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Combo Cruises

COMBO EXPEDITIONS RIVER CRUISES

If you have a desire to explore Southeast Asia in more depth and time is on your side, our combination cruises are simply perfect. They offer a unique and special way to get off the beaten track and immerse yourself in the local culture in a way like no other. Pandaw has three new combination cruises. These itineraries explore the Chindwin River and the Upper Irrawaddy in the majestic country of Burma, Halong Bay and the Red River in the stunning surroundings of Vietnam and the upper Mekong running through breath-taking remote parts of Laos, Thailand and Burma.

Our combination cruise expeditions offer 18 to 22 nights of uninterrupted, back-to-back cruising down these unforgettable rivers, on our exceptional Pandaw ships. Our prices are inclusive of flights, transfers and hotel stays where necessary.

Our cruise ships allow you to relax and unwind whilst being able to fully appreciate your surroundings. You can dine on deck and we make use of our communal spaces with demonstrations and talks from the local people. With anything from cooking to dancing, the warm and welcoming people of Southeast Asia cannot wait to entertain and educate.

Our staterooms are spacious and come with fresh fruit and flowers on arrival. We supply kimonos, slippers and spa-branded amenities to make your stay even more special.

River Cruise itinerary for Ganges & Brahmaputra River Cruise map for Ganges & Brahmaputra

Ganges & Brahmaputra

14 NIGHTS

There can be no river in the world as sacred as the Ganges and an expedition on the Lower Ganges or Hooghly is one of the prettiest river journeys imaginable. The river wends its way through the lush countryside of West Bengal with its culturally significant towns crammed with temples and palaces. A rich and vibrant rural life abounds and there is never a dull moment as we sedately ply this pleasant waterway. Combine this with the mighty Brahmaputra river in Northern India which originates high in the Himalayas before flowing through the scenic Assam Valley where UNESCO protected national parks and remote rural communities provide the traveller with the most wonderful and authentic expedition.

Rivers: Ganges River, Brahmaputra River

Ships: RV Kalaw Pandaw, RV Kindat Pandaw

from US$6,639 per person

members from US$5,311.20 per person

No Single Supplement on selected dates

River Cruise itinerary for Saigon, Siem Reap, Halong Bay & Hanoi River Cruise map for Saigon, Siem Reap, Halong Bay & Hanoi

Saigon, Siem Reap, Halong Bay & Hanoi

18 NIGHTS

Combine the fascinating and varied Mekong River, with its striking cultural contrast between the bustling Vietnam delta and the tranquility of Cambodia, with exploring the key sites of Northern Vietnam by traversing the Red River delta and its main tributaries, connecting the wonders of Halong Bay with the excitements of down town Hanoi, and then on into the interior, well off the beaten track. Inbetween cruises spend a day at leisure to explore Hanoi or Siem Reap.

Rivers: Mekong River, Halong Bay & The Red River

Ships: RV Angkor Pandaw, RV Mekong Pandaw

from US$7,116.50 per person

members from US$5,693.20 per person

River Cruise itinerary for Hanoi, Halong Bay, Saigon & Siem Reap River Cruise map for Hanoi, Halong Bay, Saigon & Siem Reap

Hanoi, Halong Bay, Saigon & Siem Reap

18 NIGHTS

Combine the fascinating and varied Mekong River, with its striking cultural contrast between the bustling Vietnam delta and the tranquility of Cambodia, with exploring the key sites of Northern Vietnam by traversing the Red River delta and its main tributaries, connecting the wonders of Halong Bay with the excitements of down town Hanoi, and then on into the interior, well off the beaten track. Inbetween cruises spend a day at leisure to explore Saigon.

Rivers: Mekong River, Halong Bay & The Red River

Ships: RV Angkor Pandaw, RV Mekong Pandaw

from US$6,959.50 per person

No Single Supplement on selected dates

River Cruise itinerary for Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong River Cruise map for Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong

Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong

21 NIGHTS

If you really want to immerse yourself in the rich culture and beautiful surroundings these countries have to offer, why not embark on a 21 night river cruise where you will not only discover Halong Bay, the Red River and Hanoi in Vietnam, but also embark on a cruise on the Mekong in Laos.

Rivers: Halong Bay & The Red River, Mekong River

Ships: RV Angkor Pandaw, RV Champa Pandaw

from US$7,630 per person

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

Chindwin & The Upper Irrawaddy

18 NIGHTS

Chindwin, the loveliest of rivers. Our objective, Homalin is the capital of Nagaland and close to the India border. The river carves it way through mountains and forests and we stop at delightful unspoiled little towns. Combine this with the scenic and remote Upper Irrawaddy. We journey off the beaten track for 10-nights all the way to Katha once home to George Orwell and the setting for Burmese days. Other highlights will be passage through the 3rd and 2nd defiles.

Rivers: Chindwin River, Irrawaddy River

Ships: RV Kha Byoo Pandaw, RV Zawgyi Pandaw

from US$8,662.50 per person

No Single Supplement on selected dates

River Cruise itinerary for The Irrawaddy & The Great Irrawaddy Delta River Cruise map for The Irrawaddy & The Great Irrawaddy Delta

The Irrawaddy & The Great Irrawaddy Delta

18 or 22 NIGHTS

Sailing through the heart of 'Middle Myanmar' we pass through a varying landscape – from the lush teak plantations around Prome to the desert country south of Pagan. Combined with The Great Irrawaddy Delta, an area of over 1000 square miles originally a vast inhabited wetland and jungle. The Irrawaddy Flotilla Company by the 1920s operated over 100 creek steamers across the Delta connecting these towns and villages at a time when there were neither roads nor bridges. These places are remote from the modern world and offer a glimpse of a timeless, lost Myanmar far from the usual tourist track.

Rivers: Irrawaddy River, Irrawaddy Delta

Ships: RV Kanee Pandaw

from US$7,948.60 per person

No Single Supplement on selected dates

Rivers in Combo Expeditions

Brahmaputra River

Brahmaputra River

India's Brahmaputra River is the 29th longest river in the world at 2, 948 km long, and has a discharge of 19, 200 cubic litres per second which puts northern India's great waterway in the top 10 when it comes to volume. This is a massive waterway, being the only river on Earth clearly visible from the moon during the Apollo missions. Flowing down from central Tibet through the legendary Tsangpo gorges, the Brahmaputra river opens out as it enters Assam to flow across that state and then through Bangladesh to flow out through the vast Sundarbans Delta, merging with the Ganges River , as they discharge into the Bay of Bengal. The Brahmaputra river may be little-navigated today, but in colonial times steamer services operated as far as Dibrugarh. The river in places can be up to 20 miles wide and in the monsoon it floods the entire Assam plain. Indeed, East Bengal is not called “the wettest place on the planet" for nothing – it literally does have the world’s highest rainfall. The river is so vast that any river cruise expedition undertaken here can be movingly wondrous, as you pass through this great emptiness of water, sand and shoal. Passengers of our Brahmaputra river cruises enjoy their trips in peace and tranquility with very little human activity on the riverbank. That means the wild life and bird life are profuse.
Chindwin River

Chindwin River

The Chindwin River flows down from the Burma – Assam border area, its waters rising from the Himalayan foothills. It is the main tributary of the Irrawaddy and is 1, 207km long. Of this great length, about 1000km is navigable only in vessels that have the shallowest drafts in the world. These designs, perfected by the Irrawaddy Flotilla in the 1880s, are the ones that passengers of our Chindwin river cruises continue to use to this day. The Chindwin river flows through remote areas with few roads or cars and most communities are connected by the river. Above Homalin we are in Nagaland where until Christianity arrived in the 19th Century the Nagas specialised in shrinking the heads of their human quarry. This is the loveliest of rivers but treacherous to navigate and larger ships can only venture up there in the monsoon, and even then not without difficulty. Pandaw operates the ultra-shallow draft Zawgyi Pandaw throughout the dry season between Monyaw and Homalin and in the monsoon as far as Hkamti.
Ganges River

Ganges River

The Ganges River is the 34th longest river in the world at 2, 620km, flowing down through the Himalayas to form the Gangetic Plain of North India eventually to discharge into the Bay of Bengal through Bangladesh. The Hooghly river connects the Ganges river to Kolkata with a ship lock as part of the Farakka Barrage that diverts water away from Bangladesh. The Ganges river is the cradle of Indian civilisation and is sacred to Hindus. To bathe in the waters of the "Holy Ganga" is a form of purification, and to be cremated at the Ghats [stepped riverside terraces] of Varanasi the ambition of every living Hindu. The river was used for navigation in British colonial times with steamer services between Calcutta, Patna and even further upriver. Massive irrigation schemes later diverted waters and the construction of railways, and later roads with low bridges effectively killed river transportation and the navigation channels silted up. In recent years, much has been done to improve navigation and Patna can be reached year-round and at certain times Varanasi too. Experiencing a Ganges river cruise is the only sensible way to see India, avoiding its now-congested roads and all the other inconveniences of travel today in India. There is much to see along the way – historically, culturally and for bird and wildlife. This is a river that offers rich experiences.
Halong Bay & The Red River

Halong Bay & The Red River

The Song Hong or Red River rises deep in the Yunnan mountains of south-west China to flow 714 miles (1, 149km) across Northern Vietnam to discharge into the Gulf of Tonkin. It is an ancient trade route and was the route by which French explorers in the 19th century penetrated Yunnan, eventually reaching Kunming. Hanoi, capital of Vietnam straddles the river and close to its mouth lies Halong Bay, with its dramatic scenery. Using the Angkor Pandaw in 2015 we set up a remarkable Halong Bay cruise. Connecting Halong Bay through various canals and tributaries to join up with the Red River and to continue upstream to mountainous areas beyond Viet Tri and up the Lo River , one of the main tributaries. There can be no better way to explore Northern Vietnam.
Irrawaddy Delta

Irrawaddy Delta

The Irrawaddy Delta covers an area of over 1000 square miles with Rangoon, its most famous port and capital of all Burma from 1886 to 2005. Originally a vast inhabited wetland and jungle, much of it was cleared and cultivated by the British who annexed Lower Burma in 1855. It subsequently became the rice basket of Asia, effectively feeding much of the Indian Raj. During this period of prosperity a number of rice towns developed in the colonial style. The most famous of which was Bassein. The Irrawaddy Flotilla Company by the 1920s operated over 100 creek steamers across the Delta connecting these towns and villages at a time when there were neither roads nor bridges. There are seven main channels and myriad lesser ones forming a complex labyrinth of waterways understood only by the most experienced pilots. In the backwaters there is the feel of Kerala, on the larger channels it could be New Orleans and the Deep South. Contrary to expectation these great wetlands are not monotonous at all and there is considerable human interest in the form of pretty towns, markets, temples, churches and mosques. There is also profuse bird life in the less populated areas.
Irrawaddy River

Irrawaddy River

The Irrawaddy River in Burma ranks as the 55th longest river in the world at 2, 170km but it is in the top ten rivers in terms of discharge at 13, 000 litres per second. The river begins at the confluence of two rivers in Kachin State, the N'mai (Nam Gio) and Mali Rivers, and discharges into the Andaman sea through a vast 10, 000-square mile Delta. You can experience one of our Irrawaddy river cruises year round, for 1, 600km from Rangoon to Bhamo and, for part of the year, for another 200km as far as Myitkina close to the confluence. The main tributary is the Chindwin River . In the monsoon the average rise on the low water level is 30m but in the 1st Defile it is double this. There are three defiles between Mandalay and Myitkyina, the most spectacular of which is the second defile below Bhamo. Between here and the Delta the river varies hugely from mountains to plains. In the defiles the width is only a couple of hundred feet but in the plains it can be miles wide. In the low water season sand islands appear, many farmed on a seasonal basis, and navigation channels become serpentine and often hard to find. Pandaw operates several vessels on the Irrawaddy with services connecting Rangoon to Bhamo.
Mekong River

Mekong River

The Mekong River is the 12th largest river in the world flowing 4, 350km from SW China to discharge into the sea through a vast delta in Vietnam. Discharging 16, 000 cubic meters per second this great beast of a river actually flows through or marks the boundaries of six different nations: China , Laos , Burma , Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam . Navigable approximately 3, 000km in high water from Saigon to Stuc Treng in Cambodia and again above the Cambodia Laos border formed by the impassable Khone Falls, the river is navigable from Pakse all the way to Jinghong in China. In French colonial times it was said that for officials taking up postings in Laos it took longer to sail up the Mekong from Saigon to Luang Prabang than it did to sail from Paris to Saigon. In fact, the French built a railway round the Khone Falls to connect steamer services above and below. Passengers of our famous Mekong river cruises experience enormous cultural and ecological diversity on this magnificent river. However, both ways of life and the biodiversity of this vast region will be affected by the construction of a number of new dams. Seven are planned for Laos alone, with one nearing completion. Our ship already passes through in a specially-constructed lock. Though flowing through six countries there is a far greater human diversity than merely six nationalities. Numerous minority groups and hill tribes have settled along the banks, from the Chams in Vietnam to Akas, Lisus, Shans, Dai and many others the further up you go into the Highlands. All of this makes for a truly fascinating ethnography. Pandaw operates three Mekong river cruise ships on the Lower Mekong and Tonle rivers through Vietnam and Cambodia and from Laos to China on the Upper Mekong.

