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Burma River Cruise



Embark the Rv Orient Pandaw at Pyay port. Later, we cross jungle and countryside to visit the 5-8th century archaeological site of Thiri-ya-kittiya, former centre of the Pyu civilisation and the earliest and most important archaeological site in Myanmar. This was an early centre of Buddhism, a walled palace city complete with art and culture, merchants and princes. You can see the excavations of this former palace city, and the monumental Pyu stupas just outside the gates.


Thayet-myo is a delightful river-stop, half a day’s sail north of Prome. This pleasant colonial town once guarded the border between Royal Myanmar and British Myanmar following the 2nd Anglo Myanmar War of 1855. The town retains its colonial character, with bungalows draped in gorgeous bourgainvillea, and court houses, a jail, post office and markets built in a rustic Anglo-Indian manner. You will have time to visit the covered markets and ride by horse and cart to the oldest golf course in Myanmar.


Today, we visit Minhla and Gwechaung Forts, Italian and French designed forts built to keep the British at bay from Royal Myanmar. These forts were captured by the British in the 3rd Anglo Myanmar War, with the fight for the Minhla redoubt being the only serious action during that war. You may climb Gwechaung Hill to the fort standing high on the east bank of the river for a fabulous panoramic view.


Today, ride trishaws or alternatively cross the river by Sampan (depending on water levels), to reach the magnificent Myat-thalon Pagoda. The Pagoda is constructed with solid Gold bricks and links to the river by attractive winding covered stairways ascending the steep wooded river banks. The temple includes many interesting shrines within its precincts and overlooks the river, offering spectacular views of the Irrawaddy.


Sale was the home town of U Ponna, the most celebrated poet and play-wright in King Mindon’s court. Visit Yout-saun-kyaung, a monastery donated in honour of U Ponna, and now a museum housing many of his writings and spectacular wood carvings decorating its exterior walls. Continue sailing upstream for an afternoon mooring at Tan Chi Taung mountain. We will ascend the mountain by WWII jeep for a stunning view of the sunset over Bagan.


The World Heritage Site of Bagan is an absolute wonder in this ‘Golden Land’. Originally home to 10,000 temples constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries, there are still 3,000 scattered across the vast arid plain attesting to the power of Myanmar’s first empire. Enjoy the chance to tour a selection of these listed monuments, including the Dhamma-yan-gyi, a colossal brick Pyramid, and That-byin nyu, which soars over 50 meters high. In the afternoon, explore Bagan further, and visit a lacquer workshop.


Enjoy some final explorations of Pagan this morning, before casting off at lunchtime for the Ohn Ne Kyaung village, a lively and colourful community. It’s a heartwarming opportunity to experience the daily local life and customs within a typical riverside village.


Yandabo is a rarely visited village, with no access via road. Dependant on the river economy, this small rural village specialises in terracotta pots made from the river bank clay. You will see the pottery making process in various stages of production, and visit the Pandaw School and clinic, built with donations from Pandaw passengers.


Arriving in Mandalay, we disembark Rv Orient Pandaw

About the River Cruise

A large part of your enjoyment of Cruiseco’s Pandaw river adventure is the considerable comfort this wondrous vessel offers you. And, of course, the first class service from its ever-attentive crew. Lined with the finest of teak and bedecked with superb brass fittings and flowers, passengers have been known to fall in love with their cabins. They not only enjoy the self-contained facilities, but are also highly appreciative of the supplied kimonos, slippers, and beverages. At around 20sqm (including deck and seating space) it offers ample room for a quiet retreat and reflection on all you have seen that day. A particular delight for our guests is being able to simply slide open their cabin door and step out onto the wonderful promenade. From here they are afforded an uninterrupted view of the river’s continually changing panorama – standing at the railing or sitting back in comfort. Of course, Orient Pandaw has much more to offer with a chance to meet fellow travellers in the well-appointed saloon, dining room and vast open-air observation deck. Whether with friends or taking a moment alone, you need only choose your seat and then select your refreshments. It’s true to say that our passengers are typically more interested in quality rather than quantity. So, with the exception of salads and coldcuts, main dishes are served at your table from an à la carte menu. There is a choice of Asian and Western dishes and special diets can be catered for (with prior notice).

True to its colonial heritage, the Orient Pandaw has a quality and attention to detail matched only by the professionalism of its crew. Resplendent in their traditional ‘whites’, they’re dedicated to providing first class service while helping you enjoy all the wonders of their world. Orient Pandaw is a replica of the colonial steamers of the Irrawaddy Flotilla that plied these waters early last century. Painstakingly accurate in their reproduction, they were built in Rangoon and Saigon. Sailing is an ‘outdoor’ experience and most passengers prefer to spend their time casually attired and in the comfort of the upper deck or the promenades. And, as the Orient Pandaw draws only one metre, you are asssured of easy berthing at points of interest when it’s time to go ashore. With a friendly and diligent crew of 28, it offers you the finest in accommodation, including a bar, dining room and an observation deck. Upon retiring to your stateroom you’ll find the ship’s most celebrated feature. Roomy and well appointed, with detailing by local craftsmen, your cabin provides an oasis of comforts, including a luxurious private bathroom, individually controlled air conditioning, insect screening, mini-safe, luggage storage, desk, wardrobe, and a hair-dryer. Pleasingly, and true to its history, there’s a deliberate absence of minibars, televisions and phones. And, also unlike other vessels, every window can be opened. All main and upper-deck cabins front onto a promenade deck, complete with outdoor seating for quiet enjoyment of the spell binding and ever-changing vista of human and wildlife activity. And Orient Pandaw’s exquisite local cuisine and exotic foods are enhanced when the dining room is ‘opened up’, its sides rolling back to offer you a gloriously uninterrupted panorama as you cruise along the Irrawaddy. Breakfast and lunch afford you both buffet and à la carte choices while Cabin attendant and other staff very helpful.