The Chidwin - Explore off the Beaten Track 1


The loveliest of rivers. In the past we only offered this during the monsoon due to water levels, but now our ultra-low draught Pandaws can sail through to February. The river carves it way through mountains and forests and we stop at delightful unspoilt little towns. Our objective, Homalin is the capital of Nagaland and close to the India border. We will ply the Upper Chindwin weekly between Monywa and Homalin. Monywa is under three hours from Mandalay and the car transfer is included with the cruise. Homalin is now connected by scheduled flight with Mandalay.


Day 1

  • Today, you will be met between 08.00 am - 08.30 am and transferred to the pier in Monywa.

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

  • Overnight onboard.

  • From Mandalay Airport to Monywa it will take about 2.5 hours.

  • From hotel in Mandalay to Monywa it will take about 3 hours.


Day 2

  • 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.

  • Overnight onboard.


Day 3

  • 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.

  • Overnight onboard.


Day 4

  • 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.

  • Overnight onboard.


Day 5

  • The morning we explore Mawlaik, that 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.

  • Overnight onboard.


Day 6

  • 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).

  • Overnight onboard.


Day 7

  • 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 graylag geese as they came in to 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!

  • Overnight onboard.


Day 8

  • Disembarkation and transfer to Homalin airport.


Main Deck From R 42 455.00

per person sharing

Upper Deck From R 53 946.00

per person sharing

8 Days / 7 Nights

Validity: October and November 2020


  • One way domestic flight

  • Entrance fees

  • Guide service (English)

  • Gratuities to crew

  • Main meals

  • Local mineral water

  • Jugged coffee, teas and tisanes


  • 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 and tisanes

  • Tips to tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators and cyclo drivers

Surcharges apply for high season or late bookings. Prices are in ZAR, subject to availability & tax fluctuations.

+27 (010) 035 5205

1st Floor, 65 Knoppiesdoring St, Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg, 2156

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