Combo Expeditions Ships

RV Angkor Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Angkor Pandaw

Sister to the Katha and from the same yard delivered in 2013, the only difference with the Katha is an enclosed air conditioned dining room insi....
RV Champa Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Champa Pandaw

The Champa Pandaw, sister ship of the Laos Pandaw, began cruises on the Upper Mekong from September 2016. The ship has quality mountain bikes fo....
RV Kalaw Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Kalaw Pandaw

Sister to the Kindat and identical in design the Kalaw was launched with her in 2014 Kalaw is named after the PS Kalaw launched in 1917 and sunk....
RV Kanee Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Kanee Pandaw

Pandaw are delighted to announce the construction of a new fourteen cabin K-class ship for Burma, now renamed Myanmar. These ultra-shallow twin ....
RV Kha Byoo Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Kha Byoo Pandaw

This ten cabin K class was completed in 2016 and is currently serving as the Pandaw Academy training ship at Pagan. Like so many of our K class ....
RV Kindat Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Kindat Pandaw

The original Kindat was built in 1886 by Yarrows in London and sank in 1920. She was named after a small Upper Chindwin town. Following experime....
RV Mekong Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Mekong Pandaw

Built in Rangoon in 2002 she was sailed round to Saigon under her own power and many a drama described in Paul Strachan’s Pandaw Story. This shi....
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

Amarapura

Amarapura

A former capital city of Myanmar, Amarapura is situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy River . To explore this ancient city, you can join us on one of four of our Irrawaddy river cruises. In this guide to the former capital, we’ll explain exactly how you can fill your time in Amarapura. The History Of Amarapura Amarapura has a long history and it can be traced back to 1783, when the city was originally founded by King Bodawpaya and called “The City of Immortals”. It was made the capital of the Konbaung empire until Bodawpaya’s grandson moved power to the city of Ava in 1823. The capital has been moved around numerous times since then and power landed back in Amarapura for a short period from 1841. Even though Amarapura was used as a capital city for a number of times throughout its history, there is actually little to see of this period of power and grandeur. That’s because the parliament, royal apartments, military barracks, and horse and elephant stables were dismantled and taken to the new capitals. A royal palace did remain, but over the years it was dismantled so its bricks and stones could be used elsewhere. Nowadays, Amarapura is classed as a suburb of Mandalay and is home to a strong population of craftsmen. You’ll even find that the town is split into different quarters depending on occupations and crafts, such as stone carvers and bronze casters. Waterfront at Amarapura Things To See And Do In Amarapura There is plenty to see and do around Amarapura these days, and one of the main sites of interest is the Bagaya monastery. Originally built in 1593, the monastery was badly damaged in a fire in 1821. The government rebuilt an exact replica in its place in the early 1990s, and this still stands and attracts visitors to this day. The U-Bein bridge is another popular attraction for travelers and visitors these days. This long footbridge is the world’s longest and crosses the shallow Taungthaman Lake. It is thought to be one of the most photographed sights in the whole of Myanmar. Try to visit the bridge just after sunrise to see hundreds of monks and locals cross the bridge in droves. Sunset behind the U-Bein Bridge The Werawsana Jade Pagoda is another highlight in Amarapura as it is the only pagoda in the world to be built completely out of jade. Try to see it in the evening when the light from the setting sun makes the temple’s jade shine green. You might also see travelers attend one of the many carnival-like religious events and parties that regularly take place at the pagoda. There’s certainly plenty to see and do once you disembark the boat in Amarapura. It’s a great place to explore and discover some of the best that the Myanmar culture has to offer. The best way to explore Amarapura is on either The Irrawaddy or The Golden Land cruise where you can see the U-Bein bridge for yourself.
Ava

Ava

“And here it may be said that of all the ruined capitals of Burma which make their appeal on behalf of the transitoriness of life. . . Ava is the most gracious”. VC Scott O’Connor Mandalay (1907) Ratanapura, City of Gems, Ava or Inwa was the intermittent capital of Burma between the decline of Pagan around 1300 and the final move to Amarapura in 1837. However it was not till Thalun’s decision to move the capital from Toungoo to Ava in 1637 that it truly became the centre of power until 1752 when it was sacked by the Mons. Following the rise of a new Burmese dynasty, the Konbaung in 1756, Hsinbyushin moved the capital back. Even after 1837 the Burmese kings were still referred to as the King’s of Ava. Situated on the confluence of the Irrawaddy and Myitnge rivers the place was easily defended and today makes a pleasant excursion. The city follows the classic Burmese city plan: fortified with zig zag walls and surrounded by artificial moats linked to the two rivers. The brick walls are still evident, though tumbled down in part. Of the original palace, state offices and regimental quarters little survives, as they were made of wood and relocated to Amarapura in 1837. The area is now under farmland and a horse cart ride through the paddy fields from monument to monument gives a pleasant glimpse of life in rural Burma. We visit the Bagaya Kyaung, a 200 year old royal monastery made of teak with elaborate wood carvings.
Bat Trang

Bat Trang

(literally: ‘bat’ means ‘bowl’ and ‘trang’ means ‘workshop’). Bat Trang is a seven century-old pottery village, located in an area rich in clay.
Bogale

Bogale

Bogale is a small city located in the Bogale Township, Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar. It is located on the southwestern part of Myanmar/Burma on the mainland section of the country. It can be reached by both water transportation and by land.
Chandernagore

Chandernagore

Chandannagar was established as a French colony in 1673, when the French obtained permission from Ibrahim Khan, the Nawab of Bengal, to establish a trading post on the right bank of the Hughli River.
Chiang Saen

Chiang Saen

Commonly believed to be the oldest city in Thailand, Chiang Saen offers a unique glimpse into the history of this majestic district. Facilitating trade with other countries via the Mekong River, Chiang Saen was originally a thriving commercial area. Whilst a turbulent history led to the area being abandoned by many residents, Chiang Saen has recovered in recent years and is now a hidden gem for tourists and holidaymakers. With rural villages and well-known attractions to explore, Chiang Saen gives you a glimpse into Thailand’s unique history. Despite the natural, historical and contemporary sights, many tourists miss out on what the district has to offer. For holidaymakers and travellers lucky enough to stop off at this stunning destination on their Mekong river cruise , the lack of tourists only serves to provide a more peaceful and authentic Thai experience. RV Champa Pandaw at Chiang Saen Top Attractions in Chiang Saen Golden Triangle The Golden Triangle lies at the joining point of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, meeting altogether in the Mekong River. Historically, this has been known as one of the biggest opium-producing locations of the world. The Golden Triangle Park offers educational experiences, souvenir shops and views of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Situated just 9 kilometres outside of Chiang Saen, day visitors can access the Park via public transport or pre-arranged hire vehicles. With the Golden Triangle tri-point situated within the village of Wiang, this is perhaps the most popular place to visit in Chiang Saen. Hall of Opium The Golden Triangle Hall of Opium is located within the Chiang Saen district and is a must-see for Chiang Saen visitors. Offering a unique insight into the opium trade, the museum reflects the area’s history and gives visitors an unparalleled understanding of how the drugs trade impacted the district and the Golden Triangle as a whole. Wat Pa Sak This stunning Buddhist temple in Chiang Saen is perfect for those wanting to learn more about ancient history as it originates back to the 13th or 14th century. This site is filled with teak trees and intricate architecture. More Reasons To Visit Chiang Saen With new destinations being developed in Chiang Saen, there are more reasons to visit this remarkable city than ever before. A new museum and learning centre is set to open in 2020, along with the world’s largest flagpole. Visible from distances as far as 20km away, the city’s new landmark will be a reminder of the area’s historic importance and its cultural revival. Perfect for holidaymakers and travellers of all ages, the Chiang Saen district provides an unrivalled view of Thai culture and history. Whilst the Chiang Saen district may sometimes be overlooked by some tourists, its location ensures its ideally situated for guests aboard Pandaw river cruises . Our Laos Mekong expedition , Laos to China cruise and the Halong Bay, Red River and Laos, Mekong river cruises all include stops at Chiang Saen, so you can enjoy this undiscovered gem as part of your travels.
Cruising The Mekong

Cruising The Mekong

Continue up the Mekong with Burma on our left and Laos on our right.
Danupyu

Danupyu

Little known town with a busy port and bustling markets
Duong Lam

Duong Lam

Halong Bay River Cruises provide water access to some of the world’s most magical places, including, the UNESCO-praised village of Duong Lam. Duong Lam is an ancient village formed of 9 smaller villages, namely Mong Phu, Dong Sang, Doai Giap, Cam Thinh, Cam Lam, Phu Khang, Ha Tan, Hung Thinh and Van Mieu in Son Tay city. The ancient city is most well known as the birthplace of two Vietnamese kings but has remained popular with tourists thanks to its adherence to some of the most traditional elements of Vietnamese culture. The preservation of quintessential Vietnam within Duong Lam and its collection of historic buildings many of which are more than 400 years old, make the village somewhat of a living museum, a place to experience a sense of Vietnam's past amongst the beauty of architecture and nature. Entrance to Duong Lam Key facts about Duong Lam Duong Lam is a village formed of 9 smaller villages and is 50km from Hanoi city centre and covers an area of 800 hectares. The two Vietnamese kings born in Duong Lam were King Ngo Quyen and King Phung Hung. Both men led resistance wars against northern invasion and after winning national independence, were crowned kings. Brown onion rice cake and soft green-lentil cake are two traditional dishes of Duong Lam. Mud, clay and wood are the three most abundant building materials within Duong Lam village. What to do in Duong Lam The village of Duong Lam is an attraction in itself and simply walking the streets will immerse you in the culture and history of this ancient Vietnamese village. To make sure you get the most out of your visit, here are 5 of the best things to do in the area. Eat some traditional Vietnamese food cooked and prepared in the traditional way such as brown onion cake and soft green-lentil cake at the local eateries. Visit the temples dedicated to King Ngo Quyen and King Phung Hung. Take a tour of the ancient village to learn about its history of more than 1200 years. Explore Mia Pagoda and the courtyards, rooms and figures that lie within. Step inside an ancient house to see the traditional Vietnamese way of living. Getting to Duong Lam Duong Lam is 50 kilometres and over an hour by car or taxi from Hanoi city centre, making the Red River by far the best way to access the city. Travelling to Duong Lam by boat or river cruise on the Red River, not only takes you right up to the village edge but also minimises your impact on the environment and the traffic surrounding the ancient city. Two of our river cruises that make stops at the village of Duong Lam on the Red River include the Halong Bay and Red River Cruise lasting 10 nights and the Halong Bay, Red River and Laos Mekong cruise lasting 21 nights. Both of these cruises stop right on the edge of Duong Lam Village allowing their passengers to take in the history and culture of Duong Lam village for an afternoon before continuing their journey and exploration.
Golden Triangle

Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle remains a favourite amongst travellers. This joining point between the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar is located in the North Thailand province of Chiang Rai. This popular stopping destination on our Mekong River cruises guarantees to be a memorable part of any Thailand-based trip. Due to its location, the Golden Triangle started life as a hotspot for opium growing. The trade was so rife that around 70% of the heroin in America originated from this area at one point. But, that’s a history which is far behind the Golden Triangle we see today, with only the Hall of Opium museum remaining as a testament to that past. Nowadays, Chiang Rai has become the most popular tourist destination within Northern Thailand, an accolade which locals have enhanced using impressive landmarks which impress hordes of tourists each year. Golden Triangle and Golden Buddha Top Attractions Near The Golden Triangle The Golden Buddha From the moment your tour arrives in the Golden Triangle, there are spectacular views, starting with the golden Buddha statue. Greeting visitors from a boat by the shore, the impressive scale of the golden Buddha is a pretty accurate representation of the amazing sights on offer during your visit. The White Temple - Wat Rong Khun Just a twenty-minute ride outside of our Chiang Rai cruise drop off is the iconic White Temple, arguably the most recognisable and popular destination of any Golden Triangle tour. Known by locals as Wat Rong Khun, this sparkling white modern temple comes complete with plenty of unique quirks and features which are sure to stick in the minds of anyone who views it. White Temple at Wat Rong Khun The Hall of Opium All of our Golden Triangle stop-offs also come complete with a visit to the Hall of Opium. This museum combines multimedia exhibitions to portray every angle of the Golden Triangle opium story, including opium wars, smuggling and effects, then finishing with examples of how residents rehabilitated their living conditions. The Golden Triangle Cruises You can expect to see the Golden Triangle on a fair few of our cruise packages. Our Laos Mekong cruise , for instance, involves a Golden Triangle river crossing on the tenth and penultimate day, while The Mekong: Laos to China cruise package involves an entire afternoon exploring the Golden Triangle. Our Halong Bay, Red River and Laos Mekong cruise would also see you stopping off here during your 22nd day while en route to Chiang Sean. If the Golden Triangle has caught your eye, then, don’t hesitate to book up for one of our fantastic cruise packages today.
Guwahati

Guwahati

If you are taking one of our Brahmaputra River Cruises , one place you should definitely consider stopping at is Guwahati. This is a large city in India, in the state of Assam. It is a place that has so much to offer in terms of beauty and history, making it one of the most fascinating stops on any river cruise. There’s loads of things you can do in Guwahati, some of which we’ve mentioned below. The many different reasons why Guwahati has become a popular spot for people on river cruises There are a number of different reasons why Guwahati is a place that comes highly recommended when taking a river cruise. There are lots of great attractions for you to enjoy. The Brahmaputra is one of the main attractions here. Taking one of our river cruises is one of the best ways to experience the beautiful Brahmaputra river, with loads of photo opportunities along the coast of Guwahati; a great way to start your adventure. One place you will probably want to explore in Guwahati is Kamakhya Temple. This is situated 8km west of Guwahati, on Neelachal Hill. It is the most revered site in Guwahati, as well as being one of the country’s most foremost Shaktipeeths. There are also a number of lush, sprawling green tea plantations as well. You will struggle to find another place around the world with such a love for tea as Guwahati. Make sure you pick up some packets of Assam tea to take home with you while exploring this part of India. The Kamakhya temple in Guwahati You will also find that you are not going to be too far away from some of India’s most famous national parks as well, including Orang and Kaziranga. Orang is gaining popularity amongst wildlife enthusiasts, as it is home to the likes of tigers, wild buffaloes, elephants, one-horned rhinoceros, and pygmy hogs. Karizanga is recognised around the world as the last undisturbed habitat of the Great Indian one-horned rhinoceros. So, if you are someone who has a love for wildlife, you are definitely going to love everything that Guwahati has to offer. Shopping in Guwahati is a treat If you are someone who likes to pick up some souvenirs and treats while on vacation, you will not be disappointed with Guwahati. Assam is famous for its intricate handicrafts and exquisite handlooms. If you shop here, you are bound to have a delightful day. There are a number of major shopping hubs in the city, including GN Bordoloi Road, Pragjyotika Emporium, Shilpagram, and Pan Bazaar. Taking a river cruise and stopping at Guwahati As you can see, there is a lot to like about Guwahati. If you are planning on taking a river cruise, this is definitely the sort of place that you should consider stopping at in order to make the most of your experience. There is so much to see and do here, with lots of amazing attractions to explore and plenty of history to delve into.
Halong Bay

Halong Bay

At Pandaw, we delight in helping discerning travellers to uncover the most naturally beautiful, historically significant and culturally rich destinations in Asia. Our luxurious river cruises allow intrepid travellers to explore remote and hard to navigate areas that have, for too long, been obscured from view. Our greatest joy is in showing our clients from all around the world the beauty that the continent has to offer by introducing them to stunning experiences, like breathtaking Halong Bay cruises in Vietnam. Join us as we explore this gorgeous bucket list location. Halong Bay The History of Halong Bay Situated in the Gulf of Tonkin, within Quang Ninh Province in the northeast of Vietnam, scenic Halong Bay is made up of 1, 600 islands and islets, combining to make a spectacular view with a stunning seascape of towering limestone pillars bedecked with verdant greenery. Most of the islands are completely uninhabited, unspoiled and unaffected by the presence of humans. A UNESCO World Heritage site, all activities on the bay, including tourism, are strictly regulated and carefully managed to preserve the bay’s incredible natural beauty. But there’s more to this incredible site than just looks (although they do need to be seen in person to be believed). The bay also has a long and fascinating history as well as being steeped in local legend. The product of 500 million years of geological development, Halong Bay has been occupied by various cultures throughout the centuries. Most lived on floating villages, isolated from the outside world. The bay is home to one of Vietnam’s most ancient fishing peoples- the Cai Beo who lived on Cat Ba island. In the feudal 12th century, Halong Bay was one of Vietnam’s first (and most thriving) international commercial ports as well as being instrumental from protecting Vietnam from coastal invaders from the north. In fact, legends tell that the Vietnamese forefathers fought off invaders with such bravery that the gods noticed from the heavens and sent the Mother Dragon and her children to help the ancient Vietnamese people repel the invading forces! Things to See and Do in Halong Bay As well as the stunning natural wonders abundant in Halong Bay, visitors can see the vestiges of the bay’s unique cultures which differ from many found within mainland Vietnam. Architectural sites to visit include Mê Cung and Thiên Long where visitors can still see the remains from mounds of mountain shellfish (Cyclophorus), spring shellfish (Melania), some freshwater mollusc and even some of the primitive labor tools employed by the bay’s ancient inhabitants. If you’re lucky there might even be a chance to enjoy some cocktails on the beach! Cocktail hour on a Halong Bay beach Check out our cruises that give you the chance to see the majesty of Halong Bay Pandaw Cruises unlock the majesty of Halong Bay with not one but two of our cruises. Combine an unforgettable trip to Halong Bay with a visit to the famed Red River which flows from southwest China through to northern Vietnam. Or perhaps you’d prefer to add a visit to Laos Mekong for a travel experience you’ll take with you for the rest of your life? Let Pandaw Cruises unlock Asia’s gems for you Explore the natural and historic wonders of Halong Bay cruises with Pandaw. We are dedicated to bringing you a travel experience you’ll never forget, combining the many wonders of the Asian continent with an unassuming 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. You’ll find that our crew are completely dedicated to making your trip enjoyable and unforgettable. Let us be your companions as you explore the bounty of Halong Bay.
Hanoi

Hanoi

When you stop off at Hanoi during your Halong Bay & Red River Cruises, there are plenty of things waiting for you to see and do. It is one of the ancient capitals of the world and its location right on the banks of the Red River couldn’t be better for this French-colonial city. From pretty pagodas and colonial buildings to modern museums and bustling shopping streets, you might be spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding how to spend your stop-off in Hanoi. Here’s our quick guide that should help you decide. What Is Hanoi Famous For? The capital of Vietnam is known as being one of the extremely busy and bustling and for many people, the traffic is the first thing they notice. But there is so much more to Hanoi than being one of the metropolitan centres of Asia. It has a very rich history, largely down to the fact that it was a French colony. The Chinese also colonized it too at times, so you will find plenty of French and Chinese influences around the city as you explore. The city is even the final resting place for the famous Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh and you can even pay your final respects by visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which is often open to the public. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Things To See And Do In Hanoi If you are still planning a day in Hanoi, then you might want to add these attractions and activities to your to-do list. The Temple Of Literature Situated right in the center of Hanoi, the Temple of Literature is a brilliant example of traditional Vietnamese architecture. It is dedicated to the country’s finest scholars and their work. It was originally dedicated to Confucius when it was built in 1070 and became the location of the country’s first university. The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology Another central attraction is the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. There are officially 54 different ethnic groups living in Vietnam and this museum showcases their individual cultures and origins. You’ll be able to see a range of everyday artifacts, including household items and tribal art pieces. There are also some super interesting examples of traditional houses. Hai Ba Trung Temple Hai Ba Trung is a centrally located temple and just a couple of kilometers from the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake. It was originally built in 1142 and ever since then, an annual festival is held at the temple every January. Inside the temple, you will see the two statues of the Trung sisters, who were both proclaimed the queens of Vietnam before being defeated by the Chinese. Street Food Like most Asian cities, Hanoi has some fantastic street food available in its city center. You will find a wide variety of market stalls and stands selling all kinds of local specialities. It’s an affordable way to grab a bite to eat while you are on land. An example of street food you might find in the bustling city of Hanoi Hanoi River Cruises You can experience the city of Hanoi on one of our Pandaw river cruises . We stop off at Hanoi where you can experience the attractions mentioned above as well as an afternoon walking tour of the old quarter and a trip to a traditional coffee shop to learn about Vietnam’s coffee making industry. If you want to experience more rivers on your cruise, take a look at our Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong combination cruise .
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.
Kalna

Kalna

Kalna, a city and a municipality in Purba Bardhaman district in the Indian state of West Bengal is located right by the river Hooghly (or ‘lower Ganges’) meaning there’s plenty of opportunity to explore the area with a Ganges River Cruise . River cruises As humans, we once relied on rivers for transportation, food, and power, which is why many of the most significant built-up areas in the world were developed right around them. This means travelling by river will take you right to the heart of the action if you want a more vibrant trip. You also have the option for things to be more peaceful too, a Kalna cruise for example would enable you to visit bays, plains and beautiful rural areas. River cruises can be super luxurious, meaning it’s a far more relaxing way to get around than a crowded bus or car on a traffic-packed road. What can you expect to see? Kalna, more popularly known as ‘Ambika Kalna’ is named after a very popular deity, Goddess Kali, Maa Ambika. It has many historical monuments such as the Rajbari palace, along with the 108 Shiva temples. An expedition on the Lower Ganges or Hooghly really is one of the most scenic river journeys you can imagine. The river winds its way through the lush countryside of West Bengal, with its culturally significant towns packed full of gorgeous temples and palaces. There’s a rich and vibrant rural life to take in, and never a dull moment as you sedately travel along this awe- inspiring waterway. If you want to enjoy another kind of boating, how about taking an excursion to Green Island, enjoy a semi-submarine boat excursion to view the coral reef, teeming with marine life, or snorkel from the beach. Spend the rest of your day seeing a fish feeding displays, strolling around the island or simply relaxing on the white sandy beach- what could be better? Lalji Temple in Kalna What else is there to do? If you want to get your feet onto solid ground for a while during your trip then there are lots of other things to do as well as enjoy the water. You could explore the city taking in the architecture and enjoying the food and sights. You could visit neighbouring cities too, many of which are very easy to access from Kalna enjoying mosques, market and so much more!
Katha

Katha

The enchanting colonial town of Katha was setting for George Orwell’s Myanma Days. Katha was also the final resting place of the old flotilla and here over a hundred ships were scuppered in 1942.
Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park

