8-Day Pandaw Cruise (The Chindwin-Downstream_Homalin (or) Kalewa to Monywa) – Group Discovery

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Tour type

Tour Level: Relaxed / Easy

Tour Comfort: Superior

Tour Period: 8 Days

tour highlights

  • 7 Nights river cruise along the Chindwin River from Homalin/Kalewa to Monywa
  • Learn about the history of Myanmar as you travel through important areas
  • Relax watching the scenery along the way and share the experience with the travellers on board
  • See the stunning Pho win Taung Caves, adorned with beautiful murals and Buddha statues
  • Dine on unique Burmese cuisine

tour details

This cruise brings you to an area not frequently visited. The Chindwin River has its origin up in the Himalaya and makes its way through the Chin State into the Ayeyarwaddy River. Along the river journey you will visit villages where life has not change over the past decades. This is a unique opportunity to see remote areas before modernization takes over.

Join in tour with departure on Saturday: Homalin to Monywa from March to November and Kalewa to Monywa from December to February.

HOMALIN: March to November
Domestic flight from Mandalay to Homalin. Arrive and transfer from Homalin airport to jetty at Homalin, the furthest navigable point on the Chindwin for vessels of our size. Alister McCrae wrote of his visit there 1935 'I loved the atmosphere of quiet and peaceful living there. At night I could hear greylag geese as they came in to the flooded land around us from far away north'. Bird in 1897 says little other than that Homalin is the headquarters of a township, but has very little trade'. Until we get there and explore the place there is not much we can say!

KALEWA: December to February
Domestic flight from Mandalay/Yangon to Kalay airport. Arrive and transfer to jetty at 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.
Toungdoot is an ancient Shan enclave which in British times still had a ruling Sawbwa complete with palace and court. It will be interesting to see what has become of the royal family and their home and to see these Shan people so far from their Tai-Shan homelands. On the way to Paungbyin. Patha was an important oil refinery belonging to the Indo-Burma Petroleum Co (Steel Brothers).

MAWLAIK: December to February
Morning visit to Masein Village and then sail to Mawlaik, the town that replaced Kindat as the administrative capital. It was mainly settled with the company houses of the by the Scottish owned and run Bombay Burmar Trading Corporation in the 1920s and 1930s. There are many splendid 'Dak Bungalows' set around a verdant golf course. Mawlaik and the other towns of the Upper Chindwin can only be reached by boat. Overnight on board.
TOUNGDOOT - SITTHAUNG: March to November
Sail downstream to Sitthaung, while passing the mouth of the Yu River which drains the Kubu valley. Overnight on board.

MAWLAIK ELEPHANT CAMP: December to February
Morning excursion by Tuk Tuk or coach to view the teak wood forest outside Mawlaik. Continue to the Pyar Swe Elephant Camp, a working camp where the elephants are protected in natural surroundings. Return to the ship and continue sailing to Kalewa where we overnight.
SITTHAUNG - MAWLAIK: March to November
Explore Mawlaik replaced Kindat as the administrative capital but ironically the Myanmar refused to move there from upstream Kindat. It was mainly settled with the company houses of the by the Scottish owned and run Bombay Myanmar Trading Corporation in the 1920s and 1930s. Explore Kalewa with its markets and quaint wooden architecture.

MINGKIN: December to February
Visit Mingkin in the morning. Rediscovered by Paul Strachan in 1987 and described the most artistically interesting historic site in Myanmar with its Konbaung court style teak monasteries sumptuously decorated. Afternoon cruising on the Chindwin, including a stop at a local village and study the lifestyle of the local people. Overnight on board.
MAWLAIK - MINGKIN: March to November
Mingkin was rediscovered by Paul Strachan in 1987 and described in some detail in his book Mandalay: Travels from the Golden City. It remains for Paul the most art historically interesting site in Myanmar (more so than the now spoilt Pagan) with its Konbaung court style teak monasteries sumptuously decorated. Mingkin may be described as the Luang Prabang of the Chindwin. And we pass a number of attractive villages like Kanee where we can stretch our legs.

KANEE - MONYWA: December to February
Delightful morning cruising the Chindwin downstream towards Kanee village, where you explore on a late morning walking tour. Afternoon enjoy a culinary demonstration on board as cruising towards Monywa where we overnight.
MINGKIN - MONYWA: March to November
Entering the lower Chindwin where the river widens and the forested hills fall away from farmland, we pass a number of attractive villages. We will explore Monywa and make a trip to the Thanbodi Temple with its million Buddha images.

MONYWA - PHO WIN TAUNG: December to February
Morning Excursion by coach to Phowin Taung where you visit the Phowin Taung Caves with beautiful mural paintings and Buddha statues dating back to the 14th and 18th centuries. In the afternoon, visit Kyauk Ka Village famous for the making of black Lacquer. Overnight on board.
MONYWA - PHO WIN TAUNG: March to November
In the morning, coach to the Pho win Taung Caves, where we will admire beautiful mural paintings and Buddha statues in riches.

MONYWA: December to February
Morning excursion by coach exploring Monywa, where you will visit Moe Hnyin Than Boaddai Temple with over five hundred thousand Buddha statues and probably the longest (over 330 ft / 100 m) reclining and the tallest (412 ft / 125 m) standing Buddha in Myanmar. After lunch, enjoy a soft walking tour of Monywa.
Disembark at Monywa IWT jetty at 08.00 am and transfer to Mandalay with 3 hours driving.


Our tour prices are included of:

  • Domestic Flights Yangon
  • Homalin/Kalay or Mandalay
  • Homalin/Kalay
  • Accommodation in twin/sharing cabin (or single cabin)
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner)
  • All entrance fees for the places as mentioned in the program
  • Tours with English-speaking on board guide (all tours are join-in)
  • Service charges, room tax and baggage handling


Not included are:

  • International flights,
  • No flights included out of Mandalay for cruise ending in Monywa/Mandalay
  • Myanmar visa fee
  • Surcharges for throughout guides (English and other languages)
  • Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks at bar
  • Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expenses, including repatriation, in the event of accident or illness)


Important Notes:

Please note that water levels drop dramatically as of December and you might not be able to reach Homalin. You will be well rewarded with alternative excursions. We will be cruising up to Mawlaik and return to Kalewa where you will be flown out to Yangon or Mandalay.


Flight to Homalin/Kalay and transfer from airport to jetty at Homalin/Kalay is included in the cruise package

Yangon-Homalin YJ-263 1215-1525 / Yangon
  • Kalay K7-226 1330-1600
  • Homalin YJ-263 1355-1525 / Mandalay
  • Kalay K7-226 1510-1600
    Flight timings are subject to change.

    Registration Details:
    Flight to Homalin:
    For Flight from Yangon: Registration at 09.30am Sule Shangri La Hotel, Yangon
    For flight from Mandalay: We will pick you up from your hotel in Mandalay at 10.30am

    Flight to Kalay:
    For Flight from Yangon: Registration at 11.00am Sule Shangri La Hotel, Yangon
    For flight from Mandalay: Pick up from your hotel in Mandalay at 12.00 midday.

Tour code: PDW7TCDW

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