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Back to Homepage / Testimonials / Dec 2015



Dear Mr. Strachan:

I wanted to give you additional feedback on our recent 7-day cruise on the RV Kalay Pandaw down the Chindwin. We are frequent visitors to Myanmar and were enticed on a Pandaw cruise to visit an area of the country not easily accessible otherwise. While I confess we had some reservations (being in close confines with 8 other passengers for 7 days being one of them), we were blown away – mostly everything exceeded our expectations, including our fellow passengers. The ship which I understand you had built for your own use, is very comfortable and kept in immaculate condition – we stayed in the owner’s suite which we loved. You can be very proud of the ship’s team led by our purser Win Myo. Win and his able assistant Maing provided unobtrusive and simply excellent service at every turn. In his unassuming and low-key manner Win ensured that his passengers’ various expectations were met and that everyone was onboard with the plan for the day.

The rest of the crew were kind and helpful and my husband who has a bad leg truly appreciated their discretion and their willingness to assist whenever necessary. I read your book with great interest while lounging on the deck between excursions and understanding the challenges this poses in a country like Myanmar, I can tell you that your customer service/hotel senior managers have done an outstanding job in training the teams to provide 5-star service. It seemed impossible that these beautifully prepared and presented meals were coming out of that small kitchen. Win’s Shan tea salads and all the seafood dishes (including the Prawn Burger) were stand-outs for me. There were nothing but rave reviews about the food from all 9 passengers, including the one vegetarian among us. The New Year’s party on a sandbank with dancing to 50s music was a blast by the way.

Finally we were grateful to have San Lin Tun as a guide – he is very knowledgeable, well-spoken and the consummate professional - overall my husband and I both rate him as the best guide we’ve had in Myanmar or anywhere else for that matter. The excursions were all very well chosen – for us the visits to Kanee and the Phowin Taung Caves were highlights. Mingkin was very interesting although we thought its comparison to Luang Prabang and Bagan by some to be bit of a stretch.

I offer some suggestions for your consideration. The weather on the Chindwin can be quite cool in the early morning and evening so blankets to keep warm on the deck would be appreciated. Also the pre-departure literature should mention that warm clothing is required. Some of us would have brought additional warm clothing. Merchandising suggestion – books are excellent but you would also do well with polo shirts and sweaters and caps.

In summary we greatly enjoyed our first Pandaw expedition and we look forward to experiencing another one on our next trip to our beloved Myanmar.


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