HOME
Popular Tours
Designer
Tours
Booking Enquiry
Adventure & Specialist Tours
CRUISES
Mandalay
Bagan
Pyin Oo Lwin
Yangon (Rangoon)
Mrauk U
Map on Myanmar
Beautiful Myanmar
Join our Mailing List
About Us
Myanmar Miscellany

river cruises

Luxurious
Cabins

All Meals included

The Perfect
Honeymoon

Burma river cruises

river cruise

river cruises

Myanmar river cruises

Myanmar river cruises

Burma river cruises

cruises on the Ayeyawady ( Irrawaddy ) and Chindwin rivers

River Cruises
in Myanmar

cruises on the Ayeyawady ( Irrawaddy ) and Chindwin rivers

MANDALAY - by Rudyard Kipling..........By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' lazy at the sea, There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me; For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the Temple-bells they say: "Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!" Come you back to Mandalay, Where the old Flotilla lay: Can't you 'ear their paddles chunkin' from Rangoon to Mandalay? On the road to Mandalay, Where the flyin' fishes play, An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

Rapidly filling up for the 2014/2015 season

Book Now!!

1   Rivers of Burma 
2   The Pandaw Story 
3   Pandaw River Cruises 
4   Bagan – Mandalay - Bagan Service
5  The Chindwin and Ayeyawady Rivers
6. Yangon to Mandalay
7  Upper Irrawaddy Bhamo Itinerary
8. Golden Land Prome toMandalay
9  Typical Pandaw Vessel Specifications

10 Amara River Cruises  Bagan-Bhamo

We have many more different cruises available now ~ please email us...

A total of 12 ships now cruise on the amazing Ayeyawaddy River - the famous "Road to Mandalay"...

1 - Rivers of Burma

Burma (since 1989 renamed Myanmar) is a former British colony that in 1962 closed its doors to the world. Isolated, the culture and way of life of this devoutly Buddhist country escaped the changes that affected her South-East Asian neighbours. Today, along the banks of her great rivers, life continues undisturbed by the worst excesses of the twentieth century. Here is a rich and vibrant culture, supported by a healthy domestic economy, and populated by an overpoweringly friendly people. Even the most travelled of travellers find themselves in a world that is beyond both experience and imagining.

The Ayeyawady (Irrawaddy) rises high in the Himalayas on the fringes of Tibet and South-West China. Bhamo is the most northerly navigable point for larger vessels and is nearly a thousand miles from the Indian Ocean. The river's course and character is constantly changing and in the Monsoon the river can rise over 50 feet. As one travels downstream spectacular gorges give way to expansive vistas of shimmering water, jungle-clad banks to endless paddy. The river eventually filters into the ocean through a thousand square mile delta. Sands constantly shift and the channels can be ill-defined. For this reason the river has never been charted. The Irrawaddy is a natural challenge that man, for all his technical abilities, has been unable to tame.

The Chindwin joins the Irrawaddy just above Bagan, and though a tributary, it too is one of the great rivers of Asia. The Chindwin is even more treacherous to navigate than the Irrawaddy. Rising in the wet hills of Assam, the Upper Chindwin dissects successive mountain ranges to divulge its vast cargo of melten snow into the aptly named Dry Zone of Upper Myanmar. The Lower Chindwin can be miles wide, yet with an average dry season depth of only three feet.

The Irrawaddy and Chindwin are of interest not only on account of their geographical variety, and moving natural beauty, but because along their banks the main vestiges of a millennium and a half of Burmese Buddhist civilisation are dispersed. Myanmar is like Egypt in the respect that it is a country dominated by a river. This is most convenient for the traveller, as both ancient sites and centers of contemporary life and culture are situated close to the river banks. In many instances the places we visit could never be reached by land as there is no access by road. As the old Irrawaddy Flotilla found, the river proves the most logical and practical means of penetrating the real Myanmar.

Irrawaddy River

2 - The Pandaw Story

A journey on Myanmar's Irrawaddy River is one of life's great travel experiences. No vessel could be more appropriate for this than a ship of the Pandaw design.

