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Champa Pandaw

Colonial-style riverboat cruising the Upper Mekong and embracing the beauty & culture of Laos.

Overview

Launched in September 2016, the 146ft Champa Pandaw journeys along the Upper Mekong through Laos. This colonial-style riverboat is crafted in light-colored teak, which grows throughout the region, ensuring that the vessel blends with the natural environment. She accommodates 28 guests over two decks of panoramic staterooms providing an intimate setting of style and comfort, complete with sliding doors that open out to a shared exterior promenade deck and glorious riverside scenery.

Life On Board

Finished in teak and brass, each of the 14 staterooms measures 150 sq. ft, providing plenty of space for you to stretch out and relax. Twelve of the rooms are located on the main deck, and two are on the upper deck, with the advantage of elevated views out to the river. Each has air-conditioning, an ensuite bathroom, and twin beds (some converting to double) all with premium mattresses, quality linens, duvet, and two kinds of pillows. The ship offers Wi-Fi throughout but note that the connectivity is unreliable in this part of Asia.

All meals are served bistro-style in the dining room, which is located on the Upper Deck. The cuisine is regionally themed, with a delectable range of exotic creations filled with flavors from the area. Asian dishes dominate the menu but are nevertheless geared for international tastes; produce is fresh, local and seasonal. Breakfast is served buffet style, as is lunch, complete with soup, salad and a dessert table. Dinner comes with waiter-service. You can also look forward to free-flowing complimentary beverages and themed dinners.

The large, partially-covered outdoor deck is where you will probably spend most of your time, reading, relaxing with fellow guests, or enjoying a drink while taking in the spellbinding views of the Mekong. Onboard activities include Lao language lessons giving you the basics to interact with the local people on shore. Lectures, documentaries and captivating cultural performances are included in the main program. Special activities include a Sandbar Cocktail Hour and a Buddhist boat blessing. Quality mountain bikes are available for your independent exploration.

Enchanting Excursions

The beauty of the Upper Mekong is a simple one. Misty green mountains surround the river, on which the boat must sometimes sail in a crisscross fashion to circumvent the boulders and sandbars. Fishermen in longboats, hailing from Laos’ hillside tribal villages, are the only other vessels sharing the waterway.

When Champa Pandaw makes a stop, the caring crew will use shovels to dig makeshift stairs in the sand enabling you to disembark safely, but guests should be physically fit enough to negotiate climbing the muddy riverbanks and the often-uneven stairs and terrain encountered along the way. Excursions consist mainly of walks through the remote tribal villages, while your Laotian guide explains what makes one ethnic group different from another in terms of customs and spiritual beliefs. Stops at schools are a highlight, as classes break to say hello.

When not navigating the tranquil stretches of the ‘Mother of Waters’ as the river is known in these parts, the itinerary also includes exploration of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and city of Luang Prabang with its royal palace, Buddhist temples and libraries, plus a tour of the Pak Ou Caves − a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces, and exploration of the country’s old French capital, Vientiane.

For couples, singles and friends seeking a quiet experience, focused on culture and education, a discovery cruise along the serene stretches of the Upper Mekong in Laos on board the Champa Pandaw won’t disappoint.

Itineraries & Prices

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11 Day - The Laos Mekong: Chiang Khong - Vientiane

itinerary map

Embarkation

Transfers from airports or any city hotel in Chiang Rai (2 hours) and Chiang Mai (6 hours) including a visit to the Golden Triangle and the now infamous opium museum. Embark your ship by 16.00 and cruise up the river towards the Burma border for sunset.

Note :

Hotel pick-ups from city hotels in Chiang Mai can be as early as 06.00 or as late as 08.00. From Chiang Rai hotels can be as early as 08.30 or as late as 10.00. Timing varies according to the docking place of the Pandaw vessel. Our representative will call you on the evening before or leave a message with the hotel to reconfirm the exact pick-up time.

If your arrival is after the above-mentioned time we will pick you up from the airport Chiang Rai (arrival must be before 13.00) or airport Chiang Mai (arrival must be before 13.00) and transfer you to the ship. This transfer will not include any visits to Golden Triangle, Opium House, and Lunch due to the time limit.

Champa Pandaw - The Laos Mekong: Chiang Khong - Vientiane-1
Location
Chiang Khong
Day
1 / 11

Sailing to Laos

Pass through immigration formalities at the Thai/Laos border and rejoin the ship. Set sail downstream on the beautiful Upper Mekong River. After lunch, if time allows, sightseeing on foot in a Laos jungle village.

