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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.

The river is navigable 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.

River Cruise Expeditions

River Cruise itinerary for The Golden Land

The Golden Land

Mandalay - Rangoon

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

10 nights

from US$3856.50
members from US$3428

River Cruise itinerary for The Golden Land
River Cruise itinerary for Pagan and The Upper Irrawaddy

Pagan and The Upper Irrawaddy

Upper Irrawaddy Pagan - Mandalay - Katha - Bhamo

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

10 nights

from US$3780
members from US$3360

River Cruise itinerary for Pagan and The Upper Irrawaddy
River Cruise itinerary for The Irrawaddy

The Irrawaddy

Rangoon - Mandalay

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

14 nights

from US$5391
members from US$4792

River Cruise itinerary for The Irrawaddy
River Cruise itinerary for Mandalay Pagan Packet

Mandalay Pagan Packet

Pagan - Mandalay

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

7 nights

from US$1611
members from US$1432

River Cruise itinerary for Mandalay Pagan Packet
River Cruise itinerary for Mandalay to Pagan Four Night Cruise

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

4 nights

from US$1316.70
members from US$1252

River Cruise itinerary for Mandalay to Pagan Four Night Cruise
River Cruise itinerary for Pagan-Mandalay or Mandalay-Pagan Short Cruise

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

2 nights

from US$670.50

River Cruise itinerary for Pagan-Mandalay or Mandalay-Pagan Short Cruise
River Cruise itinerary for Mandalay Pagan Short Cruise

Mandalay Pagan Short Cruise

Mandalay - Pagan

1 nights

from US$413

River Cruise itinerary for Mandalay Pagan Short Cruise
River Cruise itinerary for The Great Irrawaddy Delta

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

7 nights

from US$1905.30
members from US$1693.60

River Cruise itinerary for The Great Irrawaddy Delta

Image Galleries

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Travel Blogs

Between land and sea - The Irrawaddy Delta

Pandaw's latest adventure is a voyage to the heart of the Irrawaddy Delta, one of Burma's most colourful and distinctive corners. As well as ful....

River Cruise Stops

 

Amarapura

Amarapura is a classical Pali name and means ‘The City of Immortals’. Founded by King Bodawpaya in1783, the year after he came to the throne, an....

 

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 th....

 

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 th....

 

Danupyu

Little known town with a busy port and bustling markets....

 

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 an....

 

Khanyat

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

 

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 man....

 

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 pa....

 

Mandalay

Though Rangoon is the modern day capital, Mandalay, or Yadanapura — the ‘City of Gems’, remains the Golden Land’s spiritual capital. To know Man....

 

Maubin

Ma-ubin or Maubin is a town in the Ayeyarwady Division of south-west Burma. It is the seat of the Ma-ubin Township in the Ma-ubin District. T....

 

Mingun

We cast off early and stop at Mingun to see the largest working bell in the world and the unfinished pagoda that is the largest single mass of b....

 

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 ....

 

Myaungmya

Myaungmya is a town in Myaungmya Township, Irrawaddy Region, Burma. The town is home to the Myanmar Union Adventist Seminary, a Seventh Day Adve....

 

Pagan

Pagan is one of the richest archeological sites in the world and the highlight of every tour through Myanmar. In between 11th and 13th century t....

 

Pakokku

We are visiting the local market and town center by Tuk Tuk....

 

Prome (Pyay)

We visit the 5th-8th century archaeological site of Thiri-ya-kittiya, former centre of the Pyu civilization with a fascinating museum of early B....

 

Pyapon

Pyapon is a town and seat of Pyapon District in the Irrawaddy Division of Myanmar, along the Pyapon River, a tributary of the Irrawaddy River. I....

 

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 ha....

 

Salay and Salay House

Salay can truly claim to have stepped off the beaten tourist track.  It first emerged during the 12th and 13th centuries as an overspill of Old ....

 

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 splendi....

 

Tagaung

Explore by foot the ancient city of Tagaung viewing the fortifications. In the evening we climb the Pagoda Hill at Tigyang with its stunning vie....

 

Thayetmyo

A pleasant colonial town once guarded the border between Royal Burmah and British Burmah following the 2nd Anglo Burmese War of 1855, many of th....

 

Wakema

Wakema is a town in the Ayeyarwady Division of south-west Myanmar. It is the seat of the Wakema Township in the Myaungmya District. It is home....

 

Yandabo

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

River Cruise Ships

RV Indochina Pandaw river cruise ship

Sister to the Orient and Bassac, the IP was built in Vietnam in 2009 and transferred over to Burma in 2011. The ship has quality mountain bikes ....

RV Kalaw Pandaw river cruise ship

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 Kalay Pandaw river cruise ship

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 Kha Byoo Pandaw river cruise ship

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

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 Pandaw II river cruise ship

Pandaw II was our first ever new build back in 2001. Though our oldest ship she is still young in river terms – her prototype the old Pandaw is ....

RV Zawgyi Pandaw river cruise ship

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 ....

Irrawaddy River Climate

Irrawaddy River climate chart

Optional Extensions

2 Nights Mystical Inle Lake

Inle is one of the biggest lakes in Burma. It’s famous for its stunning location between the hills of Shan State, easy access by air (domestic f....

2 Nights Southern Shan State Adventure - Kalaw Hill Lodge

Shan State is one of the most famous regions in Burma. While it’s southern part is most famous for amazing Inle Lake, relatively easy access by ....

Eskala Resort 3 Nights Inwards

Ngwe Saung is a very popular beach resort for foreign travellers with a beautiful, unspoiled 15 km stretch of silvery sand and several deluxe ho....

Eskala Resort 3 Nights Outwards

Ngwe Saung is a very popular beach resort for foreign travellers with a beautiful, unspoiled 15 km stretch of silvery sand and several deluxe ho....

Mystical Inle Lake & Southern Shan State Adventure (4 nights) - Kalaw Hill Lodge

Shan State is one of the most famous regions in Burma. On this trip you will visit mesmerising Inle Lake, old British colonial hill station (Kal....

Ngwe Saung Yacht Club & Resort 3 Nights Inwards

Ngwe Saung is a very popular beach resort for foreign travellers with a beautiful, unspoiled 15 km stretch of silvery sand and several deluxe ho....

Ngwe Saung Yacht Club & Resort 3 Nights Outwards

Ngwe Saung is a very popular beach resort for foreign travellers with a beautiful, unspoiled 15 km stretch of silvery sand and several deluxe ho....

Night stay on board

Extend your stay and board one day earlier bed & breakfast on board your Pandaw vessel for an extra night. Enjoy the experience and perspective ....

Northern Shan State Adventure 4 Nights

Shan State is one of the most famous and beautiful regions in Burma. While it’s southern part is famous mostly for Inle Lake and often crowded w....

Undiscovered Burma's South - Strand Moulmein

Burma’s South is one of the most interesting and picturesque areas of the country. Since the government’s permissions to visit are no longer req....

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