Nature Travel Specialists
nature tours & travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Australia, Southeast Asia, South America and Alaska
Space available for a single male to share - at the discount price.
Since 2004 we have not included Burma - Myanmar - in our selection of travel destinations due to Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition to travel which funnelled western currencies directly into the coffers of the military regime. Starting a few years back this slowly began to change, and now the opposition party, led by Aung Sun Suu Kyi, welcomes travelers. To mark this change we are offering a spectacular cruise into a little visited area of Burma, largely away from the now pretty well trod tourist route. While the spectacular Buddhist Wats and monuments of Pagan will still be part of the tour, we visit the far inland, along waterways usually only traversed by locals.
August 31 to September 20, 2013
DAY 1: YANGON / 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 / KINDAT
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: MONYWA
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: BAGAN
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 AND 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 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.
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: 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.
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 AND 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 the ship between 8.00 am - 9.00 am at Shwe Kyet Yet Jetty, Mandalay.
The cost for the cruise is $6499pp including fuel surcharge for 20 nights for lower deck for our available single male share space, and $9425pp upper deck. This includes all transfers within Burma, full board on ship including soft drinks, mineral water and local beers, and all shore excursions; at least one shore excursion is offered daily but two are common. Also included is the flight from Yangon to Kalemyo. This is exceptional value for a fully inclusive cruise of this length, especially considering there are just 16 cabins for 32 guests, so individual attention and small groups are welcome feature of the cruise. (The photo of the boat is a larger 48 passenger vessel, but the design of the smaller, shallower-draft is virtually the same, just shorter).
Not included are hotel nights before and after, which we will arrange, your international flight to Burma, the flight from Mandalay to your departure city, and personal items, imported alcoholic drinks and premium mineral water, and any additional government fees that may be imposed.
To be able to access the upper reaches of the river this cruise is taking place in the wet season. However, rain at this time is not continuous; those who have traveled the wet tropics know that in most places, including Myanmar, rain while often heavy mostly occurs in short showers during the day, and sometimes longer rain at night.
Find out more about Burma and the cruise, including deck plan and other aspects of our delightful, traditionally styled (but airconditioned) vessel on the Pandaw website here.
Call us at 1 251 861 2524 to reserve your space.
(not a toll-free number but we'll call you back)