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    Vietnam Mekong Cruises

Saigon - Angkor Cruise by Mekong Pandaw 8 days

Ho chi minh - My tho - Vinh long - Chau doc - Phnompenh - Kampong cham - Siem reap
Starts in:
Ho Chi Minh City
Ends in:
Siem reap
8 Days in Length
Tour code:

Boat description

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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.

Pandaw Stateroom
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.

Promenade Decks
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.

Length  200ft/60m
Beam     36ft /11m
Draught    4ft /1.5m
Berths    64 pax
Decks    4: Lower, Main, Upper, Sun
Engines    2 x 550bhp Isuzu
Propulsion    nboard system
Build    2003

Cell phones, Sat phones (where permitted by local authorities) VHF and SSB radio, internal phone system, PA system and tannoy system for navigation purposes.
Smoke detectors in all cabins and public places, emergency lighting and generator, fire pump, hydrants and hoses, fire extinguishers, life jackets for all on board and life rafts.
28 per vessel of mixed Asean nationalities.
European expatriate experts employed directly by Pandaw Cruises supervising experienced Asian Pursers

Day 1: Saigon - My Tho ( L,D )
Registration is at 0830 at the Renaissance Riverside Hotel in Saigon (8-15 Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1) and transfer at 0900 to the Delta Port of My Tho by coach arriving at 1100 for check in followed by port and immigration formalities.  My Tho is the hub of the Delta, but not of great cultural interest, so once on board we set sail at 1300 and have lunch. In the afternoon we moor near Cai Be and make a fascinating trip by traditional junk to explore evergreen islands and at the former Imperial residence, the An Kiet House. Surviving members of the Kiet family will welcome us with tea and we can wander in the fruit orchards around the house. Overnight moor mid-stream Cai Be.

Day 2: Cai Be – Vinh Long - Sadec - Culao Gien - Chau Doc ( B, L,D )
Half day cruise excursion on board traditional sampan boats to Sad Dec via Vinh Long, along small canals and back waters.
We begin by visiting Cai Be and its colorful floating market which takes place daily in front of the catholic church.    A further stop on the river bank then allows us to see local factories where rice pasta, coconut candies and other specialities are traditionally made.  Also visit a Mandarins house dating from late 19th century.
Cruise further by Sampan to Dong Hoa Hiep islet to explore the rural life and the daily activities of the delta inhabitants seeing palm tree leave weaving, traditional wooden boat factories and fruit orchard plantations.
Back on board your sampan, we will cruise up the Tien River where we see water hyacinths, an important Mekong delta product used for furniture and baskets and then visit a traditional brick and tile factory. 
Sa Dec will then appear like a little “Venice” with its numerous narrow canals and various kinds of traditional activities on the banks. You will disembark at the local market for a visit, then proceed to the splendid ancient house of Mr. Huyn Thuy Le, the “lover” of Marguerite Duras, famous French novelist and inspiration for the film L'Amant-The Lover directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud .
After lunch on board the Pandaw, cast off for Chau Doc.  En route visit Cu Lao Gien island and a Catholic monastery called “La Providence” built in 1875 by the French nuns of “Saint Paul de Chartres”.  Cu Lao Gien became an important Catholic centre with mission, an orphanage, school, hospice and leprosy centre that can treat 1,000 people. During the Japanese invasion the monastery was abandoned; operations were resumed after 1945 until 1977. Nowadays Cu Lao Gian serves as a retreat for 180 retired nuns taken care of by novices.

Day 3;  Chau Doc  Border Crossing – Phnompenh ( B, L,D )
From the main Mekong channel we travel down to Chau Doc jetty where we transfer to small boats to visit a Cham tribal village and a cat fish farm. We take a trishaw ride round this fascinating town of fine French-colonial buildings and see its bustling market. Return to the ship by boat for lunch and cast off for the Cambodian border for the usual formalities. Evening cruise up the broad Mekong channel, which is an international shipping route. Moor overnight just downstream from Phnom Penh.

Day 4:  Phnom Penh ( B, L,D )
The capital of Cambodia retains its French charm. The city has several impressive wats, including Wat Ounalom, Wat Phnom and the newly-painted Wat Lang Ka. Pride of place goes to the Royal Palace and to the spectacular Silver Pagoda, one of the few places in Cambodia where artifacts embodying the brilliance and richness of Khmer culture were preserved by the Khmer Rouge. The National Museum is another highlight, with outstanding displays of Khmer crafts.
For the morning escursion we are delighted to have teamed up with The Cyclo Centre Phnom Penh to offer an alternative to a conventional coach tour.  The Cyclo Centre is a charity that provides basic welfare and medical services to cyclo drivers, many of whom are very poor They will provide us with trained drivers with basic English and a good knowledge of the key sights. You decide where you want to go and what you want to see and off you go on your private cyclo for the morning. (For groups if a conventional guide and coach are required we are happy to supply).
In the afternoon an optional excursion (by coach) is arranged to the Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge’s grim Tuol Sleng or S21 detention centre situated in the suburbs of the city then shopping at the Russian market or Central market. Booking for this tour should be made at the time of booking or at the latest on board the first day of the cruise.
More happily, Phnom Penh has a lively night life, and some passengers choose to dine ashore or try one of the capital’s many watering holes; a favorites being the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.

