The towns and villages on the banks of the River Chindwin are still very difficult to reach, and are best explored by boat. An expedition up this beguiling tributary of the Irrawaddy is an adventure into an Asia of yesteryear, as you pass former colonial outposts where teak and oil were extracted, and sail by hills through which thousands fled the Japanese advance to India in 1942.


  • Cruise aboard a wonderful ten-cabin colonial-style river cruiser
  • Reach remote, peaceful and beautiful parts of the Chin State
  • Step back in time as you experience a Burma unaffected by change and discover vestiges of the colonial ea, pre-WW2
per person

Price from

Management Team Ed Granville


Chief Operating Officer


  1. Arrive
  2. Day 1 Arrive in Mandalay

    Arrive in Mandalay, the former royal capital and centre of Burmese culture on the banks of the Irrawaddy River.

    Overnight: Hotel by the Red Canal

  3. Day 2 Mandalay

    Spend a day exploring several of the ancient Burmese capitals that surround the modern city, such as Ava and Sagaing. See too the fascinating workshops and artisans that flourish in the city and the wonderfully photogenic U-Bein bridge, the world's longest wooden bridge.

    Overnight: Hotel by the Red Canal

  4. Day 3 Monywa

    Drive out of Mandalay to Monywa, to board your characterful and comfortable home-cum-transportation for the expedition up the Chindwin River. In the afternoon, explore Monywa and see the Thanbodi Temple, which boasts a million images of the Buddha.

    Overnight: RV Kha Byoo or RV Kalay Pandaw

  5. Day 4 Phowin Taung Caves

    Travel to admire the stunning mural paintings at the Phowin Taung Caves. Then cast off for the journey upriver. Beyond Monywa the river narrows and you sail past several villages on the banks.

    Overnight: RV Kha Byoo or RV Kalay Pandaw

  6. Day 5 Cruising

    Spend the day cruising the narrow river flanked by forested hills, passing a number of attractive villages including Kanee.

    Overnight: RV Zawgyi Pandaw

  7. Day 6 Mingkin & Kalewa

    Arrive into Mingkin, which is an architectural tour-de-force, virtually unknown outside of Burma. There are plenty of traditional wooden houses surrounding amazing, teak monasteries in the Konbaung court style. Kalewa is considered the gateway to the Chin State, and had excellent markets selling all manner of exotic local produce.

    Overnight: RV Kha Byoo or RV Kalay Pandaw

  8. Day 7 Mawlaik

    Further upstream is Mawlaik, to which colonial employees of the Bombay Myanmar Trading Corporation would repair after months extracting teak from the surrounding forests. Here they could have a hot bath and a drink, and this atmosphere is maintained to this day by the eerie lack of cars and the many Edwardian "Dak Bungalows" set around a golf course. The expedition continues past the Kubu Valley and the Yu River, down which a relief force was sent to rescue the Manipur garrison during a local rebellion.

    Overnight: RV Kha Byoo or RV Kalay Pandaw

  9. Day 8 Sitthaung

    Beyond the Yu River is Sitthaung where the British scuttled several of their commercial river to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Japanese, in 1942. This was the starting point for what became the nightmarish trek over the mountains to India for all those fleeing the conflict.

    Overnight: RV Kha Byoo or RV Kalay Pandaw

  10. Day 9 Toungdoot

    Continue upriver, deep into the Chin State, where the Indo-Burma Petroleum Company established a large oil refinery and where a community of Shan tribes people maintained an enclave, far from their homeland near the Thai border. Leaving Toungdoot, set sail for Homalin, the highest navigable point of the Chindwin River. This small town is located close to the Indian border, and surrounded by large, forest-covered mountains.

    Overnight: RV Kha Byoo or RV Kalay Pandaw

  11. Day 10 Yangon

    Disembark and fly to Yangon, where you are met and transferred to the very comfortable Savoy Hotel.

    Overnight: The Savoy Hotel

  12. Day 11 Yangon

    Explore the city of Yangon with your local guide, seeing the crumbling colonial downtown, Scott Market and the fascinating Botataung and Shwedagon Pagodas.

    Overnight: The Savoy Hotel

  13. Day 12 Depart Yangon

    Transfer to Yangon airport to catch your flight out of Burma.

  14. Depart


Low £ 3,230 $ 4,387
Mid £ 3,670 $ 4,985
High £ 4,375 $ 5,942


  • The river journey operates upstream and downstream on alternating weeks. The above journey illustrates the upstream itinerary.
  • The above Monywa to Homalin itinerary sails from July to November
  • Because of low water levels, a revised itinerary from Monywa to Kalewa operates from December to February
  • Most sailings are on the RV Kha Byoo (10 cabin). Some are on the RV Kalay Pandaw (5 cabins)


  • All accommodation as detailed in the itinerary.
  • On the river boat: all meals, group excursions, local soft drinks, local beer, local spirits and tips for crew are included.
  • Arrangements pre/post the cruise are on a bed & breakfast basis.
  • Private transfers throughout.
  • All sightseeing, entrance fees and guide services as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Internal flights where detailed in the itinerary.


  • International flights.
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary.
  • On the river boat: imported beverages such as wines, premium spirits and liqueurs, fancy soft drinks like Perrier, espressos and cappuccinos.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, gratuities (discretionary).
  • Entrance fees and excursions not specifically mentioned as included.
  • Travel insurance and visa fees.

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