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CHINDWIN RIVER CRUISES

Discover Burma on a Chindwin River Cruise

Burma is simply stunning; the landscapes are as beautiful as the warm, welcoming people. Although it’s becoming increasingly more popular, this relatively untravelled country will dazzle and surprise you at every turn.

The country is awash with rivers, with the Chindwin River, Myanmar being the main tributary of the mighty Irrawaddy river. It is navigable for around 1000km and requires specially designed ships to cross the waters.

The best way to immerse yourself into the Burmese culture and experience rural, river life, is to embark on a Pandaw Chindwin River cruise. Our ultra-low draught Pandaw ships no longer have to sail only during the monsoon, we can now sail through to February.

Much of the Chindwin River winds its way through mountain ranges and dense forest and due to most of these remote areas being difficult to access, most of what you will witness is untouched.

As the river meanders through mountains and forests you can enjoy the views from the deck, relax in your stateroom and enjoy demonstrations from the local Burmese people, from cooking to dance. We will stop at quaint little towns and working villages as we make our way between Monywa and Homalin. As we pass the breath-taking landscapes, monasteries and temples you will get a real sense of the soul of Burma. Each of our ships adopts a relaxed and comfortable environment in which you will soon feel at home. You are free to roam and use the public areas to unwind, read a book, learn more about where we are travelling to or simply take in the scenery.

Your stateroom is spacious and comes with fresh fruits and flowers on arrival. We supply kimonos, slippers and spa-branded amenities to make your stay that little bit more special. A Pandaw river cruise gives you the freedom to relax and unwind whilst embracing the local cultures.

River Cruise itinerary for The Chindwin: 7 Nights River Cruise map for The Chindwin: 7 Nights

The Chindwin: 7 Nights

7 NIGHTS

The loveliest of rivers. In the past we only offered this during the monsoon due to water levels, but now our ultra low draught Pandaws can sail through to February. The river carves it way through mountains and forests and we stop at delightful unspoilt little towns. Our objective, Homalin is the capital of Nagaland and close to the India border. We will ply the Upper Chindwin weekly between Monywa and Homalin. Monywa is under three hours from Mandalay and the car transfer is included with the cruise. Homalin is now connected by scheduled flight with Mandalay.

Two fabulous itineraries: The Monywa to Homalin (and vv) itinerary sails from July to August and October to November. We have a revised itinerary from Monywa to Kalewa (and vv) operating December to February.

Please note river banks can be steep and walks through villages are on the daily program. Medium fitness is requiered.

Late bookings: please note that Chindwin expeditions need special permits, which can take up to 3 weeks. We kindly ask you to contact us via email or phone for short notice bookings.

Rivers: Chindwin River

Ships: RV Zawgyi Pandaw

from US$3,307.50 per person

members from US$2,940 per person

Save up to 10% and No Single Supplement on selected dates

River Cruise itinerary for A Voyage to Nagaland River Cruise map for A Voyage to Nagaland

A Voyage to Nagaland

7 NIGHTS

Only two of our Pandaw ships can navigate the remote parts of the north of Homalin. This 7 night Chindwin River cruise takes you on an adventure to Nagaland, famous for the fierce Naga warriors. The journey is breathtaking as the Chindwin River passes through the dramatic scenery of unspoilt jungles, towering cliffs and deep gorges. You are welcomed into remote villages on the way and we even have mountain bikes for your use on your excursions, should you wish. Explore local markets and make your way to the top of a hill for views over Chindwin.

Rivers: Chindwin River

Ships: RV Kalay Pandaw

from US$3,307.50 per person

Save up to 10% and No Single Supplement on selected dates

River Cruise itinerary for Chindwin & The Upper Irrawaddy River Cruise map for Chindwin & The Upper Irrawaddy

Chindwin & The Upper Irrawaddy

18 NIGHTS

This is a 17-night cruise that combines both the beautiful Chindwin River with the mighty Upper Irrawaddy. It brings with it both relaxation and exploration. We travel for 7 days on the Chindwin River where you will visit the Phowin Taung Caves with beautiful mural paintings and Buddha statues, visit remote villages and enjoy a culinary demonstration by our head chef on how to prepare a traditional Burmese Ginger Salad. You will visit a teak wood forest by Tuk Tuk or coach and continue to the Pyar Swe Elephant Camp, a working camp where the elephants are protected in natural surroundings before you head to Kalewa overnight. After a morning of exploring you will take an internal flight to begin your journey on the Irrawaddy. On the Irrawaddy River, we journey off the beaten track for 10-nights, all the way to Katha once home to George Orwell and the setting for his book, Burmese Days. Other highlights include visits to potteries, Buddist monasteries and a climb to the top of Pagoda Hill at Tigyang to witness stunning views of the Irrawaddy. Your journey ends in Pagan where you will have a full day’s exploration of the 3000 plus Pagan monuments.

