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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We travelled from Bangkok to Rangon (domestic air) and then longtail boat to Kawthaun, Myannmar. The transfer from Thailand to Myannmar was an adventure in itself! Our cruise director was waiting for us at the Kawthaun pier to helpus pass ... Read More
We travelled from Bangkok to Rangon (domestic air) and then longtail boat to Kawthaun, Myannmar. The transfer from Thailand to Myannmar was an adventure in itself! Our cruise director was waiting for us at the Kawthaun pier to helpus pass immigration and then took us, by tender to The Andaman Explorer. The ship was built, in approx 1960, as a Norwegian ice breaker ( but actually looks a little like a naval ship) There are 10 very large cabins. Whilst the cabins vary in shape and location on the ship, they are all priced the same. First in , first choice. Daily cleaning service, fresh towels and nightly turn down. The ship sails among the pristine waters of the Andaman Sea. Every day the ship tender takes passengers to beautiful white sandy beaches for snorkeling in crystal clear waters, We saw colorful corals, sea anenomes, and sea life that helped the imagination think of being in a aquarium. On board kayaks were towed by tender, and we were taken through mangroves, beach paddling and into caves. There are virtually no other tourists in the area. The itinerary is fantastic with plenty of opportunity to jump into the warm crystal clear waters. We visited about 4 small villages to see the life of Sea Gypsies and were often accompanied by local children, wanting to practice their English. As with previous Pandaw cruises that we have travelled on, the service is pretty close to excellent. The crew are warm and friendly and each one makes you feel like a very special guest. Their attention is genuinely sincere. They go above and beyond to ensure that our trip was as comfortable as could be. The chef is a fire cracker. He was young, enthusiastic and danced down the hallways. He has unstoppable energy. The menus are adjusted each trip to accommodate what ever fresh produce is available.Following one village stop, 8 live lobsters were brought on board which was entree the following day. There were only 14 passengers on our trip and the menu was varied extensively each day. Breakfast is a la carte with help yourself to cereals, fruit, and toast to help yourself. After breakfast, a menu is given so that each guest can choose their lunch and dinner. Soups, entrees and appetisers are standard with 3- 4 options for main course. The food was one of the major highlights of the cruise, and their were many highlights. There is no night time entertainment, however after the days activities, most guests were happy to relax and chill out. On our last night we had a party on the upper deck, where crew and a few guests were up dancing.There were no children on board . We would take this adventure again, as we had a wonderful time Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Took the 7 night river cruise from Yangon to Bagon. I have taken many cruises on larger ships but this was our first river cruise and it was fantastic. The ship was very well done and the crew really tried and could not have been nicer ... Read More
Took the 7 night river cruise from Yangon to Bagon. I have taken many cruises on larger ships but this was our first river cruise and it was fantastic. The ship was very well done and the crew really tried and could not have been nicer or more helpful. The food was some of the best I've had. We almost cancelled because of the issues you read about in the paper and extremely glad we didn't. We also flew to inle lake for 4 nights ( which is another incredible stop) and felt very safe the entire trip. While there you see no evidence of any issues and not going only hurts the local people. Myanmar has only opened to tourism in the last 5 years or so and the people are the most friendly welcoming I have ever met. Do not let the bad press put you off go while it is still un and under developed. Destinations such as this are hard to find. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We traveled on a two night sailing from Mandalay to Bagan. We were warned that the evenings may be cool, but we did not expect to have to endure our meals in the freezing cold on an open air deck for both dinners and breakfasts. We asked ... Read More
We traveled on a two night sailing from Mandalay to Bagan. We were warned that the evenings may be cool, but we did not expect to have to endure our meals in the freezing cold on an open air deck for both dinners and breakfasts. We asked if we could be given shelter from the cold wind, but nobody seemed to care. Food was cold before we got it back to our tables. The vegetarian choice was rice with spinach. The all inclusive drinks did not include wine with the meals which was very disappointing considering the price of the trip.The cabins were nice enough, but we felt the excursions provided were pretty mundane. The scenery during the trip was pretty much the same all the time, and didn't have any notable attractions. Just riverbanks and sand banks. The staff were pleasant enough and treated us as guests should be, but they seemed oblivious to our discomfort due to the cold wind on the upper deck. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
