2018 Sees the River Cruise Pioneer Boost its Fleet, Debut a New Burma Itinerary & Expand Sailings for its First Classic Motor Yacht
2018 is set to be an action-packed year for Pandaw River Expeditions. The South-East Asia river-cruise pioneer will welcome a brand new ship to its fleet, launch a new expedition – “The Great Irrawaddy Delta“, and expand departures for its “Mergui Archipelago“ itinerary, Pandaw’s first foray into ocean cruising.
New Ship – RV Sabei Pandaw
Pandaw’s newest addition, RV Sabei Pandaw, will join the fleet in November 2018, becoming the company’s third ship on the Mekong River in Laos. The new ship will be the 17th vessel in the Pandaw fleet, which navigate the fascinating waterways of six South-East Asian countries.
The RV Sabei Pandaw, which will feature fourteen classic Pandaw staterooms and an open plan saloon with flexible indoor or outdoor dining, will begin by sailing the 10-night “The Laos Mekong” itinerary, from 11 November 2018. From September 2019, it will move further along the mighty Upper Mekong to China’s Yunnan province, to sail the 14-night “The Mekong: from Laos to China” expedition. This four-country expedition will visit Laos, Thailand, Burma and China, with highlights including the ancient Laos capital of Luang Prabang, visits to tribal villages and national parks, and simply experiencing the dramatic and wild river itself.
The double-decked vessel will be 45 metres long and designed to meet the navigational challenges of shooting the rapids in the Laos gorges. At the same time, it will have the shallow draft to enable year-round passage across Yunnan into China.
Prices for the 10-night Laos Mekong cruise, featuring the new RV Sabei Pandaw ship, start from US$4,200pp, based on twin-share. Prices for the 14-night The Mekong: from Laos to China cruise, start from US$6,808.50pp based on twin-share. The cruise price includes local transfers, entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, locally made soft drinks, local beer and local spirits, jugged coffee and selection of teas and tisanes, mineral water. International flights are additional.
Pandaw Founder, Paul Strachan believes that of all the Pandaw rivers the Upper Mekong is the most exciting, “There can be no waterborne experience to match sailing through Laos. The fast river with its continual spate of white water, the jungle clad peaks, the gorges; then there is the friendly welcome in every village, the ethnic diversity and the cultural riches. Traversing the remotest parts of four very different countries you see all of South-East Asia, lost and timeless”.
New Itinerary – The Great Irrawaddy Delta
2018 will also see the launch of a brand-new expedition, ‘The Great Irrawaddy Delta’. Sailing into the heart of the vibrant and varied landscape of the Irrawaddy Delta and exploring its maze of tributaries which remain untouched by tourism, the new itinerary was initially scheduled for just two departures on 10 and 18 March 2018. However, due to popular demand, Pandaw has confirmed further departures in 2019 and 2020.
The cruise will set sail from and return to Yangon, weaving through the complex labyrinth of waterways on a fascinating seven-night expedition. Passengers will savour the contrasts of indigenous village life, markets, ancient trading ports, temples, churches and mosques, and have the chance to spot a plethora of birdlife and wildlife. On the waterways, fishermen and turtle egg hunters ply their ancient business, while exotic migratory water birds paddle in the shallows.
Prices for the seven-night The Great Irrawaddy Delta itinerary start from US$2,117pp based on twin-share. The price includes seven nights on the 16-cabin RV Katha Pandaw, local transfers, entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, locally made soft drinks, local beer and local spirits, jugged coffee and selection of teas and tisanes and mineral water. International flights are additional.
Ocean Cruising – The Mergui Archipelago
Pandaw founders, Paul and Roser Strachan, acquired a classic 1960’s motor yacht in 2016, naming her MY Andaman Explorer. The ship has been lovingly refurbished and is ready to take guests on a voyage around the Mergui Archipelago’s 800 unexplored islands starting from November 2017, with further departures now confirmed for 2018 and beyond.
The glamorous Andaman Explorer features 10 generously proportioned suites, with separate sitting room area and private bathrooms. The ship is floored with Carrara marble throughout and boasts a saloon, dining room and two teak observation decks.
The elegant motor yacht will sail the seven-night “Mergui Archipelago“ itinerary, exploring many islands which have remained unvisited since colonial times. The local Mokkein people, who have their own language and culture, live entirely on the sea and have evolved a remarkable way of life.
Guests arrive in the departure port of Kawthaung via a flight from Yangon in Myanmar or a boat trip from Ranong, Thailand. From Kawthaung, located in the southernmost part of Myanmar, guests spend seven nights cruising to several national parks, islands and lagoons in the archipelago – including Naung Wee island to visit a sea gypsy village, Lampi Marine National Park with its mangrove forests and diverse bird life, the Nga Man group of one hundred and fifteen islands and Cockscomb Island with its limestone caves and hidden lagoon. The itinerary is subject to change, depending on weather conditions, pilot’s instructions and local permissions, but it promises to be captivating. The ship carries kayaks and snorkelling equipment, allowing guests to get up close to marine life as they explore the islands, beaches and coastal ports.
Various departures are available from November 2017 – April 2018, October 2018 – April 2019 and October 2019 – April 2020. Prices start from US$3,510 per person, based on two sharing and this includes local transfers, all excursions as stated, entrance fees, guide services (English language), main meals, jugged coffee, selection of teas and tisanes, local soft drinks, local beer, local spirits, mineral water, crew gratuities, kayaks & snorkelling equipment. International flights are additional.
For reservations and more information, call 0208 326 5620 or go to www.pandaw.com.