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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2010
We have taken many cruises all over the world, but we particularly like river cruises, and we LOVE cruising with Pandaw. We have taken 3 Asian river cruises with Pandaw in the past 5 years, and have thoroughly enjoyed each one. The Mekong ... Read More
We have taken many cruises all over the world, but we particularly like river cruises, and we LOVE cruising with Pandaw. We have taken 3 Asian river cruises with Pandaw in the past 5 years, and have thoroughly enjoyed each one. The Mekong River was our first experience with Pandaw, and it got us hooked. Everything about this trip was wonderful: the fabulous, personable, ever-attentive staff, the casual atmosphere on board, the very comfortable cabins, the leisurely pace. All of our creature comforts were met, the food was creative and delicious, and we especially liked the all-inclusive arrangement for cocktails. It was a spectacularly scenic cruise, and guides took groups on 2 daily excursions into local villages. The Killing Fields in Cambodia were heart-breaking but a must-see, and Siem Reap was a lovely end to the cruise. We highly recommend that everyone stay longer and tour the magnificent Angkor Wat. All-in-all, this cruise exceeded our expectations, and we look forward to taking more with Pandaw. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2012
The cruise started with a busstransfer from Yangon to Prome where we boarded the Pandaw II. From the very first minute the crew took care of us in a wonderful way. We was served a drink, our shoes where cleaned and they took our bagage to ... Read More
The cruise started with a busstransfer from Yangon to Prome where we boarded the Pandaw II. From the very first minute the crew took care of us in a wonderful way. We was served a drink, our shoes where cleaned and they took our bagage to our cabin. This high level of service was maintained during the whole cruise. As we was just 45 passengers the service was very personalized and the style onboard was very informel, no such things as captains dinner etc. The Pandaw II is a wonderful boat made as a replica of the paddlewheel steamer that once cruise the Irrawaddy river. It´s all made of teak and brass but perfectly modern with AC etc. Most of the days we made two stops and visit remote villages up along the Irrawaddy river. Most of those places can only be reached by boat and every one of them had something special, unique, to show us. The Burmese guide, which followed us during the cruise, was very good and had great knowledge of the historic and culture of Burma/Myanmar. Every night there were arrangement on the ship, it could be a lecture of buddism, a cooking lesson or some documentary video about WW2 in Burma. Of course all of the excursions were complimentary and you were free to join them or not. The food was excellent with a large variety tho chose from. All beverage, even beer and liqure are complimentary. All together this cruise was an experience for life and we´ll return in august this year for a new Pandawcruise, this time for the even more remote parts of Myanmar, the Chindwin river. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
We were very impressed with our cruise on Katha Pandaw on the Irrawaddy River, Myanmar in October 2013. I had read all I could find of the history of this troubled nation, novels set in the country and Yangon newspapers on line in the ... Read More
We were very impressed with our cruise on Katha Pandaw on the Irrawaddy River, Myanmar in October 2013. I had read all I could find of the history of this troubled nation, novels set in the country and Yangon newspapers on line in the months before our cruise. Our itinerary was the least "pagoda heavy", went well beyond the Yangon-Bagan-Mandalay tourist strip and into the farms, small industries and villages of Myanmar. We were not disappointed. Before, during and after our cruise we were overwhelmed by the friendliness, generosity and warm welcome of the people of Myanmar. Pre Cruise: We flew Jetstar from Singapore to Yangon, staying 3 nights at the Chatrium Hotel from where the Pandaw cruise departed at 6 a.m. Chatrium is a comfortable hotel, buffet breakfast, wifi included and all that goes with a 4/5 star hotel. A $US4.00 air-conditioned cab ride to Yangon city centre, $8-10 to the airport. Reviewed on Trip Advisor. www.tripadvisor.com We arranged pre- and post-cruising, transfers, internal air and some guiding with a local agent. After the guide’s introduction we were comfortable exploring Yangon on our own in cabs, on foot, on the ferry and the iconic circular train. Post Cruise: One night Mandalay, two nights Lake Inle before flying out of Yangon. The Ship, Katha Pandaw: Pandaw ships are teak panelled, in the style of colonial river steamers. RV Katha was the smallest of the fleet, 16 air-conditioned, twin bed cabins, with ensuite bathrooms, 6 upper, 10 lower deck. There is no elevator. Cabins are small with adequate storage for our clothes and suitcases. All have sliding glass doors and screened external doors opening to the shared deck. The nights were cool enough in October for us to sleep with the air-con turned off, the glass doors open and the screened doors shut. Bathrobes, safe, unlimited bottled water, hair dryer, shampoos etc and one electrical converter plug provided. No phone, TV, minibar or teamaking tray; hot and cold drinks are available in the bar. Cabins are immaculately maintained and usually serviced during breakfast. Light sleepers should avoid cabins adjoining the crew area and wheelhouse because the crew are up and about earlier than passengers need to be. The ship does not cruise at night so engine noise did not disturb our sleep. There are large shaded open-air sitting and dining areas on the upper deck, always a comfortable temperature, with pull down transparent weather shields (used once). Larger Pandaw boats have enclosed air-conditioned sitting and dining areas. Deck plans, itineraries and much more on the website www.pandaw.com The Cruise 600 Miles, See All Burma: 14 days cruising up the Irrawaddy River from Pyay (Prome) to Katha and down again to Mandalay. We left the Chatrium by air-con coach at 6am to join the ship at Pyay, a six hour drive with two comfort stops. The first, Taukkyan War Cemetery on the outskirts of Yangon, allowed enough time for a quick wander. For us the itinerary was an excellent mixture of archaeology, ancient and modern history, life in Myanmar, performances by very talented local dancers, singers and puppeteers, visits to exquisitely carved teak monasteries, to magnificent pagodas, to local markets, potteries and other small traditional industries, to farms and to villages and some of the schools and medical clinics financed by Pandaw Cruises. In Katha the ship hosted an early breakfast for the local monks. Another highlight was seeing six of the extremely rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphin from the ship. Dolphin sightings are not guaranteed. The river is the artery of the country. We never tired of being on the upper deck, returning the smiles and waves of the ever welcoming hard-working Burmese. The smiles welcomed us to a moment of their lives, as they worked the fields, tended crops and animals, built bamboo houses, flew kites, fished, washed, swam, carried the production of this fertile valley to the river and loaded boats with drums of oil, bamboo poles, teak logs, vegetables, clay pots, fish, sacks of rice, beans, peanuts, and sacks we could only guess at, then transported these on low barges, small motor boats or bamboo rafts. Passengers: Only 8 of the 16 cabins were occupied by 15 passengers from USA, UK and Australia aged 40-70+, all keen to experience and enjoy every experience the cruise offered. The Crew: The guide and crew’s attention to our