Built in Scotland in 1947, the Pandaw I is the same design as the original Irrawaddy Flotilla Company steamers that coped so well with the difficult conditions of the Irrawaddy. Originally the Pandaw was a paddle steamer with the paddle placed in the stern to reduce draft. In fact the vessel draws only 3.5ft of water and can operate the year round as far as Bhamo. The Pandaw was built in Glasgow by the firm of Yarrows who to this day build quality ships. She sailed out to Burma across the open sea. Archival photos show her steaming down the Clyde all boarded up for passage to Burma. With so shallow a draft this must have been a feat of navigation.

The old Irrawaddy Flotilla was a Scottish company founded in 1865. By the 1920s the 'fabulous flotilla', as it became known, was the largest privately owned fleet of ships in the world. The largest class of vessels, the 'Siam' were licensed to carry 4,000 deck passengers. The entire fleet of 650 vessels were scuppered in 1942 in an 'act of denial' against the invading Japanese (see the book "Irrawaddy Flotilla" by Alister McCrae & Alan Prentice published by James Paton Ltd which also includes an insight into the fascinating history of Myanmar - also know as Burma and Mien).

The Pandaw 1 is 150 feet long and has a beam of 34 feet. In 1997 the IFC negotiated with the owners to take over the running of the vessel. Conserving many original features, IFC restored her to recreate the atmosphere and character of the first class deck of a colonial river steamer. They studied old photos and models of IFC ships and talked to a number of the company's former employees. They undertook the refit in Myanmar, taking advantage of beautiful local hardwoods, such as teak, and excellent local craftsmanship. Refitted, the Pandaw was re-launched in September 1998; subsequently new vessels were built by IFC and in 2003 the running of the Pandaw 1 was taken over by a new company and renamed Pandaw 1947 and continues to offer excellent standards of service.

As mentioned above and due to the popularity of the Pandaw 1  IFC decided to introduce other vessels into service. Their new ships are, called Pandaw 2, 3 and 4 and are of the same P-class design as the original Pandaw. As has been seen in the past, whilst other vessels remained trapped in port due to hazardous low water levels, the Pandaws keep plying without interruption on the Road to Mandalay.

Pandaws 2, 3 & 4 were built new in Yangon to IFC's own exacting standards. They are larger than the Pandaw 1, with 24 & 39 cabins respectively but otherwise are of the same colonial design. The much loved and generously sized staterooms (14 x 12 ft) of Pandaw 1 were faithfully reproduced as have the teak promenade decks that run around the ship. The Pandaw 3 is now plying the Mekong River; the Pandaws 2 is operating the longer cruises and the Pandaw 4 went to Calcutta, India but had so much bureaucracy put in their way that they have now pulled out from India and have repositioned the vessel in the Mekong.

3 - River Cruises in Burma
with the Pandaw & Paukan Vessels

We offer a range of river cruise products of varying duration from 1 night to 22 nights. See below for full details of the cruises. For schedules and prices please click on the Booking Enquiry button at the top left of your screen.

Between Bagan and Mandalay - the classic one or two night river cruise between the ancient capitals of Myanmar.

Expedition Cruises - for many years now IFC have offered their acclaimed river expeditions on the remoter reaches of the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers. Whichever expedition cruise you choose, like Kipling, who immortalized the ‘old flotilla’ in verse, you will find a cruise with the Irrawaddy Flotilla the only way to discover off the beaten track Burma in comfort.

You will find the regular stops and explorations of the small riverside villages exciting and full of interest. As with the Nile, historic and sacred sites are situated close to the river banks. In fact, many places we moor at cannot be reached overland. Although the river expeditions have been running for many years, no two expeditions have ever been the same. They are constantly making new discoveries and learning more and more about these areas. Nearly all passengers comment that, compared with the tourist centres of Bagan and Mandalay, these river stops are far more interesting and exciting and the local people ‘unspoilt’. We want to keep the river ‘unspoilt’ and have strict codes of conduct for our passengers to ensure that this rich and vibrant culture remains unharmed. We visit schools and Monasteries and see local agriculture and industries at first hand. We very much hope that you will visit the ‘Golden Land’ and see for yourself this wonderful country. The rewards of a visit to Myanmar are indeed great, with splendid scenery, magnificent monuments, and above all a warm and smiling welcome from the Myanmar people themselves – who clearly believe that travel to their Country is a good thing!

