The Golden Land Voyage by Pandaw

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The Golden Land Voyage by Pandaw Cruise on Irrawaddy River - Tripadvisor Reviews

The Golden Land cruise by RV Pandaw Cruise: This is a very different Burma cruise. Sailing through the heart of ‘Middle Myanmar’ we pass through a varying landscape. View 145 Tripadvisor Reviews...

The Irrawaddy River by RV Pandaw. Tripadvisor

Itinerary Overview

This is a very different Burma cruise. Sailing through the heart of ‘Middle Myanmar’ we pass through a varying landscape – from the lush teak plantations around 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 Myanmar 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!

Travel Map

Pandaw Cruise Myanmar

Detailed Itinerary

  • 1. Upstream
  • 2. Downstream

Day 1: Yangon - Prome

Meeting point at Sule Shangri La Hotel in Yangon at 06.00am, followed by coach transfer to Prome. Please note that this transfer can take up to 6 hours.

We reach Prome by the afternoon and travel by coach to the 5th-8th century archaeological site of Thiri-ya-kittiya, the former centre of the Pyu civilization with a fascinating museum of early Buddhist artifacts and sculptures.

  • Meals: Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

Day 2: Thayetmyo

This pleasant colonial town once guarded the border between Royal Myanmar and British Myanmar following the 2nd Anglo Myanmar War of 1855. Many of the buildings including the covered market date from this period. Thayet also boasts the oldest golf course in Myanmar (1885). We visit the market, see the colonial houses and ride out by horse cart to the golf course, passing through the former British botanical garden.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 3: Magwe

Minhla - We visit the two Italian built forts constructed to keep the British at bay from Royal Myanmar. The fight for the Minhla redoubt was the only serious action in the war and the death of a young subaltern inspired Kipling to write a poem.We ride Trishaws to reach the magnificent Magwe Myat-thalon Pagoda, constructed with solid gold bricks. Of interest are the many nat shrines and hermitages within the temple precincts.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 4: Sale

Here we visit the Yout-saun-kyaung monastery with its spectacular wood carvings; we also explore an area of splendid colonial-style houses and continue sailing upstream.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 5: Tan Chi Taung

In the morning, moor at the Tan-Chi-Taung mountain and enjoy the view. Continue with one of the highlights of your trip with a tour of a selection of the 3,000 listed monuments at this World Heritage Site, Bagan.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 6: Bagan

Further exploration by coach of the monuments follow by a lacquerware workshop and visit to the local markets. Sail in the noon to upstream. Evening walk at Oh Ne Kyaung village to see the local life in this typical river side community.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 7: Yandabo

This small rural village is specialized in pot making. We visit the Pandaw School, built with past donations from Pandaw passengers.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 8: Mandalay - Sagain & Amrapura

Guests will take a tour of central Mandalay visiting the Mahamuni Pagoda and Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung teak carved monastery. In the afternoon we visit Sagaing. The true delight of Sagaing lies in its 1000 hermitages and sanctuaries, rich in woodcarving and religious art. Next we explore the ancient capital of Amarapura by coach, take a boat ride along Taungthaman lake and watch the tranquillity and serenity of this beautiful lake and its famous U-Bein Bridge at sunset.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 9: Mingun

We stop at Mingun to see the largest working bell in the world and the unfinished pagoda which is the largest single mass of brick building in the world. We also visit the Mingun Old Peoples Home originally established with the assistance of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company in the 1930s.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 10: Kyauk - Myoung

Visit the spectacular potteries near Kyauk-myoung where the famous 50 gallon water pots are handmade. We see all stages of manufacture from the throwing of the pots to the week-long firing in huge kilns. Afternoon cruise back downstream to Mandalay.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 11: Mandalay

Disembark from your ship between 8.00am - 9.00am at Sagaing Lay Kyun Man Aung Jetty, Mandalay.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: n/a

Download Itinerary

Day 1: Mandalay

Embark the ship and after lunch on board, we tour central Mandalay visiting the Mahamuni Pagoda and Shwe-im-bin teak carved monastery and Amarapura with the teak Bagaya Kyaung, Menu Ok-kyaung and crossing the U Bein Bridge.

