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Chindwin???

denmark
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Chindwin???

Saw,

have you traveled down the Chindwin earlier this year and it is possible as a solo traveler to stay in Kalewa and Mingin without permission? or what do you recommend?

Thanks

Kirsten

South Pacific
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1. Re: Chindwin???

I travelled upstream from Kalaywa to Homalin and back down to Bagan with Pandaw in September 2012. We flew into Kalay airport with KBZ and went by crappy local bus the short way into Kalaymyo (myo = township). It's close enough to the airport to walk, if you wanted to. We then travelled by the same local bus to Kalaywa (wa means "on the river") to start the cruise.

I think that you should be able to buy an air ticket to Kalay, but you would have great difficulty travelling anywhere beyond it. Kalaymyo is a moderately interesting town with a busy market and a big golden statue of Maha Bandoola. That's about it. :)

There is a clean-looking touristy guesthouse (the Taung Zalat) right opposite the entrance to the airport.

Kalaywa is a tiny little mooring on the Chindwin. The road there from Kalaymyo is appalling. Not worth the trip unless you need to get to a boat, IMO.

Mingin is a more interesting colonial-era town, but I don't think you can get there except by boat from downstream (Bagan or Monywa). Someone else may be able to help with how to get onto one of the local ferries from Mandalay, Bagan or Monywa to get there.

Luigi

Edited: 12 May 2013, 01:35
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Bagan
Bagan
Mandalay Region, Myanmar
Mandalay
Mandalay
Mandalay Region, Myanmar
denmark
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2. Re: Chindwin???

Thanks for your reply Luigi A,

As I will be traveling down the Chindwin from Khamti by boat my main consern are still

1) Can I stay in Kalawa with or without permision

2) same for Mingin

Kirsten

South Pacific
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3. Re: Chindwin???

We found very little police presence in Kalaymyo, but we were also in an organised group. The people were very friendly and were happy to have tourists there. I doubt that you will have any problems staying there for a day or so. If you're coming down the river in a local ferry boat, you will have to find transport for the 30km journey from Kalaywa. Money should solve that problem.

As you go further down stream, officialdom becomes more obvious and tourists are not common. We did not see any other tourists on our entire journey on the Chindwin except another Pandaw boat.

You will be watched in the lower Chindwin towns, but I think the police's real concern is that you not come to any grief. Mingun has more police evident, as does Monywa. I don't think that a tourist who is obviously just passing through on the way toward Bagan would cause any real problem.

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Bagan
Bagan
Mandalay Region, Myanmar
Rocky Mountains
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4. Re: Chindwin???

The best way to visit the Chindwin area is to do so by river boat. By private guide. In this manner you can get all the way to Khamti, even further if you go at a time of year when the river is high enough. I recommend you contact Saw, known to those who work with him as the best guide in Myanmar for his ability to get you places others can't. Or won't. His email is saww.myanmar@googlemail.com. Give him time to reply, as he's often back of beyond. Read my article on our Chindwin River trip, published by Matador Network: matadornetwork.com/trips/…

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Traverse City, MI
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5. Re: Chindwin???

I agree with what gottago421 said.

Just finished up a 9 day stint on the Chindwin River with Saw. Unbelievable time! The people, their way of life, the food, the culture, etc.

For what it's worth, having a guide made the whole process totally painless which was great. Saw lets you be and if you ever need anything he is there for you.

Go with Saw, you won't regret it!!!

Brisbane, Australia
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6. Re: Chindwin???

also recommend doing this trip with a guide (and can recommend Saw - I haven't travelled with him there but did a great trip with him thru Rakhine State and sth Chin state a couple years ago)...apparently some permit requirements have been lifted and you can visit places like Thamanthi and Layshi without a permit...??...but to make the most of any trip there it is best done with a guide...even if permit requirements are lifted often the local authorities will still have concerns about you being there alone. Also recommend if you do the Chindwin down from Khamti that you take side trip/s and visit the Naga areas around Layshi or Lahe..