comfort, our special needs and wishes was amazing, as good as any cruise or land tour I have experienced, including Silversea, and considerably better than many others. At pagodas a crew member assisted those who struggled to bend to remove/replace footwear, guarded our shoes and distributed wipes for our feet when we emerged. On returning to the boat our shoes were removed and cleaned for us. Our guide on this cruise, San, was outstanding. San is knowledgeable, articulate, fluent in English and alert to British, Australian and American senses of humour. He gave enough information to arouse our interest but never enough to be boring. San had more information for those with a special interest and was happy to answer random questions about life in Myanmar. Through him we were invited to join two wedding celebrations, experiencing again the generosity and warm welcome of the people of Myanmar. Our purser, Than, ran the passenger services very well, ably supported by the stewards, chefs and housekeeping staff. They made it an exceptional experience. Excursions: Included in the fare, except fees for cameras at some sites and for elephant rides. A small tip ($US1/Kyat1000) for local drivers, performers etc. was appreciated but not required. The variety of excursions and events is outlined above. Excursions usually started after breakfast, returning to the ship for a long lunch break and departed again later in the afternoon. We were cool and comfortable on board in the hottest part of the day. In small towns and villages we walked, in the larger cities we had air-con coaches but often we rode trishaws or horse drawn carts (2 passengers per cart) and for the defile, a local boat. All within the scope of two not very fit, 70ish Australians. There was always a crew member to help us climb a steep river bank or hand us into pony cart or trishaw, whether we needed help or not. For those with serious breathing or mobility problems, wheelchairs or walking frames, it becomes more difficult. There are no docks. Every outing we crossed the gangplank and climbed the sandy river bank. If the bank was particularly steep, the crew cut steps for us and offered a strong arm to lean on. The roads and paths we followed were often unpaved tracks or broken pavement or we walked across ploughed fields to villages. Sometimes hills and flights of steps were unavoidable. Meals and Drinks: Meal-times occasionally varied to suit the excursion program. Usually breakfast was 7-9am, lunch 1pm, dinner 7.30pm, after the evening briefing by guide and purser. Tea and coffee, biscuits, fresh fruit and cold drinks were available from 7am. No cabin service or variation of meal times is offered. Breakfast was buffet with an “eggs cooked to order” station, fresh fruit, cereals, toast, pastries, tasty Asian style soups, bacon, tomato with dishes of either noodles, fish, sausages or baked beans. Lunch was soup, delicious breads made onboard, a salad buffet, a choice of three hot mains (menu offered at breakfast) or a hot mains buffet, followed by pudding. Dinner was soup, starter, choice of three mains (menu offered at lunch) and pudding. Every meal had a vegetarian option. We thought the meals were varied and delicious, vegetable, fish, chicken and pork dishes were particularly tender and served with interesting sauces; the curries were excellent but quite mild. I didn’t eat salads till I was quite sure my fellow cruisers felt no ill-effects. They didn’t, and I regret missing two days of super salads. We notified two food intolerances at booking and on arrival and were alerted to any dish that might contain these foods. I do not know how much provision can be made for those with very limited diets or limited food preferences. Soft drinks, local beers, local spirits and mixes were included in the tariff and freely available. Carafes of wine were provided at dinner only. Bottled wine could be purchased from the bar. Dress: Casual. Trousers/skirts below the knee and sleeves covering shoulders were required at some pagodas and feet must be bare to enter pagodas and monasteries. All footwear, including orthotics must be removed, so slip-on-slip-off shoes or flip-flops are good for those who can walk to/from the site in them. We needed a hat, comfortable clothes for hot weather, a waterproof and a light jacket or shawl for cool evenings/mornings and the trip up river to the second defile on a breezy local boat. Our travel doctor advised long sleeves and trousers between dusk and dawn as mosquito protection, so we showered and “smartened up” into these before dinner. Laundry: We were warned that the laundry was done in river water. Clothes were returned in excellent order and charges were very reasonable. Medical: Our travel doctor prescribed a malaria prophylaxis which we took and other just-in-case medications, which we carried along with basic patent medicines and didn’t use any. Seek medical advice before travelling and carry sufficient supplies of your regular medications, “just-in-case” drugs, insect repellent and sunscreen. Money: ATM in Yangon and Mandalay only. We changed some US dollars for kyat on arrival at Yangon airport and later withdrew kyat at ATM in Yangon and Mandalay. We were told to bring only crisp, unmarked, unfolded $USnotes of recent issue but less than pristine notes were accpeted. Pandaw took credit cards for on-board expenses exceeding $200, othersise cash, $US preferred but kyat accepted. We followed Pandaw’s recommendations for tipping the crew. Communications: Wifi was free but available only near bigger cities. The ship’s phone received calls; our Myanmar travel agent phoned me re a booking change. In October 2013, Australian mobile phones did not get signal in Myanmar and foreigners could not buy local SIM cards. We declined a $10/day SIM card rental at Yangon airport. This may change with many visitors coming for the SEA Games in Yangon in December 2013. Conclusion: For us this cruise was perfect. We travel for interesting destinations and appreciate well informed guides. We like to try new foods (from “safe” kitchens) and appreciate clean comfortable cabins with ensuite bathrooms. We want to get out, meet the people and learn about the country. Pandaw worked for us. Images of the river, pagodas in the mist and the smiles of the people are imprinted till Alzheimer’s messes with our brains Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. I preferred the relaxed atmosphere on the boat, there was no pressure to dress up and compete for seats at the captains table. The food was excellent, varied and plentiful. We were provided with three ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. I preferred the relaxed atmosphere on the boat, there was no pressure to dress up and compete for seats at the captains table. The food was excellent, varied and plentiful. We were provided with three meals a day and it was more than I needed but so delicious that I could not resist! There was entertainment provided in the evenings, sometimes films and sometimes live performances. During the day we were given a class on spring roll making and a demonstration of fruit carving, which seemed very difficult. There were three excursions available while we were on board. All were very interesting and I was glad that I attended them. I must say that they were also varied as we went to a floating market, a Cham village, a sweet making establishment a street market and the Lovers House. Our cabin was very comfortable and had plenty of room for suitcases and other belongings. One comment that I would have is that there were no brighter lights in either the bathroom or the bedroom and this made removing and inserting my contact lenses rather difficult. Disembarkation was very easy. We were transferred by coach to a hotel in Saigon and we dispersed from there. All in all we had a fabulous trip and are enquiring about cruising with Pandaw on the Irrawaddy next January. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