4 - Between Bagan and Mandalay

Itineraries ~ from October to April

TWO NIGHT UPSTREAM ~ Bagan to Mandalay with stops along the way

TWO NIGHT DOWNSTREAM ~ Mandalay to Bagan with stops along the way

ONE NIGHT DOWNSTREAM ~ Mandalay to Bagan with a stop along the way

All trips ashore are escorted by a member of the ship's crew but passengers who wish to make their own explorations are welcome to. In each place the Pandaw stops for a minimum of one and a half hours. There is additional accommodation on board for licensed guides accompanying passengers that should be booked in advance.

Yandabo - this is a small village with no road access to the world. Dependent upon the riverine economy this village is famous for the production of terracotta pottery made from river bank mud. We see the pottery making process at various stages and are invited into people’s homes and visit the local Monastery. Pandaw passengers have generously donated funds to build a new and modern school for the village and we are currently involved in other projects to support this community who have always welcomed us so warmly. Yandabo is famous in Burmese history as the place where the Treaty of Yandabo was signed in 1855 between the Burmese king and the British. It is now a centre of pot production.

PRICING Two nights cruise

Please contact us for the latest pricing

Price includes: ground handling, all transfers,  entrance fees, guide services, local beers and spirits, all main meals, coffee and tea

Price excludes: international and local flights, imported drinks, laundry, gratuity to crew.

5 The Chindwin & Irrawaddy Rivers

Bagan - Monywa - Mawlaik - Kani - Mingkin
Katha - Kalewa - Sagaing* - Mingun* - Mandalay*

A journey on the great rivers of Myanmar to
discover the hidden treasures of this Golden Land

September

Enquiries

PRICING

Please contact us for the latest pricing

Price includes: ground handling, all transfers,  entrance fees, guide services, local beers and spirits, all main meals, coffee and tea

Price excludes: international and local flights, imported drinks, laundry, gratuity to crew.

6. Yangon to Mandalay

Cruise starts in Mandalay and finishes in Pyay

Aircon Coach is provided between Yangon and Pyay

(10 Nights)

Enquiries

7 - Upper Irrawaddy 'Bhamo' Itinerary

Bagan - Mandalay - Katha - Bhamo
or
Bhamo - Katha - Mandalay - Bagan

This expedition river cruise combines scenic interest with a study of local life and culture. We visit the main historic and cultural centres as well as many remoter places well off the beaten track. Such small towns and villages are part of a rich river economy and thriving with local industry and activity. Irrawaddy valley civilisation has changed little in hundreds of years and wherever we go the people are warm, friendly and very hospitable.

The river varies enormously: it is vast with endless winding channels just above Mandalay and then dark and narrow through the 3rd Defile. It is a constantly changing landscape with a stunning back drop of mountains. We go inland at Katha and see the jungle at first hand and hopefully working elephants. Bhamo is normally off limits to foreigners and until recently was close to the insurgent war zone. It is the ancient gateway to China and remains an important centre for cross border trade.

Enquiries

PRICING

Please contact us for the latest pricing

Price includes: ground handling, all transfers,  entrance fees, guide services, local beers and spirits, all main meals, coffee and tea

Price excludes: international and local flights, imported drinks, laundry, gratuity to crew.

8 - The Golden Land

1. The Golden Land :  A Sacred Landscape
2. Buddhism :  The Buddha's Mission to Burma and Monastic Life
3. The Temple City of  Pagan : A Buddhist Plain of Merit
4. Colonial Burma : George Orwell’s Burmese Days
5. Mandalay - The Last Burmese Royal Capital

For nine years we have been offering this very different travel experience. Sailing through the heart of 'Middle Burma' we pass through a varying landscape - from the lush teak plantations around Pyay (Prome) to the desert country south of Bagan. We visit a number of small villages and towns and see local agriculture and manufacturing at first hand. These places are remote from the modern world and offer a glimpse of a timeless, lost Burma far from the usual tourist track. We also visit a number of old monasteries and temples of art historical interest in this the cultural heartland of old Myanmar.

