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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
This cruise was exceptional. This cruise line thought of everything, our guides were well informed and kept a caring eye on their daily wards. We discovered pottery villages, lacquer basket making, hand woven silk textile mill... the ... Read More
This cruise was exceptional. This cruise line thought of everything, our guides were well informed and kept a caring eye on their daily wards. We discovered pottery villages, lacquer basket making, hand woven silk textile mill... the fabrics were exquisite, many beautiful pagodas and Buddha's. There nothing quite as serene as exploring the river, and watching the sun set on an ancient sacred teak bridge while sipping champagne. I so enjoyed the people who crossed our path. Very interested and pleasant, obliging in photo shots and quick smiles. I can say the people of Myanmar were the highlight of my trip. The ship was very clean and tidy and the crew most eager to make your stay comfortable. The food was 5 star, the chef's outdid themselves and service excellent. You do need good legs, as stairs were used to get everywhere. Getting off for the excursion required climbing up river banks so work those calve muscles before leaving home. Evening were spent in the lounge with movies, cards, karaoke and documentaries that were most informative and gave us a clearer insight into Myanmar and its people. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
If you think you've seen it all on your many travels around the world, you clearly haven't experienced the luxury, professionalism, high-end service and tourist savvyness of Amawaterways' AmaPura river cruise along ... Read More
If you think you've seen it all on your many travels around the world, you clearly haven't experienced the luxury, professionalism, high-end service and tourist savvyness of Amawaterways' AmaPura river cruise along Myanmar's sleepy Irawaddy. Just like our seasoned fellow travellers, including geography professors, we were profoundly impressed by the unique combination of must-see tourist sites, such as Yangon's Shwedagon Pagoda or Mandalay, and visits to forlorn villages visibly frozen in time along the river banks. It was this carefully selected juxtapposition of visits to tourism hotspots on one day and strolls through breathtaking colonial villages or fishing hamlets along the river on the next day, which made this trip so unique. Amawaterways clearly knows about the unparalled advantage it can offer its passengers compared to land travellers: it can anchor anywhere along the river banks, quickly hew a few steps into the pristine slope, and within no less than 20 minutes passengers young and old can disembark to riverbank places no backpacker can reach for lack of land infrastructure. Add to this charming suite-size rooms with great bed and shower, an attentive and tirelessly friendly crew, and, most of all, unparalleled, de-luxe gourmet meals three times a day, plus in between, and you will not want to ever leave this small boutique cruise ship, which soon feels like your own private home. Chapeau, Amawaterways, you teach widely travelled folks like me that there are still adventures out there definitely worth discovering. And you make responsible and wise use of ever dollar you charge. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
Having travelled in Asia previously, on business and pleasure, I had an idea what to expect. However, I was more than impressed, not only by the views but also by the crew. It was the first time we had experienced a crew that became ... Read More
Having travelled in Asia previously, on business and pleasure, I had an idea what to expect. However, I was more than impressed, not only by the views but also by the crew. It was the first time we had experienced a crew that became totally involved with their passengers, from captain to crew hand. I had been to Bangkok several times before, so had experienced the Thai capital, so we were really looking forward to the trip to Myamar. It started well with a truly warm welcome in Yangoon. After a couple of days visiting the city sights we travelled by coach up country to Pyay. On route we visited the magnificent war cemetery of the forces that fought during the Second World War; truly a thought provoking experience set in a beautiful garden. At Pyay we joined our vessel and started the fascinating. Voyage to Mandalay, with brilliant stops on route that included Bagan, with its many stupas, the highlight of which was the morning expedition to see the sun rise; magical. There were many highlights of the trip, but another impressive visit was to the school and to see the construction and financial commitment put in by Viking to educate the local children. Finally we arrived in Mandalay and after 2 days of visits we left for Thailand and our flight home. It was truly a great experience of a well managed and thoughtful trip, overseen by a fully professional group of people. Remarkable, our best Viking experience so far to a country that is waking up to the treasures of its people, to be experienced by travellers. Read Less

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