I was absolutely blown away with this company, I loved everything about them. The best part for me was the attention and service I received. As a disabled traveler in Asia, I was worried about getting on and off the boat, and uneven ... Read More
I was absolutely blown away with this company, I loved everything about them. The best part for me was the attention and service I received. As a disabled traveler in Asia, I was worried about getting on and off the boat, and uneven surfaces during tours, but I almost always had an assistant to help me, I cannot believe it. My handholders, as I called them, were so gracious and kind, really looking out for me, and also chatting with me about their country, taking pictures of us. It was even nice to see a new crew member who was also as equally excited about the siteseeing as us, coming with us and taking pictures of his own. The food was perfect. I loved the fresh salads, always fresh fruit, many choices for lunch and dinner. The desserts were beautifully presented by a very exuberant pastry chef- who is also an excellent dancer, singer, and guitar player. I loved our bartender, "MoMo" whose smile always brightened our day when he presented the "drink of the day" at cocktail hour. Local spirits and beer are included, which was perfect for me, others ordered extras like wine and foreign spirits like Campari. Our tour guide Min was outstanding. English that we could all understand easily, and if there was a word he was not sure of, he asked us and corrected his pronounciation- we liked this reciprocal learning. I have travelled on I think 4 other river cruises, all on different lines, and I hesitated to book on a small company, but I think this was my best trip yet! Myanmar is beautiful, the people are the friendliest, the sites are amazing, it is safe, please go! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This is a wonderful ship with an excellent staff. Classic wooden boat. There were only 30 passengers on our cruise. Cabins were very large and comfortable, although the beds may be too firm for some. Large luxurious bathrooms. Common rooms ... Read More
This is a wonderful ship with an excellent staff. Classic wooden boat. There were only 30 passengers on our cruise. Cabins were very large and comfortable, although the beds may be too firm for some. Large luxurious bathrooms. Common rooms were very comfortable. Lounging on the upper deck was wonderful. There are lots of steep stairs so you must not have mobility problems. There was a nice mix of ages, from families with teens to retirees. There were no young kids. Dining was only so,so. Tour director was only so,so. His English and communication skills were marginal. Shore excursions were very interesting, and gave a taste of rural Vietnam. Entertainment was minimal, although we boarded on New Years Eve, so a western style band substituted for the usual traditional local entertainment. we were glad we went and would definitely recommend this cruise to anyone without mobility problems interested in adventure. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I have cruised many times and even worked on cruises as a performer, so I really know what I like and dislike. The ship was beautifully clean and really looked the part. Rooms were large with lovely decor and well designed. Bathroom was ... Read More
I have cruised many times and even worked on cruises as a performer, so I really know what I like and dislike. The ship was beautifully clean and really looked the part. Rooms were large with lovely decor and well designed. Bathroom was great and loved the design of the shower doors - so practical. Dining room was beautiful and we had reserved private dining which was a real treat for my wife and I. This is something that you must pre-do before embarkment. Entertainment on board was enough and although we would have liked more gym equipment, we could not complain. Maybe a treadmill and fitness trainer could be added to make it perfect. It also would be nice if they had piped music on the sun deck so at night during our cocktail hour it would be a little more romantic, although it was lovely watching the Mekong and it's wonderful moonlight. Service is outstanding and shore excursions were excellent. One of our best cruises!!!!! Thank you Pandaw. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
This is the first year the Indochina Pandaw has sailed on the Irrawaddy between Mandalay and Bagan (Pagan) giving a range of 7,4 and 2 night cruises. We chose the 7 night which fell over the New Year between December 2017 and January 2018 ... Read More