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Location
Laos
Day
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Khamo Village

Morning walk in a Khamo village. Sail downstream on the beautiful Mekong then relax with evening cocktails on a sandbank.

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Location
Khamo
Day
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Pak Ou Caves & Luang Prabang

Continue cruising downstream to Pak Ou, transfer to a local boat and enter the Nam Ou River to visit the extraordinary Pak Ou Buddha Caves. Admire spectacular limestone cliff faces in the Buddhist sanctuary.

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Location
Pak Ou Caves
Day
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Luang Prabang

In the morning explore by tuk-tuk this well-preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries, and royal palace. Visit the National Museum and have the afternoon free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang. Traditional Laos dancing on the upper deck late afternoon. Moor overnight in Luang Prabang.

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Location
Luang Prabang
Day
5 / 11

Khaung Si Waterfall

Early morning walking tour to observe the morning alms offered by local people to the hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning. Drive to see the deep jungle pools at the Khaung Si Waterfall, the teak forest trails, and the butterfly farm.

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Location
Khaung Si
Day
6 / 11

Xayaburi Dam

Pass through the Mekong water control lock at Xayaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant (itself an interesting and perhaps controversial tourist attraction). Late afternoon walking tour of a local village.

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Location
Xayaburi Dam
Day
7 / 11

Xanakham

Morning visit to Ban Pha Leab with its beautiful limestone mountain. Continue to Pak Houng-Thai Lao Border for an excursion to a plantation village and meet the local people.

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Location
Xanakham
Day
8 / 11

Vientiane

Pass through a dramatic landscape of jungle and mountain where the river flows fast and wild. Amazing rock formations straddle the river banks. Here we enter the cultivated plains of Vientiane province. Arrive mid-afternoon in Vientiane to moor overnight. Opportunity for independent exploration of this delightful, French-influenced city.

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Location
Vientiane
Day
9 / 11

Vientiane

Morning exploration of the delightful French city including visits to the golden Pha That Luang Stupa, Sisaket Temple, the President’s Hall, Watt Prakeo Temple, and the Phatouxay monument. Opportunity for independent exploration and experience the many cafes and bistros in this charming little corner of L’Indochine. Farewell cocktails and dinner.

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Location
Vientiane
Day
10 / 11

Disembarkation

Disembark in Vientiane after breakfast and transfer to airports or hotels in Vientiane or Udon Thani in Thailand (1.5hrs, just across the river).

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Location
Vientiane
Day
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11 Day - The Laos Mekong: Vientiane - Chiang Khong

itinerary map

Embarkation

Embarkation 12.30, followed by lunch and afternoon exploration of the delightful French city including visits to the golden Pha That Luang Stupa, Sisaket Temple, the President’s Hall, Wat Prakeo Temple, and the Phatouxay monument. Set sail late afternoon, enjoy a welcome dinner on board, and overnight near Vientiane.

Note :

Transfers are included from the airport or hotel in Vientiane. We suggest an early morning arrival. Any late arrivals will also be transferred to the ship but you might miss lunch and/or the afternoon excursion. If staying at a city hotel in Vientiane you will be picked up between 11.00 and 12.00. Our representative will call you on the evening before or leave a message with the hotel to reconfirm the exact pick-up time.

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Location
Vientiane
Day
1 / 11

Cruising the Mekong

Cruise upstream on the Mekong, passing lush jungle scenery and tiny riverside villages. Morning presentation on the Lao language. Afternoon cooking demonstration on the upper deck. Arrive in Ban Xanakham to moor overnight.

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Location
Mekong
Day
2 / 11

Pak Lai

Afternoon visit to the French administrative town of Pak Lai with many colonial buildings and a bustling local market. This town boasts the largest elephant festival in South East Asia, usually in February.

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Location
Pak Lai
Day
3 / 11

Ban Park Bor Village

Morning visit and walking tour to Khamo tribal village, a typical village, set on the banks of the Mekong amidst lush jungle. In the afternoon pass through the Xanyaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant.

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Location
Ban Park Bor Village
Day
4 / 11

Ban Mouang Khai Village & Luang Prabang

In the morning visit a Hmong village and continue upstream to the village of Ban Mouang Khai. Afternoon sightseeing by minibus visiting the jungle pools and dramatic Khaung Si waterfall then on to a butterfly garden. Arrive in the heart of the temple city of Luang Prabang where there is a buzzing night market and many great cafes and some good local restaurants.

