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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our third trip to Myanmar (Burma) and our first river cruise. The Pandaw cruise line originated in Burma, and I wouldn't consider any other cruise line for a Burma river cruise. Our cruise was on the Chindwin River, far off ... Read More
This was our third trip to Myanmar (Burma) and our first river cruise. The Pandaw cruise line originated in Burma, and I wouldn't consider any other cruise line for a Burma river cruise. Our cruise was on the Chindwin River, far off the tourist track. We saw no other westerners from the time we boarded our ship in Monywa until we disembarked in Homalin. The Pandaw Kalay is a very shallow draft ship, designed specifically for the shallow rivers of Burma. With just 5 cabins, the small ship offered an intimate cruising experience. We were in the huge owner's cabin, with windows curving across the front of the cabin. It was a lovely space. The crew were gracious and helpful, always accommodating. The food was excellent. We were the only passengers who had not been on a previous Pandaw cruise, and while all said the food on Pandaw cruises is very good, the food on our cruise was really exceptional. There were twice a day stops at villages to visit stupas, shrines, monasteries, markets and schools in small villages. We were onboard on election day, so seeing the people lined up to vote and hearing what they had to say about the election was a great experience. There were no docks at any of our stops. But the ship had a flexible metal gangplank (with handrails) that made getting on and off the ship as easy as possible. Also, crew members were available to help anyone who needed assistance. I would term this a luxury adventure cruise. We traveled to Mandalay several days before the cruise. A bus picked up all the passengers at their hotels and drove us the two hours to Monywa. At the end of the cruise, a flight back to Mandalay or onward to Yangon was included in the cruise price. Drinks made with local liquor and local beers were included as well as drinking water. Wine was extra. We availed ourselves of their laundry services (very reasonably priced). There is not an entertainment program, but the ship has a small library with many books on Burma. This is not a cruise for children. We loved this cruise and will take another Pandaw cruise in Burma. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
Our trip on the river Chindwin was due to go from Monywa to Homalin, but due to the river levels being very low, we only reached Kalaywa. It was our first visit to Burma and our first river trip and we found the whole experience a delight. ... Read More
Our trip on the river Chindwin was due to go from Monywa to Homalin, but due to the river levels being very low, we only reached Kalaywa. It was our first visit to Burma and our first river trip and we found the whole experience a delight. There were only 10 passengers – 4 cabins on the first deck and the Owner’s cabin on the second deck which is where we were. Dining was al fresco – a buffet breakfast, part buffet lunch and a full service dinner. The food was excellent and introduced us to some of the hotter flavours of Burmese cuisine. We were well looked after by the boat manager, Win. We visited many villages along the way where the pace of life was slow and peaceful. The locals were pleased to greet us and we communicated by smiles and waving and the greeting “Mingalaba”. We got stuck on several sandbanks which was great fun as all sorts of chaos ensued with jostling of vessels trying to get into the prime position to get through the only channels deep enough. Each time we were stuck on a sandbank our crew, and river pilot assigned to the boat, had to get into the water (only waist deep in some places) to free the boat by a system of posts, cables and winches in situations which seemed to us as if they were taking their lives in their hands. Our crew were absolutely brilliant from rescuing us from sandbanks and the preparation of tasty food to the care with which the young boys handled our laundry. We are hoping to take another cruise with Pandaw very soon.   Read Less
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