Warks.England
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for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
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7. Re: Chindwin???

Great detailed blog here

www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa…

including

Khamti,Thamanthi,Homalin,Mawlaik,Kalewa,Mingin and Monywa

SS

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Chindwin???

Hello,

I traveled upriver on the Chindwin in January 2014 from Monywa to Homalin. My web site has photos, but below are the basic details of the trip. http://www.barbarahawkins-writer.com/?p=1347

January 2014 the Chindwin River was not a popular destination for foreigners. I saw no other Caucasian on the voyage traveling upriver between Monywa and Homalin. I was asked several times if I was a missionary (what did that mean?)

The information below is for those considering a similar trip. Without my guide, Mr. Saw, I would not have been able to purchase boat tickets and find the guest houses at each stop in less than the four days it took us to travel. Unfortunately, my time was limited. But I suggest others allow for more time in each village and schedule buffer time for the inevitable delays. Costs below are listed in Kyats, which at the time of my trip had a conversion ratio of 1000 Kyats (pronounced chats) to $1 USD. Carry both small denominations of Kyats for river travel and USD for places where they won't take Kyats from foreigners.

January 3, 2014 Leave Monywa by boat at 3 a.m. Arrive Kalewa 5:30 p.m. The trip along the parallel road takes 10 hours.

First class entertainment was a TV at the front of the boat. High pitch Burmese songs blared non-stop from 3 a.m. until 3 p.m. I was thankful for the cushioned seat rather than a hard bench seat for 14 hours.

Boat Cost for 1st class was: 33,000 Kyats for foreigners 17,000 Kyats for local residents.

Porters come in handy on these steep slopes. They charged 500 kyats to carry my 50 pound bag up the hill.

Food on the boat came with the ticket but dinner in the village cost about 1500 Kyats

The guest house in Kalewa cost 6000 Kyats Electricity was on from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. This is important if you want to charge a phone or computer. I used only the phone's camera, since there was no cell coverage. Some villages had internet connections when there was electricity but most of the time the internet was down.

Many foreigners traveling down the river from Homalin stop at Kalewa then fly out of Kalaymo, which is inland rather than continue on the Chindwin to Monywa. The distance from Kalewa to Kalaymo is 20 km or a 2 hr truck ride . If you want to go further to Kennedy Peak, the route the 1942 Ragoon residents took to evade the Japanese, is 70 km (or an additional 50 km west): a 4 hr truck ride.

Sedimentary rock (sandstone) is found along the river, but in the foothills coal and natural gas is mined.

January 4, 2014 Leave Kalewa by boat at 11 a.m. Arrive Mawlaik 5:00 p.m. Travel from Kalewa to Mawlaik by road is not possible. At least one bridge was down. If the bridge was serviceable the road between Kalewa and Mawlaik is 36 km or a 3 hour drive. Without the road, residents had to take the boat and board midstream where the river was too shallow for the boat to go to shore.

After Kalewa, first class travel changed from cushioned seats to shared metal boxes. A log grader and government lumber inspector shared the first class box with me and my guide. It held 6 adults and was, 4 feet high by 10 feet wide by 8 feet long with a cotton cloth covering a metal floor.

The cost of a 1st class box between Kalewa and Mawlaik was 20,000 Kyats.

Dinner and breakfast in Mawlaik cost 6000 Kyats, The guest house cost 10,000 Kyats but that was because I stayed longer than 24 hours or beyond the 2 p.m. cut off time. The Guesthouse, which was located across the street from the police station, let me use their bicycle for free to tour the village. All guest houses have TVs. It was a good opportunity to sit with the locals and observe or interact.

I met many geologists during my trip on the river. They were on the river conducting investigations for coal and natural gas. Another natural resource was sand, which was excavated and exported for construction purposes. Unfortunately, the sand excavation resulted in undermining the banks along the river.

