Pandaw pens cultural cruise

River Cruise Pioneer Announces Limited-Edition Cultural-Cruise, Combining Burma Sailing With The Fourth, Annual Irrawaddy Literary Festival
River cruise pioneer, Pandaw Expeditions, has announced a partnership with the 2017 Irrawaddy Literary Festival, held in Mandalay, Burma, from 3 – 5 November 2017. In addition to sponsoring the festival, Pandaw is offering literary fans the opportunity to dovetail the event with a cultural river cruise on the Irrawaddy.

The Irrawaddy Literary Festival (ILF), a UK charity, was launched four years ago under the patronage of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, with the aim of liberating and promoting the Burmese literary community and connecting talented authors with the global stage of free expression. 

This year’s festival features a line-up of exciting names from the international world of literature including Lonely Planet co-founder Tony Wheeler, Britain’s Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, and award-winning Canadian writer, Madeleine Thien. Another highlight will be an appearance by Alice Pung, an Australia-based author of Her Father’s Daughter, recounting her father’s experience in the Killing Fields of Cambodia. A total of more than 100 Burmese authors and 30 international writers will present their work. 

The event will be held at the Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel and, thanks to the support of its generous sponsors, the three-day programme is open to all visitors, completely free of charge. The festival welcomes huge local crowds as well as international visitors, and Burmese-English-Burmese interpretation is provided. In addition to the programmed sessions, spanning four different venues, there are popular informal speaking opportunities at Speakers’ Corner and Poets’ Corner, and a forum for literary exchange at a traditional Burmese teahouse created in the grounds of the hotel.

The unique Pandaw river expedition concept evolved in Burma, from the vestiges of the colonial Irrawaddy Flotilla Company. Pandaw specialises in creating exhilarating itineraries that take guests off the beaten track on small but powerful shallow-draught ships, beautifully hand-crafted in teak and brass. 

Culture vultures have the chance to combine the Irrawaddy Literary Festival with a Pandaw ‘Mandalay Pagan Packet’ seven-night river cruise, either before the event or directly after it finishes and will enjoy a 10 per cent discount on the published price of the cruise.  The Pandaw ships sailing the itineraries will be docked in Mandalay during the event, allowing guests to attend the festival on two of the three days, returning to the ship in the evenings for their overnight accommodation. 

Guests have the option to take the pre-festival cruise from Pagan to Mandalay (upstream) or the post-festival cruise from Mandalay to Pagan (downstream). 

In addition to the two historic, royal capitals, travellers will discover the small towns and villages of lost Burma in between, including Salay, Pakokku, Yandabo, Amarapura, Sagaing and Mingun onboard either the RV Indochina Pandaw or RV Kalaw Pandaw. 

Prices start from US$1,795 per person (before the 10 per cent discount for festival-goers), based on twin share. The price includes airport or hotel transfers to/from the ship, excursions and entrance fees, guide services, gratuities to crew, main meals, locally made soft drinks, local beer and local spirits, jugged coffee and a selection of teas and tisanes, mineral water. The Irrawaddy Literary Festival is free to attend. International flights are additional.


28th October – 4th November 2017
The RV Indochina Pandaw departs Pagan on 28th October, sailing upstream to Mandalay for a seven-night cruise, docking in Mandalay for the last two nights on 2nd and 3rd November, allowing guests to attend festival events on 3rd and 4th November and return to the ship for their overnight accommodation.


4th – 11th November 2017
RV Kalaw Pandaw will dock at the Sagaing Jetty in Mandalay on 4th and 5th November, providing a floating hotel while guests enjoy two days of the Irrawaddy Literary Festival before continuing this seven-night expedition downstream to Pagan.

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