This river expedition goes from Pyay (Prome) to Kalay. Pyay is the first major Irrawaddy port to the north of Rangoon on the Irrawaddy River and Kalay-wa, 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.
Avoid the bus transfer Yangon to Prome and start your cruise 4 days earlier from Yangon (18nights).
YOUR SHIP –
> RV KINDAT PANDAW
Cruise Price Includes: Bus Yangon-Prome, Entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, locally made soft drinks, local beer and local spirits, jugged coffee and selection of teas and tisanes, mineral water, one way flight Kalay/Kalemyo-Yangon after the cruise.
Cruise Price Excludes: International flights, port dues (if levied), laundry, all visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions), imported beverages such as wines, premium spirits and liqueurs, fancy soft drinks like Perrier, espressos and cappuccinos at bar and tips to tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators and cyclo drivers.
Meet at the Sule Shangri La 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.
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.
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.
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.
We tour a selection of the 3,000 listed monuments at this World Heritage Site, Pagan.
Cruise all day through the great Lower Chindwin plain.
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.
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.
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!.
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.
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.
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!
All day cruising downstream.
All day cruising downstream.
Travel 20 miles from Kalewa to Kalemyo the gateway to the Chin State. Your cruise includes a flight Kalay 12.10 to Yangon 13.55 (K7 227). Please note that flight timing is subject to change.
Finished in brass and teak, the main and upper deck rooms are very spacious at 168 square feet (15.6 sqm). Much loved by all our passengers we have ensured that with each ship we build the stateroom remains the same. Our cabins do not have mini-bars, satellite TV’s, internet or phones.Pandaw passengers usually want to escape from the tiresome features found in international business hotels.
Many passengers describe life on board a Pandaw more like being a guest on a private motor yacht than a cruise ship. Where we go and what we see is intrepid in extreme. What you come back to is a floating base of discreet comfort, caring service and all the good things one looks for in life. All our cabins have the same size and Pandaw signature amenities. Choose from Main Deck, Upper Deck or Premium Upper Deck (Mekong only).
Just a personal note of thanks for all your help and info supplied whenever I/we needed it during our many months of prep for the Pyay to Kalay Pandaw cruise in August this year.
Many people from all over the world on board too agreed with us that you are a wonderful person to deal with because you always come back with answers quickly and answer even the most complicated or unusual queries, incl. the details supplied when we took a private car to Prome to catch Pandaw Katha from there..
You were with Pandaw right back to when my husband and I did the amazing “into the heart of Borneo” trip and every time we take another Pandaw cruise you are still there to answer our questions and that is why I wanted to email you today (as I am sorting out many hundreds of photos 🙂 to say “ Many thanks, it is always a real pleasure to deal with you” and if Laos ever takes off we will be the first to book with you again.
Su & David Warren