CruiseHigh demand prompts Pandaw to activate a third ship for its 2022-23 sailing season in Southeast Asia.

Ships are coming back to Mekong River again

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Pandaw's Laos Mekong river cruises resume in October 22, with the 14-cabin RV Sabaidee Pandaw set to rejoin the fleet on January 2023.
Pandaw's Laos Mekong river cruises resume in October 22, with the 14-cabin RV Sabaidee Pandaw set to rejoin the fleet on January 2023. Photo Credit: Pandaw

Revenge travel has reignited Southeast Asia's river cruise industry, so much so that once-battered river cruise operator Pandaw is now bringing more ships back into its fold.

The river cruise line is now activating a third ship, the 14-cabin Sabaidee Pandaw, for its 10-night Mekong expeditions between Vientiane, Laos and Chiang Saen, Thailand, beginning in January 2023.

Two of Pandaw's ships, the Laos Pandaw and the Champa Pandaw, are set to cruise the Mekong once more from October 2022.

Pandaw had initially closed down n October 2021 due to liquidity issues, due to hardships compounded by the pandemic's travel restrictions and lockdowns. However, it managed to secure funding in December 2021 to reopen its 2022-23 season with Thailand, India and Cambodia.

With travel returning in several Southeast Asian destinations, booking demand for the company's river cruise expeditions bookings has surged.

According to Pandaw founder Paul Strachan, the Laos Mekong itinerary is one of the company's most popular, as it offers "probably the most exciting river expedition anywhere, with fast waters cutting through rocky gorges, towering mountains and rich forests." The itinerary also includes stops in tribal villages and visits to Buddhist shrines in Luang Prabang.

Meanwhile, AmaWaterways is also returning to Asia after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic.

The river cruise line will offer itineraries on the 124-passenger AmaDara to Cambodia and Vietnam on the Mekong River from 17 October.

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