A UNESCO accredited site, the Kaziranga National Park is located in the Nagaon and Golaghat districts of Assam in India and a stop on our Brahmaputra river cruises . This World Heritage Site is known as the home of 3/4 of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses. During the river stop at the Kaziranga National Park, you will enjoy an incredible safari, spotting the abundance of rhino’s and Indian tigers (amongst other animals) along the way. A stop off when on the Brahmaputra at the awe-inspiring park makes for an incredible visit. A vast expanse which showcases the natural beauty of Assam, the best time of year to visit is between November to April (the park is closed between May and October). Rhinos at Kaziranga National Park Key Facts About Kaziranga National Park It is home to over 2200 Indian one-horned rhinoceros It was founded in 1908 by Mary Curzon It is located on the edge of two Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots Made a World Heritage Site in 1985 It is abundant with elephants, swamp deer, wild water buffalo, wild boar and other fascinating animals One of the two parks that have rhino habitats in Assam Top Attractions to Visit in Kaziranga Throughout the safari, you will see numerous animals and learn incredible facts along the way from a knowledgeable tour guide. An attraction in itself, it is a must-see when you are on your Pandaw river cruise. Whether it’s your first safari or you have been on one before, you will have your breath taken away by the beauty of this national park. What The Destination is Famous For Kaziranga is known for its extraordinary population of wildlife, lush greenery and prominent conservation projects. In 2006, the national park was declared a tiger reserve, due to the increase in population - it is one of the only places in the world that the population of tigers has increased, rather than declined. Alongside tigers and rhinos, the park has been recognised as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International due to the population of black-necked storks, Asian Openbill, white-fronted geese, Baer’s pochard duck, ferruginous ducks and other birds which migrate to the park every summer. Its incredible wildlife conservation projects mean that the popularity of the park has steadily grown throughout the years – making it one of the most-visited and beloved tourist attractions in Assam. In terms of the flora in the park, Indian gooseberry, elephant apple, the cotton tree and kumbhi are amongst some of the most flourishing trees that you can spot in the park when on your safari. Filled with alluvial savannas, marshland and tropical forests, you will feel at one with nature during the trip. A far cry from the nearby bustling city of Nagaon, it makes the perfect rest bite when you are on your cruise either down the Hooghly, Lower Ganges or Brahmaputra river. No matter which river cruise you choose, you will be in awe from the moment that you arrive at the Kaziranga National Park and will want to visit again and again.
Khanyat

Khanyat

Visit a Buddhist orphanage and the grave of an English officer assasinated here during the Pacification of Burma (1887).
Kolkata

Kolkata

Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, and you’ll definitely want to make the most of it you’re seeking to see every side of what India has to offer. Whether you’re exploring the country extensively or want to stop off here as part of your Ganges River Cruise , you’ll find Kokata has plenty to offer, and you can find out everything you need to know below. Impressive example of Kolkata’s archaeology An Introduction to Kolkata Kolkata is known as a cultural centre in India, and it brings an elegance and sophistication that other cities are lacking. It has some of the country’s finest and most impressive Raj-era architecture and you won’t want to miss out on that. There are stunning market places, beautiful temples and impressive civic statues and monuments. It’s associated with some of the finest artists to come out of India, and that link to cinema, literature and music is still very much alive to this day. It’s a city that’s had problems with poverty going back a long way, but the people are friendly and welcoming, making it a popular destination for visitors. Kolkata’s Top Attractions and Things to See If you want to see the best of Kolkata, these are the attractions and the key things to see that you should focus on while you’re there. Victoria Memorial This stunning white, colonial building was built to commemorate Queen Victoria of England. It’s a key part of the history of Kolkata and you should take the time to visit it. Mullik Ghat Flower Market The vibrant and chaotic colours on display at the Mullik Ghat Flower Market is something you won’t want to miss. Head there and see this 125-year-old market for yourself; you won’t regret it. The amazing Kolkata flower market Howrah Bridge Howrah Bridge crosses the Hooghly River and connects Kolkata with Howrah. It’s an impressive engineering feat and the pedestrian bridge is definitely worth a walk. Dakshineswar Kali Temple This Hindu temple is one of the most beautiful buildings you’ll find in Kolkata and maybe one of the most impressive in all of India. It’s the kind of place that you definitely need to visit when you’re nearby so you can experience it first-hand. Belur Math Belur Math is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda. You won’t want to miss out on it, and it’s best experience when the sun is setting and the aarti ceremony is taking place. What Kolkata is Most Famous For One of the things that Kolkata is known for is being home to India’s greatest filmmaker and one of the country’s greatest artists Satyajit Ray. That cultural sector thrives in Kolkata like nowhere else in India and the theatre scene is also very vibrant to this day. It’s an intellectual and educational powerhouse, as well as being a key commercial centre in India. Kolkata is a wonderful part of India, and if you want to explore the country and get a real feel for it, this is definitely a place you’ll want to visit as part of your experience. Be sure to make the most of the above information and tips for places to visit if you do eventually head to Kolkata.
Kuang Si Waterfalls

Kuang Si Waterfalls

Also known as the Tat Kuang Si Waterfalls and Kuang Xi, Kuang Si Falls is a breathtaking three-tier waterfall that is adored by every tourist that visits each year and is a location visited on our Mekong River Cruises . Featuring turquoise waters and incredible surroundings, it’s a popular destination for many visiting the area – particularly between December and May after the monsoon season has ended. Situated in Northern Laos, during your Laos Mekong or the Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong river cruise you will be able to visit the falls by means of an exciting sightseeing minibus. A hidden treasure away from bustling Luang Prabang, you will want to return to the Kuang Si Waterfalls from the moment that you leave. Kuang Si Waterfalls Key facts about Kuang Si Waterfalls They have a 50m drop It is open every day between 8am and 5. 30pm It will take you 15-20 minutes to hike to the top It is 29km south of Luang Prabang (a UNESCO town) It is a popular tourist destination, visited by millions each year Top Things To Do While at Kuang Si Waterfalls Take a walk around the Kuang Si Falls Market As you walk towards the entrance of the waterfalls you will be greeted by the quaint Kuang Si Falls Market. Filled with delicious sweet and savoury treats, ice-cold beers and souvenirs (amongst other delights) it makes for a wonderful stop before you head to the waterfalls. Affordable and welcoming, it is a fabulous start to your trip to Kuang Si Falls. Explore the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre On your way into the waterfalls you will walk through the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre. Operated by the conservation foundation Free the Bears, the fascinating centre is home to over 20 Asiatic Black Bears which have been rescued over the years. A wonderful addition to your river stop, along with the market and butterfly garden, there is plenty to see and explore. Walk to the top of Kuang Si Waterfalls During your sightseeing trip you may have time to hike to the top of the waterfalls. Walking over a small wooden bridge, you will have unobstructed and awe-inspiring views of the main part of the waterfalls. With a lack of tourists and the beautiful sounds of nature around you, it’s a wonderful way to spend your time at the waterfalls. On a clear day you can even see out towards the Lao countryside. What Kuang Si Waterfalls is Famous For The perfect place to take incredible photos, your trip out to the falls will be unforgettable creating everlasting memories. Abundant with tropical greenery, extraordinary wildlife and boasting a sense of tranquility that showcases what the true Laos is all about, the Kuang Si Waterfalls will make you feel immersed into the surrounding nature the moment that you catch sight of it. Famous for its serenity and natural wonders, it is frequently voted as one of the top waterfalls to see in Laos and a must for anyone visiting Luang Prabang on their Pandaw river cruise. People swimming in the Kuang Si Waterfalls
Kyauk-Myoung

Kyauk-Myoung

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.
Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay

When you take your Halong Bay and Red River cruise, you will get the chance to enjoy a stop-off at Lan Ha Bay. The bay is situated in between a few different islands, although people actually live in the water as well as on land. Traditionally, families live on floating rafts and boats in the bay and in some cases, between two and three generations will occupy the same boat or raft. The Lan Ha Bay area is a beautiful natural landscape and certainly one of the prettiest parts of the whole of Vietnam. Even though it is quite popular with tourists and cruises these days, it never feels too busy and crowded as some prefer to head to the other nearby bays. This means you can still feel like you are in a tranquil paradise when you do arrive in Lan Ha Bay. RV Angkor Pandaw in Lan Ha Bay Things To See In La Han Bay As the cruise ship sails through La Han Bay, you will spot a number of different islands. Here are some of the ones that you will be able to see. Rua Island (Turtle Island) When the ship is sailing through La Han Bay keep your eyes peeled for a large landform that looks like a turtle swimming in the island. That is Rua Island, but many people know it as Turtle Island because of its unique shape. It is completely uninhabited but covered in beautiful greenery. It is often considered a paradise as it looks so perfect. Monkey Island Previously called Cat Dua Island, Monkey Island is just as it sounds - an island covered in monkeys! There are 30 different species that live on the island, and you will probably be able to spot a few of the animals scampering about as the ship goes past. The island is part of the Cat Dua National Trust and all of the monkeys that live on it are protected as a result. Monkeys on Cat Dua Island Nam Cat Island One of the most popular tourist spots in the whole of the Lan Ha Bay, Nam Cat Island is covered in dense forest. The waters around it are always a stunning blue, and they lap onto some tropical sandy beaches. There are a number of small fishing islands dotted along the coast of the Nam Cat Island and if you are lucky you might even see a few of the local fishermen going out on their little fishing boats. Sailing through Lan Ha Bay Cannon Fort During your stop-off, it will be worth heading to Cannon Fort which overlooks the whole of the bay. It’s a great spot to take in the inspiring views and to snap some holiday pictures. Lan Ha Bay is a really popular spot with all of our cruise travellers, as it has to be one of the most naturally beautiful places we stop off in. There is plenty of to see as well, just don’t forget to pack your camera when you do come aboard one of Pandaw’s river cruises ! The best way to experience Lan Ha Bay is through our Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong combination cruise where you can visit a floating fishing house in Lan Ha Bay and explore the Mekong river on the same trip!
Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is a beautiful town in Laos and a favourite amongst travellers. It lies where the Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers meet, and it's a stop for several of our Mekong River cruises . This popular town is perfect for tourists stopping off for a day or two. It's brimming with history and culture, and there's plenty to see and do. Luang Prabang is considered to be the cultural hub of Laos, particularly because if its many traditional and historical elements. The town shows its development through the centuries, with its combination of traditional wooden houses and colonial architecture. It's also home to over 30 Buddhist shrines. Luang Prabang is in northern Laos, 700 meters above sea level. It is the perfect place for tourists, offering a warm welcome and many natural and historical sites to visit. Even though it is a popular tourist destination, it has still kept its character. Luang Prabang Places To Visit In Luang Prabang Kuang Si Waterfall If you want to get out of the town during your visit to Luang Prabang, there are some stunning natural sites to explore. The stunning Kuang Si Waterfall is less than 30km away and is a favourite for many tourists. Kuang Si Waterfall Pak Ou Caves Pak Ou Caves are a respected holy site with a long history. Located 25km from Luang Prabang, you can book a tour, which usually includes lunch. These limestone caves are fairly easy to explore but the upper cave requires some climbing. Pak Ou Caves Royal Palace Museum If you're interested in history, you can visit a museum or explore the many historical sites and buildings in Luang Prabang. The Royal Palace Museum was the residence of King Sisavang Vong during the French colonial era and has been a museum since 1995. It shows statues, paintings, weapons, and religious items, and is also home to the crown jewels of Laos. Royal Palace at Luang Prabang Buddhist Temples There are many Buddhist temples to visit in Luang Prabang, and Wat Wisunarat is the oldest, dating back to 1513. You can see traditional Lao architecture and religious artifacts. Cultural Experiences in Luang Prabang Luang Prabang is an amazing place to get some insight into Lao culture and how the local people live. The daily Buddhist Alms Giving Ceremony is one thing that you should see, which takes place as the sun rises. The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center is a good choice of place to visit if you're looking for somewhere more like a museum. It’s dedicated to preserving the ethnic groups of Laos. For a cultural day trip, try taking a tour to Ban Phanom village, where you can observe traditional textile making. At The Living Land Company, you can learn how to practice traditional Lao rice farming methods. Luang Prabang is a vibrant destination full of history. Whether you explore the town itself or take a day trip, there's so much to see and do.
Magwe

Magwe

At Magwe we climb the river bank and wend our way through a labyrinth of passages and paths to reach the magnificent Myat-thalon Pagoda. This pagoda is constructed with solid gold bricks. Of interest are the many nat shrines and hermitages within the temple precincts.
Mandalay