  • Meals: Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

Day 2: Yandabo

We move on to explore the ancient capitals of Ava and cast off cruising downstream through lunch and in the late afternoon we explore Yandabo, a small rural village specialized in pot making. We visit the Pandaw School and the new dispensary both built with past donations from Pandaw passengers.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 3: Bagan

We tour a selection of the 3,000 listed monuments in this important World Heritage Site and visit lacquer workshops.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 4: Bagan

Ascend Tan-Chi-Taung mountain by mini van for the spectacular sunrise over Bagan. In Salay we visit a number of teak monasteries including the Yout-Saun-Kyaung with its spectacular wood carvings and we explore an area of splendid colonial-style houses.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 5: Magwe

We climb the river bank and wind our way through a labyrinth of passages and paths to reach the magnificent Myat-thalon Pagoda. This pagoda is constructed with solid gold bricks.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 6: Minhla & Gwechaung

We visit Minhla Italian built forts constructed to keep the British at bay from Royal Myanmar. Thayetmyo, this pleasant colonial town once guarded the border between Royal Myanmar and British Myanmar following the 2nd Anglo Myanmar War of 1855. Many of the buildings including the covered market date from this period. We visit the market, see the colonial houses and ride out by horsecart to see the countryside and golf club.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 7: Prome

Visit the 5th-8th century archaeological site of Thiri-ya-kittiya, former centre of the Pyu civilization with a fascinating museum of early Buddhist artifacts and sculpture.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 8: A Kauktaung

Stop at the famous A KaukTaung to explore the spectacular stone carving on the cliff.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 9: Danupyu

Continue our exploration of Delta creeks and stop at Donabyu, another little known town with a busy port and bustling markets.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 10: Twante

Sail through the Rangoon River and enter the Twante Canal, which connects the Yangon River with the Irrawaddy Delta. We stop on route at the Twante in the afternoon. Enter to the Yangon river port.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Pandaw Cruise

DAY 11: Rangoon (Yangon)

Disembark at Kyan Mar Yay Jetty (on Strand Road in Yangon opposite the Myanmar Custom Department, between Pansoedan Jetty and Sule Jetty) at 8.00am.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: n/a

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Important Notes:

  • THIS IS OUR DEFAULT ITINERARY AND WOULD BE CHANGEABLE

Departures

2021

2022

Upstream

19 Nov, 29 Dec

09 Feb, 07 Mar, 02 April

Downstream

04 No, 15 Dec

09 Jan, 20 Feb, 18 Mar

Important information

What's included ?

Transportation

River Cruise, Car

Accommodation

Accommodation on Luxury Pandaw Cruise (10 nights)

Meals

10 Breakfasts/ 10 Lunches/ 10 Dinners

Price Includes

Price Excludes

  • Transfers from/to meeting point to/from the Luxury Pandaw Cruise
  • Crew and guide gratuities
  • Visa fees
  • Personal expenses
  • Other beverages than those stated under inclusion
  • Medical services
  • Spa treatments
  • Port and anchorage fees
  • All other services or items not listed under inclusions

Cancellation Policy

  • From time of booking until 61 day prior to departure non-refundable deposit
  • From 60 days and less till departure, no show, late arrival or early return 100% cancellation fee

Customer Reviews

6 customer reviews

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6 reviews
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TRAVELER TYPE *
10 Irrawaddy River Cruise - upriver from Mandalay to Katha, downriver to Pagan
Your review
The cruise boat is small with only 5 cabins as the navigation of that part of the river does not permit a bigger boat. The cabin stretches across the boat and there is a river view on either side, so sunrise and sunset photos were amazingly easy.

The Pandaw cruise package includes daily visits to places of interest, whether historical, religious or simple village life giving a wide view of the culture of the country. Every evening at evening cocktails, a brief is given of the next days journey.

