan was spectacular, the Sanctuary Ananda was amazing, and we were truly fortunate to have had this chance to visit this wonderful country. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This cruise was a 4 day part of a 22 day scenic tour of china so not exactly sure what part of the total tour cost this was. WE were fortunate that we were upgraded to a suite (see below) though weren't entitled to the benefits ... Read More
This cruise was a 4 day part of a 22 day scenic tour of china so not exactly sure what part of the total tour cost this was. WE were fortunate that we were upgraded to a suite (see below) though weren't entitled to the benefits that came with it..ie laundry as one of our fellow tour members found out. Ship: was a large "best available" vessel on the Yangtze river decorated in true Chinese style with an adequate theatre ,gym, well appointed lounge looking out onto a front deck area. This area had movable seating though wasn't under cover but was an excellent viewing area when going through the three gorges area which had towering cliffs on both sides of the boat. Activities: early morning ti chi ,several Chinese medical lectures, painting and off boat tour briefing added a lot to the trip. We chose to visit an under ground never completed nuke facility "site 816" ,a food market where we were ( 20 or so Aussies westerners) the topic of conversation.The locals stopped their shopping/trading to look at us /interact...not many of our kind seen around these parts id say We also were treated to a small boat cruise paddled , pulled & sang too by traditional Hubei boat people ( no longer naked- google it u will see) Food: this is an area I traditionally struggle with.Breakfast my favourite time as I can partake of the things I like.Both western & Chinese fare was available & this theme continued into lunch.I was able to satisfy my particular pallet though dinner was a choice of two items per entrée/main/dessert and I struggled. Whilst I don't drink alcohol my tour partners indicated the list was acceptable but not extensive.All has to be imported so while included wasn't free flowing....... Now just be aware that that getting off the boat to get to shore excursions or disembarking is not for the faint hearted.At times 100 or so steps straight up with only embarkation having a lift.The poor guys carrying our cases 2 at a time on a pole across their shoulders was a sight. The other issue was that we thought we would go through the 3 G Dam via a new ship elevator.Promotional information from our tour company indicated this but we started on the wrong side of the dam wall and headed up river. All said it was another good & different river cruise our 6th in a row. chris Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
This cruise was fantastic, in fact so good we are thinking of doing the Chindwin in 2018. The vessel was just beautiful, rooms a good size, nice little balconies to sit on, and great showers. What can you not say about the catering. ... Read More
This cruise was fantastic, in fact so good we are thinking of doing the Chindwin in 2018. The vessel was just beautiful, rooms a good size, nice little balconies to sit on, and great showers. What can you not say about the catering. Executive Chef Sumet Sumpachanyanont (ex Mandarin Oriental Bangkok) and his staff were amazing. The food was brilliant and everyday a different dish to try. The buffet lunches were marvellous and the set menu dinners excellent. The two Chef's Fine Dining Experiences consisted of carefully planned 5 courses. All the staff on board were wonderful very attentive without hovering. Our thanks of course go to Tim and AB, their organisation of excursions and entertainment was exceptional. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to the Mandalay deck which was nice, but the only difference was we were up higher than the deck we originally booked, the rooms were actually the same. One of the highlights of the cruise was to visit a local school which Sanctuary Retreats sponsor, and to leave gifts and meet the teachers and children. The villages and temples along the river were just beautiful. Did try to post some photos but wouldn't allow it. Read Less
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