Last updated: 02:24 PM ET, Wed February 10 2016

Pandaw to Add New Riverboat on The Upper Mekong

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Jason Leppert | February 04, 2016

Pandaw to Add New Riverboat on The Upper Mekong

Photo courtesy of Pandaw

Indicating that river cruising is experiencing a growth spurt worldwide, luxury operator Pandaw has announced construction on a brand new ship – the Yunnan Pandaw, sister-ship to Laos Pandaw (pictured above) – launching in September 2016 on the Upper Mekong.

The Laos Pandaw has been sold out for awhile. Therefore, the new riverboat, which will bring the line’s fleet to 16, is being built to meet demand and will sail from Vientiane (Laos) to Jinghong (China) and vice versa on 14-night cruises. The ship will exist as a shallow-draft K-class vessel, as first introduced in the 1880s as stern wheelers. She will exhibit teak and brass details and feature an observation deck and dining room.

Accommodations will house 14 total 180 square-foot air-conditioned staterooms with private bathrooms and panoramic French sliding doors. Other amenities will encompass kimonos, slippers, a safe, luxury linens and toiletries. Additional all-inclusive perks are private excursion admissions, local cuisine, theme dinners, most complimentary drinks, cultural performances, educational talks, cooking classes, a ship tour and more.

READ MORE: 6 Outstanding Cruises in Southeast Asia

Pandaw’s founder Paul Strachan says, “we are very excited about the addition of the Yunnan Pandaw to our fleet, which we are building in response to demand. The journey from Vientiane to Jinghong is only possible with Pandaw and is one of the most memorable. The Upper Mekong is one of the most scenic rivers in Asia, traveling through lush jungle and friendly village communities where elephants can often be seen from the ship. In China, we visit the impressive Menglun Botanical Garden, discover Chinese tea plantations and meet some of China’s minority communities that live in Yunnan Province.”

The cruise cost starts at $5,670 per person based on double occupancy in a main deck twin cabin, and for those who wish to extend their voyage, the Upper Mekong sailing can be combined with a seven-night Classic Mekong cruise from “Saigon to Siem Reap and sail the Mekong from China to Saigon and vice versa,” according to the line. For those on the extended journey, Pandaw provides a complimentary three-night stay in Siem Reap with guided visits to Angkor Wat. The base 14-night itinerary includes the following:

Day 1 - Embarkation of the Yunnan Pandaw and exploration of Vientiane in the afternoon.

Day 2 - Cruising to Upper Mekong to Ban Paklay.

Day 3 - Discovering Pak Lai's old colonial town.

Day 4 - Exploring Luang Prabang and its Buddhist temples, libraries and royal palace.

Day 5 - Additional time in Luang Prabang.

Day 6 - Pak Ou Caves and Nam Ou River.

Day 7 - Walking tour of Pak Beng.

Day 8 - Visiting the Golden Triangle and opium museum in Chiang Saen, Thailand.

Day 9 - Old Mandalay Road, Burma.

Day 10 - Cruising the Mekong with Burma on the left and Laos on the right.

Day 11 - Visiting the Aka tribal villages in Muang Long, Laos.

Day 12 - Walking tour of Gang Lei in China.

Day 13 - Visiting Menglun Botanical Garden and exploring Mangza temple.

Day 14 - Mangfeilong Monastery & Tea Plantation.

Day 15 - At Jinghong, disembarkation after breakfast with transfer to Jing Hong airport or an extension in Yunnan Province.

Other lines sailing on the Mekong include Avalon Waterways and Viking River Cruises, but they don't have the 151 year hitory that Pandaw has that began with the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company.

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Journey on an Avalon River Cruise

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