Pandaw Myanmar

Monywa to Homalin Chindwin Cruise: Pandaw Cruise (Price & Bookings 2021)

The Pandaw experience is all about exploring remote and often hard-to-navigate
rivers in specially designed luxury small ships.

Pandaw are pioneers in river cruise expeditions in Burma and still to this day very few, if any, vessels are able to carry passengers on these rivers.

Find the best offer for the  Chindwin River Cruise; 7 -night cruises from Monywa to Homalin.

  starting from 4040$

Monywa to Homalin Chindwin Cruise: Upstream* ( 8 days / 7 nights)





Afternoon excursion to see Thandboodi Temple, Bawdhi Tahaung statue and the night market in the evening.

Entering the Lower Chindwin where the river widens and the forested hills fall away to farmland we pass a number of attractive villages. We will explore Monywa and time permitting make a quick trip to the Thanbodi Temple with its million Buddha images.




In the morning, coach to the Phowin Taung Caves, where we will admire beautiful mural paintings and Buddha statues in riches. Beyond Monywa we enter the Upper Chindwin.

Twenty-five kilometers west of Monywa city and 10 km southeast of Yinmabin, this astounding Buddhist destination sits on the west bank of the Chindwin River. By boat, it’s possible to catch sight of the over 900 caves and astonishing monuments that this location has to offer.

Phowin Taung translates to “Mountain of Isolated Solitary Meditation,” a name that local legend suggests was given by supernatural alchemist U Po Win. It’s believed he could perform feats such as flying, surviving underwater, and curing illness. During his lifetime, legend tells that U Po Win practiced Shamatha Meditation to attain what the Buddhists refer to as Siddhi, or ‘the ultimate state of renunciation’.

That is all anyone really knows about the caves found at Phowintaung, though experts suggest that paintings found in this destination may date back to the 14th-18th centuries.



The river narrows and the forested hills fall away to farmland we pass a number of attractive villages like Kanee where we can stretch our legs.




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. The gateway town for the Chin State, we explore Kalewa with its markets and quaint wooden architecture.

Also known as Mingun, Min Kun, and Minkin, this town of the Sagaing region is more than 11 km up the Ayeyarwady/Irrawaddy River from Mandalay, and is considered a must-see by experts of the area, even if it’s not too well known. It’s known for a few things, including housing the world’s largest, uncracked, working bell as well as the Mingkin Pahtodawgyi, the construction of which was halted and never continued after the death of King Bodawpaya in 1813.

The Hsinbyume Pagoda
Recognisable for its stark whiteness, this pagoda isn’t too far from the site of the stupa or the bell that the town is famous for. Designed in a style modelled after Mount Meru, where the Hindu gods are said to come from, this pagoda was built on the orders of King Bagyidaw. It was built in dedication to his first consort, Princess Hsinbyume, who it was named after. Princess Hsinbyume was also known as the Lady of the White Elephant, which is thought to explain the stark whiteness of the pagoda, as well.

As little-visited as it is, Mingkin is worth the trip. Besides the pagodas and the bells mentioned, the decorated teak monasteries include the oldest wooden religious complex in the country, and there are many surrounding villages where visitors can see the lifestyles, crafts, and traditions of the local people.




Morning explore Mawlaik replaced Kindat as the administrative capital but ironically the Myanma refused to move there from upstream Kindat. It was mainly settled with the company houses of the by the Scottish owned and run Bombay Myanmarh 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 so cars are few.

There is a dreamy otherworldly quality to such places and truly one feels that one has travelled there in the Pandaw time machine!. Afternoon we pass the mouth of the Yu River which drains the Kubu valley that provided the route for a Lieutenant Grant to march to the relief of the Manipur garrison when the chief commissioner of Assam was massacred in a local rebellion.



Sitthaung was the final resting place of a number of IFC steamers scuppered there in 1942 in an ‘act of denial’ from the advancing Japanese who were a matter of hours behind. We hope to find remains of these ships as we have in the past at Katha on the Irrawaddy. It was from here that the survivors of the Japanese invasion marched out to Tamu on the India border. Pantha was an important oil refinery belonging to the Indo-Burma Petroleum Co (Steel Brothers).




Toungdoot or Hsawng-hsup in Tai, 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 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 into 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!