This cruise from near Ho Chi Minh City to Kampong Cham was part of the Viking Magnificent Mekong tour. By comparison with European cruise ships, Tonle Pandaw is a boutique experience. The cabins are well-designed and comfortable, with ... Read More
This cruise from near Ho Chi Minh City to Kampong Cham was part of the Viking Magnificent Mekong tour. By comparison with European cruise ships, Tonle Pandaw is a boutique experience. The cabins are well-designed and comfortable, with excellent storage. The dining room is a good size and the food overall was excellent. The sundeck is a delight, especially in the afternoons and evenings when a river breeze cools the passengers, and has its own bar and restroom. The downstairs meeting room is functional for movies and talks. The staircases are rather narrow and especially up to the sundeck are steep. The crew all provide excellent service. Internet access can be rather patchy unless close to the server in the Saloon Bar. I found the excursions interesting throughout but they can definitely be a culture shock for unwary Westerners. Only people with good mobility and health should attempt this cruise, unless they are happy to stay on board and not get to the sundeck, movies, talks and excursions. Getting off the boat can be a struggle at times due to steep banks and lack of formal staircases. The company – a mix of Americans, British, Canadians and us two Aussies – was very amiable. Tummy bugs were rife and our Tour Director kept telling us to avoid the salad and ice – just eat hot, cooked food and drink bottled water. This cruise was part of a longer tour that began in Ho Chi Minh City and ended in Hanoi. Best part was actually Angkor and the temples. We did an extension to beautiful Ha Long Bay. I loved Hanoi too, a mix of French and Vietnamese. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2014
Our expectations have been exceeded by far: the RV Mekong Pandaw is an absolute lovely and comfortable boat, ex- and interior fits perfect to Vietnam and Cambodia, without jeopardizing any comfort. The entire vessel has just been complete ... Read More
Our expectations have been exceeded by far: the RV Mekong Pandaw is an absolute lovely and comfortable boat, ex- and interior fits perfect to Vietnam and Cambodia, without jeopardizing any comfort. The entire vessel has just been complete refitted, large rooms in teak wood, comfortable beds, all clean and tidy. If we understood correct, they have reduced the number of cabins (which other cruise line does that?). The almost entire lower deck is a generous public space with a large gym, movie room, a lounge-style library and full equipped massage rooms. On the upper deck the boats has a cozy saloon bar + a huge sundeck (with free ice cream all day). All, meals, beverages (including alcoholic), excursion was included - no hassle or anyone trying to sell you anything during the cruise. While the boat looks like it dates back from French Indochina times, they have WI-Fi in all cabins and provide even programmed Ipads; keeping you always updated on the upcoming excursions, route, program, menus etc and free use of internet We had some concerns, we are in our 30/40s, and feared we might be by far the youngest couple – but no. Fellow travelers of all ages and we counted 7 different nationalities. We all had common interest and so much fun and interesting conversations. During the cruise we had enough opportunities to escape the “crowd”, like a private table for dinner when we requested it (we celebrated our anniversary) and in Phnom Penh you can choose from a variety of excursions (all included in the price). I went to take a lesson in Khmer boxing at a local boxing school (what an experience!), my wife took the cooking classes at a local training center for underprivileged children. But what made this cruise so very special was the service provided! Service, food and the ship managers where outstanding. Nothing was too much, all done with a smile. All a very causal 6 star experience without being stiff and formal. Their Chef is a local master Chef and was always available in the dining room to explain or take special orders. Neville, the ship manager, is a super star! But even their ground staff! We had booked through an agent and had some issue with our onwards journey after the cruise. The Pandaw head office assisted us with all and rerouted our flights and amended our hotel stays. We had the vacation of a lifetime! My advice: Book direct with Pandaw, they are extremely helpful.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
We joined the Pandaw 11 for a 10 night Mandalay to Prome cruise following an 8 day land tour of Burma ( Myanmar) all put together by Trailfinders. We visited Yangon, Inle Lake and Kalaw , all absolutely beautiful with the latter two being ... Read More
We joined the Pandaw 11 for a 10 night Mandalay to Prome cruise following an 8 day land tour of Burma ( Myanmar) all put together by Trailfinders. We visited Yangon, Inle Lake and Kalaw , all absolutely beautiful with the latter two being considerably cooler than the unbearable heat we later endured for the entire cruise. Figures of 45 and 46 degrees C were the norm in the afternoon, just as we were leaving for sightseeing visits.This was the last cruise of the season before the monsoon arrives and I strongly advise anyone contemplating this trip to make the journey between November and late February when the temperature is much cooler. The other downside of this season is the low water level which restricts the view, the parched landscape, at times desert-like and the heat haze which obscured what should have been gorgeous views. The cabins, dining room and bar/lounge are air-conditioned but the full length sundeck, which would have been wonderful for watching the world go by, was just too hot for everyone in the afternoon, even in the shade. We saw other Pandaw ships, some of which did not seem to have a sun deck at all. Despite the heat our sundeck was used for many enjoyable evening events and was a very good feature to have. FOOD Breakfasts were good. Main meals were a bit hit and miss. To be fair many people really enjoyed their meals but there was a limited choice of main courses ( which had to be chosen in advance) and for those with a sweet tooth the puddings were a joke - often a single delicious mouthful served in a shot glass. We were told that wine with dinner was complimentary but that was only the case on a few evenings. The staff would provide alternative dishes if you asked in advance but, overall, if you are something of a trencherman, you could end up hungry. GENERAL The ship chooses a village at random for many sightseeing visits and these were all very interesting, helped immeasurably by our on board guide, Robin, for whom no praise can be high enough. You will need a store of one dollar or 1000 kyat notes as tips whilst ashore but on board spending can be settled with a credit card. It was rare to get wifi even when moored overnight. STAFF The staff were universally helpful, especially with older people and nothing seemed to be too much trouble. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
