Pandaw Cruises (by Pandaw Cruises)

Pandaw Cruises
From~US$ 1314
No. of cabin: 16-33      
Route: Mekong rive route
Highlights: 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.
Starts in / Finishes in: Vietnam/Cambodia


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 

Specifications RV Mekong
RV Tonle Pandaw RV Angkor Pandaw
Enter Services 2003 2002 2012
Length 60 m 55 m 40 m
Width 11 m 10 m 8.8 m
Height N/A N/A N/A
Depth 1.5 m 0.9 m 0.9 m
Dining Room Yes Yes Yes
Bar/ Sundeck Yes Yes Yes
Massage cabin N/A N/A N/A
Berths 64 pax 66 pax 32 pax on Main and Upper Decks
Decks Lower, Main, Upper, Sun Main, Upper, Sun Lower, Main, Upper
Engines 2 x 550bhp Isuzu 2 x 400 bhp Cummins 2 x 400bhp Cummins inboard propulsion
Crew 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.

Dining Features 
• 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.

Going Ashore
• 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

Additional Information:
Shuttle Bus service: Registration point at the Intercontinental Asiana Hotel in Saigon at 10.30 AM (Upstream from Saigon),
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
Cruise Itineraries by Pandaw Cruises

8-day Trip

Route: Saigon- Phnom Penh - Siem Reap All rates are quoted per person based on twin sharing. Prices are valid till Dec 2014.
Day 1: Saigon - My Tho - Cai Be
Transfer from the Intercontinental Asiana in Saigon to the port of My Tho by coach to embark cruise.

Meals: Lunch, Dinner 

Day 2: Cai Be - Sa Dec
In the morning passengers will visit Cai Be and its colourful floating market. In the afternoon take an exciting Sampan boat excursion to Sa Dec via Vinh Long, along canals and backwaters and see the local market and the ancient house of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, the 'lover' of Marguerite Duras, a famous French novelist.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Chau Doc - Border Crossing
Visit a Cham tribal village, a cat fish farm, and enjoy a trishaw ride round Chau Doc. Return to the ship by boat for lunch and cast off for the Cambodian border for the usual formalities.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Day 4: Phnom Penh
Passengers will visit Phnom Penh and will be provided with their own private cyclo*. The Cyclo Centre Phnom Penh which provides the cyclos is a charity that provides basic welfare and medical services to cyclo drivers.

In the afternoon, optional excursion (by coach) to the Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge's grim Tuol Sleng or S21 detention centre. This tour is included in the cost of your cruise but must be requested at the time of booking in the comments box.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Day 5: Tonle River - Kampong Chhnang
Excursion up the Tonle River to Kampong Chhnang either by ship or by coach depending on water levels. Beyond Kampong Chhnang travel by the Pandaw Explorer to discover the vast wetlands around the mouth of the river. Here many fishtraps may be seen.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Kampong Cham - Mekong River
We stop at the little-known Chong Koh silk-weaving village for a morning walk at leisure. In the afternoon we stop at Peam Chi Kang village to visit the wat or monastery and school. In the wat the splendid village racing boats are stored.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Day 7: Kampong Cham Area
Passengers visit the hilltop temple of Wat Hanchey in the morning. In the afternoon, travel by bus to visit the Twin Holy mountains of Phnom Pros and Phnom Srey (Man and Woman Hill). Continuation to the ecotourism village of Choeungkok supported by the Frech-Cambodian NGO Amica.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Day 8: Transfer to Siem Reap
Early morning coach transfer to the Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa in Siem Reap. Refreshments will be provided and we will stop at Kampong Thom along the way. Arrive at Siem Reap mid afternoon.

* Transfer by coach from Kampong Cham to Siem Reap takes approx 5 hours

Meals: Breakfast

Prices Include:
• Entrance fees
• Guide services (English language)
• Main meals
• Mineral water
• Welcome cocktail party
• Signature hors d’oeuvres at cocktails each evening
• Afternoon tea with cakes or cookies when cruising
• Celebration cake and champagne on birthdays and anniversaries
• Cookery demonstrations and classes using local produce
• All scheduled excursions
• At least two cultural performances per cruise
• Tour of the engine rooms, galley and working parts of the ship
• Film presentations on local culture and history
• Sodas, beers, local spirits
• Cold towels on deck all day
• Jugged coffee, tea and tisanes on deck from sunrise till sunset
• Crew gratuities are included in your cruise program price
• Transfers between the meeting point and the ship at the start and end of a voyage
free wifi, iPad in the cabin and crew tipping.

Prices Exclude:
• International flights
• Airport transfers from/ to meeting point
• Port taxes: US$ 65 per person
• All visa costs
• Fuel surcharges (checking at time of booking)
• Imported beverages such as wines, premium spirits and liqueurs
• Fancy soft drinks like Perrier, espressos and cappuccinos at bar.
• Spa service including foot, head and body massages (Mekong only)
• Personal laundry service
• Premium or select wines from the Pandaw Wine List, and imported mineral waters

Special Conditions for Children
• Free of charge for children below 5 years old, in parents' room and using existing bedding.
• Baby cots are available.
• Children above 5 ears must occupy a separate bed and pay full rate (Single or double occupancy).

River Conditions Warning!
The rivers you will sail on are subject to seasonal rises and falls of water level, in some places as much as 30 metres. Water levels can change dramatically overnight and a sudden rise can impede our progress upstream considerably and even prevent us from passing under certain bridges. A sudden fall can result in our being unable to get into certain places or go as far upstream as we would hope. Groundings on sandbars are not infrequent and are part of the excitement of any Pandaw expedition. Published itineraries are indicational only and subject to sudden change. In such events alternative itineraries will be provided and we do our best to ensure that if a stop is missed we make up for it with another stop.  Passengers are thus forewarned and expected to be flexible and patient. River cruising in Asia can be a dramatic and adventurous experience - not like cruising the controlled waterways of Europe or America. Note also that we operate in areas with little or no developed infrastructure and subject to the strictures of local officialdom. Be prepared for this and it is all more the fun!

Registration Details
As of July 2014 we will meet all Mekong Expedition guests in Saigon at the InterContinental’s Purple Jade Bar on the first floor.
Registration for upstream cruises Saigon - Angkor: 10.30am - InterContinental Purple Jade Bar.
Drop-off after downstream cruises Angkor – Saigon: 10.00am - InterContinental.
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