A new river recce vessel begins construction in Rangoon this week and will enter service at the end of the year. The Kha Byoo, drawing just 75cm, will join the Kalay on the Chindwin River between Monywa and Homalin on the same seven night routing and schedule. The Kha Byoo can be booked back-to-back with the Kindat on our Mandalay to Bhamo routing on the Upper Irrawaddy.
At forty meters long with only ten cabins, Kha Byoo is essentially an enlarged version of the Kalay. The design shares the same features including an owner’s state room on the upper deck. The other nine cabins have louvred French windows that open to the promenades on either side of the ship so they are very light and airy and much larger than the traditional Pandaw cabin. There is an indoor bar—dining area but many passengers will choose to live and dine on deck outside.
The Chindwin, up till now only accessible by larger ships in the monsoon, can be explored year round on a small ship like the Kha Byoo. This has to be the loveliest river in Asia with a varied landscape and many exciting river features including gorges and whirlpools set amidst jungles, forests and high mountains. There is a rich cultural life in the Upper Chindwin valley with delightful old colonial towns like Mawlaik, or bustling India border towns like Kalaywa. Homalin is the capital of Burmese Nagaland. Some of the oldest teak carved monasteries may be found around the ancient royal town of Mingkin.
Like all our K-class ships this vessel is named after one of the original IFC ships of similar class and design. The original Kha Byoo was built in 1882 by Denny of Dumbarton and attained some notoriety in 1899 when it spent three days caught in a whirl pool in the third Irrawaddy defile between Katha and Mandalay. The then young captain’s hair turned completely white over these three days. For us Burmese this makes it a very lucky ship, because nothing had happened! Unfortunately we can not guarantee our intrepid adventurers such an experience but as with all Pandaw expeditions we can assure that it will not be uneventful.
Visit the Pandaw web site here: Pandaw Expeditions