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

14 Nights Aboard Ship

In 2012, Pandaw operated this exciting new river exepdition from Pyay (Prome) to Kalay for the first time. Pyay (Prome) is the first major Irrawaddy port to the north of Rangoon on the Irrawaddy River and Kalewa, the main port on the Upper Chindwin River. This monsoon cruise will cover the middle part of Burma including Pagan with its 3000 monuments and the culturally rich Lower Chindwin with its little known art treasures and early wood carved monasteries. At this time of year when the Chindwin is in full flood the river is at its most dramatic but be prepared for heavy rain with sunny interludes between downpours. The skys and colours will be amazing. Walks ashore may be muddy and river banks slippery. This is a cruise strictly for Pandaw afficionados and not for first timers in Burma!

Day 1 | Prome and Ancient Pyu. Meet at the Chatrium Hotel in Yangon and transfer by coach to Prome. Visit the 5th-8th century archaeological site of Thiri-ya-kittiya, former centre of the Pyu civilization. We cross jungle and countryside to visit monumental Pyu stupas and the excavations of the former palace-city in this walled early centre of Buddhism.

Day 2 | Thayetmyo Frontier Post. This pleasant colonial town once guarded the border between Royal Burmah and British Burmah following the 2nd Anglo Burmese War of 1855 and many of the buildings including the covered market date from this period. We visit the market, see the colonial houses and ride out by horse and cart to see the countryside and golf links.

Day 3 | Minhla Forts and Magwei. In Minhla and Gwechaung we visit the two Italian built forts constructed to keep the British at bay from Royal Burmah. We climb the Gwechaung hill for the view. In the afternoon we cruise on to Magwe where we climb the river bank and wend our way through a labyrinth of passages and paths to reach the magnificent Myat-thalon Pagoda.

Day 4 | Sale Monasteries. We visit a number of teak monasteries including the Yout-saun-kyaung with its spectacular wood carvings. We also explore an area of splendid colonial houses.

Day 5 | Pagan. We tour a selection of the 3,000 listed monuments at this World Heritage Site, Pagan.

Day 6 | Lower Chindwin River. Cruise all day through the great Lower Chindwin plain...

Day 7 | Monywa. Kanee. Arriving in the busy port town of Monywa will be a bit of a shock after the peace and remoteness of the Chindwin. We will explore the town and time permitting make a quick trip to the Thanbodi Temple with its million Buddha images - a sort of Buddhist Disneyland! Beyond Monywa we enter the Upper Chindwin. The river narrows and the forested hills fall away to farmland we pass a number of attractive villages like Kin or Kanee where we can stretch our legs.

Day 8 | Mingkin. Mingkin was rediscovered by Paul Strachan in 1987 and described in some detail in his book Mandalay: Travels from the Golden City. It remains for Paul the most art historically interesting site in Myanmar (more so than the now spoilt Pagan) with its Konbaung court style teak monasteries sumptuously decorated. Mingkin may be described as the Luang Prabang of the Chindwin.

Day 9 | Mawlaik. Mawlaik replaced Kindat as the administrative capital but ironically the Myanma refused to move there from upstream Kindat. It was mainly settled with the company houses of the by the Scottish owned and run Bombay Myanmarh Trading Corporation in the 1920s and 1930s. There are many splendid ‘Dak Bungalows’ set around a verdant golf course. Mawlaik and the other towns of the Upper Chindwin can only be reached by boat so cars are few. There is a dreamy otherworldly quality to such places and truly one feels that one has travelled there in the Pandaw time machine!.

Day 10 | Paungbyin to Sitahaung. Pantha was an important oil refinery belonging to the Indo-Myanmar Petroleum Co (Steel Brothers). We pass the mouth of the Yu River which drains the Kubu valley that provided the route for a Lieutenant Grant to march to the relief of the Manipur garrison when the chief commissioner of Assam was massacred in a local rebellion. Sitthaung was the final resting place of a number of IFC steamers scuppered there in 1942 in an ‘act of denial’ from the advancing Japanese who were a matter of hours behind. We hope to find remains of these ships as we have in the past at Katha on the Irrawaddy. It was from here that the survivors of the Japanese invasion marched out to Tamu on the India border.

Day 11 | Sitahaung to Toungdoott. Toungdoot or Hsawng-hsup in Tai, is an ancient Shan enclave which in British times still had a ruling sawbwa complete with palace and court. It will be interesting to see what has become of the royal family and their home and to see these Shan people so far from their Tai-Shan homelands

Day 12 | Toungdoot to Homalin. We 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. Alister McCrae wrote of his visit there 1935 ‘I loved the atmosphere of quiet and peaceful living there. At night I could hear greylag geese as they came in to the flooded land around us from far away north’. Bird in 1897 says little other than that Homalin is the headquarters of a township, but has very little trade’. Until we get there and explore the place there is not much we can say!

Day 13 | Homalin. Return Downstream. All day cruising downstream.

Day 14 | Return Downstream to Kalewa. All day cruising downstream.

Day 15 | Kalemyo to Rangoon. Travel 20 miles from Kalewa to Kalemyo the gateway to the Chin State for the domestic flight and fly to Yangon.)

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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