Less cruise ships and more like being a guest on a private motor yacht, the elegant Pandaw vessels plough the route between Saigon and Siem Reap, with options to cruise from Saigon to Phnom Penh for 3 or 4 nights or take the 7 night cruise to do the full distance.
Starting in Vietnam, you cruise through the agriculturally rich and vibrant Delta region, continuing into Cambodia, where attention switches after Phnom Penh to the Tonlé Sap. With experienced guides in attendance, you’ll make frequent stops to explore present-day cities, long-forgotten kingdoms, exquisite temples and some of the region’s unique wildlife. The crew never to arrive in port early to simply sit tied up – better to slow down and enjoy the river if ahead of schedule!
Owned by Pandaw – a pioneering company mostly operating in Burma, the boats have been built to an incredibly high standard. The Stateroom Cabins are the key feature, although you will not find modern amenities such as mini-bars, TV’s, internet or phones on board. Instead, each spacious cabin is classically finished with brass and teak, with en-suite facilities. The boat has just 24 cabins and they operate a 24-hour honesty bar on the sun deck. There is also have an onboard ‘spa’ – but you need to book as soon as you board the ship if you want to have any time there!
The remarkable journey from Vietnam to Cambodia (and vice versa) was only first attempted by a tourist vessel in 2003, when many challenges were overcome including inland water navigation issues, constantly changing river conditions and the intensely complex regional bureaucracy. It was the Pandaw fleet who were these pioneers.