Rivers: Chindwin River, Irrawaddy River

Ships: RV Kalay Pandaw, RV Kha Byoo Pandaw, RV Zawgyi Pandaw

from US$7,087.50 per person

Save up to 10% and No Single Supplement on selected dates

Chindwin River Ships

RV Kalay Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Kalay Pandaw

The Kalay Pandaw was built in Mandalay in 2013 by our own team from within the company. This river yacht was built for private friend and family....
RV Zawgyi Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Zawgyi Pandaw

We acquired this Z craft in 2008 and fitted her out as a floating clinic as part of the Cyclone Nargis relief effort. Returned to us by the NGO ....

River Cruise Stops

Homalin

Homalin

Nestled between forested mountains rising up to 2700 metres, the township of Homalin is a truly picturesque place. You won’t find many tourists here, making it a great location to experience Myanmar in its rawest form on one of our Chindwin River Cruises . Homalin on the banks of the Chindwin river There are local shops here that you can visit as well as a few small bars for grabbing a drink. There are also temples here too to explore. Despite being a sleepy town, it does have its own airport located on the outskirts. Most of the settlement is fairly walkable, although you can grab a tuktuk to help get around if you’d prefer. Homalin has an intriguing history. During world war 2, it was briefly occupied by the Japanese. It was also once a regular stop for the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company – a historic ferry company made up of paddle steamers that were the inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem 'Mandalay'. Gold has been found on the beaches of the Uyu river – a tributary leading off of the Chindwin river. Local villagers often come to the beach to pan the sand in the hope of finding gold particles. Gold nuggets have even been found washed up on the beach. Homalin is located in Northwest Myanmar near the Indian border. It's the farthest navigable point of the Chindwin river and so is rarely visited by cruises. Two of our cruises stop here, which you can find more information on at the bottom of this page. Market stall in Homalin Tamanthi Wildlife Reserve Homalin's closest and most popular attraction is Tamanthi Wildlife Reserve. The sanctuary was founded in 1974 and boasts an area of 596. 7 square kilometres. Within this reserve you'll find a diverse array of wildlife, some of which is incredibly rare. Some of these animals include elephants, tigers, leopards and bears. Javan rhinoceroses are reported to have once been sighted in the reserve, but these are now thought to be extinct in the area. This could be a great adventure for those that love wildlife. Naga new year festival The Naga are a local indigenous people within the area. If you’re visiting during January, you may catch the Naga new year festival. This event runs for several days and involves plenty of jubilations in which the local people dance and have dinner over a bone fire. Our Voyage to Nagaland and the 7 Night Chindwin cruise offers a more in depth exploration into Naga culture, stopping at smaller villages further down the bank. For those that are interested in exploring this side of Myanmar, take a look at our cruises visiting the area!
Kalewa

Kalewa

Kalewa is one of the largest ports on the Chindwin River and an important trans-shipment point for goods going to and coming from nearby India.
Khamti

Khamti

Khamti is known as ‘the land full of gold’.
Kindat

Kindat

Myanmar is famed for its untouched scenery and temple-strewn landscapes, and never is that more the case than in remote destinations like Kindat. On one of our Chindwin River Cruises you can experience Kindat first hand. The lack of information about Kindat is one of the things that makes it such an appealing place to visit. It’s so out of the way that you won't even find it on Google Maps, with the closest marked destination being nearby Mawlaik. Located in an incredibly sparse part of the Chindwin Valley, Kindat was once the furthest point for IFC steamers outside of monsoon season. The name Kindat translates to 'military outpost, ' and the Myanmar kings established the destination during ancient times. Now, it's home to an impressive colonial post office which, as you'll see on your visit, has been transformed into a local school. Housing plots in Kindat Top attractions in Kindat Kindat in itself is all the attraction you’ll need when you visit here. The difference found in the way of life will strike any visitor as soon as they step off the boat. This is, after all, a destination so isolated that river is the only real way to get there. Walking around the secluded streets and shacks couldn't be further from the busy city living you might be used to in your everyday life. This, paired with the stunning sights on offer, is sure to make your trip here one to remember. Nearby destinations also worth attention include: Mawlaik Sitthaung Toungdoot Each of these locations makes an appearance alongside Kindat on our 7-night voyage to Nagaland, and offer similar out-of-this-world experiences. If you want a taste of authentic Myanmar life, then it doesn't get much better than locations like these. What is Kindat famous for? As well as being the furthest point for the IFC steamers of the past, Kindat is famed for (as you can guess by the name), its use as a military outpost. The remnants of the past are fast fading from this location as can be evidenced by the transformation of the old post office. Mostly untouched by the outside world, Kindat is certainly a destination unlike many modern locations we know today. Kindat on the Nagaland River Cruise Our iconic Voyage to Nagaland cruise is a 7-night trip that takes you right into the land of the Nagaland Warrior and brings a whole host of amazing views and destinations along with it. Every single day is guaranteed to bring you a sight like none you've ever seen before, and Kindat is no different. On the third day of your journey, you'll spend the morning here before heading to Yuwa.
Mawlaik

