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Expedition Ayeyarwady

Exploring Myanmar’s River of Kings

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By Reinhard Hohler, Chiang Mai  Feb 26, 2008

The Ayeyarwady, formerly known as the Irrawaddy River, is the longest river within the Union of Myanmar – actually some 2000km long. But so far, it was never totally explored by foreigners and its continuous navigation is difficult to accomplish. Our aim is to follow the adventurous and exotic river from its confluence at Myit-Son in Kachin-State down to the port town of Yangon. We will always travel in one boat and the journey will be a once in a life time experience for all the explorers to join.
The expedition will remember the 60 years of Myanmar’s independence.

Time: October 13-28, 2008
Handling Agent: SM Tours and Transport, Yangon
Tour Director: Reinhard Hohler, Chiang Mai
Participants: 10Pax
Cost: 7.000Euro

Sponsors: Sedona Hotels in Mandalay and Yangon
Other sponsors are welcomed!

Preliminary itinerary:

Monday, October 13: Arrival in Yangon (by your own arrangement).
Afternoon sightseeing Shwedagon and harbour tour on the Yangon River.
Overnight in Sedona Hotel, Yangon.

Tuesday, October 14: Yangon - Myitkyina
Take the early morning flight with Bagan Air to Myitkyina.
Continue to Myit-Son by bus and have a briefing on the expedition.
Myit-Son is some 43km north of Myitkyina and marks the confluence of the Maikha and Malikha Rivers to form the mighty Ayeyarwady River.
Overnight in Sumpra Hotel, 8km north of Myitkyina.

Wednesday, October 15: Myitkyina - Bhamo
Visit the Wish-Fulfilling Pagoda at the western bank of the Ayeyarwady and the local market to rub shoulders with the local people.
Depart by boat from Myitkyina to Bhamo (186km). Be prepared to run at difficulties at the river’s first defile. If necessary, the boat had to be changed for this stretch. Overnight in the Friendship Hotel.

Thursday, October 16: Bhamo
Full day sightseeing of Bhamo: Old Town of Sampanago and Kachin Village Elephant Camp.

Friday, October 17: Bhamo - Katha
Depart early morning from Bhamo to Katha. Pass the second defile north of Shwegu. If lucky, it is possible to spot some of the Irrawaddy dolphins north of Katha. Visit the Old British Club, where George Orwell’s “Burmese Days” evolved and visit the local monastery. There is also a lively night market. Overnight in the Ayeyarwady Guesthouse.

Saturday, October 18: Katha - Shwebo
Departure from Katha to Kyaukmyaung and pass the third defile.
On the way visit the old town of Tagaung. Arriving in Kyaukmyaung, transfer to Shwebo by pick-up (29km). Sightseeing in the town of King Alaungpaya, who founded the last Burmese Empire!
Overnight in the Zin Wai Lar Guesthouse.

Sunday, October 19: Shwebo - Mandalay
Depart from Shwebo to Kyaukmyaung and continue to Mandalay (114km). On the way visit Mingun and see the biggest bell of the world. Arriving in the port of Mandalay and then climb Mandalay Hill for the sunset.
Overnight in the Sedona Hotel, Mandalay.

Monday, October 20: Mandalay
Full day sightseeing of Mandalay, the last royal capital of the Burmese with a visit to the Arakan Pagoda and U Bein-Bridge in Amarapura.

Tuesday, October 21: Mandalay - Bagan
Depart early in the morning from Mandalay to Bagan (190km). On the way pass Sagaing Hill and Yandabo, where you visit a pottery village. Arrive at the port of Bagan and watch the sunset at Buphaya Pagoda.
Overnight in Bagan Hotel.

Wednesday, October 22: Bagan
Full day sightseeing in Bagan, including an excursion to Mount Popa (85km Southeast of Bagan). Discover the 37 Nats of Burma.

Thursday, October 23: Bagan - Magwe
Depart early in the morning from Bagan to Magwe (165km). Pass the village of Sale and after arrival in Magwe, cross the bridge to Minbu to see the sunset on the river’s western bank. Overnight in the Rolex Guesthouse.

Friday, October 24: Magwe - Pyay
Depart early in the morning from Magwe to Pyay (235km). On the way, pass the river towns of Aunglan and Thayetmyo. Arriving in Pyay, formerly called Prome, don’t miss to visit the famous Shwesandaw Pagoda pilgrimage site. Overnight in the Mingalar Garden Resort.

Saturday, October 25: Pyay
Full day sightseeing in the old Pyu town of Thayekhittaya (Sri Kshetra).

Sunday, October 26: Pyay - Hinthada
Depart from Pyay to Hinthada. See the cliff carvings of Akauk Taung south of Pyay. Hinthada, formaly Henzada, was on the itinerary of the German explorer Dr. Adolf Bastian, who rowed a houseboat in late 1861 up to Mandalay. Visit the 77m long Payagyi Buddha in the village of Natmaw. Overnight in the Dagon Guesthouse.

Monday, October 27: Hinthada – Yangon
Depart from Hinthada via the Twante Canal to Yangon. On the way, pass the town of Danubyu with the old Kyaikhan-Lonbon Pagoda. Twante is best known for its pottery. Arriving in Yangon in the evening.
There will be the Expedition’s Farewell Party. The expedition was organised to celebrating the 60th anniversary of the independence of the country in 2008. Overnight in the Sedona Hotel, Yangon.

Tuesday, October 28: Depart Yangon to other destinations (own arrangement).

Exploring Myanmar’s River of Kings

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