River Life in Myanmar

Friday 08 November – Friday 22 November 2013

The Journey

Burma (or Myanmar as it is now known) is the largest mainland South-East Asian country, offering a stunningly diverse landscape from the Himalayan peaks to tropical beaches. Don’t be put off by its troubled past – in 2011 the tourism boycott that persuaded many to steer clear of the country lifted, opening up this enigmatic land to avid travellers. Most of the population live in three great river valleys encircled by impenetrable mountains.

River life dominates the country and rivers are still the main system of transportation, irrigation and source of food. You will travel by Pandaw River Ship, whose operation evolved from the vestiges of the colonial Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, once known as the ‘greatest fleet on earth’. Their ships exude old world colonial charm, while being comfortable and relaxed, and all cabins open out to the shiny teak deck. Shore excursions are included, giving you the chance to see local schools, villages and clinics – several built with the help of the ship’s charity.

This is a fast-growing tourist destination and now is the time to experience its magical charm. A must-do for reasonably active travellers looking for new ground to explore.

The Vessel

RV Katha Pandaw, built in 2012, is a ‘Safari Ship’ with open deck dining, bar and lounge area. This small vessel carries only 32 passengers and 28 crew. Cabins are twin- bedded with private facilities and air conditioning. The Katha has its own treatment plants for desalination, desedimentation and purification using UV and osmosis, and a microbiotic treatment plant for sewage. This is a small, light vessel with an ultra-shallow draft for penetrating more remote areas. Pandaw vessels have been beautifully hand-finished in brass and teak by traditional craftsmen, and are in themselves objects of great beauty.

Tour Manager

Warwick Silvester, Hamilton – A Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Waikato for the past 28 years, and now working part time, Warwick has led many student and adult trips throughout New Zealand. He has travelled extensively overseas, and been tour manager for several of our Travel & Learn and Journeys Tours.

Pre-Tour Material

A series of Newsletters will be sent out, describing in greater detail aspects of the programme, expected weather conditions, clothing hints, health considerations, flight times, hotel information and a short list of recommended pre-tour readings.

Variations in Travel

You may wish to add pre- or post-travel arrangements, or perhaps upgrade to Business Class. Please contact Calder and Lawson Tours by either email:  cnltours@hot.co.nz or freephone 0800 853 276.


•  Economy class airfares inclusive of taxes and fuel surcharges
•  Visas for all NZ passport holders
•  1 night in Singapore with breakfast northbound
•  1 night's accommodation in Yangon pre-cruise, including breakfast
•  Welcome dinner and farewell dinner.
•  10 nights' Pandaw Cruise in Main Deck Cabin including all meals and drinks
•  1 night's accommodation in Yangon post-cruise, including breakfast.
•  All sightseeing as specified in the itinerary
•  All group transfers
•  ALL GRATUITIES for crew and Local Guides


Ex Auckland
Package with main deck cabins (6)           NZ $10, 690pp twin share
Single Supplement     NZ$ 975

Upgrade to Upper Deck (4)               NZ$ 1, 630pp twin share
Single Supplement     NZ$ 145

Please note we have only 3 single cabins available, once they have been sold we are unable to receive further allocation.

Earlybird Discount

$200 per person expires 01 March 2013

Group Size

Minimum 16, Maximum 20



Friday 08 November – New Zealand – Singapore. Depart today on your direct Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your Singapore hotel for your overnight stay. (Meals in flight)

Saturday 09 – Singapore – Yangon. An early morning flight to Yangon the capital city of Myanmar. On arrival you will you will be met and transferred to your overnight hotel, followed by a short excursion to downtown Yangon. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner. (B.D)

Sunday 10 – Cruising on the Pandaw – Upper Mandalay. After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Mandalay. Upon arrival you will be transferred to the ship, your floating home for the next ten nights. Enjoy sitting on the promenade or observation deck watching the great panorama that is Myanmar unfold before your eyes. Cruise upstream to a jungle village where you will moor overnight. (B.L.D)

Monday 11 – Cruising on the Pandaw – Mingun. Travel to Ngwe Nyein village and visit the spectacular potteries nearby. See the manufacturing stages of the famous fifty gallon, handmade water pots. Return downstream to visit Mingun to view the Pagoda and one of the heaviest working bells in the world, whose construction began in 1790. After returning to the ship, enjoy cocktail hour during a briefing on the sun deck before dinner. (B.L.D)