Mandalay

Though Rangoon is the modern day capital, Mandalay, or Yadanapura — the ‘City of Gems’, remains the Golden Land’s spiritual capital. To know Mandalay and its pleasant surrounds is to know Burma. Situated in the heart of Upper Burma, the city is at the hub of river routes from China and India and land routes from the Shan massif and Siam beyond. The city throbs with life and trade. This is a city of markets and monasteries and is no touristic backwater. As well as being the economic epicentre of Upper Burma Mandalay is the religious capital of Burma There as many living monasteries and pagodas as Pagan has dead ones and the monastic population numbers over 100, 000. The present city covers an area of 25 square miles and is rapidly growing. Yet Mandalay is a relatively recent creation. One story tells that King Mindon decided to move the capital to a new site from Amarapura in 1856 because the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company steamers kept him awake at night with their whistles! The reality is that Mindon, a moderniser and reformer, was anxious to break with the past and establish a new era of peace and prosperity for Burma following the humiliation of the two British annexations. This was symbolised by the construction of a splendid new capital. The palace-city, that also housed government offices and personnel and military regiments, was vast. The original moat and walls a mile and a half on each side still stand with their splendid pyatthat spires over each gate. Within lay the ‘forbidden city’ — an elaborate system of teak pavilions, throne rooms and halls. Tragically this was destroyed by an incendiary bomb in the Second World War but it has now been meticulously reconstructed to give an impression of the awesome scale of the royal palace and its sumptuous decoration of gold leaf and lacquer. Around the palace area the devout king lavished donation upon donation constructing splendid teak monasteries for the royal monks, rest houses for pilgrims, shrines on the Mandalay hill and most significantly the great Kuthodaw Pagoda. The Kuthodaw is rightly said to be the world’s largest book as here the king had the Buddhist scriptures inscribed on 1, 774 marble slabs, each housed in its own private pavilion. These many dedications may be visited today and truly conjure an image of the strange mix between opulence and obeisance that existed in royal Burma. The British captured Mandalay in 1885 following a campaign for control of the Irrawaddy and on 1st January 1886 the Burmese empire was formally annexed by Lord Randolph Churchill as he rose his glass at the stroke of midnight. The royal palace was renamed Fort Dufferin and a new city on a grid plan was laid out to the south-west of the palace-city extending to the river bank and its important port. This plan remains to this day though sadly many of the old colonial buildings have been lost — either in the war, fire or 1990s developers. Glimpses of the old colonial city may still be seen, particularly in the downtown area around the Mahamuni Hpaya-gyi — the city’s principal shrine.
Maubin

Maubin

A town in the Ayeyarwady Division in south-west Burma, Maubin (also known as Ma-ubin) is an incredible place to visit. Known for its growing communication and transportation services, colourful sand and its bustling markets, it will make a pleasant stop during your river cruise. You can visit Maubin either in The Irrawaddy River Cruise or The Great Irrawaddy Delta River Cruise. As you approach the banks, you will be met with traditional boats and houses. Fresh vegetables at Maubin market Key Facts About Maubin It has just over 51, 000 residents It is 339 km south of the capital – Nay Pyi Taw Its inhabitants are Karen and Bamar The main religion is Buddhism Rice and fish are two of the main contributors to Maubin’s economy Top Attractions To Visit in Maubin Pagodas As the main religion in Maubin is Buddhism, there is a variety of pagodas to see within the town. Located on Sane Mya Kanthar Street is the beautiful Sane Mya Kanthar Ceti Pagoda. On the Toe River, in the southern part of Muabin is Pagoda Paw Taw Mu Ceti, an ancient pagoda with gold accents and a regal staircase. Both wonderful pagodas to see during your trip to Maubin, they will immerse you into the culture of the country. Dae Thin Yay Kyaw One of the most renowned attractions in the Maubin area is Dae Thin Yay Kyaw, a floating village that will transport you into a different world. With no bicycles, motorbikes, cars or roads, it has only stilted houses. Its water fields are mostly used for agricultural purposes and are a breathtaking sight for anyone that ventures there. Close enough that you can explore the village during your river cruise, it’s a popular swimming spot for locals. Maubin Beach As you enter into Maubin you will come across a bridge. If you follow the signs to the Ta Lot Lat East Village you will come across the beautiful Maubin Beach. A sandbank on the side of the river, it’s perfect for those wanting a break from the bustling market. In the afternoon, the water recedes, allowing people to walk across to the opposite sandbank. What Maubin is Famous For Maubin is not only famous for its rice fields, stilt houses, pagodas and bustling markets but it also has for project bridges. Khattiya Bridge, Maubin Bridge, Bo Myat Htun Bridge and Pantanaw River-Crossing Bridge are must-sees. Khattiya Bridge Located between Bokanbay Village, Maubin and Latyargyi Village, Khattiya Bridge is only 12 feet in length. Opened in 1997, it can carry an impressive 13 tons and is manufactured with a concrete bale iron frame. Banks of the Irrawaddy at Maubin Maubin Bridge Nestled between Taloatlatt West Village and Taloatlatt East Villages in the township, Maubin bridge was built in 1998. One of the bigger bridges in the area, it has a 60-ton capacity. Bo Myat Htun Bridge Set on the eastern bank of Ayeyarwaddy, this impressive bridge is over 2600 meters. Spanning across the Naungton township, Taung Tan village and up to Ayeryarwaddy, this bridge is an attraction in itself. Pantanaw River-Crossing Bridge Set on the Bayintnaung street river bank, this bridge measures 420 feet. Showcasing the development in the area, it can carry transport lorries up to 60 tons.
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.
Mayapur

Mayapur

One of the best things about taking a river cruise is the fact that you get to experience many amazing places during one trip. This is something you can expect with one of our Ganges river cruises. One of the most popular stops on our cruises is Mayapur. Read on to discover more about this destination and what it has to offer. ISKCON Temple at Mayapur Key facts about Mayapur Mayapur is a city located in Rarh, India. It is situated in between the Jalangi and Hoogly rivers. It is one of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s dham Nabadwip’s nine islands. It is situated around 130 km from Kolkata, and it is well connected with the rail networks and roads from there. It is a holy city, and has a number of different sites that are of Cultural and Religious importance. What is Mayapur famous for? Mayapur is deemed the holiest of all places in India, and this is one of the main reasons why it attracts people from all over the world. This is a place that has devotion running through it. From the temples to the memorial sites; it is simply a majestic destination. Mayapur jetty and waterfront Top things to do in Mayapur There is no denying that the main attraction in Mayapur is the ISKCON Temple. This is the head temple of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. In fact, this temple alone is the reason why so many devotees from all over the globe come to Mayapur. Inside, visitors can see the magnificent deities of Radha-Madhav, Srila Prabhupada, Lord Nrisingha Dev, and Pancatattva. You also have Srila Prabhupada’s Pushpa Samadhi Mandir, which is Srila Prabhupada’s outstanding memorial shrine, which is the biggest of its kind in India. It is a majestic and tall marble dom, which takes over the skyline here, shining beautifully during the sunset and sunrise. Other sites include Ballal Dhigi, which is a 30-foot high mound, which dates back to ancient times, as well as Srila Prabhupada’s personal quarters and Goshala. Nabadwip City is an old city in the area, which is linked with the birth of Lord Sri. Chaitanya. Lord Sri. Chaitanya was a key social former in the 16th century, as well as being a religious leader who preached Vasihnab ideas. It’s also worth noting that there is another temple in construction, which should be completed by 2022. This is the Vedic Planetarium Temple, which is going to be the biggest Vedic Temple across the world. It is also going to have the Sudarshana Chakras and the base of the Chakra, which is going to be made from a few tonnes of gold. ISKCON temple in Mayapur If you are interested in visiting Mayapur on a Pandaw River Cruise , the best way to experience it is on the Upper Ganges river cruise where we stop off at Kala before making our way to Mayapur to visit the ISKCON temple as well as the wealth of other cultural sights in the area.
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
Mingun

Mingun

Here at Pandaw, we are thrilled to help curious travellers gain a fresh perspective of Asia providing trips to attractions and experiences that are nearly completely inaccessible with other forms of transportation. Discerning travellers are encouraged to uncover remote locations that hold hidden wonders which will take you on a whirlwind journey back to the past. On five of our expeditions, you can explore the Irrawaddy river and one of the most popular stops is Minigun. The ruins here are absolutely remarkable and have beaten the sands of time. Embedded in a picturesque location, the stories behind the attractions here are nothing short of astounding! Tidying the grounds in Mingun Fascinating Stories Of The Land The tale of Mingun begins in 1790 when King Bodawpaya ordered a temple be built that reflected the power and dominance of his rule. If it had been built, the temple would have reached an astounding 150 metres. Even unfinished, the temple remains the largest single mass brick building in the world. According to researchers, the construction of the tower caused a terrible impact on both the people and the local economy. Due to this, a plan was devised to halt the work. There are two tales that explain why the tower remained unfinished. One theory suggests an astrologer claimed that the completion of the temple would bring the King’s doom while another suggests the ruler was told it would bring the end of Mingun itself! A smaller model of the unfinished temple can be viewed close by and there is no doubt that it would have been a remarkable piece of architecture. Indeed, even in it’s finished form our travellers can’t help but marvel at its beauty. In the past, the temple was a key place of worship for locals in the area. Today, there is still a shrine nearby with an image of Buddha, making it a popular place for meditation. Of course, the unfinished temple isn’t the only attraction that makes Mingun a worthy and exciting stop on our luxury river cruises. You will also be able to discover the heaviest working bell ever created. The bell was cast in 1808 and finished in 1810. There are many secrets behind its creation, including how it was made across the river and carried to the other side using remarkably innovative tools. Despite an earthquake knocking the bell off its support in 1839, it has been carefully preserved and still works to this day. A stone's throw from these attractions clients can also view the great Myatheindan Pagoda. This gorgeous curving piece of architecture stands out due to its beautiful white shade. The building was designed to resemble the mythical Mount Meru and it certainly has an aura of enchantment. Unlock The Secrets Of Mingun With Pandaw At Pandaw, we are thrilled to be able to provide our passengers with incredible adventures to locations like Mingun and other similar hidden parts of Asia. There are so many wonders that are only accessible by the waters that we navigate with ease on our luxury cruises ready to cater to your every need. We’ll be your companions and your expert guides on a journey through Asia you won’t forget. Market stall at Mingun
Minhla and Gwechaung

Minhla and Gwechaung

These are two Italian built forts constructed to keep the British at bay from Royal Burmah. These were captured by the British in the 3rd Anglo Burmese War. The fight for the Minhla redoubt was the only serious action in the war and the death of a young subaltern inspired Kipling to write a poem. Gwechaung, the more impressive of the forts was captured from the rear before the Burnese could turn the guns around.
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.
Murshidabad

Murshidabad

Murshidabad is a city in Murshidabad district of West Bengal state in India. The city of Murshidabad is located on the southern bank of the Bhagirathi, a tributary of the Ganges River.
Myaungmya

Myaungmya

When boarding a Pandaw River Cruise, you can be prepared to visit some of the most beautiful places in Asia. One of those incredible places is Myaungmya. Myaungmya is one of the most beautiful sites to see in the whole of Burma on one of our Irrawaddy Delta Cruises . Myaungmya is just one of the destinations you will have the joy of visiting when you book a Pandaw River Cruise. Myaungmya is located in south Burma in the Irrawaddy division. Myaungmya was formed in 1893 from a portion of the Bassein district. The Bassein district itself is swamped in history. Bassein town until 1317 was a part of the Devagiri Yadavas territory. Shortly after, it became a port for the Gujarat Muslim Kings. The Portuguese established a fort at the trading station in Bassein in 1526. The fort is now in ruins, and Bassein became famous for its shipbuilding industry. Myaungmya is nowadays mostly known for its beautiful sites and especially its rice cultivation and fishing. Nearly all of the inhabitants of Myaungmya occupy both of these trades. Locals in Myaungmya on the bank of the Irrawaddy Delta Myaungmya township is the original ancestral home of the Mon Nya. The Mon people were among the earliest people to inhabit southeast Asia. The Mon alone were responsible for the spread of Theravada Buddhism. The Mon people incredibly were among the earliest civilizations in the history of early Thailand and of course the history of Myanmar itself. The Mon people were a major influence on Myanmar culture. The Mon common tongue is called the Mon Language and is that of Austroasiatic language. You can still find this beautiful language spoken among some of the inhabitants of Myaungmya today. Of course, Myaungmya township is a part of the deltaic tract and a part of the Irrawaddy region. The Irrawaddy region itself plays host to beautiful forest land, and the import and export of wood are some of the most important components of its economy. One of the most popular places in the Irrawaddy region is Pathein. Pathein also sits on the Irrawaddy River and is another neighbor of Myaungmya that boasts a host of secrets. Pathein is one of the most important ports outside of Yangon and was also at a time part of the Man kingdom. In close proximity to Pathein is Diamond Island. Diamond island is not only extremely popular among bathers. It is also known to be a major resting area for green turtles. Diamond Island also hosted a communication station, that is unfortunately now closed. In 1908 the station was the point of contact for the Andaman Islands and Bassein. In 1942 and during the second world war, Yengyua, a river steamboat evacuated British radio operators stranded on the island. The best way to experience Myaungmya is on The Great Irrawaddy Delta cruise.
Pagan

