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Combo Cruises

COMBO EXPEDITIONS RIVER CRUISES

Worried About Booking Just Now?

This is the time of year when you might be thinking of booking a trip for next winter but with current uncertainty you might be holding back from making any decisions.

To help out we are offering our members a flexible booking scheme: this means that if you make a booking for next season and then, for whatever reason, want to change the date of travel or the routing you will be able to transfer any monies paid as a credit to another date or route within 12 months of that sailing date without penalty, subject to availability of a cabin.

Please note this does not apply to flights or hotel arrangements, but these can be booked much later as there will always be plenty of options, whereas our more popular Pandaw routings can fill up quite fast.

We know that our Pandaw passengers can look beyond current events and hope this helps give some peace of mind.

Thank you for your continued support!

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

Saigon, Siem Reap, Halong Bay & Hanoi

19 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$6,121.80 per person

members from US$5,441.60 per person

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

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

19 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, RV Tonle Pandaw

from US$5,980.50 per person

members from US$5,316 per person

Save up to 10% and 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, RV Laos Pandaw

from US$7,012.80 per person

Save up to 10%

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 Kalay Pandaw, RV Zawgyi Pandaw

from US$7,402.50 per person

Save up to 10% and 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$6,503.40 per person

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

Rivers in Combo Expeditions

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.
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 Kalay Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Kalay Pandaw

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

RV Laos Pandaw

Seeing the quality of this ship it is hard to believe it was built in a hurry. There are no proper ship yards above the Khone Falls and we could....
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 Tonle Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Tonle Pandaw

Modelled on Pandaw II and originally called Pandaw III, the Tonle saw a year’s service in Burma in 2002/3 before being sent under tug-tow to the....
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.
Chiang Saen

Chiang Saen

According to an ancient chronicle the original city of Chiang Saen (Chiang: "offshoot", saen: "100, 000") was built in 545 CE in an area called Yonok by Tai migrants from the Chinese province of Yunnan, and was an important city of the Lanna ("million paddies") Kingdom. No reliable written history of the city exists until the arrival of King Mengrai in the 13th century. His grandson, Saen Phu, ruler of the Lanna Kingdom, founded Chiang Saen in 1325 or 1328. Once one of the major cities of the Lanna kingdom, it was originally called Wiang Hiran Nakhon Ngoen Yang and served as the capital before King Mengrai established Chiang Rai in 1262. The town was captured by the Burmese in the 16th century and sacked by King Rama I in 1803. Left as a ghost town for a hundred years, it was repopulated around 1900, but still hasn't really staggered to its feet. Traces of old double city walls and many other antiquities still remain in and outside the district town.
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

Two of Vietnam’s kings were born in Duong Lam, giving the village its prestige. Most of the buildings are made of laterite and mud and are over 400 years old.
Golden Triangle

Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle is in Chiang Rai Province, in the far north of Thailand. The English name comes from the meeting of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand here, but to the locals it's Sop Ruak, since this is where the Mekong meets the Ruak River. Historically the Golden Triangle has been an area well-known for the growing of opium, and the name comes from a US State Department memo on the practice. These days, though, the place lives on the cultivation of tourists, and this is undoubtedly the largest tourist trap in northern Thai-land. The landscape is hilly, divided by the Ruak River that flows into the Mekong (Mae Khong) River. These rivers form a natural boundary between the three countries Laos (to the east of the Me-kong), Myanmar (to the north of the Ruak), and Thailand (to the west of the Mae Khong). The main area is the Thai riverside near the point where the rivers meet, which — in the dry sea-son, when the Mekong runs low — is even marked by a handy sandbar. This in itself is pretty anti-climactic, so a series of increasingly bizarre attractions have been erected by the riverside to make up for it: there's a giant golden Buddha on a ship, elephant statues where you can clamber to pose atop a palanquin (in exchange for a donation, of course), elaborate shrines to the royal family, half a dozen signs stating that yes, this really is the Golden Triangle and, inevitably, river cruise touts, souvenir shops and Western-style cafes.
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 .
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.
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.
Khanyat

Khanyat

Visit a Buddhist orphanage and the grave of an English officer assasinated here during the Pacification of Burma (1887).
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, or Louangphrabang, is a city located in north central Laos, at the confluence of the Nam Khan river and Mekong River about 300 km north of Vientiane. It is the capital of Luang Prabang Province. Inhabited for thousands of years, it was the royal capital of the country until 1975. It’s known for its many Buddhist temples, including the gilded Wat Xieng Thong, dating to the 16th century, and Wat Mai, once the residence of the head of Laotian Buddhism.
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.
Mingkin

Mingkin

Mingkin, with its Konbaung court style teak monasteries are sumptuously decorated. Mingkin may be described as the Luang Prabang of the Chindwin. The oldest wooden monastery in Burma is to be found here and at Kan village there are a stupendous collection of Konbaung period wood carvings, kept safe by the much venerated Lord Abbot.
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.
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)