Day 5 : Phnom Penh  - Kampong Cham ( B, L,D )
Early morning departure from Phnom Penh and a stop at the little-known Chong Koh silk weaving village for a morning walk at leisure. We cruise past the Mekong’s timeless villages and river life with extensive fishing activities. The scenery is very lovely here, and in the distance, forested hills rise. On the river above Phnom Penh there is little shipping, just real Cambodian life. In the afternoon we stop at Peam Chi Kang village to visit the wat or monastery and school. Passengers are at leisure to explore this peaceful and friendly community. In the wat the splendid village racing boats are stored.

Day  6:  Kampong Cham Area ( B, L,D )
Morning journey upriver to the hilltop pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey. Dating from the 8th century, these ancient brick structures characterise the architecture of the Chenla Empire which predated the glories of Angkor. Sail back downstream over lunch for an exploration of the Kampong Cham Area. We travel by bus to the 12th century Angkorian temple of Wat Nokor. This colourful temple is unique in Cambodia, as a modern wat is set within the ruins of an ancient temple. We continue to the eco village of Cheungkok supported by the French-Cambodian NGO AMICA and the Kampong Cham orphanage, supported by the Pandaw Trust programme. Legends abound about the origins of these hills, and there are many pagodas and shrines on the hilltops.

Day 7 :  Tonle River ( B, L,D )
We glance by the capital Phnom Penh in the early morning to change pilots, and then sail the Tonle River which connects Tonle Lake with the Mekong and Bassac Rivers that merge at Phnom Penh. This river journey is a highlight of the trip. We wind our way through jungle, and as the river narrows we feel we can almost reach out and touch the houses and people who come out to cheer our ship on. Temples abound along the river banks at Kampong Chhnang, and we see the rich tapestry of Cambodian rural life. This is a busy rural port town with bustling markets. Mooring mid-stream, we make a truly wonderful motor boat excursion into the lakeside wetlands that form the mouth of the river. Here a stunning variety of birdlife may be seen and of considerable interest are the great fish traps, some half a kilometre long, which net a huge tonnage of fish after each monsoon as the fish migrate from the falling lake into the Tonle River
Day 8:  Tonle Sap - Siem Reap ( B )
The great lake dominates Cambodia and is over 150 Km in length. Here bird life is profuse, and from the middle of the lake one cannot even see the shores. There is a great stillness and tranquility as we pass floating fishing villages.
Because the water levels of the lake and river vary a great deal according to the time of year and rainfall, we will then either:
1. High water, approximately August - November. Cross the Tonle Lake at dawn and 1000 disembark at Siem Reap Port for onward coach transfer to the the legendary 1932-built Raffles GRAND HOTEL d'ANGKOR  (11 Vithei Charles de Gaulle, Khum Svay Dang Kum) in Siem Reap by 1100.
2. Low water, approximately November - August. Coach transfer  at 0700 from Prek Dom on the Tonle River to the legendary 1932-built Raffles GRAND HOTEL d'ANGKOR  (11 Vithei Charles de Gaulle, Khum Svay Dang Kum) in Siem Reap stopping at Kampong Thom. Packed lunch and refreshments provided. Arrive by 1200.

Cost in USD per cabin on Pandaw Boat
From 3 Oct.2009 to 27 Mar.2010

Cabin Type

Price/ cabin

Upper Deck Twin


Uper Deck Single


Main Deck Twin


Main Deck Single


Lower Deck Single


From 19 Jun.2009 to 30 Sept. 2010

Cabin Type

Price/ cabin

Upper Deck Twin


Uper Deck Single


Main Deck Twin


Main Deck Single


Lower Deck Twin


Lower Deck Single


Cruise includes:

•    8 days Pandawcruise as stated above
•    7 nights in RV Mekong Pandaw or The RV Tole Sap Pandaw
•    English speaking guide on board
•    Transfers as stated in the itinerary
•    Meals as indicated in the itinerary  with local foods (B= breakfast; L=Lunch; D = Dinner)
•    Admission fees and permits where applicable
•    Government taxes and Service Charge
Cruise excludes:

•    Airfares & airport taxes
•    Visa  in Vietnam Vietnam visa arrangement (upon request visa on arrival at 15 USD, not including stamping fee at 25 USD)
•     Visa in Cambodia ( available at the border at 20 USD/visa )
•    Travel insurance
•    Other personal expenses

Note :  Port tax 65 USD/pax is applicable for all customers for the booking from May 08
Other Vietnam Mekong Cruises
• Saigon - Angkor along mekong river 8 days
• MCV19: Mekong delta & Cambodia Gate way 7 days
• Saigon - Phnompenh Cruise by Le Bassac 3 days
• Mekong Cruise Saigon - Phnompenh 3 days
• Mekong Cruise - Caibe floating market 1 day
• Mekong Cruise My Tho - Ben Tre 1 day
• Mekong river cruise 2 days
• Mekong River Cruise 3 days
• Mekong river cruise by Le Bassac 2 days 1 night
• Mekong river cruise by Le Bassac 3 days 2 nights
• Mekong cruise on Le cochinchine 2 days 1 night
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• Private Song xanh sampan 2 days 1 night
• Private Song xanh sampan Saigon - Rach gia 3 days
• Song xanh sampan Saigon - Phnompenh 4 days
• Mekong cruise on private mien tay Sampan 2 days
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