This guided tour will introduce you to the cultural highlights and most famous destinations in Myanmar. From the bustling streets of Yangon to the awe-inspiring temple plains of Bagan.
The Irrawaddy Delta covers an area of over 1000 square miles with Rangoon, its most famous port and capital of all Burma from 1886 to 2005. Originally a vast inhabited wetland and jungle, much of it 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. The Irrawaddy Flotilla Company by the 1920s operated over 100 creek steamers across the Delta connecting these towns and villages at a time when there were neither roads nor bridges.
There are seven main channels and myriad lesser ones forming a complex labyrinth of waterways understood only by the most experienced pilots. In the backwaters there is the feel of Kerala, on the larger channels it could be New Orleans and the Deep South.
Contrary to expectation these great wetlands are not monotonous at all and there is considerable human interest in the form of pretty towns, markets, temples, churches and mosques. There is also profuse bird life in the less populated areas.
Our 7-night programme aboard the stunning Katha Pandaw enables relaxed exploration of this fascinating region, starting and returning to Rangoon.
At a glance
- Relaxing journey with Pandaw care
- Small riverside towns of Irrawaddy Delta
- Visits to local communities
Itinerary in Brief
- DAY 1: Cruise Yangon to Pyapon
- DAY 2: Pyapon to Bogale
- DAY 3: Bogale to Myaungmya
- DAY 4: Myaungmya to Pathein
- DAY 5: Leisure in Pathein. Optional tour to Ngwe Saung
- DAY 6: Pathein to Wakema
- DAY 7: Wakema to Maubin
- DAY 8: Maubin to Yangon
Early morning departure from Rangoon via the Twante Canal stopping at Twante to view the potteries and on to Pyapon (64miles) a delightful delta town and seaport with lively docks and markets.
Extend your stay and board one day earlier bed & breakfast on board the RV Katha Pandaw for an extra night. Enjoy the experience and perspective of staying in central Rangoon from your luxurious river ship.
Bogale is at the heart of the delta and once a Mon capital and trading port connected to international trading routes between the 15th and 18th centuries. We hope to visit the Mein Ma Hla Kyun Wildlife Reserve, an island of just under one hundred square miles classified as a mangrove eco system reserve and home to salt water crocodiles.
This will be the most fascinating day’s sailing as we weave through creeks and channels cross-country across the heart of the delta. We will stop for a walk about in a suitable village.
Morning cruise across the final section of delta to join the great Bassein River that takes us up to Bassein, the capital of the delta and an important seaport too. Of interest here are the traditional umbrella manufacturies, where the typical monk’s waxed cloth umbrellas are made. On foot we will explore the town, its shrines and vibrant markets.
A day at leisure in this charming port town and optional day trip by car to Ngwesaung Beach with lunch there.
Noon departure with lunch to follow, taking the more usual upper delta route of the old IFC ‘launch service’ between Rangoon and Bassein. Evening exploration of this attractive river port.
On these busier channels there will be a variety of shipping whilst the riverbanks team with life and activity. Maubin is a very pleasant place to enjoy a sunset walk along its colourful strand..
Morning run crossing the Twante Canal and home to the Rangoon River and our berth in colonial downtown and disembarkation between 12 and 12.30 pm (lunch excluded).
This was a radical new design, based on the old K class used in Burma from the 1880s on. This ship is the third Katha to run on the Irrawaddy. The first was built at Dalla in 1887 but lost on the Chindwin in 1889. The second was built by Denny of Dumbarton in 1904 and decommissioned in 1937 and the third was built by us in Vietnam in 2012.
We ran her a year on the Mekong before sending to Burma. With only two decks these smaller K class ships have lower air draft so can get under bridges and supposedly a shallower draft, though in fact the Vietnam ship yards were not as successful in achieving this as the Burmese yards and later Burmese-built K class ships achieved remarkable reductions in draft.
The Katha general arrangement was radical in that we eliminated the formal indoor dining room. This led to great protests from regular passengers and indeed our staff. In the end all agree it is far more pleasant to eat outside than in a stuffy, noisy enclosed dining room and the bugs are really not that bad. Up river in Burma it can be a little cold in winter but currently we deploy this ship in Middle Burma where the cold is less of an issue.
The ship has quality mountain bikes for your independent exploration.
- Private tours and transfers with air-conditioned vehicles as specified in our itinerary
- 2 bottles of water & 2 refreshing towels per passenger per day
- Lodging with breakfast as specified in the itinerary
- Luggage handling fees at airports
- Entrance fees
- Guide services (English language)
- Gratuities to crew
- Main meals, locally made soft drinks, local beer and local spirits, jugged coffee and selection of teas and tisanes, mineral water.
What's Not Included
- International flights
- Port dues (if levied), laundry, all visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions),
- Imported beverages such as wines, premium spirits and liqueurs, fancy soft drinks like Perrier, espressos and cappuccinos at bar
- Tips to tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators and cyclo drivers.
- Drinks during meals, hotel extras and expenses of personal nature
- Camera & video fees. Some of the sites visited may ask small fees for photographing and video recording.
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