Homalin has an intriguing history. During world war 2, it was briefly occupied by the Japanese. It was also once a regular stop for the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company – a historic ferry company made up of paddle steamers that were the inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem ‘Mandalay’.

Gold has been found on the beaches of the Uyu river – a tributary leading off of the Chindwin river. Local villagers often come to the beach to pan the sand in the hope of finding gold particles. Gold nuggets have even been found washed up on the beach.

Homalin is located in Northwest Myanmar near the Indian border.

Tamanthi Wildlife Reserve
Homalin’s closest and most popular attraction is Tamanthi Wildlife Reserve. The sanctuary was founded in 1974 and boasts an area of 596.7 square kilometres.

Within this reserve you’ll find a diverse array of wildlife, some of which is incredibly rare. Some of these animals include elephants, tigers, leopards and bears. Javan rhinoceroses are reported to have once been sighted in the reserve, but these are now thought to be extinct in the area.

This could be a great adventure for those that love wildlife.

Disembarkation and transfer to Homalin airport.


IMPORTANT: Please note that water levels drop dramatically as of December and we 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.

PLEASE NOTE: The itinerary for this expedition is indicative only. As we travel to remote areas, changes to the itinerary will inevitably occur. A flexible approach is required if you book this cruise.

*This cruise is available Downstream as well (Homalin – Monywa). Please contact us for more details & bookings.


Cabin Prices


Monywa – Homalin

Main Deck TwinUpper Deck Twin
Rate per personSingle Suppl.Rate per personSingle Suppl.
(2 people sharing)(2 people sharing)
4 Nights$7935$43942$9.174$5006

Departure Dates Pandaw Cruise 2021 / 2022


202113 27

6 20



20228 22

1 15 29


Upstream (Monywa to Homalin)

Downstream (Homalin to Monywa)

*Rates are based per person / on double/twin cabin occupancy, single cabin suppl. apply.

Rates quoted in this agreement are valid from 1st November 2010 to 30th December 2021.



Cruise Price Includes: Transfers to/from ship on DAY 1 and DAY 5 as described. Entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes. Use of quality mountain bikes for independent exploration.

Cruise Price Excludes: International flights, port dues (if levied), laundry, all visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions), all beverages except local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes and tips to tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators and cycle drivers.


Each Pandaw River Cruise Customer will receive

  • Welcome cocktail party
  • Signature hors d’oeuvres at cocktails each evening
  • Afternoon tea with cakes or cookies when cruising
  • Celebration cake and champagne on birthdays and anniversaries
  • Cookery demonstrations and classes using local produce
  • All scheduled excursions
  • At least two cultural performances per cruise
  • Tour of the engine rooms, galley and working parts of the ship
  • Film presentations on local culture and history
  • Local mineral water
  • Cold towels on deck all day
  • Jugged coffee, tea and tisanes on deck from sunrise till sunset
  • Crew gratuities are included in your cruise program price

Other Things Not Included

  • Spa service including foot, head and body massages (Mekong only)
  • Personal laundry service
  • All drinks except local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes



You will be picked up between 08.00am-08.30am on embarkation day. Your transfer Mandalay to the pier in Monywa is included in the cruise package.

For Mandalay Airport to Monywa (transfer 2.5 hours):

For hotel in Mandalay to Monywa (transfer 3 hours):


Your cruise includes a flight from Homalin to Mandalay. Please note the flight times for your flight from Homalin to Mandalay are currently as follows.

Homalin – Mandalay UB-586 1610-1720 (Direct) May – Sep

Flight timings are subject to change.



The rivers you will sail on are subject to seasonal rises and falls of water level, in some places as much as 30 metres. Water levels can change dramatically overnight and a sudden rise can impede our progress upstream considerably and even prevent us from passing under certain bridges. A sudden fall can result in our being unable to get into certain places or go as far upstream as we would hope. Groundings on sandbars are not infrequent and are part of the
excitement of any Pandaw expedition. Published itineraries are indicative only and subject to sudden change. In such events alternative itineraries will be provided and we do our best to ensure that if a stop is missed we make up for it with another stop.

Passengers are thus forewarned and expected to be flexible and patient. River cruising in Asia can be a dramatic and adventurous experience – not like cruising the controlled waterways of Europe or America. Note also that we operate in areas with little or no developed infrastructure and subject to the strictures of local officialdom. Be prepared for this and it is all more the fun!