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. There are many fine colonial 'dak' bungalows set around a golf course.
Mingkin

Mingkin

A small town that had long been hidden from the world, Mingkin is a location in Myanmar that was only rediscovered as recently as 1987. After Paul Strachan, (Pandaw’s founder), described it in his book “Travels from The Golden City”, it became an area of great interest to travellers. Though far from the most famous spot in Myanmar, it still remains one of the most culturally interesting and is primarily accessible by the Chindwin River Cruises going through the area. Typical homes near Mingkin About Mingkin Also known as Mingun, Min Kun, and Minkin, this town of the Sagaing region is more than 11 km up the Ayeyarwady/Irrawaddy River from Mandalay, and is considered a must-see by experts of the area, even if it’s not too well known. It’s known for a few things, including housing the world’s largest, uncracked, working bell as well as the Mingkin Pahtodawgyi, the construction of which was halted and never continued after the death of King Bodawpaya in 1813. Daily life for villagers near Mingkin The Mingkin Pahtodawgyi A huge and impressive stupa that was initially being worked on by King Bodawpaya, work on this was initially stopped when an astrologer claimed the king would die as soon as the work as completed. Even after his death, the stupa was left as it was, even though it would have been the largest in the world on its completion. The Pahtodawgyi suffered some more damage after an earthquake hit the town. Nearby, you can still see a pondaw paya, or a working model of what the completed stupa would have looked like. Visitors are not allowed to enter the pagoda itself, but can make the ascent up the brick steps to take a closer look. Views from the top of the pagoda The top of the Mingkin pagoda also offers some excellent views of the surrounding rivers, villages, and the natural surroundings reaching all around. The arched lookout ports on the upper terrace also make an excellent vantage point, from which you can see many of the other surrounding outposts in the area. The Hsinbyume Pagoda Recognisable for its stark whiteness, this pagoda isn’t too far from the site of the stupa or the bell that the town is famous for. Designed in a style modelled after Mount Meru, where the Hindu gods are said to come from, this pagoda was built on the orders of King Bagyidaw. It was built in dedication to his first consort, Princess Hsinbyume, who it was named after. Princess Hsinbyume was also known as the Lady of the White Elephant, which is thought to explain the stark whiteness of the pagoda, as well. As little-visited as it is, Mingkin is worth the trip. Besides the pagodas and the bells mentioned, the decorated teak monasteries include the oldest wooden religious complex in the country, and there are many surrounding villages where visitors can see the lifestyles, crafts, and traditions of the local people. It’s a historic and cultural site that it would be a mistake to miss out on - the best way to experience it is on our 7 night Chindwin cruise , where you can spend a day exploring Mingkin with its markets and architecture. People relaxing on the Hsinbyume Pagoda
Monywa

