YANGON, 20 April 2018: River cruise specialist, Pandaw, has announced a new sailing that will explore southern Myanmar departing 28 February 2019.
The 18-night ‘Delta And Coast – All Southern Burma’ expedition will start with a river cruise through myriad channels of the Irrawaddy delta, followed by a sea cruise by yacht in the spectacular Mergui Archipelago, from the southern tip of Myanmar to Yangon.
Passengers will travel by shallow draft wooden ship and a refurbished 1960s motor yacht with a domestic flight to transfer between the two cruise components.
Pandaw founder and CEO, Paul Strachan said, “This one-off expedition is a unique opportunity to see these rarely visited regions, which are vastly different from each other. The Irrawaddy Delta’s maze of tributaries, villages and ancient trading ports remain untouched by tourism.”
Passengers will depart from Yangon, on RV Katha Pandaw, cruising the Irrawaddy River’s vast delta.
The ports of call include Pyapon, a lively delta town with bustling docks and market; the former Mon capital of Bogale and the nearby Mein Ma Hla Kyun Wildlife Reserve, home of the saltwater crocodile.
Other stops are made at Myaungmya, a small township where George Orwell once served as assistant superintendent of police; and Bassein, originally a colonial rice town, now a seaport and the capital of the delta, with charming riverfront tea houses and restaurants.
The voyage then joins the upper delta route used by the old Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, stopping overnight at the river port of Wakema.
The next day’s sailing passes riverbanks teaming with activity and a sunset walk along the colourful boulevard of Maubin.
On day eight, the ship will cross the Twante Canal, heading for Pandaw’s downtown base near Yangon, for time at leisure and a final night onboard Katha Pandaw.
On day nine, passengers will fly from Yangon to Kawthaung, a culturally varied town with strong Indian and Muslim influences, located on the country’s southernmost tip. Guests will board the MY Andaman Explorer, a classic 1960’s motor yacht refurbished by Pandaw founders, Paul and Roser Strachan.
The ship features 10 suites, all with sitting room and private bathroom, a saloon, dining room, two teak observation decks and floors of Carrara marble throughout.
From Kawthaung, Andaman Explorer will set sail on the morning tide for Coxcombe Island to explore a secret lagoon, and the next day sail the Loughborough Passage to visit a Mokkein sea gypsy village on Phi Lar Island.
The cruise continues with a stop at Tann Shey Island (Lampi Island Marine National Park) to explore the mangroves and spot wild monkeys. On day 13, passengers will spend the day at sea.
The next ports of calls are Bailey Island, known for its pretty bay, and Port Maria in Lun Lun Island, populated by the Karen people. The local government is run by the KNU, and the Baptist Karens are very welcoming. This day also brings the chance to explore the system of bays and creeks reaching inland from Port Maria.
On day 15, the ship will anchor off Mergui (Myeik) for a full day exploring the many architectural marvels of this old British port town. The next day at anchor is to explore Tavoy (Dawei), a little-known but once important town, followed by a day at sea with an island stop to swim and explore ashore.
Arriving into the estuary at Kaikkame, the ship will anchor for the day, while guests visit the war graves at Thanbyuzayat and explore the important colonial outpost of Moulmein, visiting old colonial churches and a splendid wood-carved royal monastery. On the final night, Andaman Explorer will cruise to Yangon for disembarkation by noon on day 19.
Prices for the ‘Delta And Coast – All Southern Burma’ itinerary start from USD 6,095 per person, based on twin share. This includes eight nights on RV Katha Pandaw, 10 nights on MY Andaman Explorer, domestic flight from Yangon to Kawthaung, transfers, all excursions as stated, entrance fees and guide services (English language) plus meals and local beverages. International flights are an additional cost.