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Pandaw River Cruises – Mekong Adventure

In February 2019, Elodie was lucky enough to experience Pandaw River Cruises. The Pandaw experience is all about exploring remote and often hard-to-navigate rivers in specially designed luxury small ships. Our trip included a short cruise along the Mekong from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, with a hotel stay in each city.

The flight with Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong was very enjoyable for economy class. With comfy seats and great service, the (in total 15 hour flight) was as good as can be expected

Ho Chi Miny City

I loved Ho Chi Minh City. We started by having a delicious food at a local market and saw the sites riding around town on a scooter taxi.  We finished our evening in a beautiful roof top bar on top of our hotel. For only 24 hours in this great city, we really did pack a lot into our day and wished we could have spent more time here.

 

 

RV Tonle Pandaw

After an hours drive out of the city the next morning and having learnt so much about Pandaw before this trip, to see the ship was very surreal. Modelled on Flotilla Ships, they are very traditional with teak interiors, and have low passenger numbers. I was on the Tonle Pandaw which holds just 56 passengers. All the cabins are identical spread over two decks, with a bed that can be made into a double or twin configuration and with storage underneath for your cases. A small but well-equipped bathroom and there isn’t much more needed on a cruise of this nature. All the cabins are air conditioned which did make for a nice retreat after a long excursion. However, I didn’t spend much time in the cabin. I would much rather be up on the sun deck with a book watching the world sail by me.

Onboard Tonle Pandaw

This style of cruise is for the traveller that wants to get away from modern life and explore paths that are rarely visited. But also enjoying all the luxuries these ships have to offer. The excursions gave us real insight into the lives of the people who live in this area, their day to day actives and how they make a living. From a pot making and coconut factory, to a bird sanctuary and a tree plantation just to name a few. We were also welcomed into a family’s home and made delicious savoury pancakes.

 

Cylo Tour

Phom Penh

Finishing our trip in Phom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, we enjoyed a sightseeing tour on cyclo. This was great because the city is vast and on a hot day was lovely to be driven around. Lastly we had a wonderful afternoon Tea at The Raffles Hotel which was a real treat before our final lunch onboard. We sadly left the ship behind. We headed for our hotel for the night before our flight home the next day.

 

Elodie’s Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip with Pandaw, being my first trip to Asia, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I would recommend Pandaw for a Mekong Cruise as the wealth of knowledge; service and the quality of the ship was amazing. I would have loved to stay on board for the full 7-night cruise and seen Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. This is on most people’s bucket list and a very good reason to return!

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