In 2003, with the Mekong Pandaw (full refit end of 2013), this is the first ship to attempt this extraordinary journey in its entirety surmounting complex bureaucratic and navigational obstacles. In 2004 the company brought the former Pandaw III now renamed the Tonle Pandaw over from Myanmar to join the Mekong Pandaw. The two Pandaws explore two countries, two cultures and two ways of life linked by one great river. This is the only luxury cruises vacation on the Mekong River. A shipping link between Saigon and Angkor is immensely practical for the traveller as it makes it possible to connect three important destinations on one trip with easy plane connections at either end: Saigon the exotic Frenchified former capital of South Vietnam, Phnom Penh, the quaint Cambodian capital, and the stupendous World Heritage monuments at Angkor. One need no longer check in and out of hotels and endure bumpy roads to visit these magnificent places.
Sailing on a Pandaw is essentially an outdoor experience. Whilst the staterooms are very comfortable and roomy, passengers prefer to spend their time sitting outside, on the promenade decks or on the vast observation deck above. Unlike other cruise ships every window (except port holes on lower deck) can open. When sailing our passengers sit on deck and become absorbed by great panoramas as they unfold about them. Spellbound, one cannot help but to meditate upon the unceasing human and wildlife activity of these teaming water worlds.
Overview & Technical Facts
|RV Tonle Pandaw
||RV Angkor Pandaw
||32 pax on Main and Upper Decks
||Lower, Main, Upper, Sun
||Main, Upper, Sun
||Lower, Main, Upper
||2 x 550bhp Isuzu
||2 x 400 bhp Cummins
||2 x 400bhp Cummins inboard propulsion
||28 per vessel of mixed Asian nationalities. Management
||28 per vessel of mixed Asian nationalities
||28 per vessel of mixed Asian nationalities
The Pandaw stateroom is the most celebrated feature of the ships. Finished in brass and teak, the main and upper deck rooms are very spacious at 168 square feet (15.6 sqm). Much loved by all our passengers we have ensured that with each ship we build the stateroom remains the same. The cabins do not have mini-bars, satellite TV’s, internet or phones. There is a 24 honesty bar on the sundeck. Pandaw passengers usually want to escape from the tiresome features found in international business hotels.
Many passengers describe life on board a Pandaw more like being a guest on a private motor yacht than a cruise ship. Where we go and what we see is intrepid in extreme. What you come back to is a floating base of discreet comfort, caring service and all the good things one looks for in life.
Special to staterooms
• Fruit and flowers on arrival
• Kimonos and slippers
• Spa-branded amenities
• Unlimited mineral water
• Free use of mini DVD player on request and selection of DVDs from our library (subject to availability)
Bar & Dining
The Pandaw dining rooms are designed to open up along the sides and only at night do we close them up and use air conditioning. We know our passengers want fresh air not chilled air.
We offer a great choice of local cuisine and exotic foods. We source supplies as locally as possible, given environmental health regulations. Breakfast and lunch are buffets and dinner is served at the tables. Passengers who do not like hot or spicy foods are offered European alternatives and vegetarians are well catered for. Our chefs know that the majority of passengers want to eat the best of each country they pass through.
• All meals are single seating
• Table service is complimented with fresh salads, fruits and deserts (at lunch) on our buffet
• Attire is smart casual
• Breakfast and lunch are open-air
• Dinners are candlelit and indoor dining rooms are air-conditioned
• At least two theme dinners, in addition to our Farewell Gala Dinner
Currently only available on our Mekong ships, the Pandaw Spa offers head massage, foot massage and body massages in dedicated spa areas on each ship. Due to lack of space we only carry one spa lady on each ship so be sure to book in advance as they can be in good demand.
Whilst the peace and tranquility of our passengers is our priority and many passengers prefer to read, write or engage in painting or photography we do offer a number of unobtrusive activities that have become a traditional part of any Pandaw river expedition. These include: cooking, fruit carving and napkin arrangement demonstrations; exploring local markets with our chefs; talks from our on board guides; film presentations, with documentaries on local history and culture as well as movies; tours of the working ship and many other activities.
During the expedition there will be at least one cultural performance on board whether the Royal Khmer Ballet in Cambodia, the Marionette Theater in Burma or Iban tribal dances in Borneo. On longer cruises there will be at least two performances per cruise.
There are a number of social events during an expedition which will include a welcome dinner, cocktail parties on deck, a farewell gala dinner and dinners themed with local menus and costume. In the Burma dry season we often tie up on a sandbank and have a barbeque beach party on the sandsof, usually around a bonfire in winter.
Excursions ashore a key part of any Pandaw river expedition. These may be in the form of a good walk through countryside and villages; further explorations by speed boat going deeper into jungle or up river; horse cart rides in Burma or cyclos in Cambodia. We try not to used cars or coaches wherever possible and in some places only the most basic of local transportation is available, like at Katha in Burma where you may find yourself in the back of a truck looking for a working elephant camp.
We stop at least once a day, usually twice. On the Mekong we will spend a day and a night in exciting Phnom Penh; in Burma we need at least a day and a half in both Pagan and Mandalay. Our expert guides will accompany you on these explorations ashore or you are welcome to make individul excursions as there are no issues of safety or security in any of the ports or stops we visit.
• All scheduled excursions accompanied by members of the crew with first aid kits, water and cold towels
• Entrance fees for sights included in the itinerary
• Comprehensive fact sheets or ‘trip books’ provided
• Visit Pandaw Charity projects along the way and interact with the local communities who welcome us
• Opportunity to travel to local markets with the Pandaw Chef at least once during the cruise program
• Crew assists in areas where river banks are steep and slippery
• Individual excursions welcomed, but please rejoin the ship on time
Shuttle Bus service: Registration point at the Intercontinental Asiana Hotel in Saigon at 10.30 AM (Upstream from Saigon),
and Registration point at the Lobby of Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa in Sieam Reap at 11.30 AM (Downstream from Siem Reap)
Check-in: At Noon
Check-out: At Noon
Guide on board: English speaking