Prome-Bagan-Mandalay

Day One international arrivals in Rangoon and transfer to the Inya Lake Hotel (or equivalent); afternoon orientation tour by coach followed by visit to the Shwedagon pagoda

Day Two drive by coach to Pyay (Prome) (4.5 hours) and board the Pandaw; in afternoon visit the archaeological site of Thiri-ya-kittiya; cast off at sundown and start your river cruise; welcome cocktails

Day Three Thayetmyo - a pleasant colonial town with the oldest golf course in Burma; visit the market, see the old houses and ride out by horsecart to see the countryside

Day Four Minhla and Gwechaung - visit the two Italian built forts constructed to keep the British at bay from Royal Burma. We climb the Gwechaung hill for the view

Day Five Magwe - we visit the magnificent Myat-thalon Pagoda with its solid gold brick work and many temples and hermitages.

Day Six 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 Bagan

Day Seven Bagan - tour a selection of the 3,000 listed monuments and visit lacquer workshops

Day Eight further explorations of Bagan; cast off at lunchtime and proceed to the busy town of Pakokku to make a tour of the market and hand-weaving workshops by trishaw

Day Nine visit Yandabo - a very small rural village that specialises in pot making

Day Ten Innwa (Ava) and Amarpura - explore these ancient capitals by coach or sampan visiting the teak Bagaya Kyaung, Menu Ok-kyaung and crossing the U Bein Bridge to see the paintings in a temple

Day Eleven morning visit Sagaing by Sampan and walk in the beautiful hills with over 1000 hermitages and sanctuaries, rich in wood carving and religious art. Return to ship for lunch and sail up to the Mandalay Gawein jetty. In the afternoon tour central Mandalay by coach visiting the Mahamuni Pagoda and Shwe-im-bin teak carved monastery and the Mandalay Hill for the sunset. See tapestry making and other traditional crafts.

Day Twelve disembark Mandalay (Gawein Jetty) and fly to Yangon; transfer to the Inya Lake Hotel and afternoon coach trip to Downtown area and Scotts Market.

Day Thirteen transfers for international departures

Mandalay - Bagan - Prome

Day One international arrivals in Yangon (Rangoon) and transfer to the Inya Lake Hotel (or equivalent); afternoon orientation tour by coach followed by visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda

Day Two fly to Mandalay - city orientation tour by coach visiting the Mahamuni Pagoda and Shwe-im-bin teak carved monastery; in afternoon visit the Mandalay Hill area; cast off at sundown followed by welcome cocktails

Day Three Innwa (Ava) and Amarpura - explore these ancient capitals by coach and sampan visiting the teak Bagaya Kyaung, Menu Ok-kyaung and crossing the U Bein Bridge to see the paintings in a temple

Day Four early morning cross the river by sampan and explore on foot the beautiful Sagaing Hills with over 1000 hermitages and sanctuaries, rich in wood carving and religious art. In afternoon arrive at Yandabo - a very small rural village that specialises in pot making; evening proceed to the busy town of Pakokku to make a tour of the market and hand-weaving workshops by trishaw

Day Five arrive Bagan and tour a selection of the 3,000 listed monuments; also visit lacquerware workshops

Day Six Bagan - further explorations of Bagan; cast off at lunchtime and moor at the Tan-chi-taung mountain and ascend on foot or by WWII jeep for the spectacular sunset over Bagan

Day Seven Sale - visit a number of teak monasteries including the Yout-saun-kyaung with its spectacular wood carvings; also explore an area of splendid colonial-style houses

Day Eight Magwe - visit the magnificent Myat-thalon Pagoda with its solid gold brick work and many temples and hermitages.