We chose this cruise because we had been on 2 previous river Asian cruises with Pandaw and they are certainly the best for Asian river cruising. We were met at Mandalay and taken to our hotel for the previous night to embarking on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had been on 2 previous river Asian cruises with Pandaw and they are certainly the best for Asian river cruising. We were met at Mandalay and taken to our hotel for the previous night to embarking on the ship, well organised and good accommodation there. As usual they welcomed us on board the ship with their wide smiles and taken care of as far as our luggage and safety was concerned - they are very caring and from all three trips with them we have never met any staff who were not friendly or caring down to the tiniest detail of making sure you didn't step the wrong way or that you may have had a sore leg and they took extra care of anyone elderly - very caring. Cabins are great, all that you need with extras added every day and great service to your cabins and in the dining and lounge area. Shore excursions were wonderful, taking you to places unvisited before, which is a real treat to see how the communities work and live in these villages. The food is fantastic, just too much to choose from and tasting the local dishes on board each day is great too. The entertainment was all that we could ask for. The ships are smaller, but this adds to the experience as the crew become your friends, as you get to know all of them personally. Pandaw has been the only ones we have come across that make sure you take water with you each time you leave the boat, clean your shoes when you get back on and greet you with a lovely cool drink and face cloth and of course a smile. Recommend Pandaw as the best for Asian river cruising. Can't say enough good words for them. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
I have recently returned from the Pandaw Cruises trip between Siem Reap in Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam on the RV Mekong Pandaw. It is impossible to highlight one particular service or event as they do it all so brilliantly. ... Read More
I have recently returned from the Pandaw Cruises trip between Siem Reap in Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam on the RV Mekong Pandaw. It is impossible to highlight one particular service or event as they do it all so brilliantly. From the roomy cabin on a limited passenger river boat to the fine dining and casual luxury, it is just magic. All land tours during the cruise are escorted with options for pre and post cruise tour options, leisurely paced and very well presented. Of course, you can just sit back and do nothing if that's what you want. If you're in the mood for a trip on a luxury river boat in SE Asia I highly recommend Pandaw Cruises. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
I cruised on the Kalaw Pandaw from Sept. 6 to 13, 2014, embarking in Mandalay and debarking in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma). The Kalaw is a beautiful little river steamer built almost entirely out of a dark hardwood that is indigenous to ... Read More
I cruised on the Kalaw Pandaw from Sept. 6 to 13, 2014, embarking in Mandalay and debarking in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma). The Kalaw is a beautiful little river steamer built almost entirely out of a dark hardwood that is indigenous to Myanmar. The boat is in excellent repair, well maintained and clean. Because the boat is small, it does not have the amenities of the large cruise ships, but that does not matter to me. I don’t need a pool, gym, separate cocktail lounge or the other amenities of large ships. All of us could socialize out on the deck whenever we wanted to. Cruises on Pandaw are down to earth, which I liked. The ship’s small size and shallow draft enable the captain to take it right up to the river banks and sail it in parts of the river where larger boats cannot go. This was the inaugural cruise for this itinerary and, I think, this boat. Service was excellent. Crew and staff were friendly and went out of their way to accommodate our wishes. Food was ample and very good. Laundry sent out in the morning was back by evening. All excursions were included in the cruise price. Transfers to and from airports or hotels was included too. Gratuities were included, but most of us gave staff cash tips anyway because the service and overall experience was so good. The itinerary was excellent. We were taken to well known historic sites and temples, as well as remote villages and places that I would have never found on my own. This mix of excursions added very much to the enjoyment of the cruise. Our tour guide was excellent. He spoke English and had extensive knowledge about every place we went. We learned a lot about the history and culture of this enchanting country. Because the boat ties up to river banks, your shoes may get a little muddy or dirty and the same with some of the excursions that we went on. No problem. You take off your shoes when entering the boat. Crew clean them off and deliver your shoes to your room. Sandals should be worn. You have to take off shoes and socks to enter the temples anyway. The Irrawaddy River is huge. It is the main economic artery of Myanmar. We were 600 miles north of Yangon (Rangoon) and the river was larger than the Mississippi R. at New Orleans. The Irrawaddy is famous for its sunsets. The river did not disappoint us on this trip. Many of us would sit out on the deck in the evening to watch the sunset. I intend to sail on Pandaw again and recommend this cruise line to other travelers as well.   Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Our 14 night Irrawaddy river cruise from Yangon by Pandaw Cruise Co. was a disappointing experience to say the least. Perhaps our pre cruise expectation was unrealistic. ( We imagined Myanmar to be full of untouched mountains/trees, ... Read More
Our 14 night Irrawaddy river cruise from Yangon by Pandaw Cruise Co. was a disappointing experience to say the least. Perhaps our pre cruise expectation was unrealistic. ( We imagined Myanmar to be full of untouched mountains/trees, streams , wild birds,animals and of course Buddhistic culture. ) Yes, there were stupas and temples. ( We had to see these on almost every excursion.) But more than anything else we were disappointed at the service and the lack of professionalism shown by the Pandaw cruise Co. 1. I could not drink the coffee they serve on the ship. ( too stale ) The food they serve was one of the poorest in quality . 2. I see staff member eating his breakfast when we have our breakfast. They clean the ceiling of the dining room while there are open plates around for breakfast. 3. The brochure says the price includes tipping of the crew, yet they suggest tipping of $ 5 per day per person. 4. The safety of the passengers are not taken seriously. One passenger fell to the ditch during the trishaw excursion. The trishaw and the driver were on top of this passenger when they fell unto the ditch. I do not know how she was not seriously injured! Other passenger fell and hit her head on the ship. She had a 10cm laceration on her scalp. They brought a doctor who did not know what to do with this problem. I as a surgeon had to clean the wound with Vodka and sew the laceration up with the kit the another passenger brought . 5. I joined their post cruise program. It was very expensive considering the service we received. Yet they booked us the flight which was not a direct flight to Yangon ( to save money ? )   Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Having previously traveled in Myanmar, I knew that despite its recent huge popularity the country's tourist infrastructure is still a work in progress. Thus, a seven-night cruise amidst the comforts of the RV Kalaw Pandaw seemed the ... Read More
