With the length of 1200 km, the Chindwin River is one of the two major rivers in Myanmar (together with the Irrawaddy River) whose image is covered in numerous Burmese stories and legends. However, this river has not been appreciated properly and is often undersold and mistaken as a tributary of the Irrawaddy River.
Very few Westerners have ever heard of the Chindwin River because it is significantly shadowed by the fame of its bigger sibling, the Irrawaddy River. Even if we have ever heard of it, it must be in a history lesson and much of what we know about Chindwin River would just be its status as a critical landmark in the Burma Campaign (1942-1945).
For those who was involved in the bloody battles in the jungle contributable to the victory of the Allied, Chindwin River is remembered as a critical tactical goal of, and also a major hindrance to, consecutive advances and retreats of Britain and Japan’s royal armies. The importance of Chindwin River could be compared to that of other key rivers in the Second World War such as the Rhine, the Volga, and the Elbe.
All those stories are now just embers of the past. Still, many tourists who joined or have family members joined the heroic Fourteenth Army and its honorable Burma Star Association still can recall the events in the war when visiting Chindwin River.
Nowadays, Chindwin is the river of peace and harmony. A cruising trip along this river is ideal for those who want to admire the pristine natural beauty of this country and for those who just return from eye-satisfying trips through Yangon, Mandalay, and Bagan and desire a deeper adventure into stunning, intact hinterland of Myanmar. There are many highlights in the itinerary along Chindwin River, among which we have to mention the visit to Sitthuang and Nagaland. Right at these places, during the war, a majority of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company fleet was wrecked when threatened by the advancing army of Japan. A journey along the Chindwin river would bring you vivid imagination and experiences that you will remember for a lifetime.
From July to November, cruises from Monywa to Homalin can be operated and in September cruises will make their way to Nagaland and from December to February, they will set sail from Minwa to Kaleywa. All of them are seven-night trips.
For most of the tourists, cruising along Chindwin River is all about sightseeing, admiring the natural beauty of landscapes and visiting quaint villages and ancient temples dotting the riverbanks. A cruise on lower Irrawaddy may have cultural highlights but the scenery is quite monotonous and lacks emphasis. Meanwhile, a cruise on Chindwin River would take you through various dramatic landscapes that change day to day, such as forests, mountains, and rolling hills.
Pandaw has exploited the tourism potential of this beautiful and majestic waterway since the 90s of the previous century. Acknowledging that Chindwin is a fast but shallow river and the navigation through the river is highly complex, we utilized the ultra shallow draft design of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company to create the Pandaw II. This ship was capable of cruising in August and September, and since 2014, the Kalay Pandaw has been taken into operation, running on the river from July to November.
The Director of Pandaw, Hugh Clayson, who declared himself as a ‘Chindwin addict”, gives explanations: “The Kalay Pandaw has a small design with only five cabins which make us the sole operator in the 4-5 star category who can offer cruises on the Chindwin River in a much longer season while larger cruise ships can only be operated during August and September.
Do you want to take a cruise on the Chindwin River now? If you do, then here are some suggestions of Pandaw Cruises with reasonable prices for you to choose.