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Luxury small ship river cruises in Asia



Feb 2018


Hello Sven,

Just a note to let you know of the fantastic time we had on our trip with Pandaw on the Irrawaddy. I must let you know it went far beyond my expectations and the additional treat for Kay’s birthday was most wonderful. The whole crew (including the Captain) came on the rear deck and sang Happy Birthday , complete with a cake!

Then followed a most memorable New Years eve celebration.

The whole trip was first class, the meals were wonderful the crew went above and beyond at all times, the visits to the villages were perfect.

My thanks to you and your team for your assistance in helping us though the booking process, all very well done.

I am recommending Pandaw to my friends and family.

Please pass this note to the owners , what a great job to create such a wonderful experience from scratch!

Kindest Regards to all the Pandaw team,
Richard and Kay Rankin.

Nov 2017


Please allow us to congratulate your crew and vessel (Pandaw 2) for a wonderful experience along the Ayeryarwady recently. We travelled from Yangon to Mandalay and loved everything about this trip. We especially enjoyed the opportunity of visiting the non-touristy villages along the way. We commented on many occasions on how happy the villagers seemed with a very primitive housing situation, but were well fed with an amazing variety of food types. We have completely forgotten how to create our own happiness without all the trimmings we have come to expect in our life-styles. It was good to have this reminder.

The vessel was extremely shipshape (I am ex Navy, so can appreciate the crew’s pride of workplace in a marine environment). Food was varied and a good daily choice offered. No-one got sick and everyone loved what was served up. Our waistlines can attest to the quality and quantity consumed. Interaction with the crew was encouraged and they were all keen to make our trip special.

Our only issue was the efficiency of the plumbing system, but if you try long enough, it works...sort of!

Good on you for ensuring your father’s legacy stays in operation during this very bad time in Myanmar’s history. I hope the press will sort out their biases soon so the country can enjoy tourism again without the fears raised by people with only second hand experience.

Kind Regards
Roy & Margie Justice

Apr 2017


We completed our second Pandaw cruise in March. Our first was an excellent week on the Irrawaddy in Burma, our second another excellent week on the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia. Why go twice with Pandaw?

First of all, the experience clearly matches the reputation. Standards are high. Expectations are met. Experiences are excellent. We enjoyed the quality of the cabins, the meticulous organisation and attention to detail that ensured travellers needs are addressed, whatever their requirements and preferences (shoe cleaning anyone!). The food arrangements and quality could not be questioned, with plentiful alternatives for all appetites. Then there are the staff. Friendly, helpful, reliable and astonishingly hard working. They also smile and laugh, willingly and easily. You feel welcome and are welcome. This is teamwork of the highest order with unobtrusive but thoughtful and purposeful management.

Malcolm and Cath Lister on The Classic Mekong river cruise

Any suggestions for improvement? Not really. Why go with Pandaw twice? Why not go three times?

Thank you
Malcolm and Cath Lister

Mar 2017


Alice Birrell - The Upper Irrawaddy River Cruise

I am writing to thank you so much for the trip on the Upper Irrawaddy. It was so enjoyable and I can't praise everyone involved enough. I have a foot problem and all the young men helped me every time I went ashore. They did everything imaginable to make it a wonderful cruise.

The food was outstanding and so beautifully presented; we enjoyed a Bang Bang salad demonstration and then the carving, the chef is very talented. I am attaching a photo of him with his work.

As for Ko (Dominic), he was the most patient man, it must be his Buddhist Teaching. Ko was so knowledgeable and helpful.

Again, my grateful thanks to you and all your staff.

Alice Birrell

Mar 2017


Sailing up the mighty Brahmaputra River in North India with Pandaw River Cruises was a truly amazing adventure. I had always dreamed of seeing the real India and when we saw this opportunity to explore the Assam region by boat we couldn't resist.

