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RV Kalaw Pandaw Review

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RV Kalaw Pandaw
4.5 / 5.0
7 reviews

Pros
Smaller size means a relaxed vibe and superb personal attention from the Burmese crew
Cons
Cruisers miss out on features such as a pool, spa and fitness room
Bottom Line
An elegant ship, great attention to detail and interesting cultural experiences

About

Passengers
36

Crew
18

Passenger to Crew
2.00:1

Launched
2014

Shore Excursions
10
Sails To
Asia
Sails From
Pandaw Cruise Deals
Kristie Kellahan
Cruise Critic Contributor

RV Kalaw Pandaw Overview

The Pandaw fleet pays homage to the glory days of river cruising in colonial Burma, when the Irrawaddy River was known as The Road to Mandalay and the landscapes inspired writers such as George Orwell and Rudyard Kipling.

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Today, the fleet resembles upscale versions of the ships of the past, decked out in teak and brass. Steamer chairs on the sun deck are the perfect spot to settle in with an afternoon G&T and watch the world float by.

Cruising hard-to-reach stretches of the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers in Myanmar, the RV Kalaw Pandaw offers an adventurous, yet luxurious, way to enjoy the golden land of pagodas and temples. The seven-day Bagan to Mandalay cruise is a leisurely way to take in the essence of what Myanmar has to offer; a shortened four-day itinerary is also offered.

With a maximum of just 36 passengers, the double-decked ship doesn't feel crowded. An easy rapport develops with the local crew, who are exceptionally kind and attentive. Food is very good, and the free-flow of local beer and spirits is well-received.

Excursions and enrichment activities are focused on engaging with the local culture, religious monuments and village life. It is an eye-opening trip and one that will leave passengers thinking about Myanmar's past, present and future, long after they disembark.


Top RV Kalaw Pandaw Itineraries

View All RV Kalaw Pandaw Itineraries (1)

Fellow Passengers

Pandaw's cruises in Myanmar tend to attract an over-50 demographic, with passengers coming mainly from the UK, Australia, the US and a few from Europe. Passengers on the seven-night cruises are time-rich, with an interest in exploring the culture of Myanmar's towns and smaller villages. Those who choose the shorter four-night itinerary are looking for a short break on an interesting river with plenty to see and do.

English is the official onboard language.

With its generous policy of waiving single supplements on several select sailings throughout the year, the RV Kalaw Pandaw is popular with solo passengers, as well as those travelling in groups of odd-number size (for instance, a couple travelling with a friend or family member in a separate room). Some couples even like to take advantage of the 'no single supplements' offer to travel together, in separate cabins.

During the school holidays, families with children are encouraged to take advantage of the 'kids travel free' promotion. During these times, the onboard demographic skews younger.


RV Kalaw Pandaw Dress Code

Passengers are free to dress as they please onboard this ship, with a relaxed, informal atmosphere at all times. It's rare to see anybody dress up for dinner.

The only exception is 'temple dress' required for the frequent excursions to pagodas, temples and other religious sites. At these times, it is requested that men and women dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees. It is acceptable to wear shorts and tank tops if a sarong or longyi is used to cover up.

Shoes must be removed during temple and pagoda visits. For convenience, it's a good idea to wear thongs/flip flops for these outings. Bare feet end up very dirty after walking around the dusty temples.

The sun can be punishingly hot in Myanmar, so do pack an adequate sun hat and sunscreen. Early mornings can be surprisingly cool, even well into March, so bring along a warm jacket, jeans and a wrap.

RV Kalaw Pandaw Inclusions

It would be entirely possible to not spend a cent onboard this ship. Tips are included in the cruise fare, as are shore excursions, Wi-Fi, all meals and most drinks (soft drinks, local spirits, beer, tea and coffee).

Although gratuities are included, many passengers choose to give a bit extra to the hard-working Burmese crew and freelance guide who travels with the group. A dollar or two is appreciated by shore excursion drivers (coaches, tuk tuks, horsecarts).

The currency onboard is US dollars, Burmese kyat or credit cards for amounts over US$30 (Visa works best, Mastercard works most of the time).

Add-ons such as pre- or post-nights in Yangon or Inle Lake, as well as domestic flights, can be arranged and paid for directly through Pandaw or your travel agent.