Having previously traveled in Myanmar, I knew that despite its recent huge popularity the country's tourist infrastructure is still a work in progress. Thus, a seven-night cruise amidst the comforts of the RV Kalaw Pandaw seemed the optimal solution--a floating teak-and-brass hotel room with meals, drinks, and excursions provided. We would stay in place on the boat while the scenery around us changed. As it turned out, for over a day we would stay stuck in place on a river bank. Our pre-/post-cruise arrangements included airport transfers in Yangon, a stay at the Five-Star Chatrium Hotel, and a day's worth of sightseeing in Yangon with a private guide and driver. Our Pandaw guide, Michael, was exceptional--knowledgeable, flexible, and thoughtful. We noted to him in passing that my wife was diabetic and needed to eat small meals frequently to keep her blood sugar level constant. We were quite touched the next morning when Michael presented us at the airport with a small bag containing fruit juices, biscuits, fruits and other snacks for my wife. It was a thoughtful gesture that went far beyond the call of duty. Life aboard the Kalaw Pandaw quickly assumed a comfortable routine. Our favorite spot was a quiet shaded spot on the top deck at the front of the boat where there were some deck chairs and a tiny ship's "library" consisting of paperback books and magazines. From this vantage point, we were able to enjoy the view and breeezes and even saw a pod of endangered Irrawaddy river dolphins. Other passengers staked out spots in the lounge area aft or in the bar amidships. With a crew of 25 for 16 passengers, service was attentive and personalized. Our tours were for the most part well organized and informative. While the meals were sometimes bland, we were nevertheless impressed with the inventiveness and sheer range of what the Head Chef and Pastry Chef managed to produce in the tiny galley kitchen below. The inclusion of Burmese favorites including Mohinga soup and Tea Leaf Salad was a great touch, and I wish that Pandaw would serve more traditonal menu items. The free happy hour every evening was also something that everyone looked forward to. Our ship managed to get stuck in a sand bank while sailing upstream to Kyauk Myoung. The crew managed to free the boat after about two hours. To our dismay, the boat managed to ground itself on the exact same stretch of river the very next day while were were sailing downstream. This time, the efforts of the crew were to no avail, and we were stuck for 26 hours until some fishing boats came by and pulled us off the sand bank with some clever rope work. Throughout the ordeal, there was little (actually zero) communication from the Captain or other senior crew, and the only crew member providing updates was our barman, who turned out to be fairly well informed about what it was that the crew was doing to extricate the ship from our predicament. Our schedule never quite recovered from the delay, and we had to eliminate two of the highlights of our itinerary--the ancient capitals of Ava and Amarapura. It was a bit annoying that the parts of the itinerary that Pandaw decided to retain included a shopping visit and a trip to a Pandaw-supported charity project in an otherwise nondescript village outside of Pagan. It would have been far better to have dropped these inconsequential stops in favor of retaining Ava or the Amarapura visits. All told, I would do the trip again even with the unfortunate delays and our truncated itinerary. The Irrawaddy is magical, and experiencing the river on the Kalaw Pandaw was an unforgettable experience.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
Joined the ship in Saigon for a 3 night / 4 day cruise to Phnom Penh. Cost was approximately £500 (GBP) per night for a double cabin. Passengers met for registration at the Intercontinental Asiana in Saigon. It was disappointing that ... Read More
Joined the ship in Saigon for a 3 night / 4 day cruise to Phnom Penh. Cost was approximately £500 (GBP) per night for a double cabin. Passengers met for registration at the Intercontinental Asiana in Saigon. It was disappointing that Pandaw did not arrange for coffee to be available during what turned out to be a 2 hour wait for transport to the ship. Not a good first impression. That said, instead of the expected 2 hour bus ride to My Tho on the Mekong delta to meet the ship we had a 10 minute ride to Saigon Port and the bonus of an extra half day on the water as we proceeded down the Saigon River to the Mekong delta from there. This included a spectacular sunset. The ship itself is very beautiful and well maintained. There are 16 double cabins - and our cruise had 28 passengers. All were middle aged (or older) Europeans, Australians or Canadians. The atmosphere was friendly and enjoyable throughout with free seating at meals and all local beers and spirits included. Cabins are spacious and the bathrooms amazingly large and functional with an excellent shower. Without exception, the staff are wonderful. On the downside, the excursions and the food were slightly disappointing, especially given the price paid for what is classed as a "top of the range" cruise. The fact that the cruise took place during the lunar New Year (Tet) meant that the river was not its normal bustling self and the floating market had everything except any floating markets!! The excursions ashore were not particularly interesting (and not as advertised) - again maybe due to Tet - though it was always good to get off the ship and stretch ones legs for a couple of hours. The food was OK but nothing to write home about - interestingly we had much better on a 1 night cruise in Halong Bay (which cost half as much per night). We also thought it slightly mean that a "house wine" could not be provide for dinner. All-in-all a very enjoyable experience, though a little expensive for what it was. For us, 3 nights was certainly enough. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
Our trip on the river Chindwin was due to go from Monywa to Homalin, but due to the river levels being very low, we only reached Kalaywa. It was our first visit to Burma and our first river trip and we found the whole experience a delight. ... Read More
Our trip on the river Chindwin was due to go from Monywa to Homalin, but due to the river levels being very low, we only reached Kalaywa. It was our first visit to Burma and our first river trip and we found the whole experience a delight. There were only 10 passengers – 4 cabins on the first deck and the Owner’s cabin on the second deck which is where we were. Dining was al fresco – a buffet breakfast, part buffet lunch and a full service dinner. The food was excellent and introduced us to some of the hotter flavours of Burmese cuisine. We were well looked after by the boat manager, Win. We visited many villages along the way where the pace of life was slow and peaceful. The locals were pleased to greet us and we communicated by smiles and waving and the greeting “Mingalaba”. We got stuck on several sandbanks which was great fun as all sorts of chaos ensued with jostling of vessels trying to get into the prime position to get through the only channels deep enough. Each time we were stuck on a sandbank our crew, and river pilot assigned to the boat, had to get into the water (only waist deep in some places) to free the boat by a system of posts, cables and winches in situations which seemed to us as if they were taking their lives in their hands. Our crew were absolutely brilliant from rescuing us from sandbanks and the preparation of tasty food to the care with which the young boys handled our laundry. We are hoping to take another cruise with Pandaw very soon.   Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
As we worked more than 30 years for international organizations, we have been frequent travelers all our life, but this travel was really a highlight. This travel started at Ho Chi Minh city and ended at Siem Rep in Cambodia. The ... Read More