The ship itself was wonderful - a real floating hotel. The cabins were beautifully appointed and spotless (I'd recommend a balcony birth so you can watch the ever-changing scenery slip by and enjoy an evening cocktail as the sun set) the crew were superb and really looked after us. The food was delicious with a great range of both western and Indian delicacies. Dinner was a very social affair we made some great friends and had many laughs with our fellow passengers.

Dawn Clarke and husband/partner Brahmaputra River Cruise

What really set this trip apart was the sense of discovery. Every morning we woke up to watch the majestic river reveal new landscapes. Our itinerary was jammed packed with the most amazing experiences. Everyday we had excursions to temples, local villages and tea plantations. I have to make a special mention of Venkatesh, our resident naturalist, historian and all round lovely guy. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the animals, birds and plant life and was always fascinating to talk with. When we visited temples, he could describe in detail the symbolism, spiritualism and beliefs. Every evening we were treated to talks on the wildlife and could watch the amazing sunsets from the 360- degree sundeck. One evening we disembarked to a deserted island to enjoy a bonfire barbeque and cocktails under the starlight sky.

The highlights of the trip had to be the two safaris to Kaziranga National Park. The first was by jeep which allowed us to cover a lot of ground and see as much of the abundant wildlife, culminating at sunset with a stunning view of the animals gathered at a watering hole. Our second was on elephant back which allowed us to get really close to the wildlife. At one point we were within feet of a basking Rhino, a truly amazing sight.

Dawn Clarke and husband/partner India River Cruise

Sailing with Pandaw is more than just a holiday it's a truly unique and immersive experience, a trip of a lifetime. If you're interested in getting off the beaten track and seeing slices of life that the regular tourism would miss out on then this is the trip for you. It was an unforgettable journey and I can't recommend it enough.

Dawn Clarke and husband/partner

Feb 2017


In March 2015, my family was introduced to Pandaw and Myanmar and we fell in love with both. Our seven days on the RV Kindat Pandaw were magical as we explored the areas around Mandalay and Bagan under the knowledgeable guidance of Harry. Experiencing the Irrawaddy was exciting……from getting stuck on a sandbar to spotting the dolphins (albeit at a distance). We had the good fortune to meet Stuart Hickman when we boarded and I was reassured that my food allergies had been shared extensively with the kitchen staff. This made for a very relaxed journey onboard and we could appreciate this extraordinary adventure to the fullest. A few weeks later we embarked on a classic Mekong River journey with another line which had a great reputation. While we enjoyed this experience, it could not compare to the magical trip we had on the Irrawaddy.

In March 2016, we returned to Myanmar and embarked on another Pandaw adventure. For 14 days on the Pandaw II we explored more areas of this enchanting country and river. Our travelling companions came from a wide range of backgrounds, making this trip even more interesting, rewarding and lots of fun from the time we boarded until we parted company! Once again, we met Stuart on the ship and we immediately knew that we would be well looked after. Another familiar face was Peter, our bartender from the Kindat who welcomed us warmly. We really felt like part of a special family.

As I write this, I am planning and packing for our March 2017 getaway from the Canadian winter. Our little family is again going to explore Southeast Asia and a Pandaw adventure is on the itinerary. On March 4th, we will be starting a ten day journey in Laos and we are so looking forward to it. As a real bonus, a couple from our March 2016 trip will also be there will be ABBA again! (which was referred to in another testimonial).

In closing, I would like to thank you for the wonderful, authentic journeys that Pandaw offers and hope we may have many more opportunities to explore your world.

In appreciation,
Solveig Lalla, Krishna Lalla & Lindsay Isaac-Lalla

Feb 2017


I was lucky to be on a Pandaw cruise in January. I sailed on the Pandaw Kalaw on the Irrawaddy River. I am writing to compliment you and your catering crew. The food was 5 star and varied. It was a pleasure to dine on the ship with such good staff waiting on us. They were enthusiastic and took pride in their work. Their attitude made dining a pleasurable experience. The cocktail waiter was superb and the various meals appealed to all tastes whether Asian or Western. Please would you congratulate your staff on my behalf. Their attentiveness to our needs made the trip wonderful in so many ways.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs. Robyn Georgina Ogdin

Mar 2016


Hi Angie

I'm back safe and sound from my Burmese adventure, and just wanted to drop you a line to say how very pleased I was with the trip. It all went so smoothly, from your excellent travel arrangements, to the collection to and from the lovely Mandalay Hotel and on to the boat.

