Overflowing rivers boost cruises

BANGKOK, 27 August 2018: Pandaw’ river and coastal expeditions are sailing the Mekong region during the Christmas New Year season.

The specialist cruise company says bookings are still open and if you are a solo traveller you can take advantage of a waiver of the single supplement on selected departures.

In the Mekong region, river cruises cover Cambodia, Laos and even the white sandy islets of the Mergui archipelago in Myanmar.

There are also sailing at the end of the year on the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar.

Cruises on the Mekong River in Cambodia are also being promoted for the first time on a section where the Irrawaddy dolphins find refuge near Kratie.

The Laos to China trip that ends in Yunnan province covers 14 nights and costs USD4,360. Members get a discount paying USD3,488. On specific dates there is no single supplement surcharge either.

The Upper Mekong River trip from Laos to China, or vice versa, will be a reality this year due to the high water levels.

In the past, Chinese dams upstream have made it more difficult to deliver successful itineraries and in the future it is very likely that this kind of cruise north of Luang Prabang will become extremely difficult to maintain or disappear entirely.

The cruise covers Golden Triangle destinations in the three countries Laos, Thailand and Myanmar and continues to  China’s Yunnan province. The highlighted destinations with overnight stops are Luang Prabang, Chiang Saen and Jinghong.

In the past, the river in North Thailand and China was low due to a below seasonal release of dam water in the upper Mekong River. However, this year there has been heavy flooding and the level of the river will still be high in December according to experts.

The trip uses a Pandaw riverboat, specifically designed and built for sailing on the upper Mekong with low draft and extra powerful engines.

Pandaw’s founder, Paul Strachan, said: “it has been a long held dream to sail the length of the navigable sections of the Mekong River; now we can. There is much to explore in this undiscovered region; travellers need to be up for a real adventure as the daily itinerary might change, but with a flexible attitude”

A northern Vietnam Halong Bay and Red River 10-day cruise is being sold for year-end dates at USD2,925 or members USD2,728.

For the first time travellers will be able to explore the key sites of northern Vietnam by river boat traversing the Red River delta and its main tributaries, connecting Halong Bay with the excitement of down town Hanoi, and then on to the interior, well off the beaten track.

Sailing deep into highland Vietnam the cruise will reach mountain villages and a number of tribal areas. It will proceed as far as can be navigated on the Song Red River and then down the little known Da or Black River.

The cruise itinerary is subject to revision depending on river conditions.

A Classic Mekong seven-night cruse from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Siem Reap in Cambodia is on sale for USD1,850.50 and members from USD1,799.60.

This upgraded itinerary will visit for the first time Kratie and the Mekong dolphins.

The cruise highlights Vietnam’s Mekong River delta starting at the port of Ho Chi Minh City, sailing to Cambodia and its capital Phnom Penh where it follows waterways to Siem Reap, home of Angkor Wat.