As we worked more than 30 years for international organizations, we have been frequent travelers all our life, but this travel was really a highlight. This travel started at Ho Chi Minh city and ended at Siem Rep in Cambodia. The entire cruise included daily shore excursions with small boat tours, great buses to reach other places, horses and cows carts,etc., and always excellent guides explaining absolutely everything you wanted to know. Entertainment was fantastic too: local traditional music and dances shows in the evening, marionettes spectacle, local musicians, etc. Disembarkation in every place (including spontaneous spots discovered on the way) was really amazing: in minutes, an absolute secure bridge to the coast was built, including side protections, hand rails, and a row of staff helping gently to safely walk down. The boat is so nice, well equipped, comfortable. The food exceptionally good (we are expert cooks ourselves...and we learned a lot!!). The staff in the boat, ALL, were really exceptionally good, friendly, efficient… and any good thing additionally you can think about!! SUMMARY: All in all, just perfect!!! There is absolutely nothing that we could criticize negatively. The contrary, just congratulations to Pandaw for a fantastic cruise!!! Every day was a new enjoyable journey, and we were sad to leave the boat at the end of our travel... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
This cruise in the high rainfall month of July could have been anything, however the very little rain we had did not interfere with our activities and excursions, unfortunately for Myanmar the rain arrived and produced devastating floods a ... Read More
This cruise in the high rainfall month of July could have been anything, however the very little rain we had did not interfere with our activities and excursions, unfortunately for Myanmar the rain arrived and produced devastating floods a few days after we left so we were very lucky. The cruise itself was very well organised, varied daily activities and visits to local attractions, information about Myanmar and its people and traditional entertainment by local performers. The food was excellent, just as an example, fresh baked bread warm from the oven with a wide variety of courses and desserts worthy of a good French restaurant. The accommodation was of a high standard and well serviced, nothing seemed to be too much trouble for the staff, we were supplied with bottled water as we left on excursions and on returning our shoes were removed as we boarded, cleaned and returned to us within a few minutes. As with all cruises, there is often some friction and maybe even unpleasantness among the passengers, with the way this cruise was organised we all got along extremely well and formed a number of friendships with a promise to maintain contact. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We just did an exotic 7 days cruise on the Pandaw on the Chindwin River in North West Myanmar. It was absolutely incredible. It was a small beautiful river ship with 5 cabins, the staff was incredible and the food and presentation was 5 ... Read More
We just did an exotic 7 days cruise on the Pandaw on the Chindwin River in North West Myanmar. It was absolutely incredible. It was a small beautiful river ship with 5 cabins, the staff was incredible and the food and presentation was 5 star. if you are looking for a small intimate and attentive cruise, this is it. We visited Nagaland, it was the first time that foreigners could visit this part of the country since the 70's. The people were fantastic! It was truly a very different experience. The company was great to deal with, they organized our interior flights as well as hotel pick up and drop off. I would recommend this company to any one. We will definitely use them again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Kindaw Pandaw boat holds 40 passengers, two decks. My room was 101 (Lower Deck) at very front - lots of action, watching captain/crew lay walking planks, anchor, take care of business of running boat - highly interesting to me, but others ... Read More
Kindaw Pandaw boat holds 40 passengers, two decks. My room was 101 (Lower Deck) at very front - lots of action, watching captain/crew lay walking planks, anchor, take care of business of running boat - highly interesting to me, but others may prefer more quiet. Rooms 105 106 107 are in center of Lower Deck, quieter, & closer to stairs leading to Main/Upper Deck for dining, gatherings, sun bathing. Rooms on Upper Deck are exactly same ($ more), but steps can be avoided to common areas. First, cabins (straightened 2x a day) super clean, bright (no windows but lovely large sliding glass door entrance), roomy & comfortable, ditto shower/bath. Bedding clean, comfy, white. Good AC. In addition, food is hands down the BEST food I encountered over my month long trip in Burma. Main Chef, Bakery Chef were at the top of their games - from seafood to salad to vegetables to breads to desserts - A+. In addition to lovely cabins & superb food, the crew, managed by a young man named Bo, is to be highly commended. Reserved, respectful, well trained in hospitality, genuinely caring & kind, Bo set a professional but approachable tone that was followed by others. And they were fun, too! Wait till you hear Bo & the gang belt out a song on the last evening! Honestly, I didn't want to leave. The remainder of my tour never came close to matching quality of service, dining, accommodations, & friendliness so naturally evident on the Kindat Pandaw. Thanks to everyone, especially Bo. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our third trip to Myanmar (Burma) and our first river cruise. The Pandaw cruise line originated in Burma, and I wouldn't consider any other cruise line for a Burma river cruise. Our cruise was on the Chindwin River, far off ... Read More
This was our third trip to Myanmar (Burma) and our first river cruise. The Pandaw cruise line originated in Burma, and I wouldn't consider any other cruise line for a Burma river cruise. Our cruise was on the Chindwin River, far off the tourist track. We saw no other westerners from the time we boarded our ship in Monywa until we disembarked in Homalin. The Pandaw Kalay is a very shallow draft ship, designed specifically for the shallow rivers of Burma. With just 5 cabins, the small ship offered an intimate cruising experience. We were in the huge owner's cabin, with windows curving across the front of the cabin. It was a lovely space. The crew were gracious and helpful, always accommodating. The food was excellent. We were the only passengers who had not been on a previous Pandaw cruise, and while all said the food on Pandaw cruises is very good, the food on our cruise was really exceptional. There were twice a day stops at villages to visit stupas, shrines, monasteries, markets and schools in small villages. We were onboard on election day, so seeing the people lined up to vote and hearing what they had to say about the election was a great experience. There were no docks at any of our stops. But the ship had a flexible metal gangplank (with handrails) that made getting on and off the ship as easy as possible. Also, crew members were available to help anyone who needed assistance. I would term this a luxury adventure cruise. We traveled to Mandalay several days before the cruise. A bus picked up all the passengers at their hotels and drove us the two hours to Monywa. At the end of the cruise, a flight back to Mandalay or onward to Yangon was included in the cruise price. Drinks made with local liquor and local beers were included as well as drinking water. Wine was extra. We availed ourselves of their laundry services (very reasonably priced). There is not an entertainment program, but the ship has a small library with many books on Burma. This is not a cruise for children. We loved this cruise and will take another Pandaw cruise in Burma. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
I just returned from Pandaw's "Halong Bay and the Red River" cruise (from Hanoi) aboard the Angkor Pandaw. Everything about the cruise was perfect, especially the visits to small towns and villages and two wonderful guides. ... Read More
