Pandaw River Cruises
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Luxury small ship river cruises in Asia
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General Information - Pandaw Owned Ships


Your cabin has its own air-conditioning unit, which can be adjusted for your comfort. We recommend you do not overcool your cabin as the sudden change from the outside temperature to a chilled cabin can bring on colds, respiratory illnesses and even stomach upsets. At night you may prefer to use the fan only, and have the windows open. Insect netting covers the windows to enable you to do this. Please do not leave your air-conditioner on with the window open – this results in energy loss.

Bar, Dining Room, Shop and Spa Bills

You will be asked to sign a bill for all items ordered and you will be presented with the account in US$ on the last day aboard.

All bills on board ship will be in US$ in cash or credit card. We take Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Maestro, Discover, Diners Club, JCB and China UnionPay. You can pay in your own curreny if you pay with a credit or debit card. We do not take personal cheques or traveller's cheques.

Card Fees for Onboard Bill
A fee of 4% will be charged for card payments. You can pay in your own currency and will not pay foreign card usage fees from your bank, and we use pure exchange rates with no hidden commission.

Bank fees for using a card abroad or getting cash from an ATM are typically 3-5%. We always clearly show the fee next to the currency rate on our payment app, and on email receipts.

Local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes are free of charge, other drinks will be charged. A complimentary daily cocktail will be served made by local spirit.


All boats have duvets. Please inform your purser should you need additional blankets.

Buying Things

Bargaining is quite normal in all Asian countries. The best technique is to ask for a discount as if you are asking for a favour. There are few souvenirs on offer in the non-touristic villages we stop at.

Cabin Mini Safes

All cabins have been fitted with European made mini-safes (not on all partner ships available).


Email :

Saigon Office : +84 (0)28 4458 2618

If you get our voicemail please leave your name and number and we will call you back Monday – Friday within 24 hours.

Ship Emergency Contact

RV Bassac Pandaw in Cambodia : +855 (0)96 624 2736 / In Vietnam : +84 (0)34 986 3196
RV Angkor Pandaw in Vietnam : +84 (0)33 466 6734

RV Laos Pandaw in Thailand: +66 (0) 979 396 825 / In Laos: +856 (0)20 9843 1512
RV Champa Pandaw in Thailand : +66 (0)65 649 7550 / In Laos: +856 (0)20 9813 3284
RV Sabaidee in Thailand: +66 (0)8 1093 9870 / In Laos: ++856 (0)20 9428 5552

RV Katha Pandaw (Upper Ganges) : +91 (0)89 1088 0430
RV Kalaw Pandaw (Lower Ganges) : +91 (0)89 1034 1602

Disembarkation from the Ship

Exact details will be posted on the ‘Daily Schedule’ on board and if there is to be an early departure then we will ask you to settle the bill the evening before we disembark. Onward transfers, if included in the package you booked with us, will be arranged as per the attached itinerary.


230 volts two round pin type as found in Continental Europe (multi plugs on all Pandaw Cruises vessels).

Emergency Procedures

The ship is fitted with modern smoke detectors, and fire alarms, extinguishers and hoses. Alarms are situated at regular intervals along the Promenade Decks. Fire extinguishers are located at regular intervals around the promenade decks and outside all public rooms.


South-East Asians are generally tolerant and easy going. Please try to avoid political discussion and remember that the Vietnamese national hero “Uncle” Ho Chi Minh enjoys near divine stature and any disrespect shown to his name or memory can cause extreme offence. Despite opening the door to Capitalism Vietnam remains a fervently Communist society with a dominant Communist Party. Likewise in Myanmar please do not raise political issues with people – let them raise them with you. You could compromise people and even get them into trouble by talking politics.

In Myanmar and Cambodia, one thing that does cause upset is any form of disrespect for the national religion, Theravada Buddhism. Unlike many faiths, Buddhists make their temples open to us foreigners, permitting the snapping of cameras and invasion of their sacred space. They ask only one thing: that we take our shoes off. Even socks are forbidden in Myanmar. In addition please observe the following:

  • Try not to point with your feet.
  • In the company of monks or elders never cross your legs.
  • Do not touch people on the head or upper body.
  • When beckoning someone to come over do not flap your hand in the standard Western
  • ‘come here’ motion; instead turn the hand round so that your palm flaps down towards yourself.
  • Do not shake hands with monks or nuns as people in general rarely shake hands;
  • rather smile and nod away.
  • Ladies should never sit down next to a monk.
  • Shorts and skirts should be longish (below the knee) for both sexes but it is OK to expose arms.


