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This was a radical new design, based on the old K class used in Burma from the 1880s on. This ship is the third Katha to run on the Irrawaddy. The first was built at Dalla in 1887 but lost on the Chindwin in 1889. The second was built by Denny of Dumbarton in 1904 and decommissioned in 1937 and the third was built by us in Vietnam in 2012.
We ran her a year on the Mekong before sending to Burma. With only two decks these smaller K class ships have lower air draft so can get under bridges and supposedly a shallower draft, though in fact the Vietnam ship yards were not as successful in achieving this as the Burmese yards and later Burmese-built K class ships achieved remarkable reductions in draft.
The Katha general arrangement was radical in that we eliminated the formal indoor dining room. This led to great protests from regular passengers and indeed our staff. In the end all agree it is far more pleasant to eat outside than in a stuffy, noisy enclosed dining room and the bugs are really not that bad. Up river in Burma it can be a little cold in winter but currently we deploy this ship in Middle Burma where the cold is less of an issue.
Refitted for expedition sailings in India from September 2019, we have reduced the number of staterooms from sixteen to fourteen to create an enlarged indoor saloon / dining area as winter cruising in India can be chilly first thing.
The ship has quality mountain bikes for your independent exploration.
The Pandaw dining rooms are designed to open up along the sides to allow cool breezes to waft through. Only at night we do close them up and turn on the air-conditioning. We know our passengers prefer fresh air to chilled air. The new Katha Pandaw, designed in response to feedback from our passengers, has no formal dining room but rather an open air dining space on deck.
At Pandaw we pride ourselves on offering a great choice of local cuisine and exotic foods. We source supplies and ingredients as locally as possible, always in accordance with strictly-monitored environmental health standards.
Breakfast is a buffet, while lunch features a buffet, plus soup, salad and a desert table, with the main course served at the table. Dinner is by waiter-service at the table.
We are happy to cater for individual dietary preferences. Passengers who prefer not to be served hot or spicy foods are offered delicious European-style alternatives and vegetarians are especially well catered for. Other special diets may be accommodated, by prior arrangement. Our chefs know that most passengers want to sample versions of the best, most characteristic dishes of each country they pass through.
When moored you are welcome to come and go from the ship as much as you like. Our next sailing time will be advised on the Daily Schedule and passengers are requested to note this before disembarkation. Group shore excursions are organised by the Purser and you will be accompanied by a member of the ship's company. Details of these are posted on the Daily Schedule. Fifteen minutes prior to casting off the captain will sound the ship's horn to warn you to return to the ship. Passengers should hang their keys on the key board hanging adjacent to the gang plank when disembarking so that we know if anyone has not returned. If you go ashore with your cabin keys and we leave without you we can not be held responsible for this. We will attempt to devise on shore time in the cool of the early morning or late afternoon
From its earliest days, the Pandaw concept has been deeply rooted in cultural and historical expertise, worn lightly. On any Pandaw river expedition, daily briefings are hosted by your purser and guide, which provide a forum to discuss the day's events and plans.
Most sailings will feature at least one cultural performance: in Burma it is the marionette theatre; in Cambodia the Royal Khmer Ballet; in Laos villagers perform a dance on deck.
We also offer a range of onboard activities including: cooking demonstrations, fruit carving, napkin tying and a tour of the working ship.
Themed movie nights are also popular - the film Indochine in Vietnam, The Killing Fields in Cambodia and The Lady in Burma are some of the favourites.
There are no dedicated health and fitness facilities on board.
Contrary to some perceptions, Pandaw river expeditions are not just for the more mature. They offer brilliant educational experiences for younger people. Given that all our sailing areas are very safe and secure and the local people are friendly, these sailings provide a great way for your kids to interact with locals and learn about different cultures.
Gratuities to the Pandaw crew are included in the price of your ticket. Kindly note that gratuities to local guides are not included and are completely at your discretion.
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