Pandaw Cruise Saigon to Siem Reap 8 days
The RV Pandaw Cruise
They now have four beautifully crafted Pandaw ships in operation . Each ship, hand finished in brass and teak by traditional craftsmen are in themselves objects of great beauty. The secret of our success is that on our ships, whilst luxury and comfort are discreetly present, it is the colonial character and friendly atmosphere that predominate. All our Pandaws have ultra shallow drafts and can travel to remote areas, which would be unreachable by other vessels, let alone overland.
The Pandaw stateroom is the most celebrated feature of our ships. Finished in brass and teak, the main and upper deck rooms are very spacious at 168 square feet. Much loved by all our passengers we have ensured that with each ship we build the stateroom remains the same. Our cabins do not have mini-bars, satellite TV’s, internet or phones. There is a 24 honesty bar on the sundeck. Pandaw passengers usually want to escape from the tiresome features found in international business hotels. We ask our crews never to arrive in port early and sit there tied up - indeed better to slow down if ahead of schedule.
Many passengers describe life on board a Pandaw more like being a guest on a private motor yacht than a cruise ship. Where we go and what we see is intrepid in extreme. What you come back to is a floating base of discreet comfort, caring service and all the good things one looks for in life.
Dining & Bar
The Pandaw dining rooms are designed to open up along the sides and only at night do we close them up and use air conditioning. We know our passengers want fresh air not chilled air.
We offer a great choice of local cuisine and exotic foods. We source supplies as locally as possible, given environmental health regulations. Breakfast and lunch are buffets and dinner is served at the tables. Passengers who do not like hot or spicy foods are offered European alternatives and vegetarians are well catered for. Our chefs know that the majority of passengers want to eat the best of each country they pass through.
Sailing on a Pandaw is essentially an outdoor experience. Whilst the staterooms are very comfortable and roomy, passengers prefer to spend their time sitting outside, on the promenade decks or on the vast observation deck above. Unlike other cruise ships every window (except port holes on lower deck) can open.
Exploratory shore excursions are led by local guides. When sailing our passengers sit on deck and become absorbed by great panoramas as they unfold about them. Spellbound, one cannot help but to meditate upon the unceasing human and wildlife activity of these teaming waterworlds.
Day 1: Saigon / My Tho / Cai Be
Transfer from the Renaissance Riverside Hotel in Saigon to the port of My Tho by coach to embark cruise.
Day 2: Cai Be / Sa Dec
In the morning passengers will visit Cai Be and its colourful floating market. In the afternoon take an exciting Sampan boat excursion to Sa Dec via Vinh Long, along canals and backwaters and see the local market and the ancient house of Mr, Huyn Thuy Le, the 'lover' of Marguerite Duras, a famous French novelist.
Day 3: Chau Doc / Border Crossing
Visit a Cham tribal village, a cat fish farm, and enjoy a trishaw ride round Chau Doc. Return to the ship by boat for lunch and cast off for the Cambodian border for the usual formalities.
Day 4: Phnom Penh
Passengers will visit Phnom Penh and will be provided with their own private cyclo*. The Cyclo Centre Phnom Penh which provides the cyclos is a charity that provides basic welfare and medical services to cyclo drivers (www.cyclo.org.uk).
In the afternoon, optional excursion (by coach) to the Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge's grim Tuol Sleng or S21 detention centre. This tour is included in the cost of your cruise but must be requested at the time of booking in the comments box.
Day 5: Tonle River / Kampong Chhnang
Excursion up the Tonle River to Kampong Chhnang either by ship or by coach depending on water levels. Beyond Kampong Chhnang travel by the Pandaw Explorer to discover the vast wetlands around the mouth of the river. Here many fishtraps may be seen.
Day 6: Kampong Cham / Mekong River
We stop at the little-known Chong Koh silk-weaving village for a morning walk at leisure. In the afternoon we stop at Peam Chi Kang village to visit the wat or monastery and school. In the wat the splendid village racing boats are stored.
Day 7: Kampong Cham Area
Passengers visit the hilltop temple of Wat Hanchey in the morning. In the afternoon, travel by bus to visit the Twin Holy mountains of Phnom Pros and Phnom Srey (Man and Woman Hill). Continuation to the ecotourism village of Choeungkok supported by the Frech-Cambodian NGO Amica and the Pandaw-supported Kampong Cham orphanage.
Day 8: Transfer to Siem Reap
Early morning coach transfer to the Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa in Siem Reap. Refreshments will be provided and we will stop at Kampong Thom along the way. Arrive at Siem Reap mid afternoon.
Cruise Price Includes:
Entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, locally made soft and alcoholic beverages, jugged coffee and selection of teas and tisanes, mineral water. Transfers between the meeting point and the ship at the start and end of a voyage (In Saigon: Renaissance Riverside Hotel / In Siem Reap: Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa).
Cruise Price Excludes:
International flights, port dues, airport transfers, laundry, all visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions), imported beverages such as wines, premium spirits and liqueurs, fancy soft drinks like Perrier, espressos and cappuccinos at bar.
River Conditions Warning!
The rivers you will sail on are subject to seasonal rises and falls of water level, in some places as much as 30 metres. Water levels can change dramatically overnight and a sudden rise can impede our progress upstream considerably and even prevent us from passing under certain bridges. A sudden fall can result in our being unable to get into certain places or go as far upstream as we would hope. Groundings on sandbars are not infrequent and are part of the excitement of any Pandaw expedition. Published itineraries are indicational only and subject to sudden change. In such events alternative itineraries will be provided and we do our best to ensure that if a stop is missed we make up for it with another stop. Passengers are thus forewarned and expected to be flexible and patient. River cruising in Asia can be a dramatic and adventurous experience - not like cruising the controlled waterways of Europe or America. Note also that we operate in areas with little or no developed infrastructure and subject to the strictures of local officialdom. Be prepared for this and it is all more the fun!
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