When moored you are welcome to come and go from the ship as much as you like. Our next sailing time will be advised on the Daily Schedule and passengers are requested to note this before disembarkation. Group shore excursions are organised by the Purser and you will be accompanied by a member of the ship’s company. Details of these are posted on the Daily Schedule. Fifteen minutes prior to casting off the captain will sound the ship’s horn to warn you to return to the ship. Passengers should hang their keys on the key board hanging adjacent to the gang plank when disembarking so that we know if anyone has not returned. If you go ashore with your cabin keys and we leave without you we can not be held responsible for this. We will attempt to devise on shore time in the cool of the early morning or late afternoon

Fire Risk and Smoking

Smoking is not permitted in your cabin or any internal areas. Smoking is permitted in outside designated areas only. But please be considerate of people sitting down wind. This is a wood-finished ship and the danger of fire should never be ignored.

Food Safety and Hygiene

Bottled water is used for cooking and food preparation onboard. Off the vessel never accept ice in drinks and avoid ice creams, crushed sugar cane, salads and the skins of fruits.


Pandaw Cruises slippers are provided for your comfort on board the vessel. When ashore guests should use comfortable but safe walking shoes. At certain times the river banks and paths used can be muddy and therefore slippery or very dusty and we ask you to remove your footwear when returning on board so that we can clean your shoes for you and return them to you later.

Going Ashore

Because of the varying nature of the river bank the method of getting ashore may differ from time to time and on occasions access may be difficult. We will ensure the gangways are safe and that crew and team are on hand to assist you.


Gratuities to the Pandaw Cruises crew are included in the price of your ticket. Kindly note that gratuities to local guides are not included and are completely at your discretion.


All guides services are in the English language. Guides in other languages may be supplied by special arrangement at additional cost which may include using guest accommodation at guest rates.


Hairdryers are installed in all cabins.

Insect Precautions

External doors and the gauze windows should be kept closed at all times, day and night. At night, if on deck or going ashore make sure to rub ankles and other exposed parts with repellent. However, outside urban areas mosquito is less of a problem than other forms of insect life. Make sure to switch off lights when leaving your cabin so as not to lure them in. Between January and March insects, but not mosquito, can be a real problem and invade the ship. Fortunately these are relatively harmless. Mosquito on the river, which is fast flowing, are rarely to be seen.

Joining the Ship

Your attached itinerary contains exact details of the rendezvous for embarkation or transfer to embarkation if this is included in the package you have booked with us. Please note that we will not collect passengers from other hotels as this will lengthen the travel time for those who checked in at the right time and at the right place. We are under no obligation to look for passengers who do not check in on time. Such passengers will have to find their own way to join the ship at their own expense. The only exception to this is by prior arrangement for full charter party passengers.


A laundry bag is provided for your laundry needs, and a laundry list is to be found in the rattan folder by your bed. Laundry is collected each morning when your room is made up and will be returned to you by the following day. Please leave items in the bag provided and mark up the list. The charges will go on your bill in US$. If there is an item that you do not wish ironed please advise us.

Life Jackets

These are kept in the wardrobe in your cabin and at muster stations.

Meals on board

Breakfast is a buffet, lunch and dinner served at the tables. We offer a selection of Southeast Asian and Western cuisine and there are always vegetarian dishes available. Special diets may be catered for with advance notification and agreement. Our policy is to use as much locally purchased produce as possible to help the economies of the villages and towns we stop at but ensuring highest hygiene standards. We try and avoid imported products and give our passengers a real taste of the lands through which they pass. Exotic fruit, fresh organic vegetables, locally caught fish and prawns are the preference of most of our passengers.

Please note we will always try to cover any food request even Vegans but there are 2 food requests impossible to supply on our boats. They are Halal Food and Kosher Food. Unfortunately our boats are not setup to provide these two options.


