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Pandaw River Cruises
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Luxury small ship river cruises in Asia

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ABOUT US

The Pandaw experience is all about exploring remote and often hard-to-navigate rivers and coasts in specially-designed luxury small ships.

Each ship, hand-crafted in brass and teak, is an object of beauty in itself. A Pandaw adventure is very different from that offered on an ocean-going cruise. The ships are small scale, and the atmosphere is informal, and very friendly.

WHY PANDAW

This year, no fewer than 45% of our passengers have sailed with us before, many of them several times.

They tell us that they come back for the special ambiance and old-world beauty of our ships as much as for the amazing scenery we sail through, or the onshore cultural treasures we explore together.

While the craft may be small, we have the highest passenger-to-deck- space ratio of any cruise ships afloat. There are plenty of quiet spots to be discovered where you can read a book, write your travel journal, or simply mediate on the spectacular passing landscape or to chat with like-minded travellers friends old and new. Pandaw designs its ships with 360-degree promenade decks that allow our passengers the freedom to interact as much, or as little, as they like. It all adds to the famous 'Pandaw spirit' that brings so many guests back on board time and time again.

When it comes to dining, passengers are welcome to eat on their own or with family or with friends. They can do so either in our dining room or on deck. Most dietary requirement are catered for. Here as elsewhere, the level of service on a Pandaw craft is a travel industry legend. It is a level of quality of which we are extremely proud, and we are constantly working hard to maintain. Our stewards and other crew are totally dedicated to your comfort.

Pandaw has an all-inclusive policy so there are no hidden extras for excursions. Most drinks are included in the price of your ticket.

Our cruises are family-friendly and offer plenty to do for the active and outdoorsy of all ages, as well as for those who wish to take it easy. We offer mountain biking and some challenging and exciting trekking ashore. These expeditions are particularly well-suited for older children who gain valuable life experiences from interacting with local kids when we stop in the villages.

While passengers are free to do their own thing onshore, transportation, sometimes in the form of a cyclo or sampan, is provided for those who prefer a led excursion in the capable hands of our expert guides.

By now it may be clear that if your idea of a cruise demands private balconies, big flat screen TVs in your room, thick carpets and dressing up for "the captain’s table", then Pandaw is not for you.

If, on the other hand, you seek unforgettable moments of tranquillity interspersed by conviviality and cultural richness, whilst gliding through some of the world’s most amazing scenery, then welcome on board!

THE PANDAW STORY

The Old Irrawaddy Flotilla Company was revived in 1995 by the Burma historian Paul Strachan, who is a Scot.

We were the first since the Second World War to offer pioneering cruises on Burma's spectacular Irawaddy River, reaching Bhamo, one thousand miles from the sea, and went on to be the first on the stunningly attractive Chindwin River.

1865

The Irrawaddy Flotilla Company was established by Scots merchants in 1865. By the 1920s the company ran over 650 vessels on the rivers of Burma, then a British colony. It had become the largest privately owned fleet of ships in the world. Mainly paddle steamers, the largest class of vessels were 350ft long and licensed for 4,000 passengers.

1942

The IFC fleet in its entirety was scuppered as an “act of denial” when the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Burma.

1995

Paul and Roser Strachan revive the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company and are the first to offer river cruises on the Irrawaddy since colonial times. Local boats are chartered and converted and the spirit of high adventure was experienced by a new generation of travellers.

1998

In 1998, Paul Strachan discovered an original Clyde-built steamer called the Pandaw and arranged for its lease and restoration. Thus Pandaw was born and a unique concept and style of river cruising was created.

2003

In 2003 we took our Pandaw concept to the Mekong River in Indochina plying between Saigon in Vietnam and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Here, the Pandaws broke the previously impenetrable river border between two very different countries. In high water our vessels accomplished the first cross navigation of the Tonle Sap, an inland sea previously un-navigated by anything other than local speed boats.

2009

We inaugurated new river cruises on the Rajang in Borneo and Ganges in India. Another two magnificent Asian rivers, rich in things to do and see, with varied topography of great beauty. We pulled out of India and Borneo as a result of operational and safety issues.

2015

We successfully pioneer cruises on the Red River in Northern Vietnam and the Upper Mekong through Laos, bringing the fleet up to 14 ships.

2016

Second Ship for Laos and Burma Maritime Expeditions inaugurated on the Andaman Explorer.

THE TEAM

Aung Aung Oo, Purser

My job is to ensure you have everything you need while on board. I'm here to answer your questions and to take care of any special needs. We are looking forward to welcoming you on board!

Myo Zaw Aung, Barman

Pandaw operates all-inclusive boutique cruises. So lean back and let me mix a special cocktail for you, or enjoy the cocktail of the day in our air-conditioned saloon bar or open air sundeck bar.

Nguyen Ngoc Thu, Captain

Thanks to Pandaw's ultra-shallow drafts we can moor almost anywhere and explore unspoiled areas along the river banks of the Mekong.