Pagan

Travellers who book one of our Irrawaddy river cruises are guaranteed to discover some incredible stops on their enchanting river journey. However, there is no location quite like Pagan. Filled with architectural wonders and embedded in a rich history. Pagan is largely inaccessible but our river cruises provide travellers with a backstage pass to this incredible destination and you will be able to journey deep into the heart of this ancient land yourself. We’re delighted to be able to show our passengers a world far beyond the realms of what they thought possible and present them with something extraordinary. Join us on one of our cruises and take the trip of a lifetime to witness Pagan for yourself. Manuha temple in Pagan Discover A Historic City Located on the left bank of the Irrawaddy River, Pagan is roughly ninety miles from Mandalay . Those who are keen historians will know that Pagan is the iconic location of Mynamar . The old city was built in 849 CE and between the 11th and 13 century, this was the capital of the region. According to experts, Pagan was once the size of modern-day Mandalay! During 1287, pagan was overrun with the Mongols. The terrifying tribe was active in the region during this period and Pagan was but one of their many conquests. The evidence of their impact on the location can still be seen to this day. On our exciting expeditions, you will discover many of the secrets of this incredible location. Pagan was once a walled-off fortress with borders that stretched for over 2 miles. By many, it was viewed as a sacred city and it’s famously rich lands were the source of its strength through the ages. One of the earliest structures that can be discovered and viewed on our cruises actually dates back to the turn of the tenth century. Despite being battered by earthquakes, it is still in remarkable condition. You’ll find that many of the areas around Pagan have been given restorations to preserve their natural beauty and ensure that their stories live on. Things To See And Do In Pagan As well as being able to explore the remains of an ancient city, our expert guides can provide incredible details into everything that you may uncover through Pagan. You may also encounter researchers who are striving to root out more of the mysteries that still remain deeply buried here. Perhaps you could be the one to uncover a secret that has been lost in the sands of time? We certainly encourage you to take a closer look at the shrines around Pagan. These are monuments to cultural deities, believed to have protected the land from disaster. Shwezigon Pagoda in Pagan Book A Cruise Now To Journey To Pagan Yourself Pagan is one of the most mysterious and unique locations in Asia. It’s a fascinating place filled with wonder where you will be able to uncover the secrets of the past. With our expert team acting as your guide, you will be able to discover more about this fascinating location, all the while enjoying the luxuries on a cruise ship, built to cater to your every need.
Pak Beng

Pak Beng

Sitting midway between Luang Prabang and Huay Xai lays Pakbeng on the Mekong. The river used to be the one major route for transport in the country, and over the years, Pakbeng has developed massively as a stop for both cargo and passenger ferries. If you want scenery, you should sit here where the Nam Beng flows freely into the Mekong. When you are on a Mekong river cruise from Chiang Khong on the Thai border on the Mekong, you're treated to spectacular views of Pakbeng. If you want to explore Pakbeng, start on the boat journey down the Mekong. The town is flourishing right now, and it's gaining more tourism and popularity as time goes on. The one thing to remember is that Pakbeng is not just somewhere to transit to Thailand. It's a corridor to so many different places, and it's for this reason that the hotels and guesthouses are so popular. They get very full in the higher seasons, and while arrival by boat can be a little busy, there isn’t as much to do or see than other places, but it still makes for an interesting stop-off! Elephant opposite Pakbeng Places To Visit When you come to Pakbeng, you want to have a list of things to do while you are off the boat. However, it's a small place to visit, and the reason it’s so popular is that it's where all the boats stop on the way from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai. There is a sleepy charm to Pakbeng, and it's the arrival of tourists in the evening that makes it so. There are some temples that are definitely worth seeing, but there are some things that you can see and do in the neighbouring villages, too. Head to Wat Koh Koh, a nearby town for excellent views over the town. See the skies around Pakbeng in the evening as the sun sets and enjoy the view from one destination to the other. There isn't much in the way of infrastructure in Pakbeng itself, but there are a lot of tours that are becoming more and more popular alongside the river cruises that stop in Pakbeng. There are a handful of restaurants and bars in the town, too, so you can always stop off at the Hive Bar for a drink overlooking the river. There may not be much in the way of shopping malls in Pakbeng, but there are local market stalls along the main road serving up baguettes stuffed with local ingredients, and you can stock up for getting back on the boat home. When you head on one of the Pandaw river cruises through Pakbeng, you get a little taste of life with the locals, and they will be able to greet you and show you some of the local charm available to you. The best way to experience Pakbeng is on our Mekong: From Laos To China cruise where you’ll stop off for a quick visit and a look around. Sunset on the Pakbeng waterfront
Pak Lai

Pak Lai

Our Mekong River Cruises can take you to many magical destinations, one of the most stunning of those is Pak Lai. Pak Lai is a stunning administrative French town with a plethora of colonial buildings and a small yet bustling local market that can itself be a wonder to witness. This town boasts the largest elephant festival in South East Asia, and this festival is usually hosted in February. The town stretches five kilometers of route four that is joined by an east road that is very sparsely dotted with buildings in the French-colonial and Lao style. The clamouring Mekong waterway port of Pak Lai is a practically unavoidable stop on one of our river cruises on the Mekong. Pak Lai sits prettily among Sainyabuli and Loei in Thailand. The town pursues a 5km twist of the river, paralleled further east by a smaller riverside cut-out that's sparsely sprinkled with historic structures in both Lao and French-colonial style. Pak Lai is popular with tourists for its free walk opportunities through some incredible rainforest. It even boasts a considerable number of elephants, so if you have never experienced a ride on an elephant before, this could be your chance. Forest Walks in Pak Lai Many residents of neighbouring towns such as Vientiane or Sainyabuli arrive in Pak Lai by bus as it people often travel to visit the famous market. Of course, one can not mention visiting such a wonderfully beautiful place without talking about how we get to it. The journey itself via the Mekong should be appreciated alone for its glory of being the twelfth longest river in the world. Apart from the famous market, there are also some fantastic restaurants to sample some of the finest local cuisines. School children in Pak Lai One place that everybody should also make an effort to visit is Wat Sisavang. Wat Sisavang is a Buddhist temple in Pak Lai that lies on route 4. Wat Sisavang sports some ancient monks' quarters and now has a new bell tower and gateway. Within a short 500 meter walk of Wat Sisavang, you will pass the main guesthouse and a river port. At this point, you will cross a picturesque wooden bridge where you will arrive at a quaint village-like area. All in all, any trip to northern Laos will be one that will surely stay with you for the rest of your life. If it wasn't for this colorful history, Laos would not play host to some of the incredible beauty that it does today. The best way to experience Pak Lai is on our Laos Mekong cruise, where you will visit colonial buildings and a bustling market.
Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh

One thing that so many people love about going on a river cruise is that they get the opportunity to explore places they otherwise wouldn’t. This is something we definitely help you to achieve. One of the most popular spots on our Mekong river cruises is Phnom Penh for its rich history and wealth of things to do. Key facts about Phnom Penh Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia and the most populous city in the country. It was founded in 1434 and it is noted for the many historical attractions and architecture, including a number of surviving French colonial buildings. It used to be known as Krong Chaktomuk. It has become the cultural, industrial, and economic centre of the nation. It has progressed to this status ever since becoming the capital once the French colonised Cambodia. What is Phnom Penh famous for? When you consider just how important Phnom Penh is in terms of the economy and culture in Cambodia, it is not hard to see why it has become such a famous city. However, there is more to Phnom Penh than this! It is actually widely referred to as the Pearl of Asia because it was deemed one of the most beautiful cities that was built by the French in the 1920s in Indochina. Phnom Penh, as well as Sihanoukville and Siem Reap, are both significant domestic and global tourist destinations for Cambodia. Waterfront at Phnom Penh Top things to do in Phnom Penh You probably won’t be surprised to learn that there are plenty of things to see and do while you are in Phnom Penh. This includes visiting the King’s official residence, which is the Royal Palace. This is a symbol of the Kingdom and it is a venue for court ceremony. Despite this, there are a number of different areas that are open to the public. You will also find the Silver Pagoda here too. This is a prominent template, which is named for its gleaming silver floor, taking a key place on the riverside. Another one of the most popular tourist spots in Phnom Penh is the National Museum of Cambodia. The good news is that you won’t need to travel far to see this, as it is right next to the Royal Palace. It is home to over 5, 000 artefacts that date back to the period of ancient Angkorian. Other places of interest include Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Cambodian Living Arts’ theatre show, and Wat Phnom. King’s Palace in Phnom Penh If you are interested in a Pandaw River Cruise , or you would like to visit Phnom Penh specifically, the best way to experience it is on our Classic Mekong cruise where you’ll visit the Royal Palace and the silver pagoda as well as the national museum with a collection of Angkorian statuary. In the afternoon, you’ll get to explore Phnom Penh’s waterfront and have high tea.
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.
Prome (Pyay)

Prome (Pyay)

As part of The Golden Land and your Irrawaddy River Cruise , you will get to enjoy a stop-off at Prome (Pyay) in Myanmar. Once known as Burma, the country of Myanmar is well worth a visit as it has some truly unforgettable local cuisine as well as decorative pagodas and unbelievable natural landscapes. Even though it isn’t such a hotspot for tourists these days, there are still many great reasons to visit beautiful Prome (Pyay) on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. In this quick travel guide to Prome (Pyay), we’ll go over some of its history and the things you can visit during your stop there. The History Of Prome (Pyay) Prome (Pyay) has been a busy trading town for a long time, and the town itself dates back to an ancient capital called Thayekhittaya. The ruins of this old capital are actually still visible, just a five-mile drive out of modern-day Prome (Pyay). The town today is known by a few different names, although the most common are Prome and Pyay. Pyay is the name that the locals use, while Prome came about as a result of mispronunciation by the British. Over the years, the use of Prome became so widespread that it is often thought of as the town’s official name. Prome (Pyay) Town Things To See And Do In Prome (Pyay) Thayekhittaya It’s well worth the short trip to get out to the ruins at Thayekhittaya to see the early town that would later become Prome (Pyay). It’s a fascinating site and also features a very interesting museum where you will be able to see some early Buddhist artifacts and sculptures. You’ll also be able to see some of the current excavations up close. The Central Market The town’s market is a bustling place to be and certainly a great location for a spot of people watching. You will also be able to shop for some souvenirs here as well. There will be plenty of stalls and stands selling trinkets and local goods for you to rummage through. If you’re hungry you can sample some of the delicious street food available. Payagyi Paya This gorgeous pagoda once marked one of the four corners of the ancient city of Thayekhittaya. Many believe that it dates from the 5th or 6th century. It consists of three floors and the pagoda’s pinnacle is lit up at night. These are just some of the highlights of visiting Prome (Pyay). When you get off in the town during the stop-off as part of your Pandaw River Cruise , you certainly won’t be bored as there is so much to explore. Even just wandering around the town will be enjoyable as you can soak up the sunshine while taking in the traditional way of life in Myanmar.
Pyapon

