6 Days Downstream from Bhamo to Mandalay on the Chindwin Butterfly

starting from $1.995

Fly to Bhamo and board your private boat for an unforgettable river cruise on the “Upper Ayeyarwady”, the most spectacular part of the Ayeyarwady River. Specially the magnificent 2nd Defile, with its green-clad mountains, just before it reaches the old trading post of Bhamo. The 3rd Defile begins near Thabeikkyin, a small town on the river bank of the Ayeyarwady River and very famous for their gold production. In this area the rare and endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins can be seen. This river cruise combines scenic interest with a study of local life and culture. You will visit the main historic and cultural centres as well as many remoter places well off the beaten track. Such small towns and villages are part of a rich river economy and thriving with local industry and activity. Ayeyarwady valley civilization has changed little in hundreds of years and wherever we go the people are warm, friendly and very hospitable.


Ship: Chindwin Butterfly
Price: starting from $1995 (based on 6 travellers)
October till April
Start of the trip: every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Friday
Duration: 6 Days / 5 Nights
  • Bed and breakfast
  • Lunches and dinners as detailed in the itinerary
  • Coffee, tea & water during the river cruise
  • English-speaking tour guide throughout
  • Domestic flight from Mandalay to Bhamo
  • Private boat for the river journey from Bhamo to Mandalay
  • Air-conditioned car/van/bus for all transfers in Mandalay
  • Basic transportation for the transfers in Bhamo
  • Local transportation (trishaw or tuk-tuk) for the land excursions during the cruise
  • Permit and admission fees according to itinerary
  • International flights to/from Myanmar
  • Visa fees
  • Lunches and dinners not included in the itinerary
  • Drinks
  • Early check-in/late check-out
  • Personal expenses such as camera fees, tips, laundry, etc.
  • Baggage handling fees

You have questions? Then please contact us! We will be happy to help you customize your own dream trip.


Transfer to the airport for your flight to Bhamo, a small riverside town located 186 kilometres south of Myitkina and not far from the Chinese border. Upon arrival transfer to Friendship Hotel for check-in. Rest of the day free at leisure to take a stroll through the picturesque little town of Bhamo. It is an important trading centre on the road from China to India. Overnight stay at the Friendship Hotel.

Day 02 BHAMO – SHWE-GU – KATHA (B, L, D)

After breakfast transfer to jetty and boarding your private boat. Travel downstream, passing thick forests which stretch along the entire river, where you can observe monkeys, elephants and water buffalo, towards Shwe-gu and Kyun-daw, a river island with a unique island pagoda and numerous monasteries and temples. In the afternoon travel through delightful river landscapes with picturesque villages towards Katha, a little old colonial town that has become well-known through George Orwell’s novel ‘Burmese Days’ and the Irrawaddy Flotilla, which was sunk in 1942. Dinner and overnight stay on board.

Day 03 KATHA (B, L, D)

Start your day with a visit to the local market in Katha, where you will see the locals buying and selling fish, meat, produce, and more. Next, stop at the former British Club, featured in George Orwell’s novel Burmese Days. Here learn a bit more about how life was here during British rule. Lastly, journey a short distance to a local Jingpo village. A subset of the Kachin, the Jingpo are one of over 100 ethnic minority groups in Myanmar. Here you will learn about their culture, traditional dress, and their unique method of making rice wine. After lunch at a local restaurant drive by local truck to Natpaunk elephant camp (approx. one hour). You will learn how elephants work within one of the actual elephant camps. It is impressive to see their strength and skill as they pull the thick teak logs through the forest. Return to Katha, dinner and overnight stay on board.


After breakfast sail to the small village of Tigyang for an afternoon walking tour through its narrow lanes and to visit the pagoda and reclining Buddha on a hilltop with stunning views. Sail the rest of the day to downstream and moor overnight near Tagaung.


This morning, visit the village of Tagaung with its many Buddhist monasteries. Here you will interact with the monks at a local monastery. Each morning they don their distinctive saffron-colored robes and walk through the streets to collect alms, offerings of food, like cooked rice and curry. This is a truly memorable experience as you present alms to the monks and witness their lunch ritual. Sail the rest of the day and overnight near Kyauk Maung.


Today, take a walking tour through the captivating pottery-making village of Kyauk Myaung. Here you will learn more about the pot-making process and see how they are formed, fired, and glazed. Most interesting is the eye-catching 50-gallon variety, often referred to as Martaban or Ali Baba jars in colonial times. These pots could transport large quantities of liquor, fish sauce, peanut oil, and more, and have played an important part of maritime trade throughout Asia for centuries. Then continue further downstream to Seinpangon village home to the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin. Here you will follow the fishermen in a small canoe to have a better chance to see the dolphins. What’s unique about Myanmar’s Irrawaddy dolphins is their relationship with local fishermen. Dolphins and fishermen communicate and fish together, a practice called “cooperative fishing”–a unique phenomenon found in only two other places in the world!
Late afternoon continue further downstream to Mandalay and disembark at Gawein jetty.

PRICES IN US$ PER PERSON VALID FROM VON 01.10.2019 – 30.04.2020



6-9 people



10-15 people



16-20 people



Single supplement



Chindwin Butterfly RV

Is a big cruise ship that welcomes up to 20 people which just started cruising the river in 2015. There are 10 air-conditioned rooms that the guests can relax in. It’s a very pleasant boat with an upper deck that allows the guests to have their meals and enjoy the wonderful view. It can be chartered to small groups, which allows a freer travel experience. The chef cooks really good traditional food and a cooking class can be organized for guests who are interested.


10 twin with private bathroom and shower
Lower Deck
8 air-conditioned cabins (twin beds)
Upper Deck
2 air-conditioned cabins (twin beds)
Bar & Sundeck (Capacity: 20 Seats)

Technical Data

106 Feet (32.3 Meter)
19 Feet (5.8 Meter)
Design Draft
3 Feet (1 Meter)

Mitsubishi engine 6D22, 6-cylinder in-line, 220HP, and marine transmission

Fire protections
Fire extinguishers (10 x 3 liters - 4 x 5 liters) (Cat A, B, C) Smoke detectors, Heat detectors
Life jacket, Lifebuoy, hold’s pump for dewatering

Do you have any questions?

Feel free to contact us. Our team will be happy to help you.

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