Tuesday 12 – Cruising on the Pandaw – Mandalay, Innwa, and Amarapura. Early risers are served coffee and tea on the sun deck as the boat casts off around 6.00am. Enjoy breakfast as you sail on to Mandalay. The morning tour is by horse and cart to the ancient city of Innwa, which for 400 years was the capital of the Burmese Kingdom, and known then as Ava. Cross the Myit Nge River by ferry and continue on to the Bagaya Kyaung Monastery which is built entirely from teak. Return to the ship for lunch. In the afternoon travel by coach to Mandalay where you will get to experience the traditional craft of gold leaf making and witness craftsmen carving marble. See the Mahamuni Pagoda, the most revered in Myanmar to which pilgrims fix large quantities of gold leaf onto the golden-seated Buddha image. Later cross the teakwood U Bein Bridge to visit a silk and cotton weaving workshop. Return to the ship for evening cocktails and dinner. (B.L.D)

Wednesday 13 – Cruising on the Pandaw – Yandabo, Potteries Village. This morning cruise to Yandabo, a rarely visited village, with no road access. It is here in 1826 that the Yandabo peace treaty was signed, ending the Anglo-Burmese war which lasted almost two years. After lunch on board walk into Yandabo to see the production of terracotta pottery made from river- bank clay. Visit the Pandaw School and the new dispensary both built with past donations from Pandaw passengers. Later in the afternoon the ship sails downstream towards Pagan (also known as Bagan) enroute passing the confluence of the Chindwin River. (B.LD)

Thursday 14 – Cruising on the Pandaw – Pagan. The city of Pagan was submitted for World Heritage status in 1996. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that now constitute modern Myanmar.
During the kingdom’s height over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Pagan plains alone. Still scattered across the plain, are almost 3,000 surviving monuments to proclaim the power of Burma’s first empire. After breakfast on board, you will depart for a visit to a selection of the finest and best preserved of the Pagan temples. Return to the ship for lunch and then mid- afternoon tour by coach to further explore the temples and enjoy the amazing views. (B.L.D)

Friday 15 – Cruising on the Pandaw – Tant Kyi Taung Mountain and Salé. First stop this morning is at Tant Kyi Taung, to go ashore and ascend the mountain by foot or by WWII jeep, to enjoy the spectacular views over Bagan. Continue cruising downstream to the small town of Salé . Visit a beautiful Teak Monastery with its extraordinary wood carvings and walk around the town to see some of the splendid colonial-style houses. (B.L.D)

Saturday 16 – Taung Ba Lu School and Magwe Gold Brick Pagoda. If river conditions permit there will be a morning visit to the Taung Ba Lu School project. In the afternoon, visit the magnificent Mya-thalon Pagoda. Built with gold bricks, the Pagoda is linked to the river by winding covered stairways ascending the steep wooded river banks. The temple includes many interesting shrines within its precincts and is perched overlooking the river, commanding spectacular views of the Irrawaddy. (B.L.D)

Sunday 17 – Minhla Forts. Today you will visit the two Italian built forts, Minhla and Gwechaung, constructed to keep the British at bay from Royal Burma, Both forts were captured by the British in the 3rd Anglo Burmese War of 1885. Gwechaung, the more impressive of the forts was captured from the rear before the Burmese could turn the guns around. (B.L.D)

Monday 18 – Thayetmyo Frontier Post. This pleasant colonial town once guarded the border between Royal Myanmar and British Myanmar, and has retained much of its colonial character. Visit the market and ride out by horse and cart to see the countryside. (B.L.D)

Tuesday 19 – Prome and the Ancient Pyu. Today visit the 5th – 8th century archaeological site of Thiri-ya-kittiya, the former ancient capital of the Pyu civilization and the earliest and most important archaeological site in Burma. Here you will visit the fascinating museum of early Buddhist artifacts and sculpture. End the day with dinner on board (B.L.D)

Wednesday 20 – Prome – Yangon. This morning brings you to the end of your Pandaw Cruise. Transfer will be provided to your overnight Yangon hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore, or perhaps visit Bogyoke Aung San Market (formerly named Scotts Market) for some last minute shopping. Tonight, to end your Myanmar Tour, enjoy a farewell dinner. (B.D)

Thursday 21 – Yangon – Singapore. This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Singapore and on to Auckland.
(B, meals in flight)

Friday 22 – Arrive Auckland

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Please note that this itinerary was correct as at 28 August 2012 and is subject to change

This Itinerary is subject to change and is dated 08.10.12. Please check with Calder & Lawson Tours for updates