“Rangoon owes its history to two factors, the Shwe Dagon Pagoda and the River. The former made it a place of note in earlier ages; the latter has made it the chief port of Burma today. ” BR Pearn, History of Rangoon. 1939 Rangoon is a recent capital. In 1854, following the 2nd Anglo Burmese War the British made the small port with its important national pilgrimage shrine the administrative capital of their recent acquisition — Lower Burma. Up till then, despite its excellent location on the Rangoon River, Rangoon had been of limited economic and political significance . The city stands on the Eastern edge of the Delta and is on the Rangoon River, not the Irrawaddy. It was not connected by water to the Irrawaddy proper till the construction of the Twante Canal in the early part of this century. Originally known as Okkala and later Dagon (as in the Shwedagon Pagoda), Rangoon was renamed Yangon or ‘The End of Strife’ after the conquest of Lower Burma by King Alaunghpaya in 1755. The city later became anglicised as ‘Rangoon’. The name has now officially reverted to Yangon. The downstream port of Syriam had up till then been the entreport for Upper Burma. The British laid out the city with its grid plan — the cross-streets being numbered in the American way. The city soon prospered as a glance at the magnificent colonial architecture will tell. Rangoon was a cosmopolitan capital with large Indian and Chinese communities. As you walk along the street Many curious folk you will meet, Nearly every sort of man From the Shores of Hindustan; Persians, Turks, and bland Parsis Moguls, Gurkhas, Siamese, Placid folk from far Cathay - Where’s the Burman stowed away? Rodway Swinhoe. The Incomplete Guide to Burma. 1923 Though the non-Burman population decimated in number and wealth by the 1962 Revolution the cosmopolitan nature of the city can be seen in the many temples and mosques, churches and cathedrals, commercial buildings and palatial residences. Rangoon has always been one of the loveliest cities in Asia and until recently caught in an enchanted time warp. As the country opens and money floods in from other Asian countries the first casualty is the magnificent architectural heritage. Rangoon Division now has a population of over three million and covers an area of over 200 square miles.
Saigon

Saigon

Saigon or Ho Chi Minh is the capital of southern Vietnam and after Hanoi the country's second city. Remarkably despite the boom of the past ten years much of old Saigon has survived and there is still a real L'Indochine feel to the place. It is easy to walk around the central district exploring the broad leafy boulevards and splendid French colonial architecture - the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Post Office and Opera. The Town Hall, scene of the 'fall of Saigon' on April 30th 1975 is worth a peek as is the war museum (interestingly the French seem to come off far worse than the Americans!). A half day excursion to the Chu Chi tunnel complex is also well worth it - here the Viet Cong held out against successive carpet bombing in an underground city. Saigon is a great place to eat with some excellent French or Vietnamese restaurants.
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

Siem Reap is the town around which the Angkor monuments are situated. Modern Siem Reap is about 45minutes from the Tonle Sap and the port facilities there are very poor - dusty and disorganised - so be prepared! The modern town is not very attractive and with the increased popularity of Angkor as a destination over the past few years literally hundreds of new hotels have opened. It is a big mess with congested traffic and even pollution. Such are the benefits of mass tourism. However, the temple complexes are so vast and varied that it is quite easy to lose the package tour groups and do your own thing. Explored with discernment, and good planning, many a magical moment is still to be had. (e. g. Avoid the sunrise from Angkor Wat as this is what most tourists will be doing). Look to exploring some of the complexes like Rolous that are further away and less busy. Although very busy, Angkor remains one of the most important architectural sites on the planet and is an absolute must!
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

Of particular interest are the Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas, hardly-known yet with exquisite temples dating from the 8th and 11th century and home to some fine Buddhist statuary carved from jackfruit trees. Tay Phuong Pagoda is located 237 steps up the hill at a picturesque pond and brings peace and tranquillity into the scene. The second temple Thay Pagoda is dedicated to three Buddha statues of past, present and future.
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.
Vientiane

Vientiane

Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, situated on the Mekong near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1563 due to fears of a Burmese invasion. Of the many temples and Stupas, highlights are: Sisaket Temple Wat Si Saket was built in 1818 on the order of King Anouvong (Sethathirath V. ) Si is derived from the Sanskrit title of veneration Sri, prefixed to the name of Wat Saket in Bangkok, which was renamed by Anouvong's contemporary, King Rama I. Wat Si Saket was built in the Siamese style of Buddhist architecture, with a surrounding terrace and an ornate five-tiered roof, rather than in the Lao style. This may have kept it safe, since the armies of Siam that sacked Vientiane following Anouvong's rebellion in 1827 used the compound as their headquarters and lodging place. It may be the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane. The French colonial government restored Wat Si Saket in 1924 and again in 1930. Phrathat Luang Stupa Pha That Luang according to the Lao people was originally built as a Hindu temple in the 1st century. Buddhist missionaries from the Mauryan Empire are believed to have been sent by the Emperor Ashoka, including Bury Chan or Praya Chanthabury Pasithisak and five Arahata monks who brought a holy relic (believed to be the breastbone) of Lord Buddha to the stupa. It was rebuilt in the 13th century as a Khmer temple which fell into ruin. Wat Pra Keo Temple Haw Phra Kaew was built in 1565–1566 on the orders of King Setthathirath after he moved the capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. The temple was built on the grounds of the royal palace to house the Emerald Buddha figurine, which Setthathirath had brought from Chiang Mai then the capital of Lanna to Luang Prabang. The temple was used as Setthathirath's personal place of worship, and because of this, there were no resident monks in this temple unlike other temples in Laos. The Emerald Buddha stayed in the temple for over 200 years, but in 1779, Vientiane was seized by the Siamese General Chao Phraya Chakri (who founded the current Chakri Dynasty of Thailand), the figurine was taken to Thonburi and the temple destroyed. The Buddha now resides in Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, and is considered the palladium of Thailand. Patouxai Monument Patuxai is a compound word, 'Patuu' or 'patu' meaning a "door" or "gateway" and 'Xai', derivative of the Sanskrit ‘Jaya', which means "victory". Thus it means “Victory Gate”. The Patuxai was built during a turbulent period Lao history. It was built when Laos was a constitutional monarchy and was originally known simply as the "Anousavali" ("memory"), dedicated memory of the Laotian soldiers who died during World War II and the independence war from France in 1949.
Viet Tri

Viet Tri

Viet Tri is the capital city of Phú Th? Province in the Northeast region of Vietnam.
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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