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RV Kalaw Pandaw Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins4.04.4
Dining5.04.2
Entertainment4.04
Public Rooms4.04.3
Fitness Recreation3
Family4.0N/A
Enrichment4.04.2
Service5.04.5
Value For Money5.04

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More about RV Kalaw Pandaw

Where does RV Kalaw Pandaw sail from?

RV Kalaw Pandaw departs from

Where does RV Kalaw Pandaw sail to?

RV Kalaw Pandaw cruises to Bari and Kolkata (Calcutta)

How much does it cost to go on RV Kalaw Pandaw?

Cruises on RV Kalaw Pandaw start from null per person.

Awards and Recognition

RV Kalaw Pandaw Member Reviews

RV Kalaw Pandaw
LockeyHill
Sail Date: Dec 2019
Pandaw is an excellent company and the Ganges has more to offer in the way of palaces, temples and ancient ruins than any other river in Asia.... Read More
RV Kalaw Pandaw
Zeddog
Sail Date: Sep 2017
I am a repeat Pandaw customer and was expecting high quality but this 7 night cruise on the Irrawaddy exceeded my expectations.... Read More
RV Kalaw Pandaw
TravelDreamer75
Sail Date: Jan 2018
I was absolutely blown away with this company, I loved everything about them. The best part for me was the attention and service I received. As a disabled traveler in Asia, I was worried about getting on and... Read More
RV Kalaw Pandaw
TexT
Sail Date: Dec 2014
Thus, a seven-night cruise amidst the comforts of the RV Kalaw Pandaw seemed the optimal solution--a floating teak-and-brass hotel room with meals, drinks, and excursions provided.... Read More

Pandaw River Cruises Fleet

Mekong Pandaw
11 reviews

Mekong Pandaw is decorated in the colonial style, finished in brass and teak. Cabins are all 168 square feet, with panoramic French balcony windows.

Mekong Pandaw Cruises to Asia View All Mekong Pandaw Cruises
Pandaw II

The 24-cabin Pandaw II looks like a big toy boat but is in fact a luxurious yet unostentatious replica of a colonial-era vessel dating from 1865.

Bassac Pandaw

Bassac Pandaw, which sails in Asia, is a handsome four-deck riverboat, a luxurious yet unostentatious replica of a colonial-era vessel dating from 1865.

Orient Pandaw

The 30-cabin Orient Pandaw looks like a big toy boat but is in fact a luxurious yet unostentatious replica of a colonial-era vessel dating from 1865.

Indochina Pandaw

The 30-cabin Indochina Pandaw looks like a big toy boat but is in fact a luxurious yet unostentatious replica of a colonial-era vessel dating from 1865.

Angkor Pandaw
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The six-cabin Angkor Pandaw is a handsome two-deck riverboat, a luxurious yet unostentatious replica of a colonial-era vessel dating from 1865.

Katha Pandaw

Katha Pandaw is a small vessel with a shallow draft that enables it to cruise the Irrawaddy beyond Mandalay, and hard-to-reach sections of the Chindwin River.

Kalay Pandaw

Kalay Pandaw is a handsome little vessel aimed at private charters for just 10 passengers, two of whom can share a spacious owner suite.

Tonle Pandaw

Tonle Pandaw is a handsome four-deck riverboat, a luxurious yet unostentatious replica of a colonial-era vessel dating from 1865; it sails in Asia.

Kindat Pandaw

Kindat Pandaw's shallow draft allows it to cruise from Mandalay to Bhamo, the most northern navigable point of the Irrawaddy, close to the China border.

RV Kalaw Pandaw
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Kalaw Pandaw's shallow draft allows it to cruise from Mandalay to Bhamo, the most northern navigable point of the Irrawaddy, close to the China border.

Kha Byoo Pandaw

Kha Byoo Pandaw's shallow draft allows it to cruise from Mandalay to Bhamo, the most northern navigable point of the Irrawaddy, close to the China border.

Laos Pandaw

The only ship that visits the three countries of the Golden Triangle (Laos, Thailand and Myanmar) and China on its Upper Mekong River itineraries.

Andaman Explorer

Joining the Pandaw fleet in 2016, Andaman Explorer began life as a Norwegian coast guard vessel and was most recently owned by a Dubai shipping family.

Zawgyi Pandaw

After it was outfitted as a floating clinic as part of relief efforts following Cyclone Nargis, Zawgyi Pandaw relaunched as a river cruiser in 2014.

Sabaidee Pandaw

The 17th ship in the Pandaw fleet, Sabei Pandaw continues the tradition of classically styled river cruisers for which the line is known.

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