DAY 1: PYAY (PROME) AND ANCIENTPYU
Drive by coach to Prome (4.5 hours) and board your Pandaw; after lunch visit the 5th-8th century archaeological site of Thiri-ya-kittiya, former centre of thePyu civilization with a fascinating museum of early Buddhist artifacts and sculptures. Hmawza is a picturesque site and we cross jungle and countryside to visit monumental Pyu stupas and the excavations of the former palace-city inthis walled early centre of Buddhism. Cast off at sundown with cocktails on deck.
DAY 2: THAYETMYO FRONTIER POST
This pleasant colonial town once guarded the border between Royal Myanmar and British Myanmar following the 2nd Anglo Myanma War of 1855, many of the buildings including the covered market date from this period. Thayet also boasts the oldest golf course in Myanmar (1885). Outside the town is an extensive war cemetery where Turkish prisoners of war were laid to rest.Captured in Iraq, the Turks were transported to labour camps in Myanmar where they died in their hundreds of malaria. In the town itself we visit the market,see the colonial houses and ride out by horse cart to see the countryside and golf links.
DAY 3: MINHLA FORTS AND MAGWE GOLD BRICKS
Minhlaand Gwechaung - we visit the two Italian built forts constructed to keep the British at bay from Royal Burmah. We climb the Gwechaung hill for the view.These were captured by the British in the 3rd Anglo Burmese War. The fight for the Minhla redoubt was the only serious action in the war and the death of a young subaltern inspired Kipling to write a poem. Gwechaung, the more impressive of the forts was captured from the rear before the Burnese could turn the guns around.
DAY 4: MAGWE
Weclimb the river bank and wind our way through a labyrinth of passages and paths to reach the magnificent Myat-thalon Pagoda. This pagoda is constructed with solid gold bricks. Of interest are the many nat shrines and hermitages within the temple precincts.. Cast off at noon and sail through afternoon
DAY 5: SALE MONASTERIES
Here we visit a number of teak monasteries including the Yout-saun-kyaung with its spectacular wood carvings; we also explore an area of splendid colonial-style houses; moor at the Tan-chi-taung mountain and ascend on foot or by WWII jeep for the spectacular sunset over Pagan.
DAY 6: PAGAN
We tour a selection of the 3,000 listed monuments at this World Heritage Site.Cast off in late afternoon for sunset and puppet theatre on deck.
DAY 7: YANDABO POTTERIES AND PANDAW SCHOOL
This very small rural village specialises in pot making. We visit the Pandaw School,built with past donations from Pandaw passengers.
DAY 8: MANDALAY AND AMARAPURA
In Morning explore the ancient capital of Amarapura by coachand sampan and crossing the U Bein Bridge to see the paintings in a temple.Afternoon coach tour of central Mandalay visiting the Mahamuni Pagodaand Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung teak carved monastery. We stop to see tapestry making and other traditional crafts.
DAY 9: MINGUN PAGODA AND BELL
We cast off early in the morning and stop at Mingun to see the largest working bell in the world and the unfinished pagoda that is the largest single mass of brick building in the world. We also visit the Mingun Old Peoples Home originally established with the assistance of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company in the 1930s
DAY 10: KYAUNG MYAUNG POTTERY AND KHAN-NYAT VILLAGE
Visit the spectacular potteries near Kyauk-Myaung where the famous 50 gallon water pots are handmade. We see all stages of manufacture from the throwing of the pots to the week long firing in huge kilns. We enter the Third Defile and sail upstream all day stopping at Khan-nyat village with its many Buddhist monasteries and an orphanage we support. If free, the village orchestra and dancers will perform for us on the sun deck after dinner.
DAY 11: TAGAUNG ANCIENT CITY AND TIGYANG HILL
We explore by foot the ancient city of Tagaung viewing the fortifications, the shrine of Bo Bo Gyi a famous nat or spirit who protects sailors plying the river, and the archaeological area. In the evening we climb the Pagoda Hill at Tigyang with its stunning views of the Irrawaddy
DAY 12: KATHA – BURMESE DAYS
We reach the enchanting colonial town of Katha, setting for George Orwell’s Myanma Days, and little changed since then. Of interested are the fire station’s collection of IFC ship’s bells taken from sunken ships in the Second War. Katha was the final resting place of the old flotilla and hereover a hundred ships were scuppered in 1942 in an Act of Denial before the advancing Japanese. If permitted we visit an elephant logging camp in the hardwood forests of the hills that surround the town and if time allows a visit to the lake at Indaw-lay offers a glimpse of highland Myanmar with its rich bird life.
DAY 13: SHWEGU AND THE SECOND DEFILE
Travel by local speedboat to view the largest of the three Irrawaddy gorges. In the afternoon return downstream.
DAY 14: DOWNSTREAM
We stop for a walk in a jungle village.
DAY 15: MANDALAY
Disembark in afternoon.