Located in the largely unexplored western part of Burma and bordering India, Arakan was an independent kingdom up until the 18th century, and its location meant it became a place where an extraordinary mix of Indian and South-East Asian cultures merged.
Currently there are no deluxe hotels or comfortable means of exploring this region with its own culture, language and cuisine.
The Ancient Arakan expedition will visit many sights best accessed by river, including Mrauk U, a temple city that rivals Pagan, Angkor or Borobadur in significance as a centre of Buddhist culture. It will also explore other parts of the Arakan river system on the Kaladan River; including the old colonial port city of Akyab, now called Sittwe, and the Tattoo Villages of the Le Myo River inside the Arakan interior.
Pandaw River Expeditions operates a fleet of 12 luxury vessels accessing the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers in Burma and the Mekong River through Cambodia and Vietnam.
Finished in hand-crafted teak and brass, the vessels are designed as replicas of the original colonial river steamers with a crew to passenger ratio of 2:1.
Pandaw’s range of itineraries span three and four night expeditions between Phnom Penh and Saigon, to 20 day expeditions through the remotest parts of Burma.
Founded in 1998 by Scotsman and Burmese historian Paul Strachan with the re-building of an original Clyde-built steamer Pandaw, the company traces its roots back to the original Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, founded by Scots merchants in 1865. The family-run company, operates cruises in Burma, Vietnam and Cambodia from June to April.
Seven-night Arakan cruises are priced from £1,866 per person based on two people sharing, including all food and drink, gratuities and all shore excursions.