I just returned from Pandaw's "Halong Bay and the Red River" cruise (from Hanoi) aboard the Angkor Pandaw. Everything about the cruise was perfect, especially the visits to small towns and villages and two wonderful guides. I'm retired but traveled with two college-age relatives. We all enjoyed every moment of the trip and learned a lot about Vietnam and its culture. This was my third Pandaw cruise (others: Mekong and Irrawaddy) and I love the way the Pandaw staff develop good relations with villages along the rivers of Southeast Asia, allowing their passengers to enjoy frequent delightful visits to them and see small town life and encounter folks who seem equally thrilled to meet and chat with foreign visitors. And their boats are run faultlessly with great accommodations and delicious Vietnamese, Asian, and international food. I've traveled extensively through more than 75 countries and find Pandaw cruises to be fun, educational, well-paced, comfortable, and economical. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We did a short 2 night cruise from Bagan to Mandalay. The ship can accommodate ca 60 passengers but there were only 5 couples on board (3 Brits, 1 Australian and 1 German). The fact that we all got on so well compensated for other ... Read More
We did a short 2 night cruise from Bagan to Mandalay. The ship can accommodate ca 60 passengers but there were only 5 couples on board (3 Brits, 1 Australian and 1 German). The fact that we all got on so well compensated for other disappointments. The ship is very well appointed, the staff are helpful and the cabins are fine for a couple of nights but are on the small side for any longer. The best feature of the ship was the bathroom shower! Our cabin was 301, front port side, one of the 2 best positions on the ship. Considering the cost of the cruise it was not good value for money. Overall, the food was very average, the coffee almost undrinkable, the pastries solid and although there is unlimited free local beer and spirits, no house wine was provided; Myanmar wine was $23/bottle. Only one excursion (Yandabo pottery-making village) was worthwhile and the quality of guide/excursions was not good for the price paid. There was confusion about tipping - some guests had it included, others didn't. The staff seemed to expect it. Having previously cruised down the Mekong and had a very good experience, this short cruise was a bit of a disappointment for us, especially considering that it was far more expensive on a per diem basis. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Comprehensive review Our first cruise on the Irrawaddy was on the Road to Mandalay in 1996 and in 2004 we joined a Pandaw expedition cruise from Bagan to Bhamo and enjoyed it so much we waited for Pandaw to start cruising from Yangon so ... Read More
Comprehensive review Our first cruise on the Irrawaddy was on the Road to Mandalay in 1996 and in 2004 we joined a Pandaw expedition cruise from Bagan to Bhamo and enjoyed it so much we waited for Pandaw to start cruising from Yangon so we could complete the navigable part of the mighty Irrawaddy. The full Itinerary can be found here https://www.pandaw.com/expeditions/irrawaddy/ and a shorter version joining the vessel at Prome here https://www.pandaw.com/expeditions/golden-land/ We joined their December cruise-the same boat, and the same cabin of our original cruise. Welcome home... The cruise was 70% full-all English speaking pax, a mix of the UK and the ex-Colonies, and included 7 singles who were quickly assimilated to mix with the couples. A few had travelled to Myanmar before but most were first timers, although seasoned travellers. Ages varied from early 40's to late 70's but age was no barrier on this cruise We were quickly welcomed aboard, our luggage was in our cabin before us and we were soon on the top deck casting off in the Yangon river. CABINS Small but cosy, surprisingly good storage space, good aircon and a compact but good bathroom with shower. Water is piping hot but takes a bit to come through and loo flushing is a bit of an art. Two is good-seven means your technique is wrong. A great feature is having your own lloyd loom seats and table outside so as to watch the river go by, supping a Mandalay sour... Housekeeping was excellent with really efficient make over after breakfast and a full turndown during dinner. Laundry was cheap, efficient and flexible (cool wash, iron then on hanger etc) with an average price of only $2 FOOD AND DRINK Excellent food, a mix of Asian and Western but chef would cater for all tastes and allergies. Buffet breakfast with hot A la Carte and mostly A la Carte lunch and Dinner but with a substantial choice for buffet starter and dessert/cheese. Fresh bread with every meal-we toured the super kitchens and the chef was ever-so proud of his bread maker. There was free seating and generally most moved and mixed, with a few notable exceptions who developed squatters rights on a certain table. All water, tea & coffee, local soft drinks, beer and local spirits are included as is also a cocktail of the day at the briefing before dinner. The local spirits of Gin, Dark Rum, Whiskey, Light Rum and Vodka are excellent and if you were not a wine drinker you could have a zero extras bill after 14 days. The DIY coffee/tea/drinks station on the main deck was open from 6am till late. There was plenty of chairs/loungers on the top deck to seat everyone and when cruising this was the choice of many, whether reading, chatting, drinking, dozing or just watching the river traffic go by. We had film shows, presentations, marionettes, dance troupes on many evenings but nothing late TG -most were whacked out and ready for bed after a long day. THE CRUISE We were blessed with great weather starting in Yangon at 32C and finishing at Mandalay at 28C,cloudless skies with low humidity. Evenings were cool at 15/18C and then, and when the boat was motoring against the wind ,long sleeves were needed. On many days we had two stops and, because of the distance we had to cover, the boat cruised as late as it could before mooring at a deserted river bank before setting off at dawn the next day. Only in Bagan and Saigang did we moor in towns and near other cruise boats. Many of the stops in the early part of the cruise were at small delta villages where we were the only tourists and a curiosity to the villagers who took more photos of us than us of them. Even in remote places there were phone shops and even little stalls sold SIM top ups. Cheap Chinese handsets have flooded the country and many stall holders had phones-some bigger and fancier than ours. The real eye opener was the difference in undeveloped, in tourism terms, towns and villages and Bagan/Mandalay. For the first 9 days we never came across foreign tourists and had the local villages such as Maubin,Danabyu and Myanaung to ourselves. Even major towns of Pyay, Thayatmyo and Magwe were tourist free and as I have already said, we had more photos taken of us in the local markets than we took of the village scenes. We were never approached by sellers, never saw a beggar and the children just wanted to say mingalabar, not expecting pens or sweets. One market lady apologised when her kids said "money" as they had mispronounced "morning" It was a real shock to the system when we hit Bagan and Mandalay when we saw the tourist hoards, most of them being Burmese, not a foreigners! The two big highlights of our cruise was visiting these river towns which are still the real Myanmar and for me-watching and photographing the river traffic which varied from bamboo rafts, through a variety of barges carrying rice or aggregates to the occasional fancy Belmond Gin Palace Cruiser. Every boat, big or tiny waved at us passing-except the Belmond Orcaella pax who could not be bothered to get up from their luxury sun loungers around their pool, nuf said. We were accompanied on the visits by our Burmese guide and also a few crew members to make sure we kept up and did not fall behind. They also helped with local shopping -SIM cards, antibiotics, camera memory cards, gifts etc. The