All 5 cabins were occupied, with only 8 of us, 3 couples and 2 singles - there was no single supplement on my particular trip. The entire staff comprising the Captain, Engineer other crew member and Purser, Assistant Purser and Housekeeper (10 in all) plus the guide were amazing. Nothing was too much for them. Every hand helped when the boat docked for any of our trips, to get us off and on to the boat, Captain included.

The food was excellent, each day the salads were varied as well as the main and dessert courses. My trip was from 23 Dec to 2 Jan and it covered both Christmas and New Year. The buffet was over flowing in each case the Chef clearly trying to outdo himself on each occasion.

The boat was generally parked in a quiet location at night, so that the passengers could have a quiet sleep in a place of safety chosen by the Captain, hidden from any eyes.

New Year's Eve was celebrated on a sandbank, chosen again with safety of the passengers in mind, fully kitted out with paper lanterns, music etc, and the crew too were able to join the passengers for the night out. Paper lanterns, of different animals, bigger than 5' in height were set off into the sky in celebration by the passengers. We danced the night away till after the dawn of the New Year - what a wonderful memory.

The Captain was shy and unassuming, however hugely competent, always keeping in mind the comfort and safety of the passengers. One afternoon, in trying to avoid another boat stuck on a sandbank, there were many which shifted regularly, the current carried the boat into a sandbank. With great competence, despite the current against him, the Captain freed the boat after a 2 hour non-stop effort, to which there were loud cheers.

Very regularly there would be a member of the crew with a long marked pole, at the front to guide the Captain through the shifting sandbanks. I found it fascinating.
TRAVELER TYPE *
Group of Friends
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Lower Ganges Cruise
Your review
The boat cruise from Kolkata upstream returning after seven days. The service and food were very good. The cabins clean and comfortable but a bit cramped. The daily excursions were fascinating, meeting the locals and witnessing real cottage industries. This experience could not, I believe, be replicated on a land tour. On top of that you get to meet and interact with your fellow passengers. As there are few cabins there is almost a party atmosphere.
TRAVELER TYPE *
Group of Friends
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Upper Irrawaddy river cruise with Pandaw
Your review
This was a ten day cruise from Mandalay up the river to past the 2nd Defile (to near Bhamo) and back to Bagan.

The people who work for and run Pandaw have a fantastic approach to everything they do and to every detail. They went out of their way to ensure that we enjoyed our cruise and felt safe and secure.

Pandaw is the only company that sails up to the upper reaches of the Irrawaddy and for six days of the ten day cruise we saw no other tourists. This type of adventure comes with some risk, in this case the risk of the boat getting stuck on a sandbank or two. Watching the crew getting us off a sandbank was an experience in itself.

Not everything goes to plan or schedule, so if necessary the crew improvise to find new excursions and/or alternative modes of travel (Burmese version of a speed boat). Most impressive was their ability to maintain a sense of perspective and humour even when things went wrong. This was typified by our last night when the captain moored the boat on a sandbank and the crew set up a “sandbank” farewell party. All the crew joined the party, dancing and singing with the passengers.

We travelled on the Kindat Pandaw, a reproduction of the original vessel built in 1886, it has a very shallow draft to allow it to sail up river. With 18 cabins it is relatively small and compact. However, as there were only 18 passengers on board it felt spacious and relaxed.

The teak cabins and bathrooms are small but perfectly designed with lots of storage space. We did not note any real difference between the upper and lower cabins.

There are a number of areas for passengers to sit and relax while on board, including an indoor air-conditioned lounge. The only negative was a couple of smokers on board, both of whom sometimes ignored the request to smoke at the end of the boat. Pandaw should seriously consider banning smoking.

