Asia is a melting pot of other-worldly cultures, vibrant landscapes and unique festivities. In particular, Myanmar is renowned worldwide for its bright and colourful festivals. And this November, one of the most exciting events will be taking place right across the country.
The Tazaungdaing Festival of Lights marks the eighth full moon in the Burmese calendar and will be held on 25 November. This spectacular festival is one of the prettiest in Asia, and will see many of the country’s religious sites vividly lit up by oil lamps and Chinese lanterns. Think of Chiang Mai’s famous Lantern Festival, but minus the throngs of tourists and gimmicky parades.
Throughout Myanmar, communities come together to create a breath-taking spectacle, releasing thousands of bamboo hot air balloons into the sky, each glittering with the light of a hundred candles. In Bagan, the thousands of temples that litter the landscape literally become beacons of light as pilgrims travel from far and wide to make their offerings.
For travellers lucky enough to find themselves in Myanmar during this time, it is an experience like no other. Guests aboard the luxuriously appointed Sanctuary Ananda, are afforded a unique perspective of the Festival’s splendours as they sail along Myanmar’s mighty Ayeryarwady River when the day’s light fades and the sky begins to twinkle with candles, balloons and lanterns, many of them home made.
Custom-built using traditional Myanmar materials and arranged over four decks, Sanctuary Ananda combines all the comforts of 5-star contemporary luxury with the refined elegance of authentic Burmese design. The Sanctuary Ananda offers one of the highest staff-to-guest ratios on the river, allowing guests to enjoy the mysteries of Myanmar with a choice of six itineraries led by expert guides.
The vessel is also the only all-balcony (fully furnished), all-suite ship on the Ayeryarwady River, with just 21 beautifully appointed suites as well as an on-board spa, library, gallery, lounge, cocktail bar, and plunge pool.
Itineraries available are 3, 4 and 7 night itineraries on the Upper Ayeryarwady River and 11 nights on the Upper and Lower Ayeryarwady River, sailing past dense jungle-clad riverbanks, grand gorges, endless rice paddies and snapshots of rural life being played out along the riverbank, including the occasional glimpse of saffron-clad neophyte monks bound for temples.
3-night cruises aboard Sanctuary Ananda start from $1,378 per person twin share.