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21 Days | The Chindwin and Upper Irrawaddy Rivers
Northbound (Upstream) Only

20 Nights Aboard Ship

The scenery on this cruise is spectacular and we are always welcomed with astonishment by the many remote communities through which we pass. Achieving our goal of Homalin over 600 miles from the Chindwin’s confluence with the Irrawaddy we return downstream all the way to the ancient city of Pagan just below the confluence. Then we continue a further 700 miles up the Irrawaddy past Mandalay to the great 2nd Defile, just short of the out-of-bounds city of Bhamo. This is the most northerly navigable point on the Irrawaddy and gateway to China.

Twenty nights on a river cruise may seem a long time, but the majority of the passengers on these expeditions are regular Pandaw passengers, and happy to spend so long in the convivial atmosphere of a Pandaw ship! No two days are the same with varied scenery and diverse cultural sites. This expedition is the most popular of all our cruises and as we only run one a year tends to book out quite early.

NOTE: This expedition takes place during the Southeast Asia monsoon season which is the only time we have sufficient water levels to attempt these remote rivers. It may rain but not continuously. River banks may be muddy and slippery. This is a real expedition and the itinerary subject to sudden changes due to water levels or other local conditions.

Day 1| Rangoon (Yangon), Myanmar (Burma). Kalemyo. Morning flight to Kalemyo, the gateway town for the Chin State. We explore Kalewa with its markets and quaint wooden architecture.

Day 2 | Kalewa. Kiindat. Stop for morning walk at Balet, a charming and typical river community.

Day 3 | Kindat. 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.

Day 4 | Sithaung. We 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.

Day 5 | Toungdoot. Toungdoot, or Hswang-hsup in Tain, is an ancient Shan enclave which in British times still had a ruling prince or sawbwa complete with palace and court.

Day 6 | Homalin. We pass the Uyu River worked by gold washers on the way to Homalin, the furtherst navigable point on the Chindwin for vessels of our size.

Day 7 | 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.

Day 8 | Mingkin. Mingkin features Konbaung court style teak monasteries which are sumptuously decorated. Mingkin may be described as the Luang Prabang of the Chindwin.

Day 9 | Monywae. Entering the Lower Chindwin where the river widens and the forested hills fall away to farmland, we pass a number of attractive villages. We will explore Monywa and time permitting make a quick trip to the Thanbodi Temple with its million Buddha images.

Day 10 | Cruise to Pagan. Cruise all day to the great Lower Chindwin plain.

Day 11 | 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 evening walk in Oh Ne Kyaung village to see the local life in this typical river side community.

Day 12 | Yandabo Village. We 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.

Day 13 | Ava. Amarapura. In the morning we 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 we travel to Mandalay for an orientation tour of the city area visiting the Mahamuni Pagoda and sunset at Amarapura U-Bein Bridge.

Day 14 | Mingun Pagoda. 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.

Day 15 | 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.

Day 16 | Ancient City of Tagaung. 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.

Day 17 | Burmese Days. We 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.

Day 18 | Shwegu. Kyun-daw. We continue upstream to Shwegu and Kyun-daw, a midstream island of monasteries and countless small pagodas. Cruise through the 2nd Defile, the most dramatic of the three gorges, with cliffs towering over the narrow channel.

Day 19 | Inn-ywa. Delightful walk through some of the oldest wooden village houses in Burma.

Day 20 | Khanyat. Visit a Buddhist orphanage and the grave of an English officer assassinated here during the Pacification of Burma (1887).

Day 21 | Mandalay. Disembark at Mandalay docks. (B)

NOTE: Itinerary is subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the itinerary schedule you receive with your final documents.

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