News from Pandaw - October 2021 | Pandaw.com
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News from Pandaw - October 2021

News from Pandaw - October 2021

It is eighteen months since we had to suspend operations due to COVID and it will be another year before we formally recommence operations.

This has been a very tough and challenging time for all of us at Pandaw and indeed for anyone in travel. I thought I would let all our members know what we have been up to and what our plans to restart are.

Despite the lack of furlough schemes and other forms of government support in the countries we operate in, we have managed to keep minimal crew on the ships who have continued with maintenance programmes and from the weekly reports and photos we receive they are looking good.

After what will be two and a half years of lay-up they will be needing quite a bit of TLC before we start, particularly with the soft furnishings and d├ęcor and we have a plan for that. Nearly all of our old team are ready to re-join and we will begin re-recruiting and re-training mid next year.

Things are certainly looking up but many of our passengers are being cautious about rebooking as airlines have lagged behind in updating schedules. I know because I was just planning a trip next month to get around Asia and check the ships and the only flights I could find from India to Thailand were via Dubai! Hopefully airlines will get up to speed again before too long.

India

India has just announced that it is reopening to tourist charter flights on 15 October 2021 and for individual tourists from 15 November 2021. They are now close to one billion vaccinations and have achieved the 70% vaccination target required to be open for travel.

We are planning a couple of 'restart' cruises on the Ganges in January 2022 and if you would like to register (no deposit required) then please CLICK HERE. If we get enough people together we will propose dates. Emirates and Qatar are currently flying in and out of Kolkotta connecting to most European cities.

Thailand & Vietnam

There will be no requirement for quarantine in Thailand from November 2021 and Vietnam from December 2021 for fully vaccinated tourists.

Cambodia & Laos

We do not have news yet from either Laos or Cambodia but expect them to follow Thailand and Vietnam as soon as they have reached the 70% vaccination level.

Burma (Myanmar)

Sadly Burma/Myanmar is going to be off the cards for some years to come. The press no longer report the situation there but for those us who are following events on www.irrawaddy.com and www.frontiermyanmar.net we can see the country sliding into a full scale civil war between the military dictatorship and the PDFs (People's Defence Forces) in alliance with insurgent armies like the KIA (Kachin Independence Army). I am not aware of any historical precedent where a nation's army has declared war on its own people.

Burma is where we started twenty-six years ago, and I have been involved there for forty years, so what is going on is heart rendering. Ma Wah Wah still goes into the office each day and our marine-super Captain Maung Maung Oo is keeping our fleet of seven vessels there painted and polished. One day we will sail there again in what we hope will be a democratic Burma at peace with itself.

Many of our passengers have very generously donated to our Pandaw Clinics appeal that has raised over USD200,000 that has been mainly spent on medical supplies and food aid. On behalf of the Pandaw doctors and their teams, and the otherwise hungry village people, a big thank you to all our passengers who contributed.

UK & EU Residents New Payment Option

If you are making a booking you will see that we have introduced a new feature for UK and EU residents. This is a payment gateway called 'Volt' that enables a fast, easy to use and low-cost way to transfer money bank to bank using a QR code linking to your bank app on your phone, or by logging in to your bank as part of the online booking process. It is also very secure. Volt hope to roll this out in Australia and America next year.

$100 Deposit Offer

We have continued the USD100 deposit scheme for over a year now and plan to discontinue this and collect full deposits once we are assured that all our destinations, bar Burma, are fully opened. It's great that so many of our members have supported us through this lean period by optimistically making future bookings. This really has helped raised morale here during what would otherwise be a dark time.

A big thank you for all your loyalty and support and like you we cannot wait to get sailing again!

 

Paul Strachan
Pandaw Founder

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