January 5, 2014 Leave Mawlaik by boat at 5:45 p.m. Arrive in Homalin 2 p.m. on January 6.

Day time travel was best with manual depth finder for sandbars. Now I know.

The boat grounded at 9 p.m. and for one hour all the men got off the boat to rock it free. They were unable to push it off the sandbar like they had earlier. So a tug boat was called up from Mawlaik to pull us out to deeper water. Men stationed on each side of the boat use simple bamboo poles and probed the water to determine depth.

Later we got stuck on another sandbar at 2 a.m. It was too dark to continue, so they shut down the boat until daylight, or 6 a.m. Getting up in the middle of the night to use the outhouse and shimmying along the narrow walkway with a fast flowing river over the edge was quite an experience - But the stars in the night sky were spectacular.

The lights in the 1st class box stayed on all night, making sleep difficult. The sounds through the paper thin walls of snoring, farting, crying babies, and the cold metal floor, as well as gasoline smelling like it had an additive of naphthalene, made sleep impossible.

To see villages, stupas, and trade along the river was worth the inconvenience. This stretch of the river includes jade and surface gold mines, and, like the rest of the river, a lot of teak logging. Early the next morning, in the dense fog, the vendor boats arrived to sell “fast food.”

The log grader and government lumber official got off at one of the logging stops along the river. In their place, a woman who sold betel nuts to support her entire family, got on to share the 1st class box. She talked, or perhaps it was the betel nut that talked, nonstop for 3 hours.

An alternative to river travel from Mawlaik to Homalin is a 100 km road on the east side of the Chindwin River. It’s a 2 day ride, depending upon the weather.

The cost of a 1st class box between Mawlaik and Homalin was 30,000 Kyats for foreigners. Food on the boat was 5000 Kyats. Once I arrived in Homalin, dinner in town was 2250 Kyats. There are more guest houses in Homalin than in the other villages along the river, but most were full when we arrived at 2:30 p.m. So I ended up at one of the simple places for 10,000 Kyats per room. They kindly provided a pail of heated water for a bucket shower.

Due to the delay on the river, we arrived at the Myanma Airlines office in Homalin at 2:30 p.m. We had to wait around until 5:30 p.m. before tickets could be purchased because there were reservations for all the seats. There are only two airlines that fly into Homalin, so departure from Homalin was limited to 3 times per week. If I didn't catch the plane I would have been in Homalin another 4 days. That would have meant missing other sites I wanted to see in Myanmar.

Myanma Airline staff graciously sent a local boy to all the homes and guesthouses of those with flight reservations to see if there would be any no-shows. There were four cancellations. The plane ticket for a foreigner cost $90 US (must be USD and exact amount) and for locals it cost 64,000 Kyats. Plus there’s a charge of 2000 Kyats for non-carryon luggage.

January 7, 2014 The plane left in the morning around 8 a.m. The same people who sold the tickets in town, processed tickets at the airport, checked baggage, and served as security before boarding. This meant if you were in town and had questions while they were at the airport, you had to wait until the plane departed. There was a separate inspection of my purse, which was conducted in a dark closet by a female employee. I don't think she could see anything. Be sure to reserve 4000 kyats for the taxi to the airport (which was basically the back of a truck.)

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London, United...
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9. Re: Chindwin???

I have only just started on this forum as so disgusted by the shoddy latest update of lonelyplanets 2014 guide to myanmar see amazons reviews, but went from Magwee to kalewa via bagan and Monya by bus. also now you can go from north east bus terminus to Haka (rough road for the adventurous amonst you and then onto Kalewa and futher north up the chindwin. i also finally botched together a web site for Myanmar which might help others who are stuck with the outdated parts of the lonleyplanet guide. Thye also knew before going to press of the changes but not sure if they craed about it money being the enw oweners of LP's criteria I was loyal to the old TT forum but its being deliberately trashed by the new owners, anyway if its of use to you please click on http://montymanstravels.com/?page_id=5

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10. Re: Chindwin???

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