This is the first year the Indochina Pandaw has sailed on the Irrawaddy between Mandalay and Bagan (Pagan) giving a range of 7,4 and 2 night cruises. We chose the 7 night which fell over the New Year between December 2017 and January 2018 starting from Mandalay. Pandaw offer some cruises with no single supplement and, as we were two female travellers of a certain age who think of ourselves as Destination Dames, this was one of the reasons we chose them. After all, sharing is fine, but a room each for the same price next to each is even better. We were looking forward to a more colonial style, teak ship which was well-appointed and the Indochina Pandaw did not disappoint. We arrived on board and found our cabins to be immaculate and exactly like the pictures. They were comfy, clean, lots of hot water, space to unpack etc. The crew of 24 went out of their way to make us feel welcome as we gathered for the briefing with a welcome cocktail (the first of the many). Going on a cruise is about a journey, not just the stops and this was no exception. Sitting watching the temples, fields, villages and many other ships go by from either the sub-deck or the chairs on the deck outside the cabin was a restful, ever changing experience (even when we had unexpected rain). We could write for ever (and out diaries are quite long) but a typical day has: - Coffee/tea and pastries (they have their own bakery) on deck at 6.00 am if you want to see the dawn and, often, the boat leaving the shore - Breakfast at 7.00-9.00 which is a full buffet including eggs to order. It should be said that the coffee is variable. - The first planned itinerary with the guide -e.g. visiting a temple, a village or a workshop - Lunch was 12.30 and has soup, an appetiser, salads, a main course, sweets and, often, very good cheese. - The second planned itinerary with the guide -e.g. often a walk. The itinerary was very much culturally orientated and designed to show Myanmar traditions, crafts and current ways of life. -Back on the boat cocktails (with nibbles) were at 6.30 on the sun deck and briefing for the next day was about 7.00 prior to dinner at 7.30 (lunch and dinner are heralded by the gong). - Dinner was a three course meal (there was always a vegetarian option and we travelled with gluten free guests who found they bent over backwards to take of them). Try the local wine which was surprisingly good. - Some evenings there was an entertainment such as a dance, puppet show or movie and there was time to relax with a drink before bed. We told you we were there for New Year and the ships crew gave real attention to making it a special event. We had dancing, lights, champagne and fireworks. Watching fireworks and holding a roman candle over the side whilst moored in the middle of the river drinking Champagne will be a favourite memory out of many. We should note that the boat can carry 60, but a combination of the single supplement and the political situation meant that there only 9 of us for the full trip and we were joined for 4 nights Including New Year's Eve) by another 18. We went looking forward to a relaxing and informative trip that combined sailing on the Irawaddy river with tours of local places. It's often easy to find fault with something but we really can't with this trip. The food was excellent, the service and care extraordinary. It may seem trite, but we really did not want to leave - it had truly exceeded all our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose Pandaw over other, more chic cruises because we wanted to a have a more authentic yet luxurious cruise in Myanmar. The RV Indochina and crew did not disappoint. We were the first to arrive at our ship, and I was worried we ... Read More
We chose Pandaw over other, more chic cruises because we wanted to a have a more authentic yet luxurious cruise in Myanmar. The RV Indochina and crew did not disappoint. We were the first to arrive at our ship, and I was worried we might not be allowed on board. Not a problem. The crew welcomed us, took our luggage, and told us that if we wanted our room that would be fine, or we could explore the nearby town (Sailang). We chose to return and came back to a wonderful buffet lunch with our fellow passengers. This was just the beginning of great hospitality the whole crew exhibited. A few items of note... - The food is outstanding. I would recommend staying with the Burmese cuisine over western style. I have celiac disease. Chef can easily handle gluten-free dining and even wrote a letter in Burmese for me to carry when I left the ship to ensure that I would be safe as I continued my journey. - I suggest the wine program for lunch and dinner if you are a wine drinker. Our house wines were a choice of South African or wines from Myanmar produced with imported grapes. The "local" Sauvignon Blanc was lovely as was the red blend. Soe Moe and Richard are always on hand to