The food was fabulous especially the Burmese salads at lunch time. Mohinga (a traditional Burmese breakfast dish) for breakfast every day would have been welcome. While we appreciate that the kitchen needs to cater for all tastes but these days I think they could get away with a bit more spicy food …

The excursions were generally very interesting but could be a bit slow due to the mix of passenger’s ages and fitness. However, we were able to mix things up by going on bicycle rides or independent walks. The crew managed to cater for most people’s needs providing additional guides and chaperones as needed. For one elderly passenger they provided a personal aid to help them on excursions, the aid even carried a chair so the passenger could rest as needed.

As I said at the start it is the crew who make this a great adventure. In particular, the Purser (Jimmy) and the Guide (Brian) provided great leadership.

We travelled as a group of five and everyone thought this was a great trip and highly recommend it.
TRAVELER TYPE *
Mature Couples
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Pandaw Cruise down the Irrawaddy - perfect
Your review
A 10 night cruise on Pandaw Boats on the Irrawaddy - excellent staff, lovely cabins, good food, and interesting visits could not recommend more highly. And beautiful country and people.
TRAVELER TYPE *
Young Couples
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Pandaw River Cruise - Would recommend without hesitation
Your review
I spent 7 nights on the Bagan to Mandalay Packet with Pandaw Cruises (RV Kindat) and had a fabulous time. They happily answered my queries and they have quite a selection of cruises which offer ‘no single supplement’.

Myanmar tourism has been severely affected by the press coverage in relation to the Rohyingya crisis and I had second thoughts about whether I should be travelling there. However, I am so pleased I did. All the people I came into contact with had no connection with the political situation but their livelihood is being seriously affected by it. They were, without exception, lovely, caring people. As a result of the downturn in tourism Pandaw chose to use a smaller boat for the cruise. They fortunately have a number of boats of different sizes. I know that some of the much bigger international cruise lines are simply cancelling their tours altogether as they do not have the facility to use a smaller boat. The RV Kindat can take 28 passengers but we were only 12 passengers to 17 crew - so you can imagine the level of service we received.

The boat itself is lovely, built along the lines of the old boats that used to ply the Irrawaddy in the early 19 centuries. It certainly brought back images of the British sipping their gin and tonics, or perhaps a cocktail, on the deck in times gone past – which is exactly what we did each afternoon. The teak everywhere was lovely with French double glass doors and then French double shuttered doors to every cabin. Looking at some of the other larger cruise boats that passed us, whilst no doubt extremely comfortable, just didn’t seem to have the same ambience with their aluminium sliding doors to the cabins. The cabins were a good size and your view was excellent whether you were on the lower or upper deck. The bathroom, whilst not big, was a decent size and the shower itself was a very good size with excellent water pressure and hot. My bathroom at my hotel in Singapore at the stopover on the way home was smaller than mine on the boat. The rooms were serviced 3 times a day,

The food on board was wonderful (we actually had 2 head chefs on board) and encompassed both Burmese and other international cuisines. The salads at lunchtime were a highlight – I never knew salads could be so tasty. At breakfast there was the typical buffet available but about another dozen hot dishes cooked to order. Dinner was four courses each night.

There were excursions every morning and afternoon (apart from two afternoons where we had talks or displays on board) and our guide was very good. He knew how much information to impart without completely overloading you. We visited pagodas, temples, markets, monasteries, weaving, jade, gold leaf and pottery workshops. At no time did we feel pressured to buy anything if we were visiting a workshop – we could just watch the demonstration of how things were made. Several evenings there was entertainment provided – local dancing, marionette puppets etc.

Crew from the boat always accompanied us on the organised excursions, waiting to help older passengers on uneven paths or with taking shoes on and off at all the temples if needed, towels to clean your feet afterwards or just those wonderful frozen towelettes to cool yourself down when it got too hot.

When the ship was docked you could happily wander ashore to have a look around if you wished and one of my favourite memories was watching some of our crew play a game of cane ball (rather like volleyball ) against another crew.
TRAVELER TYPE *
Solo Travellers
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Tripadvisor Reviews 9.8 out of 10 based on 785 votes.