MYANMAR BURMA - Destinations & Hotels
Irrawaddy & Chindwin River Cruises (20 day + cruises)
Please double check the below information with your consultant as some of the Pandaw ships have committed to the long term relief effort to the Cyclone Nagis victims.
Since 1998 Pandaw have offered this popular cruise to passengers seeking a shorter cruise as part of a land tour rather than for those seeking a longer river expedition. They ply four times a week between the ancient capital of Bagan with its 3000 Buddhist monuments and Mandalay the last royal capital at Mandalay. They stop for shore excursions by foot at the villages of Theingone and Yandabo where the Pandaw passengers have financed the building of schools. You see real village life, pot making, agriculture and visit Buddhist monasteries. Many land travellers find the short cruises a welcome and tranquil holiday within a holiday. Short cruises operate between November and March during the High Season.
Pandaw have four beautifully crafted self built ships in operation. Each ship, hand finished in brass and teak by traditional craftsmen are in themselves objects of great beauty. The secret of their success is that on the ships, whilst luxury and comfort are discreetly present, it is the colonial character and friendly atmosphere that predominate. All Pandaws have ultra shallow drafts and can travel to remote areas, which would be unreachable by other vessels, let alone overland.
Cabins; The Pandaw stateroom (cabin) is the most celebrated feature of the ships. Finished in brass and teak, the main and upper deck rooms are very spacious at 168 square feet. Much loved by all passengers Pandaw have ensured that in each ship the stateroom remains the same. The cabins do not have mini-bars, satellite TV’s, internet or phones. There is a 24 honesty bar on the sundeck. Pandaw passengers usually want to escape from the tiresome features found in international business hotels. They ensure that crews never to arrive in port early and sit there tied up - indeed better to slow down if ahead of schedule.
Many passengers describe life on board a Pandaw more like being a guest on a private motor yacht than a cruise ship. Where you go and what you see is intrepid in extreme.
20 nights on board Pandaw II or IV – Yangon to Bhamo & Beyond
Yangon to Kalemyo; The gateway town for the Chin State. Explore Kalewa with its markets and quaint wooden architecture.
Kalewa to Kindat; Stop for morning walk at Balet, a charming and typical river community.
Kindat to Paungbyin; Kindat was as far as the old IFC steamers ventured outside of the Monsoon season. This part of the Chindwin valley is very sparsely populated and villages are few and far between.
Paungbyin to Sitthaung; Pass the mouth of the Yu River which drains the Kubu valley. Sitthaung was the final resting place of a number of IFC steamers scuppered there in 1942.
Sithaung to Toungdoot; Toungdoot or Hsawng-hsup in Tai, is an ancient Shan enclave which in British times still had a ruling prince or sawbwa complete with palace and court.
Toungdoot to Homalin; Pass the Uyu River worked by gold washers on the way to Homalin, the furthest navigable point on the Chindwin for vessels of our size.
Homalin to Mawlaik; Mawlaik replaced Kindat as the administrative capital. Like other towns of the Upper Chindwin, they can only be reached by boat so cars are few.
Mawlaik to Mingkin; Mingkin with its Konbaung court style teak monasteries are sumptuously decorated. Mingkin may be described as the Luang Prabang of the Chindwin.
Mingkin to Monywa; Entering the Lower Chindwin where the river widens and the forested hills fall away to farmland we pass a number of attractive villages. Explore Monywa and time permitting make a quick trip to the Thanbodi Temple with its million Buddha images.
Monywa to Pagan; Cruise all day through the great Lower Chindwin plain.
Pagan; Tour a selection of the most significant of the 3,000 Buddhist monuments found at this World Heritage Site. We will visit lacquerware manufacturers. Sail in the afternoon and moor overnight at Thein Gone village to visit the new school and the monastery.
Yandabo Village; Head upstream to the Chindwin confluence and stop in the evening at Yandabo. Here we visit the Pandaw School built with donations from past Pandaw passengers.
Ava and Amarapura; In the morning you travel to Ava and explore the ruins, visiting Bagaya Kyaung, a 200 year old royal monastery made of teak with elaborate wood carvings. In the afternoon travel to Mandalay for an orientation tour of the city area visiting the Mahamuni Pagoda and sunset at Amarapura U-Bein Bridge.
Mingun Pagoda and Bell; We cast off early and stop at Mingun to see the largest working bell in the world and the unfinished pagoda that is the largest single mass of brick building in the world. We also visit the Mingun Old People’s Home originally established with the assistance of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company in the 1930s.
Kyaung-myoung Potteries; Visit the spectacular potteries near Kyauk-myoung We enter the Third Defile and sail upstream all day stopping at Khan-nyat village with its many Buddhist monasteries and an orphanage we support.
Tagaung Ancient City; Explore by foot the ancient city of Tagaung viewing the fortifications. In the evening we climb the Pagoda Hill at Tigyang with its stunning views of the Irrawaddy.
Burmese Days; Reach the enchanting colonial town of Katha, setting for George Orwell’s Myanma Days. Katha was the final resting place of the old flotilla and here over a hundred ships were scuppered in 1942.
Shwegu; Continue upstream to Shwegu, another centre of pot making, and Kyun-daw a midstream island of monasteries and countless small pagodas.
Bhamo; Cruise through the 2nd Defile, the most dramatic of the three gorges with cliffs towering over the narrow channel. Reach Bhamo in the afternoon, an important trading town close to the Chinese border.
1st Defile; Chartering a smaller ‘country boat’ we will proceed upstream from Bhamo and attempt to reach the dramatic 1st Defile. In the evening explore Bhamo’s bustling markets.
Bhamo to Rangoon; Disembark at Bhamo, transfer to airport by local bus, and fly to Rangoon.
The above is an example itinerary; the exact day to day itinerary may change according to river conditions without prior notice.