Day Nine Minhla and Gwechaung - visit the two Italian built forts constructed to keep the British at bay from Royal Burma. Climb the Gwechaung hill for the view

Day Ten Thayetmyo - a pleasant colonial town with the oldest golf course in Burma; visit the market, see the old houses and ride out by horse-cart to see the countryside

Day Eleven arrive at Pyay (Prome) and visit archaeological site of Thiri-ya-kittiya

Day Twelve disembark at Prome (Gawein Jetty) and drive by coach to Yangon (4.5 hours); check in to the Inya Lake Hotel (or equivalent); afternoon coach trip to Downtown area and Scotts Market

Day Thirteen transfers for international departures

Please contact us for the latest pricing

Price includes: all transfers, entrance fees, guide services, all main meals, local beers and spirits, coffee and tea,

Price excludes: international and local flights, imported drinks, laundry, gratuity to crew.

Enquiries


 

9 - Vessel Specifications

PANDAW I ("PANDAW 1947") - the first!!

Built in Scotland 1947 by Yarrow & Co delivered to Burma 1948

Refitted by IFC in 1998

Refitted by Ayrvata Cruises 2004

Length - 150ft

Beam - 32ft

Draft - 3ft

Engines - 2 x 250hp Dorman with Hydromaster propulsion

Gensets - 2 x 75 kVA Catepillar

Cabins - 16 deluxe cabins with own shower/wc

Water - desedimentation and full water treatment plant

Sewage - treatment plant

Comms - Inmarsat (or equivalent) phone/fax, SSB radio, internal phone system, PA system, tannoy for navigation

Safety - smoke detectors in all cabins, emergency lighting and generator, fire extinguishers, pumps and hoses, life jackets for all pax, life rafts, ship's boats

Navigation - ship's horn, searchlights

Amenities on board - laundry, bakery and fully equipped kitchen, refrigeration units

Hotel  - a full inventory is supplied including all soft furnishings, bedding, bed linen, towels, dining service and cutlery, bar equipment

PANDAW II

Length - 180ft

Beam - 34ft

Draft  - 3t

Engines - 2 x 350hp Catepillars

Gensets - 2 x 120 kva Catepillars

Cabins - a total of 24 cabins of 3.65m x 4.26m with own shower, wc, aircon, mini safes, etc (16 on the upper deck and 8 in the main deck).

Public - saloon/bar, dining, reception, promenade decks and sun deck

Water - de-sedimentation and water treatment plant on board

Sewage - treatment unit

Comms - Inmarsat (or equivalent) phone/fax, SSB radio, internal phone system, PA system, tannoy for navigation

Safety - smoke detectors in all cabins, emergency lighting and generator, fire extinguishers, pumps and hoses, life jackets for all pax, life rafts, ship's boats

Navigation - ship's horn, searchlights

Amenities on board - laundry, bakery and fully equipped kitchen, refrigeration units

Hotel - a full inventory is supplied including all soft furnishings, bedding, bed linen, towels, dining service and cutlery, bar equipment

PANDAW III ~ now cruising the Mekong

Class - Inland Water - Myanmar DMA

Length - 55m / 180ft

Beam - 10m / 34 ft

Draft - approx 1m / 3ft

Engines - 2 x 400hp engines with outboard propulsion

Power - 2 x 120kva Catepillar (AC) (or equivalent) gensets, port gensets

Cabins - a total of 39 cabins: 28 deluxe double staterooms of 3.65m x 4.26m with own shower, wc, aircon, mini safes, etc (18 on the upper deck and 10 in the main deck). 11 single cabins

Public - saloon/bar, dining, reception, promenade decks and sun deck

Water - de-sedimentation and water treatment plant on board

Sewage - treatment unit

Comms - Inmarsat (or equivalent) phone/fax, SSB radio, internal phone system, PA system, tannoy for navigation

Safety - smoke detectors in all cabins, emergency lighting and generator, fire extinguishers, pumps and hoses, life jackets for all pax, life rafts, ship's boats

Navigation - ship's horn, searchlights

Amenities on board - laundry, bakery and fully equipped kitchen, refrigeration units

Hotel - a full inventory is supplied including all soft furnishings, bedding, bed linen, towels, dining service and cutlery, bar equipment

The Paukan vessels are all based upon the original Pandaw vessets

Burma River Cruises ~ an experience not to be missed!!

Enquiries

We Take Good Care of You!!

Saturday February 08, 2014