SINGAPORE, 31 May 2021: Pandaw Cruises will be back sailing the rivers of Indochina for the 2022-2023 season after pausing sailings since 2020.
The famous luxury river cruise operator announced its schedule through to 2024 for trips in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and India. Some of the sailings will feature a brand new riverboat based on the Mekong River in Laos. The new addition will offer cruises on the upper Mekong River from Vientiane to Chiang Saen.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted travel in early 2020, the river cruise company introduced a USD100 booking fee that secures a cabin booking with the deposit paid later depending on the travel situation.
However, in a recent email newsletter, Pandaw Cruises founder Paul Strachan confirmed the company is now planning for an October 2022 resumption on Asia Rivers except for cruises in Myanmar that will remain in dry dock.
“With the roll-out of vaccinations beginning worldwide, we are confident that restrictions will lift and safe international travel will resume in time for our departures in October 2022 and beyond,” according to Strachan.
Last week, he conceded the company was cancelling all future cruises in Myanmar (Burma) in the aftermath of a catastrophic military coup on 1 February. It resulted in close to 900 deaths and thousands of civilians arrested after they took to the street to protest the ouster of the elected government.
Commenting on possible outcomes in Myanmar, Strachan said he feared the current deplorable situation would only deteriorate further… it could be sometime before normality returns, and it is safe to travel.
Pandaw was born in Myanmar, and much of its success elsewhere in Asia could be attributed to its expedition-style cruises on rivers of Myanmar.
In the meantime, Pandaw’s founder is leading an emergency medical appeal to support the treatment of thousands of civilians injured by the military junta. Donations provide supplies for medics who are working out Pandaw clinics. Commencing on the relief effort, Strachan said more than USD100,000 was raised in just one week after the launch of the relief effort back in March.
Pandaw Clinics cover a wide area providing medical assistance and other forms of humanitarian support to traumatised communities. It also forwards some of the funds raised to other NGOs helping the injured in cities in central Myanmar.
In a recent email newsletter, Strachan noted, “though there is little in the press anymore, the situation in Myanmar has escalated into what is effectively a civil war between the military and the people.
“Food is now scarce, and most people can no longer work. So, in addition to our clinics’ medical mission, we are now rolling out 1000 food bags a week at the cost of USD11 per bag. One bag will feed a family for a week.”
Donations can be made to Pandaw Clinics in Myanmar at: www.pandawclinics.com.