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This was a radical new design, based on the old K class used in Burma from the 1880s on. This ship is the third Katha to run on the Irrawaddy. The first was built at Dalla in 1887 but lost on the Chindwin in 1889. The second was built by Denny of Dumbarton in 1904 and decommissioned in 1937 and the third was built by us in Vietnam in 2012.
We ran her a year on the Mekong before sending to Burma. With only two decks these smaller K class ships have lower air draft so can get under bridges and supposedly a shallower draft, though in fact the Vietnam ship yards were not as successful in achieving this as the Burmese yards and later Burmese-built K class ships achieved remarkable reductions in draft.
The Katha general arrangement was radical in that we eliminated the formal indoor dining room. This led to great protests from regular passengers and indeed our staff. In the end all agree it is far more pleasant to eat outside than in a stuffy, noisy enclosed dining room and the bugs are really not that bad. Up river in Burma it can be a little cold in winter but currently we deploy this ship in Middle Burma where the cold is less of an issue.
The ship has quality mountain bikes for your independent exploration.
Embark and sail up the Rangoon River and enter the Twante Canal, which connects the Yangon River with the Irrawaddy Delta. We stop on route at the Twante Town and explore city center.
In morning we walk visit to Maubin bustling market and city surrounding area. Afternoon our exploration of Delta area NyaungDon city visit to see country life style. Moor over night at Zakagyi.
We continue our exploration of Delta creeks and stop at Donabyu, another little known town with a busy port and bustling markets. In the First Anglo Burmese War of 1825 the Burmese General Maha-Bandoola was defeated here following a long and disastrous campaign by the British. Afternoon walk in Zalon city to visit beautiful Golden Buddha image and return to ship. Moor overnight at Henzada.
Sailing all day and we stop to visit the markets and see old colonial buildings in the sleepy Delta town of Manaung. We enter the Irrawaddy River.
Early morning we sail slowly upstream and downstream A Kaut Taung area, to view Buddha carvings on the mountainside, from the upper deck or Sundeck. We reach Prome by the afternoon and travel by coach to the 5th-8th century archaeological site of Thiri-ya-kittiya, the former centre of the Pyu civilization with a fascinating museum of early Buddhist artifacts and sculptures.
This pleasant colonial town once guarded the border between Royal Myanmar and British Myanmar following the 2nd Anglo Myanmar 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). We visit the market, see the colonial houses and ride out by horse cart to the golf course, passing through the former British botanical garden.
Minhla – We visit the two Italian built forts constructed to keep the British at bay from Royal Myanmar. 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.We ride Trishaws to reach the magnificent Magwe Myat-thalon Pagoda, constructed with solid gold bricks. Of interest are the many nat shrines and hermitages within the temple precincts.
Here we visit the Yout-saun-kyaung monastery with its spectacular wood carvings; we also explore an area of splendid colonial-style houses and continue sailing upstream.
In the morning, moor at the Tan-Chi-Taung mountain and ascend by 4×4 to enjoy a tour of a selection of the 3,000 listed monuments at this World Heritage Site, Pagan.
Further exploration by coach of the monuments follow by a lacquer ware workshop and visit to the local markets. Sail in the noon to upstream. Evening walk at Oh Ne Kyaung village to see the local life in this typical river side community.
This small rural village is specialized in pot making. We visit the Pandaw School, built with past donations from Pandaw passengers.
Guests will take a tour of central Mandalay visiting the Mahamuni Pagoda and Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung teak carved monastery.
In the afternoon we visit Sagaing. The true delight of Sagaing lies in its 1000 hermitages and sanctuaries, rich in woodcarving and religious art. Next we explore the ancient capital of Amarapura by coach, take a boat ride along Taungthaman lake and watch the tranquillity and serenity of this beautiful lake and its famous U-Bein Bridge at sunset.
We stop at Mingun to see the largest working bell in the world and the unfinished pagoda which 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.
Sail upstream and visit the spectacular potteries near Kyauk-myoung 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. Afternoon sailing to Mandalay.
Disembark at Mandalay.
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