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Description
Reviving the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company and spending a year restoring an original Clyde-built steamer to operate river cruises on the spectacular rivers of the Irrawaddy and the Chindwin in Myanmar in 1995 has led to having a fleet of six replica steamers sailing on the Mekong and Tonle Rivers in Indochina, on the Rajang River in Borneo and the Hugli River between Calcutta and Varanasi in India.

Pandaw River cruising evokes another more tranquil world where you meander along the rivers watching local fishermen, birds swooping above you and local farmers using their oxen to plough the fields. And because all the Pandaw vessels have an ultra-shallow draft they can travel to more remote areas and come alongside wherever the Captain decides (although you can still have a frisson of adventure if it looks as if you are going to run aground on a sandbank!) The smallest boat, Pandaw II, has just 24 cabins and cruises the Irrawaddy and in September each year she sails up the Chindwin River to reach remoter areas.

The boats are replicas of the colonial steamers that were a part of the fabric of Burma's river life up to the Second World War. They are teak, with brass fittings, en-suite shower rooms, comfortable and fairly roomy (for a river cruise) staterooms. However, most people prefer to spend their time sitting outside either on the promenade deck or on the Observation deck.

On board there is a very informal dress code, no dressing up required! Food on board include tasty buffets at breakfast and lunch and dinner is a sit-down table d'hôte meal. There are neither T.V's nor mini-bars in the staterooms but why would you want there to be when you have a convivial bar to meet your fellow travellers in for pre or post dinner drinks?

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and since Pandaw cruises first sailed the Mekong from Vietnam to Cambodia in 2002, many others have started a similar service.
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