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.
Nagaland

Nagaland

India is not just one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It’s also a country with a rich history and extraordinary cultural and religious diversity with each of its states having its own subtle variations in culture, mythology, topography and cuisine. At Pandaw, our obsession is unlocking the many diverse gems of this thriving and industrious country for travellers from around the world. Our greatest delight is helping adventurous people find and explore Asia’s most naturally beautiful, historically significant and culturally rich locations from the water. Our luxurious India river cruises are designed to make the country’s stunning locations accessible to all. Locations like the lush, beautiful and culturally rich state of Nagaland. From the river, we’ll guide you through this wonderful state to allow you the chance to explore the very best of what it has to offer. History and People of Nagaland The State of Nagaland was inaugurated back in 1963, and is the 16th State of the Indian Union. It is surrounded by Assam to the west, Burma (Myanmar) to the east, Arunachal Pradesh to the North and Manipur to the South. Within the state, there are 11 Administrative Districts, which are inhabited by 16 major tribes as well as numerous sub-tribes. Each tribe has its own distinct culture, customs, language and dress, making Nagaland one of the most wonderfully diverse places in India to visit. Life in Nagaland is much now as it has been for centuries, slow and relaxed, free of the high-tech encumbrances of the modern world. Things to See and Do in Nagaland Nagaland’s remote and largely unspoilt natural beauty makes it the perfect spot for travellers wanting to see a glimpse of India before it became a thriving hub of industry and commerce. As you explore this state on our river cruises you’ll get the chance to explore a number of villages, many of which are not accustomed to western visitors. And don’t forget to stop by the Khampti market to pick up some totally unique gifts and mementos to commemorate a trip that you’ll never forget. No trip to Nagaland is complete without a visit to the state museum in Kohima, where you can learn all about this fascinating land and the equally fascinating naga people who inhabit, seeing numerous artefacts of the various naga tribes that call this state home. Unspoilt Nagaland scenery Homalin to Kalewa- Enjoy Nagaland with us With so much to see and explore, then natural wonders of Nagaland are best explored by boat. Fortunately, our Homalin to Kalewa river cruise will allow you the opportunity to explore all there is to see in the gentle and relaxed way that’s befitting of this timeless land. Let Pandaw Cruises unlock Asia’s gems for you Make Pandaw your companion in exploring the diverse natural and cultural wonders of Nagaland & the Chindwin River . Every member of our team, along with your crew, is dedicated to bringing you a travel experience you’ll never forget, combining the many wonders of the Asian continent with an unassuming standard of luxury. Our cruise ships are small enough to allow you to explore Asia’s treasures yet offer the highest passenger-to-deck-space ratio of any cruise ships afloat. We can’t wait to explore the rivers of India with you!
Phowin Taung

Phowin Taung

Located in the Sagaing Division of Myanmar, Phowin Tuang is a sight you have to see to believe. Luckily, you can do just that when you book one of our Chindwin River Cruises . Twenty-five kilometers west of Monywa city and 10 km southeast of Yinmabin, this astounding Buddhist destination sits on the west bank of the Chindwin River. By boat, it's possible to catch sight of the over 900 caves and astonishing monuments that this location has to offer. View from Phowin Taung Phowin Taung translates to "Mountain of Isolated Solitary Meditation, " a name that local legend suggests was given by supernatural alchemist U Po Win. It's believed he could perform feats such as flying, surviving underwater, and curing illness. During his lifetime, legend tells that U Po Win practiced Shamatha Meditation to attain what the Buddhists refer to as Siddhi, or 'the ultimate state of renunciation'. That is all anyone really knows about the caves found at Phowintaung, though experts suggest that paintings found in this destination may date back to the 14th-18th centuries. History aside, some key facts worth noting ahead of a river cruise here include: There are 947 large and small Buddhist caves There are nearly 450, 000 Buddha images Sculptures have been carved into the sandstone Most of the caves are 1. 8 to 4. 6 meters deep Zone fees are $2 per person, and access is possible by boat or bridge One of the Phowin Taung caves Things to do on a trip to Phowintaung As you can imagine from a destination with 947 caves to choose from, it can be tricky to know where to start when you reach Phowintaung. During your stay, try to stick to key caves like the Hpo Win Daung Buddha Statue Cave Temple and the small galleries you can access from the image hall. Note, too, that there are plenty of spectacular sites to see just from walking around this destination. The iconic sandstone sculptures, such as the Myanmar lion and golden monkeys are all around. Speaking of golden monkeys, it's worth looking out for these during your trip. They are a regular feature of the Phowintaung caves, and it's possible to buy monkey food for them from nearby villages. Golden Monkey at Phowin Taung Note, too, that Phowintaung Pagode Festival is held here every year and is usually celebrated in November depending on the Myanmar lunar calendar. This is a vibrant time to visit, with plenty of traditional music and plays all around. Phowintaung and the Chindwin river cruise If you book our 7 night Chindwin river cruise , you can expect to enjoy your second day at Phowintaung via coach. This provides plenty of time to admire this spectacular Buddhist monument and the many caves in the area. Phowintaung and the Chindwin & Upper Irrawaddy cruise Phowintaung also appears on day 2 of our new Chindwin & Upper Irrawaddy cruise. Here, you'll spend the morning in these spectacular caves before visiting Kyauk Ka Village in the afternoon.
Sitthaung

Sitthaung

Near 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.
Toungdoot

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.

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