You should check with your doctor that you are fit for travel and your doctor would check with the relevant organization in your country as to whether any prophylactic drugs or inoculations are required. We do not have facilities for disabled people or wheel chair access. There are no stair lifts. River banks can be steep and slippery. If a passenger is seen to be unfit or unable to access a ship and mount stairs unaided then the management reserves the right to refuse to carry that passenger.

We carry first aid equipment and some medicines. All our senior staff has attended First Aid courses. On the river we are never far from a local medical station and we have found that some local doctors usually speak English or French and practice a good standard of field medicine. In the event of serious illness or accident we are never more than 2 hours by car or speed boat from a hospital or clinic (NOTE: this does not apply for the remote Burmese coast). In the Conditions of Carriage you are required to take out an insurance policy that includes repatriation in the event of an emergency.

Please make sure you have sufficient travel and health insurance. Some hospitals refuse treatment if there is not coverage by an insurance.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones work on all the rivers we ply in most places. There is hardly no reception i.e. on the Chindwin and Upper Irrawaddy.


The currency on board in Burma, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia is US$. All passengers will have their own ship account, which allows you to sign a bill for all purchases and services throughout your cruise. All bills on board the ships will be in in US$ or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Maestro, Discover, Diners Club, JCB and China UnionPay – both credit & debit cards). Please note that we do not accept traveller cheques on board. In Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar most vendors ashore take dollars. Please note that ships, vendors and banks in Cambodia do not accept small dollar bills below USD10.00 anymore. Please change your money before your cruise at the airport or your hotel. ATMs are available in major cities. Travellers' cheques can be exchanged in local banks in all countries. Do not believe the guide books when they say you are forced to change money at the airport on arrival – that has not been the case for several years now!

The currency on board in India is Indian Rupees (INR). All guest will have their own ship account, which allows you to sign a bill for all purchases and services throughout your cruise. All bills on board the ships will need to be settled in cash (INR or USD) or Credit Card (Visa, Master Card, not American Express). We do not take personal cheques or traveler's cheques

Morning Call

If you would like to be woken up at any time please advise the Purser the night before.

Moving About the Ship

It goes without saying that this is a ship rather than a hotel, and as such you will need to take care when moving about the decks ~ they can be slippery. Please take extra care when using the stairs ~ which on board ship are steeper than you may be used to. It’s best to always use the handrails.

Muster Stations

In the event of an emergency the ship’s whistle will blast repeatedly and the alarm bells be rung. If either in or very close to your cabin, put on your life jacket and proceed immediately to MUSTER STATION ONE, and await instructions. On the back of your cabin door is a plan of the ship showing the position of your cabin in relation to the Emergency Muster Stations.

MUSTER STATION ONE in all ships is located on the MAIN DECK mid ships (where the main gang plank is). In the event that MUSTER STATION ONE is not safe you will be directed by the crew to MUSTER STATION TWO on the SUN DECK.

Both muster stations are clearly indicated with signs. If you are not in your cabin when you hear the alarm, do NOT return to it, but proceed at once to the Muster Station to await instructions. There will be an Emergency Drill during your voyage. Note that as with inland water class cruise ships on European rivers we are not required by Class Societies to carry life boats – the reason for this is that it is far quicker to beach the vessel on the nearest sand bar or river bank and evacuate by foot than to transfer passengers onto ship’s boats.

No Go Areas

These areas are clearly indicated as ‘Crew Only’. We ask you to respect these areas as the crew may be working there and your safety can not be guaranteed. These areas include: Main Deck bow area, galley, engine rooms, crew accommodation, gang ways aft of Sun Deck. Crew have been instructed to escort any unauthorized persons from these areas and make a report to the Captain.

Passport Validity

Please ensure that your passport has sufficient validity (over six months) before travelling and enough empty pages.

River Conditions

Conditions vary depending on the season. In the dry season (November-March) the water level of the river will be quite low and in places will have dropped more than 50 foot from its monsoon level (June- Sept). Though the river can be miles wide, channels may be narrow and hard to follow. There is thus some risk of running aground on submerged sand banks and our captain has to take extreme care.