Throughout my seven-night stay on the Kindat Pandaw the staff were superlative in every way - considerate, kind, humorous, patient and always helpful. The level of care was outstanding, and the guide who toured with us throughout the trip, Yen, was excellent in every way. The excursions were fascinating and well thought through, and the Burmese people incredibly open, hospitable and friendly.

The comfort of the cabins on the boat was perfect - excellent aircon, spotless hygiene, fresh flowers, unlimited water and comfortable beds, a true home from home. And as for the food - well, suffice it to say that I put on half a stone as I was unable to resist the lovely local tastes and my daily full English breakfast!

So all in all, a wonderful trip and my thanks go to you all for making it so good.

Kind regards

Sep 2015


Dear Miss Huong,

I just wanted to let you know that my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our 10-day sojourn with the Pandaw Riverboat along the network of rivers which make up the Red River Delta in northern Vietnam. This was an exceptional way to visit a large number of interesting, but remote, Vietnamese villages where we could view traditional handicrafts (such as conical hat making), ancient religious and political sites, and some ethnic communities. We also had a good two days in Hanoi with the Pandaw serving as our "floating hotel". Our guides, Mr. Long and Mr. Tifo, were attentive and informative. I learned quite a lot from them, and found them delightful company.

The quality of the Pandaw experience is excellent. The boat itself is large, spotless, with good lounging areas that offer views of the passing river banks as well as delightful cocktail service. Our room was clean, quiet, and equipped with attached bathroom. Service on board was topnotch and Pandaw staff very comfortable to be with. Dining and meals were excellent, featuring a good range of western and Asian dishes, often in fusion fashion.

This was our second trip with Pandaw, and we would certainly consider another at some time in the future. I’m attaching a couple of pictures that might be of interest.

Donald Huse

Nov 2013


Hello Paul,

Back in Aus after a really great trip to Burma and Singapore.

As far as Orient Pandaw and her crew are concerned - they were all terrific and very attentive. Cannot fault the service. The food was excellent and plentiful - most travellers vowing diets on return to Australia! You have done a great job to create such a loyal crew. Our tour guide for the 8 days was "Tom". He was excellent. Loved the ship and it really created the atmosphere of the old days on the Irrawaddy. The shore excursions were very well organised and they certainly kept us on the go. Must admit that I am not sure that I want to see another Pagoda for a while!

Myanmar has a lot of work to do on infrastructure. In general the cities seem to work Ok although the traffic in Rangoon was something else. Some of the riverside villages still do not have water pumped from the Irrawaddy. The rubbish alongside the roads and on the river banks was not pleasant to see - apparently no local administration to organise (and pay for) rubbish collection and disposal. But it does detract from the overall impression of Myanmar. Some thoughts for you:

The 6 hour bus trip from Rangoon to Prome to join the Orient Pandaw was excruciatingly long. Wouldn't it be lovely to have a flying boat from Rangoon harbour to the river at Prome!

As the river was quite low it was a bit off putting to see all the rubbish on the banks as we made our way to embark on Orient Pandaw. Would it be feasible to have this area cleaned up prior to embarkation?

Mandalay Airport. A huge structure where nothing works - they really have to do something about it. I doubt if an airline like Singapore Airlines would want to put Mandalay on their schedule with the state of the facilities there.

Whilst on the cruise, we were shown the film that you made entitled "The Forgotten Fleet" I would love to get a copy of this - can you let me know where that could be obtained?

We now have at the back of our minds that in the future a cruise from Mandalay to Bhamo at the end of the wet season (river full) say end August/early September sounds a good idea - perhaps in a couple of years or so.

Best wishes


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