cruise stops cover many places in Burmese history and we visited stupas, village markets, old forts, colonial buildings, agricultural workhouses,potteries, and even a golf course founded in 1885 complete with grazing cattle on the fairways. On return to the boat after each trip our shoes were removed for cleaning, a cold drink was offered and, most importantly we had an antiseptic hand gel-this was also mandatory before all meals. WiFi and MOBILE RECEPTION WiFi was intermittent and only in the main villages when moored and only on the sun deck. There was always a good signal using a local SIM, both for calls and data- there always seems to be a mast on sight along the river. HEALTH Some pax took Malarone, others just sprayed and covered up and there were very few bites-and non on the boat itself. Once we got to Mandalay we were invaded by tiny moths in the evenings. This January in Myanmar, especially in the dry dusty zone, coughs and colds and especially sore throats , were rife everywhere. Wherever and however you travelled, boat, coach or aircraft there were coughs and sneezes everywhere from tourists and locals alike. Most on Pandaw ended up with a sore throat or cough but only a couple had travellers tummy-certainly not due the food coming from the galley. The Purser was very helpful dishing out remedies and also very efficiently treating a couple of cuts-he and the other first aiders are trained by an International medical company. OVERVIEW This is not a inexpensive cruise although many had booked early to get discounts. Some booked direct, some as part of an Agents package and arrived through a variety of airlines and airports-Bangkok, Singapore ,KL, Taiwan etc etc. Other cruises of a similar length could be 50% more . Pandaw is a traditional teak fitted river expedition boat with no pool and certainly no jackets for dinner although many of the ladies dined in very smart casual. As has been reported in other reviews on extended trips, there can be a touch of tribalism towards the end and this cruise was no exception. Nothing serious and not country specific. It did not detract from the pleasure of the cruise-in fact it could be quite amusing to observe. If there was a criticism it is that language skills of the purser and guide were not of the best although one could not fault their efficiency enthusiasm and dedication to our care. Pandaw, as the original cruise company on the Irrawaddy, has found their staff being poached by the many start up cruise companies .There are now 10 cruise companies and 35+ boats plying the Irrawaddy-15 years ago there were 5 boats so the problem will not go away, with the fancy boats paying top $ for the best guides. BUT this was a memorable cruise, good value for money and a delightful time spent on a boat of real character. They are planning short cruises around the delta which we plan to join-and maybe a Chindwin expedition? Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Our Mekong cruise with Pandaw exceeded our expectations. This ship was very comfortable, the food was very good and quite plentiful, the guides were knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and the staff was just superlative. I left my coat on ... Read More
Our Mekong cruise with Pandaw exceeded our expectations. This ship was very comfortable, the food was very good and quite plentiful, the guides were knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and the staff was just superlative. I left my coat on the van that took us from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and Pandaw tracked it down and sent it to me, with excellent communication. This would be a surprise from many companies, but after the wonderful service we experienced on our cruise, I wasn't a bit surprised. Weve been on top cruise lines, especially Seabourn, so our standards have been raised considerably. Pandaw suited us just fine. Book with confidence that you made a good choice. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
This was our first Pandaw River Cruise and it was outstanding. We started in Viet Tri, Vietnam on the first day of tourist season 2016. We were welcomed by TV cameras and photographers before seeing a beautiful traditoinal dance by women ... Read More
This was our first Pandaw River Cruise and it was outstanding. We started in Viet Tri, Vietnam on the first day of tourist season 2016. We were welcomed by TV cameras and photographers before seeing a beautiful traditoinal dance by women and children in Viet Tri. We felt like rock stars but had been warned by the ships crew it might happen. That was the start of what turned out to be a most interesting 10- night cruise to villages with blacksmiths, carpenters, water puppeteers and conical hat makers where tourist rarely go. We were warmly welcomed wherever our small group of 18 ventured. Because our trip started mid-January we were unprepared for the unusually cold weather but that did not affect the warm and inviting staff who cared for our dining, cabin care and touring. Low water conditions on the Lo River caused us to start downstream but that did not affect the tour because buses were there to take us where the boat could not go. We cannot say enough about the cruise overall except to say it would have been nice to have a few more heaters in the dining room. We ended our tour in magnificent Halong Bay for two nights which was awesome. At the end we were efficiently delivered back to Hanoi. I want to compliment the staff because we had one man with significant mobility challenges. Our ports were often out-of-the-way with difficult egress. The crew was always there to help the man experience everything that we did. It was impressive. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
The 'cruise' was scheduled to commence at Jing Hong in China. We duly arrived at a perfectly acceptable hotel which we had previously arranged, after an overnight stay we were due to be collected and transferred to the Laos ... Read More
The 'cruise' was scheduled to commence at Jing Hong in China. We duly arrived at a perfectly acceptable hotel which we had previously arranged, after an overnight stay we were due to be collected and transferred to the Laos Pandaw. We were indeed collected and transferred to a somewhat third rate Chinese hotel and informed that we would be staying here until further notice. Communications were virtually non existent. A local guide stated that we would be at this hotel for at least two nights, what a dismal prospect. We were provided with dinner and a small amount of beer two bottles between 8 people! A promise that a Pandaw representative was on his way to explain. Well he arrived the following day, no apologies were forthcoming, no reasons given for the itinerary not being adhered with, in fact rather a waste of time. We spent three nights in this ghastly hotel, no one spoke English, Pandaw I believe hastily organised some tours which should have been part of the original itinerary, by a rather old dirty coach. In the meantime the standard of food remained at a dismal low and if you required a drink well the bar was open at a cost. We were eventually taken by a Chinese boat along the Mekong to the China/Laos border and then transferred to a hastily converted freight carrier, well tables and chairs were provided to meet the Laos Pandaw We had left the hotel around 07.30 and arrived on the boat at18.00! We now had three days on the boat, we did not follow the itinerary in any way, we did not visit Burma, however we did eventually arrive at Chiang Saen, at last we complied with the itinerary. After speaking with members of the crew we were informed that Laos Pandaw had NEVER been to China! Well you pay your money and Pandaw appear to be at liberty to do what they like, it was certainly an adventure which I would not recommend. Read Less
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