Pyapon

On one of our Irrawaddy Delta cruises , you can experience the small town of Pyapon on the Pyapon River, a tributary of the Irrawaddy Delta. Pyapon The History Of Pyapon Located 75 miles south of Rangoon, Pyapon is a small fishing town on the Irrawaddy River. Although it’s known for its fishing, the marshlands were reclaimed in the 20th century for rice production due to the rice paddies. As a result, it’s still one of the main producers of rice in Myanmar, shipping its products to the rest of the country and is known as the “Rice Basket” of Burma. The rice paddies attracted Burman and Karen settlers, many of which are still in Pyapon today mixed with the ancient, indigenous Mon race. Top Attractions The natural beauty of Pyapon is what stands out the most as you float along the Irrawaddy River 15km away from the Andaman Sea. As well as the paddies that dominate the landscape, cruisers often spot birds in the less populated areas. River crocodiles sometimes lay on the bank, and dolphins have been known to use the backwaters as nurseries. From an industrial point of view, the diesel-electric plant is a contrast to the natural Buddist culture and scenery, which mainly consists of temples. The temples are popular attractions for visitors who want to learn more about the history of Pyapon as well as the modern-day society. Things To Do On A Pyapon Cruise The best way to get a taste of this island-like town is to take a backwater tour. Pyapon is similar to other backwater villages, such as Alleppey in Kerala, India, and you can see the life of the people and the togetherness of the community in real-time. After the damage of Cyclone Nargis, the villages are under construction and still show the signs of destruction 11 years later. Jungles comprise a significant range of the landscape, so a trek down through the vegetation on the lookout for Irrawaddy dolphins and saltwater crocs is a must too. However, if you want to get off the water, there is more than people watching or animal spotting. In the hustle and bustle of the town, you’ll find vibrant markets that sell everything from rice and fish to flavoursome spices. Pandaw Cruises Here at Pandaw Cruises, we have the ultimate 7-night Great Irrawaddy Delta expedition that takes in everything from Rangoon to Pyapon, Bogale and the Twante Canal in Maubin. Not only do we include transfers, excursions and main meals, but we offer fantastic English-speaking guides. Entrance fees come as standard, too.
Rangoon (Yangon)

Rangoon (Yangon)

The largest city in Myanmar, Rangoon (Yangon) is a mix of cosmopolitan high-rises, stunning architecture and historical sights. Featuring the best of everything Myanmar has to offer, this exceptional city is a must-see destination on your Irrawaddy River cruise . Top Attractions in Rangoon If you’re only planning a short stop in the City, you’ll want to make the most of your time in Rangoon. With so many things to see and do, you’ll be hard pressed to explore everything the City has to offer, but there are some tourist attractions that wouldn’t want to miss. Shwedagon Pagoda at Rangoon Shwedagon Pagoda The world-famous Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most popular attractions in the City, and it’s easy to see why. Sometimes known as the Great Dagon Pagoda or the Golden Pagoda, the unique structure can be seen from almost every location in the City, and the golden roof of the Pagoda illuminates the skyline during dusk and throughout the night. Attracting thousands of pilgrims from around the world every year, the Shwedagon Pagoda is estimated to date back at least 2, 500 years. As well as being a revered holy temple, the Pagoda is a symbol of Rangoon (Yangon), and Myanmar as a whole. Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset Its exceptional architecture, peaceful tranquillity and stunning jewel-encrusted stupa ensure the Golden Pagoda remain one of Rangoon’s most visited locations, and what a location it is to see! Sule Pagoda Sule Pagoda is another exquisite example of religious architecture. The historical pagoda is home to thousands of statues and shrines, and it’s ornate, gilded exterior simply adds to the breath-taking City landscape. Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda The Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda is another must-see site in Rangoon. Featuring one of the country’s largest statues, the 66m sculpture of the reclining Buddha is revered by locals and tourists alike. One of the best-known temples in the wider area, the Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple offers a wonderful experience of the country’s religion, culture, and history. Bogyoke Aung San Market If you fancy a spot of shopping in Rangoon, there are endless shops and stores to visit. Stretching over 200 square miles, there’s not much the City doesn’t have to offer. However, Bogyoke Aung San Market offers an unmistakable and authentic experience. The bazaar features hundreds of stalls and stores, mainly offering antiques, jewellery, crafts, and clothing, as well as art galleries. Whilst the opportunity to pick up authentic souvenirs is enough to attract tourists, the colonial architecture and cobbled streets provide a fantastic experience of Rangoon in themselves. For guests travelling on Pandaw river cruises , there is ample opportunity to spend time in Rangoon. Our The Irrawaddy and The Golden Land cruise is one of the best ways to not only explore stunning Burma but also the historic Rangoon (Yangon).
Saigon

Saigon

Saigon is one of the key cities in Vietnam, and it’s probably a place many people find the time to visit when they’re making the most of a Mekong River Cruise . It’s a city that’s brimming with life and excitement, and you certainly won’t be short of things to do and see while you’re there. Read on to find out more about Saigon and what the city has to offer. Saigon City Hall An Introduction to Saigon Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, is the largest city in Vietnam and is a major commercial centre for the country. It’s a busy and often overwhelming city, but it’s also a place with a lot to see, explore and experience. It has a population of over eight million people and a culture all of its own. Saigon was only founded in the 18th century, which makes it quite young in the wider context of Asian cities. It’s also a place that has experienced all of the ups and downs of Vietnamese history since then. It was a logistical base for US operations and the capital of South Vietnam until the country was reunified in 1975, when it was renamed Ho Chi Minh City after the revolutionary leader of Vietnam. Top Attractions and Things to See/Do in Saigon If you’re going to be spending time in Saigon, there are some things that you’ll want to spend your time on. These are the top attractions and things to do and see while you’re in Saigon. Binh Tay Market When you’re looking for the authentic and real side of Saigon, you simply need to head to the vibrant and historical Binh Tay Market. There are plenty of great foods for sale here too. War Remnants Museum If you want to learn more about the Vietnam War from a Vietnames perspective, you should take the time to visit the War Remnants Museums. There are some fascinating things and you’ll learn a lot. Cao Dai Temple Cao Dai is a unique spiritual religion that mixes lots of elements from other faiths. Be sure to visit the temple because tourists are allowed inside. It’s a simply beautiful space. Bitexco Tower and Sky Deck If you’re looking to experience the best of what modern Saigon has to offer, simply head to the top of the Bitexco Tower and enjoy the view over the city from the Sky Deck. Picturesque tourist jetty in Saigon What Saigon is Most Famous For Saigon is famous for a few things. Of course, the history of the country in relation to the Vietnam War is something people associate with it. But things are quite different today. It’s famous for being a bustling and lively city, as well as a growing commercial capital in Asia. It’s also famous for being home to some of the very best food Vietnam has to offer, particularly the pho and pork rolls you’ll find there. If you’re looking to visit Saigon anytime soon, be sure to make the most of these top attractions and the other information outlined above. It’s an incredible part of the world with a unique culture you’ll have a great time delving into and learning more about. It’ll be the trip of a lifetime!
Sale

Sale

Here 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-style houses; moor at the Tan-chi-taung mountain and ascend on foot or by WWII jeep for the spectacular sunset over Pagan.
Siem Reap

Siem Reap

With unparalleled views of the Angkor monuments, Siem Reap has become increasingly popular in recent years. Known as the gateway to the ruins of Angkor, Siem Reap is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cambodia and one of the most exciting stops on our Mekong River cruises . Top Tourist Attractions In Siem Reap Once the capital of the Khmer Empire, Angkor is known all over the world for its temples, monuments, and history. Believed to be the earthly representation of Mt Meru and ancient gods, the temples reflect the spiritual commitment and devotion of their creators. Angkor Wat Recognised as the largest religious building in the world, Angkor Wat is one of the must-see sights in Siem Reap. Surrounded by a wide moat, the iconic structure is a sight to behold. A series of bas-reliefs stretches 800 meters around Angkor Wat, whilst the central tower rises 55 meters above the ground. In continuous for centuries, Angkor Wat has religious, cultural and historical symbolism. Featured on the national flag, it is Cambodia’s most well-known site and is a great source of pride for native Cambodians. With almost two-hundred unique heavenly nymphs, or apsaras, carved into the temple walls, there is something to behold at every turn. Whilst you could spend days exploring Angkor Wat, most guides recommend you allow at least two hours to explore the main parts of the temple. For those who want to take a guided tour of the bas-reliefs or visit the upper level, also known as the Bakan, a half-day visit to Angkor Wat is a more realistic option. Angkor Wat Visiting the Temples of Angkor at Siem Reap Although the Angkor Wat is the most well-known temple in Angkor, it is surrounded by other stunning temples and buildings. The 12th-century state of the temple of Jayavarman VII, Bayon, comprises 54 towers, adorned by 216 epic faces of Avalokiteshvara. With 11, 000 figures featured in the temple’s 1. 2km of bas-reliefs, Bayon is a wonderful example of the creativity and spiritual belief employed by the architects of Cambodia’s famous temples. Ta Prohm To experience a truly atmospheric ruined temple, a visit to Ta Prohm is a must. Seemingly overtaken by the jungle, the ruins of Ta Prohm are intertwined with vines and root system, the land surrounding Ta Prohm is surprisingly clear, with only the largest trees remaining. Constructed in the 12th century and maintained by over 80, 000 people, Ta Prohm served as a functioning temple for centuries, before it was claimed by nature. Ta Prohm Temple One of the smallest sites in the area, Banteay Srei features exquisite carving, artworks, and monuments. When you’ve finished exploring the largest religious building on earth, be sure to pay a visit to one of the smallest in Angkor. Arranging a visit to travel to Siem Reap is easy with Pandaw river cruises . The 3-night Phnom Penh and Siem Reap river cruise feature a stop here, so you’ll find it simple and straightforward to visit the Temples of Angkor. Similarly, the 7-night Classic Mekong river cruise includes a stop at Siem Reap, so guests will have the opportunity to explore this ancient city, its temples and its ruins.
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.
Tagaung

Tagaung

When you book an Irrawaddy River Cruise with Pandaw, you can expect to stop off at some of the most interesting and enchanting locations. This is something that is represented no better than by the ancient city of Tagaung. You will be able to explore this city on foot, viewing the incredibly fortifications. During the evening, you will be able to climb the Pagoda Hill at Tigyang. This offers the most incredible views, so you will want to make sure that you take your camera with you. Tagaung What to expect from Tagaung Tagaung is located on the river Ayeyarwady's east bank. It is 56 miles north of Shwebo and 127 miles north of Mandalay. Its civilization goes back to the early era of Christianity, with Pyu culture. It is certainly an impressive place to visit. At present, the only remnants of this ancient site are traces of the moat and ruins of the fort walls. It appears that the river has washed away the western wall. There is evidence that Buddhism prevailed at this site since the early times. This is because there is a big ruined pagoda called the Shwe Zigon. Due to the fact that almost all of the ancient site is now occupied by the new town, archaeological excavations could not be carried out. There were only a few plots of this carried out during the 1967-69 period. However, those that were conducted do show that there is evidence of religious edifices and habitation sites. Tagaung on the banks of the Irrawaddy river By visiting Tagaung on one of our cruises, you will get a real feel for what it used to be like here in ancient times. Nevertheless, you will also see what modern-day Tagaung is like as well. There are still artefacts and ancient ruins across the city. However, Tagaung today has a population of more than 6, 500 and it is also home to 950 households. It is starting to turn into a busy town, and it has a lot of personality too. To say it is a place that is one-of-a-kind would be no exaggeration. It has so much depth of history and character yet you can also see that the town is on a new journey too. If you are interested in visiting the magical and ancient city of Tagaung, all you need to do is book a cruise with Pandaw today. We actually have a number of different cruises that involve stopping off at this impressive location, including our new cruise, which is our Pagan & The Upper Irrawaddy . You can find more information on all of the cruises we have running iva our website.
Thanh Ha and Water Puppets

Thanh Ha and Water Puppets

The Water Puppets are a tradition which dates back as far as the 11th century, originating in the villages of the Red River Delta. The stories tell the day-to-day life of rural Vietnam with a strong reference to Vietnamese folklore. The puppets are made of lacquered wood, and the performers are in a waist-deep pool hidden behind a screen.
Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas

Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas

The Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas are a must see for anybody with an interest in Vietnamese Buddhist culture. Visited as a stopover during one of our Halong Bay River Cruises , you are sure to experience those feelings of peace and tranquility that the Buddhist religion is famous for when visiting these architecturally stunning temples just north of Vietnam. The Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas The pagodas date back to the 8th and 11th centuries. The Thay Pagoda is dedicated to Tu Dao Hanh, a famous monk rumoured to have lived in the temple, and who (as legend tells it) was known to have mystical powers. Should you visit the temple during the Thay Pagoda festival (28th-31st of March), you will get the opportunity to see some fantastic water puppetry that is created in honor of this patron deity. You will have to climb the 239 steps to reach the Tay Phuong pagoda, which is situated on a hilltop, but your climb will be worth it. The panoramic view of the surrounding countryside area is breathtaking, and you will be able to marvel at the finely sculptured Arhat statues that depict the life of Buddha and his disciples within the temple. The pagodas are located on the mountainous scenery of Sai Son, and the Thay Pagoda is settled in front of the breathtaking Long Thieu lake, so you are bound to feel that serene sense of calm that the Buddhist culture is known for. Both pagodas are remarkable for their carved wooden statues, although your attention may be averted by the finely carved lacquer and gold statues of Buddha that are in celebration of his life. Legend suggests that the Thay Pagoda was built on land in the shape of a dragon. The Sai Son Mountain is reputed to be the dragon's tail, the pagoda's courtyard the upper jaw, the lakeshore the lower jaw, and the three layers of the pagoda itself are rumoured to resemble the dragon's head. You can learn more about the mythology of the area should you catch sight of a tour guide. Outside of the Tay Phuong Pagoda Many monks, nuns, and other tourists visit the area annually. They come for the Thay Pagoda festival with its folk-telling water puppet shows, but they also come for the sightseeing opportunities, the adventurous hiking opportunities, and the charming landscapes that hold clues to history past. They also come to find peace at the tranquility of the lake, and to find opportunities where they can reflect on life and all its mysteries within the mystical surroundings of the two pagodas. On your expedition here, you are bound to find moments of serenity as you walk around the lake and through the time-worn pagodas around Hanoi. You might also experience life-changing moments of reflection. Best way to see the Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas Our Halong Bay and Red River , and the Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong cruises both offer opportunities to visit the Thay and Tay Phuong pagodas. Other key sites are explored along North Vietnam and along the Red River delta, where you can get to see more of the wonders that are found in the local area.
Thayetmyo

Thayetmyo

You can join two of our popular Irrawaddy river cruises to visit the beautiful town of Thayetmyo. Both The Irrawaddy and The Golden Land cruises will take you to this pretty region and you will have the chance to disembark the ship and explore Thayetmyo at your own pace. Here’s our quick guide to Thayetmyo and why it’s really worth visiting during your time in Myanmar on one of our popular cruises. Thayetmyo on the banks of the Irrawaddy river The History Of Thayetmyo Thayetmyo is a small town on the banks of the Irrawaddy River in upper Myanmar. It had a significant armed forces present since the middle of the 1800s and was developed as a colonial town by the British after the second Anglo Burmese War in 1855. The town was still home to a British battalion throughout the First World War and also had a large battalion made up of local army as well. The oldest golf course in the whole of Myanmar was located in Thayetmyo and this had reciprocal links to Scotland’s famous Royal & Ancient St. Andrews course. These links are under dispute these days, though, as the modern Royal & Ancient St. Andrews course now denies them. Traditionally, the area had a strong trade in rice, tobacco, cotton, and oilseeds. In the 1960s, the area’s economy was revolutionized when two lime-stone quarries were established just south of the town. These were used to provide supplies for the local cement factory. What To See And Do In Thayetmyo One of the main attractions in Thayetmyo is the large war cemetery that is located just outside of the town. It is the final resting place for thousands of Turkish prisoners of war. The prisoners were originally taken hostage in Iraq and transported by the British forces to labor camps in what was Burma. Hundreds of them died in these camps from Malaria. For years, the cemetery was left in a state of neglect until the Turkish government stepped in during the 1960s. After trying to set up initiatives for maintenance for the cemetery, permission for the work was finally granted in 2012. Of course, the extensive war cemetery isn’t the only thing to see during your time in Thayetmyo. In the center of the town is also a bustling market, where you will be able to rummage through trinkets to try to find some souvenirs to take home. The market is also a great place to head if you want to sample some local street food as well. Lots of visitors to Thayetmyo also enjoy exploring the town’s streets so that they can see all of the traditional colonial architecture and houses. It’s possible to take a horse and cart trip out to the scenic edges of the town and to check out the golf course. There is plenty to see and do in the town of Thayetmyo, and you will certainly enjoy your time off the ship here. For all travelers who love history and want a glimpse into life in one of Britain’s colonies, then this will certainly be an interesting location for you.
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.
Vientiane

Vientiane

Vientiane is the capital city of Laos and a popular stop-off on our Mekong River cruises , thanks to the numerous attractions to be found in this ancient, charming and bustling city. Vientiane is home to more than 783, 000 people and has been given evocative nicknames, such as the City of Sandalwood and the City of the Moon, at certain points in its history. Modern Vientiane is a relatively young city. The original settlement was an administrative centre serving in the Kingdom of a Million Elephants from 1545 but was then razed to the ground by the Siam (modern-day Thailand) in 1827 during a siege. The city was only rebuilt upon discovery by French colonists at the end of the nineteenth century, giving us the basis of the modern city we see today. Top Attractions In Vientiane Pha That Luang This is a stunning gold Buddhist stupa in the middle of the city. Not only is this a national symbol for Laos but it is also a national monument, attracting hundreds of tourists each year. Pha That Luang Patuxai Patuxai is Vientiane’s version of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The city completed the giant gateway, which sits in front of a lake surrounded by parkland, in 1968, and it has stood firm ever since, towering over the surrounding areas. Eager tourists can climb steps inside the archway for a small fee and get prime views over the city. Patuxai in Vientiane Ho Phra Keo Museum Ho Phra Keo museum, also called Hophakaew museum, is located just a couple of minutes walk from the Mekong, right in the heart of Vientiane. The museum is an ancient Buddhist temple built for the Emerald Buddha, dating back to the 1500s. The museum contains many artefacts, and there’s a gift shop once you’re done. Wat Si Muang Wat Si Muang is one of the most popular destinations for people arriving in Vientiane. The Buddhist temple was built in 1563 and is said to be guarded day and night by a restless spirit. Sisaket Temple A stunning historic temple located in the city centre, near the President’s palace, making it easily accessible. This temple remains the only one that wasn’t destroyed by the Thai invasion in the 19th century. Buddha statue at the Sisaket Temple Top Things To Do And See While In Vientiane Relax On The Mekong Riverfront The Mekong river is one of the largest rivers in Laos. The banks of the Mekong are famously lush and attract hundreds of people every day from all over the capital. Visit The New World Shopping Centre The New World shopping centre, a region of the city that comes to life after sunset, offers local food and drink to hungry tourists. It’s a must-visit part of the town if you want to experience life in Vientiane at its most authentic. Explore the Riverside Night Market The Night Market, sometimes called the Chinese Market, pops up along the riverfront in the evening, selling an assortment of drinks, sundries, and novelty items. The old market used to be some distance back from the river, but thanks to infrastructure upgrades by the city, it’s now held at the water’s edge. Pandaw offers a few different river cruises including Pandaw’s Laos Mekong river cruise that enable you to explore the beautiful Vientiane.
Viet Tri

Viet Tri

One of the things you’ll see if you take a Halong Bay River Cruise is Viet Tri, the capital city of Phú Tho Province in North-East Vietnam. Roughly a quarter of a million people live here and it’s a very pleasant and welcoming city to visitors. Viet Tri is an industrial city and there are lots of important aspects of the Vietnamese economy that are based here. There are chemical and paper production industries here, as well as many other kinds of industrial enterprises. Find out more about Viet Tri and the wider city below. A warm welcome for tourists at Viet Tri History of Phú Tho Province There's a long and storied history linked to Phú Tho Province and it informs the city of Viet Try as it stands today. The province has always been known as the West Gate of Hanoi because of its location and proximity to the capital city of Vietnam. It’s also home to some of the most important natural landscapes and wild open spaces in Vietnam. The Red River and the Da River both connection here and the Xuan Son National Park is one of the most impressive natural areas you’ll find in Vietnam. It covers over 15, 000 hectares of land and many of this is made up of natural forest area. There are some impressive species of animal that have made Xuan Son National Park their home. There are even very rares species found here too, including Tibetan bears, cobras and gray gibbons. The extensive networks of caves found here is also home to a large population of bats. One of the things most commonly associated with this province is tea. It’s a vital part of the economy here because it’s produced in a large quantity and shipped to other countries for sale. Viet Tri There are many attractions that make Viet Tri worth visiting, especially if you’re going through this are as part of a Halong Bay River Cruise. The Hung Temple is one of the most important monuments in this part of Vietnam, and it’s a beautiful piece of architecture. If you get to see it up close and in person, you should make the most of that opportunity. Around the year, there are still festivals and events that happen around the site of the temple. Another key attraction is the Binh Son Pagoda Tower. It’s an imposing structure that is actually 11-stories high and has a terra cotta design. You’ll definitely want to see it when you’re in Viet Tri. It was originally constructed under the Tran Dynasty and is the tallest structure made from terra cotta that still survives to this day, which is pretty impressive. If you’re going to be making the most of a Halong Bay River Cruise anytime soon, be sure to make the most of everything Viet Tri has to offer. It’s a fascinating city and the wider province has a vital and interesting history. You’ll enjoy exploring and learning more about Viet Tri when you’re there.
Wakema

Wakema

In the Ayeyarwaddy Division of south-west Myanmar lies the idyllic town of Wakema. A small yet bustling town surrounded by awe-inspiring greenery and wildlife, it is known as a melting pot of religions, with Baptist, Buddhism and Muslim places of worship scattered around it. Accessible via one of Pandaw’s Irrawaddy Delta River Cruises , you will be able to walk through the busy streets of the port, tasting incredible culinary delights and seeing the locals working on the market stalls on day 6/7. Houses on the banks of the Irrawaddy river at Wakema Key Facts About Wakema It has a population of over 42, 000 people It is also known as Wagay-ma, Wancuma, Wankinna and Wagema It has a warm and welcoming atmosphere It is in the Myaungmya District It is a unique stop on your river cruise Top Attractions to Visit in Wakema Although Wakema is quite a small town, it’s filled with things to see and do during the time you are there. When you have a few hours to spare, you can see the following: Hantharwaddy Kamahtann Monastery Hidden amongst lush greenery, this historic treasure is a must-see for those looking to dip their feet into the culture of Myanmar. Located just off a dirt road, from the moment that you arrive at this monastery you will feel at one with nature. BoGyoke Park Not to be confused with the much larger park in Yangon, this little yet beautiful park makes for a wonderful explore when you are in Wakema. Situated next to the banks of the river, it is often missed by tourists exploring the area. Thet Kya Ma Har Thiri Pagoda This beautiful and ornate pagoda is located in the heart of Wakema. Architecturally fascinating, from the moment you enter this pagoda you will feel at peace with your surroundings. One of Wakema’s most popular tourist attractions, it is visited by thousands of people each year. The perfect place to visit whilst on your river cruise, it showcases Myanmar’s religious traditions. What Wakema is Famous For Although Wakema is visited by many tourists per year (most commonly those on a river cruise), the traditional look and feel of the town makes it a wonderful place to visit for those wanted to see the true Myanmar. Not only is it known for its variety of religions, busy port and market, but it is also home to the Government Technological Institute that was established in 1996. A prominent university attended by numerous locals and international students, it has grown over the years to introduce state of the art equipment. When you are on your river cruise, you will be able to pass by the university gates due to its proximity to the centre of town. Wakema is also known as the hometown of Sayadaw U Pannya Vamsa who was a notable Buddhist missionary who worked throughout Sri Lanka and Malaysia (as well as other areas) until his death in 2017. A builder of 8 monasteries around the world, his rich history make him beloved in the town. The Great Irrawaddy Delta cruise will allow you to explore this beautiful town.
Yandabo

Yandabo

Here we visit the Pandaw School built with donations from past Pandaw passengers and see potteries, the main industry for this village.

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