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Phnom Penh to Saigon
There can be no tapestry of river life as fascinating and varied as the River Mekong. Indeed there can be no more striking a cultural contrast as that between the bustling Vietnam delta and the tranquility of Cambodia. We pass from the vibrant French colonial port of Saigon, through the vast delta so rich in human life and endeavour, to travel along the main channel into the rich countryside of Cambodia. Your journey will end in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh. In 2003, with the RV Mekong Pandaw, we were the first ship to attempt this extraordinary journey, surmounting complex bureaucratic and navigational obstacles. We now have four ships plying this amazing waterway.
Embark the ship for lunch. The check-in time should be no later than 12.00 noon, as we need your passport to process the immigration formalities for the border crossing. Rest of day at leisure. Overnight in Phnom Penh city port with its lively bars, restaurants and night life.
Early sailing to the Vietnam border for formalities and during this stationary period there is an optional tour of the working ship and fruit carving classes on deck. Afternoon, explore the labyrinthine canal system around Tan Chau to visit a Taoist temple where the monks will read fortunes. Continue through local villages by Xi Loi stopping off to help locals tend their fields before stopping off to visit a fish farm and earn merit by releasing fish back into the Mekong.
In the morning sail up a small canal to moor off Con Phuoc Island and go ashore to explore the island by tuk-tuk seeing basket production and visiting a 100-year old Catholic Church and local woodworking artisans. After a short cruise downstream in the afternoon we take a short coach trip where we visit Gao Giong ‘green oasis’ with its bird sanctuary. Here a diverse selection of water birds and egrets that gather in the tens of thousands across the Duong Tharp Muoi or ‘Plain of Reeds’. Rowing boats traverse the canals to take us to see the principal nesting areas.
After breakfast the ship moors off Cho Lach island for pot making and further glimpses of Delta life, agriculture and local Viet hospitality including a culinary lesson in making traditional Banh Xeo. Upon return to the boat we take a cruise downstream to Ben Tre. Where we travel by sampans through mangroves and bamboo groves to the fruit orchards of Ben Tre. In these local artisans are at work and are invite visitors into their homes for tea, fruit and honey products made from their own honey. This is an area rich in bird life and on our return journey we travel by horse cart through the lush countryside.
Moor at My Tho for road transfer to Saigon.
Itineraries are subject to change.
Vessel Type: Luxury River Cruising Length: 60m Passenger Capacity: 48 pax Built: 2002 / Refurbished: 2013 Built in Rangoon in 2002 she was sailed round to Saigon under her own power and many a drama described in Paul Strachan’s Pandaw Story. This ship was designed specially for the Mekong and unlike our other P class ships does not have a flying bridge. The reason was so she could get under a road bridge. She did actually scrape under on her maiden but it was so scary that Paul Strachan, then standing on the bridge, never dared attempt it again. As a result, we ended up with this incredible 750 square meter teak deck that even has a full size billiard table. The MP as she is affectionately known is our most spacious ship with wider promenades, a larger dining hall and more public space per passenger than any known ship afloat. Seriously! In 2012 she was refitted and lower deck cabins removed in favour of a professional spa, gym, library lounge and office. She is quite justifiably the most splendid ship on the Mekong and the envy of anything that floats by. ACCOMMODATION 18 upper deck, 6 main deck staterooms - 170 square feet, finished in teak and brass - Panoramic French window, leading to personal deck space - New bathrooms with natural stone shower and branded quality fittings - Kimonos and slippers - Spa-branded amenities - Unlimited mineral water - Electric mini safe - Central AC with individual control - Imported quality linens with duvet and two kind of pillows - Premium mattresses - Convertible bed configuration - Welcome flower arrangement and welcome gift - Mirror - Multi-configuration plugs - Generous closet space and under-bed storage - Hair dryer - Daily nightly turndown service - 24h laundry service - Complimentary evening canapés WINING & DINING Local master chef heading an experienced international culinary team - Semi-buffet breakfast, Semi-buffet lunch, and seated theme dinners - Daily lean & light menu options - Complimentary coffee, water, tea, soft drinks, local beer, local spirits, juices - Extensive wine list with premium wines - Series of cultural performances, educational talks, cooking classes, and ship tour - Welcome drink on arrival - Welcome cocktail - Farewell reception - Theme- and gala dinners - Spacious, air-conditioned saloon bar with nightly entertainment - Sundeck bar with complimentary ice cream from sunrise to sunset - Pool table on sundeck - 24hrs hospitality bar - Onboard bakery with daily freshly baked breads and rolls ON EXCURSIONS Admissions - Shoe cleaning after excursions - Bottled drinking water - Cold towel service after excursions - Refreshing drink following excursions - Maximum 24 guests per guide on all excursions - Full-size motor coach on all excursions (maximum of 24 passengers per coach) - Deluxe sampans with cold towel service, fresh fruit, and tea/coffee - Comfortable “Pandaw Explorer” excursion boat - 1st aid trained assistant guide to follow all tours and excursions SAFETY & SECURITY All onboard crew is trained and certified as per international marine standards (VIRES) - Fire alarm system in all cabins, public areas and back areas - Fire fighting system in all ship areas - Expert marine superintendant - 24 hrs watch on duty - Certified hygiene standards for all areas (Johnson & Diversey) ONBOARD STAFF Captain - First Officer - Chief Engineer - 1st Engineer - Electrician - Bosun & nautical crew - Ship manager - Housekeeping - Dining - Bar keeper - Chefs - Spa therapist - Local tour guides PUBLIC SPACES Guest relation desk - Largest public space to passenger ratio of any cruise ship in the world - Shop, supporting fair trade - Lecture and meeting room with oversized flat screen TV, LSD projector and sound system - Art gallery featuring local art and artists - Library with contemporary and classic literature - Wireless internet in all public areas
• Explore the labyrinthine canal system around Tan Chau to visit a Taoist temple where the monks will read fortunes • Moor off Con Phuoc Island and go ashore to explore the island by tuk-tuk seeing basket production and visiting a 100-year old Catholic Church and local woodworking artisans • Travel by sampans through mangroves and bamboo groves to the fruit orchards of Ben Tre