fill your glass and will also top you off before heading to after dinner activities. We did not order off the wine list but I did notice that it has both old and new world selections and champagne. - Every night there is happy hour with abundant and tasty appetizers on deck. The local liquors - especially the rum made from local sugarcane - are quite nice and included in the base rate. Johnson makes a great drink. - Our cabin was 206. I would suggest moving back a bit to 208 or 210 on the lower level, or directly above as you will hear anchors up at 6am departures. - Guide service is included. Tin, our guide, spoke great English and was very informative. He knows about all the sites we went to, answering questions that aren't typical guide-book info, and spoke about what was happening in his country with diplomatic aplomb. Guides are the only people who's tips are not included so please remember to tip them. - Our cabin was simple but elegant with a well working A/C. Service was morning and evening. We did have to request some additional shampoo once but that was the only thing we ever lacked. Everything was kept very clean and I give housekeeping kudos for giving us a great space. - Fabian the purser is able to arrange balloon rides in Bagan before the morning excursion. I would suggest adding this to your trip. - One little "luxury" I haven't had on other lines is shoe cleaning. Our excursions could be dusty or muddy, so the crew cleans your shoes after every outing and leaves them by the door. This was awesome. - We had a massage therapist on-board. She gave great massages, but her English wasn't the best so it was hard to give direction. This was the one area I could see improvement. But the massages are so good and affordable I had 3 so really, no complaining. - Expect lots of fun with crew-included dance parties. There was a conga line and sing along on our last night. It felt like the end of summer-camp and will be something I will always remember. I have cruised with several high-end companies and I have to say I thoroughly loved Pandaw. I can't compare it really to a Uniworld or Crystal Esprit because it is completely different. You won't have the crystal and fine china or gorgeous chandeliers. What you will have is a completely local crew who takes pride in their country and their ship and want to share it with you. Their heart is in giving you the best vacation in anemergingc country and for that I give them 5 stars. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
This 7-night cruise was part of a two-week visit to Myanmar, and a highlight of it. We boarded at Bagan, having spent a day among its 2000+ temples and pagodas, and sailed upriver to Mandalay, stopping off daily to visit villages, cottage ... Read More
This 7-night cruise was part of a two-week visit to Myanmar, and a highlight of it. We boarded at Bagan, having spent a day among its 2000+ temples and pagodas, and sailed upriver to Mandalay, stopping off daily to visit villages, cottage industries, temples and pagodas. The ship is beautiful and small enough (we had 26 passengers) to feel like a family outing. The teak-lined cabins are cleverly designed to provide maximum storage space and the sun deck is just delightful. But the principal reason for loving the trip was the crew, who couldn't have been kinder, more attentive and generally charming; we were treated like royalty. Food was excellent, too, with a delicious salad buffet at lunch time to accompany the main courses and varied dinner options. Various entertainments - Burmese cooking, traditional dress, films about the Pandaw company's history - were provided for rainy days. Cocktail hour on the sundeck was eagerly anticipated and we were treated daily to a different drink. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
I am a repeat Pandaw customer and was expecting high quality but this 7 night cruise on the Irrawaddy exceeded my expectations. Food, tours, guide, staff friendliness and kindness- all were just amazing. Nothing was too much trouble for ... Read More
I am a repeat Pandaw customer and was expecting high quality but this 7 night cruise on the Irrawaddy exceeded my expectations. Food, tours, guide, staff friendliness and kindness- all were just amazing. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff and the sight seeing was just fantastic. We saw villages and temples and markets and schools and and and .... we embarked in Bagan and spent 7 nights on the river, disembarking in Mandalay. To a woman and man (there were just 17 of us, with 21 staff!!) we were sad to leave the ship - we had all enjoyed ourselves so very much. Special mention of the ship's purser, who made sure everything ran smoothly, from beginning to end - Myo Naing - a champion !!! If you do just one Asian river cruise, make it Pandaw on the Irrawaddy. Myanmar is a beautiful country with gentle, kind and sweet people. Read Less
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