In the countries in which we operate tourists are rarely targets for theft and when sailing most of passengers do not bother to lock their doors. When in port a 24 hour watch is kept on the gangplank controlling access to the ship but please then keep your deck door locked when not in use and at night. All cabins have a combination type safe – please use a number you can remember like the last 4 digits of your phone number or your date of birth. The company cannot be held liable for loss of money, jewellery or other valuable items from the ship or whilst on an excursion ashore during a voyage. In the Conditions of Carriage you are required to have taken personal travel insurance cover this.

Ship's Office

These are located either in the bar or on the upper deck landing or lower deck. The Purser and key team members are available to assist at designated times.

Ship’s Shop, Post Cards and Stamps

We have a small boutique on board with a collection of locally made handicrafts. Post Cards and stamps are also from the Ship’s Shop. Outside of the tourist centres of Saigon, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, opportunities to buy postcards are virtually non-existent.

Tea, Coffee and Beverages

Complimentary tea and coffee are available from 6 a.m. on the Sun Deck for throughout the day. Mineral water (local) is provided in all cabins daily. Additional bottles are available on request. Water is provided at all meals. Local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes are also complimentary, all other drinks will be charged.

Butler service – morning tea and coffee served to your cabin.


Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos: 7 hours ahead of GMT
Myanmar: 6 hrs 30 mins ahead of GMT
Ganges & Brahmaputra River/India: 5hrs 30 mins ahead of GMT
One less hour for summer time and one less hour for European time.


All travellers to India, Myanmar and Vietnam must get a visa before travel and should contact the nearest consulate. For Laos and Cambodia visas may be issued at the border on arrival with payment of the appropriate fee and make sure to have two passport photos. Most nationalities do not need a visa for Thailand. However, please note that land arrivals, after disembarkation of your Pandaw Cruises expedition, will only be given a 15 day permit to stay in Thailand. Guests staying longer in Thailand need to apply for a visa. Please contact the Thai Embassy in your home country. The cost of visas are not included in the cost of your holiday. Pandaw Cruises is happy to help with your visa requirements.

Please check the embassy in your home country for the latest updates. More information can be found on information/visas/.

Water and Towels

The ship’s water supply comes from the river after passing through a sterilization plant. This water is suitable for washing and brushing teeth but should not be drunk. Bottled mineral water is provided for drinking, free of charge. To save water and reduce detergent use we will only change towels daily if they are placed on the floor. We have copious supplies of hot water but you may have to run the water for two minutes before it gets hot.

Your Purser

Once on board, you will be looked after by an experienced Pandaw Cruises Purser who will do his or her best to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible. Both the hotel staff and the ship’s crew are here to ensure that you are as well looked after as is possible within the confines of an expedition vessel making pioneering journeys.

Your Daily Schedule

Attached with your ticket is a general itinerary listing the main stops of your river expedition. However, much depends on river conditions and other local factors, so we will post a detailed Daily Schedule each day – ideally the night before. This will contain a fact sheet with as much information as we can garner on the sites we intend to visit on the following day. Guests are asked to remain patient and flexible. We do our best to devise as interesting and exciting programs as possible but, being an ‘expedition’, it is not always possible to follow itineraries to the letter and river conditions may alter by the hour. Please keep an eye on the notice board for any subsequent notice of any changes to the Daily Schedule – our ships are equipped with Public Address systems but we try and use these as seldom as we can.

Your Stateroom

We want you to be as comfortable as possible during your voyage with us. Our stewarding team will do their best to ensure the highest possible standards of cleanliness and try to make you as much at home as possible. Please do not hesitate to ask if you require anything at all and please let us know if you are not satisfied with any aspect of our care of you. Note that cabins do not have mini bars, TVs or phones. All have own air conditioning, mini-safe, luggage storage, wardrobe, writing desk and amenities include hair drier, kimono, slippers. All upper and main deck cabins have own deck space with own rattan chairs and table outside the room.


Complimentary WiFi is provided on the main sun deck and inside the dining & saloon area only on all Pandaw Cruises ships. For guests who bring their own WiFi enabled devices please note that due to the rural nature of some of our river cruise destinations WiFi may not be stable and not always available in some areas.

Pandaw Cruises Pte Ltd ©2023 Pandaw Cruises Ltd. All rights reserved.

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