For itineraries that include flights in the price of the ticket it should be noted that regional airlines can change departure times or cancel flights at very short notice. In such an event we endeavour to arrange alternative flights but note that this can result in delays often resulting in embarking or disembarking on a different day to that indicated in the itinerary. In such an event the company will cover the cost of hotel accommodation and main meals only, but will not be liable for any claims for compensation for missed days on board a ship, drinks or curtailment of the said itinerary.



RV Zawgyi Pandaw


We acquired this Z craft in 2008 and fitted her out as a floating clinic as part of the Cyclone Nargis relief effort. Returned to us by the NGO she lay redundant for some time then in 2014 the shipyard building the Kha Byoo got into difficulties and this ship was going to be late. We mobilised our Mandalay build team and in a matter of four weeks had built an entirely new superstructure with six small but very comfy cabins and the vessel was able to operate and no passengers turned away.

In 2015 we added an upper deck with further cabins and a flexible bistro area in addition to the observation saloon on the main deck. The Zawgyi wins the prize for the shallowest draft in the fleet at 2.5ft and therefore we have her deployed on the treacherous Chindwin River niftily negotiating treacherous shoals.

The ship has quality mountain bikes for your independent exploration.



  • 6 main deck and 4 upper deck staterooms
  • 150 square feet (14sqm), finished in teak and brass
  • Panoramic sliding window
  • Kimonos and slippers
  • Spa-branded amenities
  • Unlimited mineral water
  • Electric mini safe
  • Imported quality linens with duvet and two kind of pillows
  • Premium mattresses
  • Convertible bed configuration
  • Welcome flower arrangement and welcome gift
  • Mirror
  • Multi-configuration plugs
  • Generous closet space and under-bed storage
  • Hair dryer
  • Daily nightly turndown service
  • 24h laundry service
  • Complimentary evening canapés and cocktails
  • Yoga mats in all cabins



  • Local masterchef heading an experienced international culinary team
  • Personalized meal service
  • Daily lean & light menu options
  • Complimentary local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes
  • Extensive wine list with premium wines
  • Welcome drink on arrival
  • Welcome cocktail
  • Farewell reception
  • Theme and gala dinners


Terms and Conditions

  1. 1. Travel Terms & Conditions

    The purchase of any travel services offered by MyanMarvels Travel and Tours, constitutes a contractual arrangement between you (the Traveler) and MyanMarvels Travel and Tours, based in Yangon, Myanmar, and represents your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions. Please ensure that you read carefully and understand the Terms & Conditions prior to booking.

    Important Notes

    • Cruises departures, itineraries and prices are subject to change
    • A non-refundable, non-transferable deposit is required for MyanMarvels Travel and Tours to secure the cabin for you.

    The following charges are not included in the river cruise holiday  price unless otherwise noted: airfare to and from the start of your vacation; domestic flights, unless specified in the itinerary; airline baggage fees including checked and/or excess baggage fees; port fee, unless specified in the itinerary; guide tips, alcoholic drinks unless specified in the cruise itinerary, Myanmar Visa, Vaccinations, Travel Insurance, Laundry, Telephone.


    2. PRICE GUARANTEE Once you have paid in full for your trip, you are safe from any additional charges.


    Cruise Price

    The ‘Myanmar Cruises Price’ is the total amount listed on your itinerary. All Tour Prices are quoted in U.S. Dollars. MyanMarvels Travel and Tours reserves the right to vary Cruise Prices at any time to account for any increase in costs, including but not limited to airfares, fuel, government taxes and charges, exchange rate fluctuations or other tour related costs or tariffs. If payment if received received the full amount of the River Cruise from the customer , there will be no increases to your Cruise price, regardless of any increases in the tour costs inside or outside of our control.

    Incoming Taxes. Sales taxes assessed by Myanmar & Local authorities  as identified on your itinerary are included in the Cruise Price.

    3, Booking/Payment.

    Booking / Deposit. You must pay the deposit listed on the itinerary (the “Deposit”) within 5 days of booking your travel. Your Booking will be automatically canceled if your Deposit is not received by MyanMarvels Travel and Tours on or before the due date. A 20% deposit of your total booking value with Pandaw is required upon confirmation and is non-refundable.

    Deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable, except as otherwise expressly stated herein.

