Following a couple of days exploring Mandalay, voyage up the Irrawaddy River - Burma's lifeblood - towards Katha, the quaint colonial town where George Orwell penned his novel Burmese Days. En route, pass stunning unspoilt scenery, sail through 2 of the river's 3 defiles and gain a fascinating insight into the country's ancient and war-time history. Finish with a couple of nights in the capital Yangon.


  • Explore Katha, setting for Orwell's Burmese Days.
  • Absorb the ancient atmosphere of Tagaung.
  • Sail through spectacular gorges.
  • Visit river communities barely accessible by road.
per person

Price from

Management Team Ed Granville


Chief Operating Officer


  1. Arrive
  2. Day 1 Arrive Mandalay

    You will be met on arrival in Mandalay, the former royal capital and centre of Burmese culture, and driven to your hotel.

    Overnight: Hotel by the Red Canal

  3. Day 2 Mandalay

    The area surrounding Mandalay is home to several ancient Burmese capitals, including Ava and Sagaing, which are well worth exploring. In Mandalay, workshops and artisans flourish, and there are wonderful photo opportunities at U-Bein, the world's longest wooden bridge.

    Overnight: Hotel by the Red Canal

  4. Day 3 Board RV Kindat Pandaw or RV Kalaw Pandaw

    Board your characterful, colonial-style river cruiser before setting sail towards Kyauk-Myoung where the well-known 50-gallon water pots are made. You will have the opportunity to see all stages of the manufacturing process, from the potters throwing pots to the week-long process of firing in a vast kiln. Returning to the ship for refreshments, you can relax and take in the views as Kha Byoo enters the Irrawaddy's Third Defile.

    Overnight: RV Kindat Pandaw or RV Kalaw Pandaw

  5. Day 4 Khanyat

    After breakfast on board there will be a stop at Khanyat village, where you can explore the many Buddhist monasteries and visit the former head teacher's house, which includes his small museum collection. You might also pay a visit the village's Buddhist orphanage and see the graves of English officers assassinated in the village during the Pacification of Burma. There will be chance in the afternoon to climb the recognisable Pagoda Hill at Tigyang, where from the top you will have beautiful views of the Upper Irrawaddy.

    Overnight: RV Kindat Pandaw or RV Kalaw Pandaw

  6. Day 5 Katha

    The setting for George Orwell's novel Burmese Days, the quaint colonial town of Katha is little changed. It has an interesting old fire station with a collection of bells from scuppered Irrawaddy Flotilla Company ships from 1942's Act of Denial during the Second World War; and you can also head further upstream to visit Katha's elephant logging camp up in the leafy hardwood forests.

    Overnight: RV Kindat Pandaw or RV Kalaw Pandaw

  7. Day 6 Upstream to Kyunt Daw Island

    Disembark your boat today in favour of agile local boats that are able to access to enchanting small village at Kyunt Daw, where you can wander leisurely around ornate pagodas and be immersed in authentic Burmese village life.

    Overnight: RV Kindat Pandaw or RV Kalaw Pandaw

  8. Day 7 Cruise the Second Defile

    A leisurely day relaxing on board and admiring the views as your boat sails through the Second Defile - the Irrawaddy's most dramatic river gorge, with towering, sheer cliffs lining the narrow channel.

    Overnight: RV Kindat Pandaw or RV Kalaw Pandaw

  9. Day 8 Tagaung

    Today will be spent visiting the charming ancient city of Tagaung, which many believe to be the first capital of Burma and has an important place in the country's history and mythology. Interesting sites include the historic fortifications, which date back to the First and Second Millenniums, a vast archaeological area and the well-known spirit shrine. As the sun begins to set, there will be chance to climb Pagoda Hill for lovely views down to the river.

    Overnight: RV Kindat Pandaw or RV Kalaw Pandaw

  10. Day 9 Mingun

    The boat will set sail early this morning and will stop at Mingun for you to see the largest working bell in the world as well as the town's enormous Unfinished Pagoda, begun by King Bodawpaya in 1790. Afterwards, a beautiful drive through the hills of Sagaing will reveal mesmerising views.

    Overnight: RV Kindat Pandaw or RV Kalaw Pandaw

  11. Day 10 Mandalay

    Disembark in Mandalay and head to the airport for your short flight to Yangon, where you will be met on arrival and driven to the very comfortable Savoy Hotel.

    Overnight: The Savoy Hotel

  12. Day 11 Yangon

    Explore the city with your local guide, who will introduce you to vibrant Scott Market as well as the crumbling colonial district and Botataung and Shwedagon pagodas.

    Overnight: The Savoy Hotel

  13. Day 12 Depart Yangon

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

  14. Depart


Low £ 2,778 $ 3,773
Mid £ 2,998 $ 4,072
High £ 3,611 $ 4,905


  • Prices are per person and based on two people sharing a room.
  • Cruises generally operate from September to April, with occasional July/August sailings.
  • A number of colonial-style river boats operate this expedition on different dates. The two mentioned are the most regular.
  • The above itinerary illustrates one version of the journey. There is another version which differs slightly in terms of order of activities but covers the same sights.


  • All accommodation as detailed in the itinerary.
  • All meals, group excursions, local soft drinks, local beer, local spirits and tips for crew whilst on board the river boat.
  • Pre and post arrangements are on a bed and 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.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, gratuities (discretionary).
  • Imported beverages such as wines, premium spirits and liqueurs, fancy soft drinks like Perrier, espressos and cappuccinos on your river cruise .
  • Travel insurance and visa fees.
  • Entrance fees and excursions not specifically mentioned as included.
  • Travel insurance and visa fees.

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