Luxury river cruise operator, Pandaw, has announced the launch of two new cruise programmes exploring Burma’s Salween River and the fascinating Irrawaddy Delta.
Both programmes will operate weekly from October 2016 to March 2017 and can easily be combined together or with Pandaw’s cruises on the Irrawaddy or Chindwin rivers.
The Mighty Salween River is the longest river in Burma at 1,749 miles from its source in Tibet. The Salween is only navigable for larger vessels for about 100 miles between its mouth at Martaban and the Karen hill station of Hpa-an. However, there is much to explore in this undiscovered area of Burma: Moulmein, the first British capital of Burma, with some fascinating old churches and splendid royal Buddhist monasteries; the war graves at Thanbyuzayat; beautiful scenery and charming undiscovered villages; the Karen capital of Hpaan and the dramatic Mount Zwekabin with its Karen dancing school. Plus, Pandaw guests will stop at the Golden Rock Pagoda of Kyaikhtiho and Pegu with its splendid Shwemadaw Pagoda, the tallest in Burma.
The Kalay Pandaw, with her ultra-low draft, is the ideal luxury vessel to explore the Salween River. She has four main deck staterooms, an upper deck owner’s suite and dining room.
Upstream itinerary – cruise only:
Day 1 – Transfer via Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock) to Moulmein. Embark Kalay Pandaw.
Day 2 – Explore Moulmein, Theinbyuzayat War Cemetery and Amherst beach.
Day 3 – Sail to Belu Island to see traditional hat and bamboo pipe making.
Day 4 – Sail to Martaban, a small town the Salween River.
Day 5 – Explore Hpa-an, capital of Karen state with its famous caves. Climb Mount Zwekabin.
Day 6 – Sail deeper into Karen state too see traditional crafts including hand weaving and enjoy jungle treks.
Day 7 – Continued exploration of Karen villages.
Day 8 – Disembark and travel, via Pegu, to Rangoon.
Click Here for the full itinerary.
Downstream itinerary operates in reverse.
Prices from USD 2695.- per person / sharing main deck cabin
The second itinerary explores the Irrawaddy Delta, which was originally a vast inhabited wetland and jungle, much of which 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. By the 1920s The Irrawaddy Flotilla Company operated over 100 creek steamers across the Delta connecting these towns and villages at a time when there were neither roads nor bridges.
Pandaw has recreated this experience with two short cruises (four-nights outwards and two-nights inwards) from Rangoon to Bassein. These short cruises are ideal to combine with a relaxing stay at the beautiful Ngwe Saung Beach, where there is a choice of two deluxe hotels (the Eskala Hotel or the Ngwesaung Yacht Club).
Pandaw’s Irrawaddy Delta programme will operate on the Katha Pandaw, which was built in Vietnam in 2012 to offer 16 staterooms ranging over two decks. With open deck dining suited to the Southeast Asian climate, this is one of the most popular ships in the Pandaw fleet. Passengers will be able to explore these great wetlands and visit some of its pretty towns, markets, temples, churches and mosques as well as see the regions profuse bird life in the less populated areas.
Hugh Clayson, Pandaw’s Commercial Director commented ‘in the backwaters there is the feel of Kerala, on the larger channels it could be New Orleans and the Deep South’.
Day 1 – Embark Katha Pandaw in Rangoon and set sail to Pyapon.
Day 2 – Explore the old trading port of Bogale.
Day 3 – Sail through creeks and channels, stopping at a charming Delta village to Myaungmya.
Day 4 – Cruise the great Bassein River and explore Bassein where monk’s waxed cloth umbrellas are made.
Day 5 – Disembark at Bassein – extend your stay on peaceful and undiscovered Ngwe saung Beach or return to Rangoon by car.
Day 1 – Drive from Rangoon to Bassein. Embark the Katha Pandaw. Set sail to Wakema.
Day 2 – Sail to pleasant Maubin. Enjoy a sunset walk along its colourful strand.
Day 3 – Cross the Twante Canal and cruise the Rangoon River to our berth in colonial downtown Rangoon and disembark.
Click Here for the full itinerary.
Extend your stay on board the Katha Pandaw for an extra night, including an evening Irrawaddy dinner cruise.
Prices start from USD 540.- per person for 2 nights or USD 1080.- per person for 4 nights / sharing main deck cabin.