    Final Payment. The balance of the Tour Price must be paid no later than 90 days prior to the tour departure date. Failure to pay the balance within 90 days of the tour departure date will result in cancellation of your trip and loss of the Deposit.

    Please note that the remitting party must cover their own bank charges.

    Bookings Within 90 Days. If you place a river cruise booking with MyaMarvels Travel and Tours within 90 days or less of your chosen departure date, full payment of the Tour Price is required before we can request and confirm your booking. If the tour is not able to be fully confirmed, then we will refund all funds paid to us, and MyanMarvels Travel and Tours will have no further obligations or liability to you in respect of your booking.


    • Full name as in your passport
    • Date of birth
    • Full passport details
    • Email address & Phone Number
    • Disabilities
    • Medical conditions
    • Dietary restrictions you make known to river cruise company
    • Emergency contact (non-participant)

    If any additional information is required, it will be requested from you with your reservation.

    4. CANCELLATIONS Terms for Pandaw River Cruise Ships:


    • 90 days and greater Loss of the  Deposit
    • 89-60 days 35% of Cruise Price
    • 59-30 days 50% of Cruise Price
    • Less than 30 days 100% of Cruise Price


    5. Cruise Variation, Cancellation or Delay.

    Itinerary Variations. While MyanMarvels  Travel and Tours & its local cruise partners will make reasonable efforts to operate the tour in accordance with your itinerary, changes or substitutions may be necessary for reasons outside Cruise company control or other Force Majeure Events.

    On tours that include cruises, the ship may be changed due to operational reasons. For departures in early and late season operated in cool weather conditions, itinerary variations may occur and certain activities may not be available due to seasonality or weather conditions. Availability of certain activities may also be limited due to itinerary variations.

    Minimum Required Bookings. Your booking is conditional on Pandaw River Cruise Myanmar receiving a minimum number of bookings to operate the tour and ensure an enjoyable group atmosphere.

    For cruise departures where occupancy is less than 5 cabins the company reserve the right to cancel the departure giving all passengers with confirmed bookings 30 days prior notice of this intention. An alternative departure date will be offered subject to availability. If this alternative date is not acceptable to the passenger any down payments made for the cancelled cruise will be refunded. In the event that a passenger has cancelled and paid cancellation fees and the Company subsequently cancel that departure then any cancellation fees (and down payment) will be refunded in full on the request of the passenger. The company reserves the right to change a cabin allocated without notice and in the event that a passenger is downgraded to a cheaper cabin then the difference in cost between the cabins will be refunded to the passenger or the passenger’s agents.

    MyanMarvels Travel and Tours  will endeavor to notify you of any changes to your tour itinerary in the following  manner: (a) if prior to  your tour departure, we will notify you by telephone, email or mail; and (b) if during your tour, personally by your Cruise Director.

    6. Force Majeure. For the purposes of these terms and conditions, a ‘Force Majeure Event’ means any act of God; war; terrorism; fire; flood or any other extreme weather condition; loss of power; epidemics or pandemics; industrial disputes, slow-downs or other strike activities; riots or civil disturbances; acts of government, semi-government or other authorities; inability to obtain any necessary license or consent; delays caused by subcontractors, suppliers or other third parties (including telecommunications carriers); material shortages; or other any other disruption, delay, damage or loss resulting from any action, omission or event outside the reasonable control of Pandaw River Cruise.

    You hereby acknowledge and agree that Pandaw River Cruise is not liable for any delay or any failure by Pandaw River Cruise to perform its obligations under these Terms and Conditions resulting from or as a consequence of a Force Majeure Event. lf a delay or failure occurs or is anticipated due to Force Majeure Event, Pandaw River Cruise obligations are suspended for the duration of the Force Majeure Event. If the Force Majeure Event delays performance for a period of 7 days or more, calculated from the date MyanMarvels notifies you of the Force Majeure Event, then MyanMarvels may terminate this agreement and, in such event, you will be issued a future travel credit equal to the amount You paid to MyanMarvels hereunder, less any non-refundable third-party costs. Please note that you are limited to the future travel credit and will not be entitled to a cash refund.

    In these circumstances, Pandaw will offer all affected bookings an alternative departure date and itinerary. If no suitable alternative can be offered, a credit for future cruise will be provided for the guests to make a new booking at a later date. In the event of a cruise being cancelled as a result of the above force majeure situations following the commencement of that cruise period then Pandaw is under no obligation to provide any such offer.


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