Grade: First Class
There is no better way of experiencing life on the Mekong than by joining a river cruise, particularly when you can combine a holiday in both Vietnam and Cambodia without the inconvenience of packing and unpacking.
The Pandaw boats are luxurious replicas of the colonial-era river boats that once cruised the inland waterways of Southeast Asia and provide a superb base from which to enjoy panoramic views of the river and explore villages, orchards, wetlands and temples along the way.
Choose from a 3 night cruise Saigon to Phnom Penh or 7 nights Saigon to Siem Reap (or vice versa). All meals and tours included.
Life on board is very relaxing, informal and essentially an outdoor experience. Topside is a sun deck running from stem to stern, with room for a bar, a small massage corner, small selection of fitness machines and even a pool table (where skills are tested by Mekong current).
Afternoon naps on cushioned loungers are interrupted at just the right intervals by bar staff offering tea and cookies or cocktail of the day.
A gong summons passengers to the dining room for meals featuring locally sourced specialities from each country and is air-conditioned or open windowed depending on weather conditions.
The cabins are surprisingly spacious and like the rest of the ship are made entirely of teak and brass. All are air-conditioned with ensuite bathrooms and window that opens.