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Location
Ban Mouang Khai
Day
5 / 11

Luang Prabang

In the morning explore by tuktuk this well-preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries, and royal palace. Visit the National Museum and have the afternoon free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang on your own. Enjoy traditional Laos dancing on the upper deck late afternoon. Moor overnight in Luang Prabang.

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Location
Luang Prabang
Day
6 / 11

Pak Ou Caves

Early morning walking tour to see the alms offered by the local people to hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning. Passengers are invited to join in with offerings we provide for the almsgiving. Morning sightseeing by local boat exploring the unique Pak Ou Caves, a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces. Evening cocktails on a sandbank. Sail upstream on the beautiful Mekong towards Ban Bo.

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Location
Pak Ou Caves
Day
7 / 11

Pak Beng

Morning visit to a local Khamo village. Sail upstream on the Mekong passing Pak Beng towards Pak Sit.

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Location
Pak Beng
Day
8 / 11

Ban Huayxay

Early morning walking tour in a Khamo village then cruise through stunning scenery to the border of Laos and Thailand. The night is spent on the Lao side in the Huayxay area where we take a late afternoon village walk.

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Location
Ban Huayxay
Day
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Chiang Khong

Cross over into Thailand via the Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge before rejoining your ship in Chiang Khong. Farewell cocktails and Thai traditional dance on board for your last evening.

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Location
Chiang Khong
Day
10 / 11

Disembarkation

Disembark by 8.30 in Chiang Khong and group transfer to the hotel/airport. En route, explore the Golden Triangle including a visit to the opium museum. Continue to airports or city hotels in Chiang Rai (2 hours) and Chiang Mai (6 hours).

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Location
Chiang Khong
Day
11 / 11
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22 Day - The Full Mekong, Four Country

itinerary map

Embarkation

Please note: the Lower Mekong cruise is aboard the Champa's sister-ship the Mekong Pandaw

AM: Transfer from hotels in Siem Reap to Kampong Cham with a refreshment stop at Kampong Thom along the way.

PM: Board ship in the afternoon and cruise upstream on the Mekong. Late afternoons go ashore to see Wat Hanchey an important centre of worship on top of a hill above the Mekong with good river panoramas. Of great interest are the Chenla Period temples dating from the 8th century, some destroyed by American bombing during the Vietnam War. Overnight Wat Hancheay.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 1
Location
Siem Reap
Day
1 / 22

Chhalong - Koh Trong

AM: Morning walk to explore this former French provincial center with its many splendid belle epoch mansions and lively market.

PM: Overnight on the delightful Koh Trong Island where passengers can plant their own trees. Sandbank dinner.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 2
Location
Chhalong
Day
2 / 22

Kratie & The Dolphins

AM & PM: From Kratie travel further upstream by a rustic bus to view the dolphin grounds from local boats in a national park protected area.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 3
Location
Kratie
Day
3 / 22

Kampong Cham - Angkor Ban

AM: Downstream to Kampong Cham and travel by bus to Chiro Village with an extensive education centre offering vocational training. Other activities here include plastic recycling, bee keeping, farming and handicraft making projects. On to the Wat Nokor Bachey dating back to the Jayarvaman VII period. Built completely from a black sandstone unlike other temples of this period.

PM: Evening walk at Angkor Ban a typical Khmer village with a library donated by Pandaw passengers.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 4
Location
Angkor Ban
Day
4 / 22

Phnom Penh

AM: All passengers will be provided with their own private cyclo. The Cyclo Centre Phnom Penh, which provides the cyclos is a charity that provides basic welfare and medical services to cyclo drivers. You will visit the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and National Museum.

PM: In the afternoon we visit the Killing Fields and Genocide Museum to learn more about the brutal Khmer Rouge regime.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 5
Location
Phnom Penh
Day
5 / 22

Oudong - Kampong Chhanang

AM: After a short morning cruise along the Tonle River disembark at Prek Kdam and travel by coach to a former capital, Oudong. On the way visit the Vipassana Dhura Meditation Centre for a morning of relaxation & meditation before taking a drive around the old capital.

PM: Continue up the Tonle river to Kampong Chhanang where the river is at its most beautiful and heaving with life. Then explore the wetlands around the lake’s mouth rich in birdlife.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 6
Location
Oudong
Day
6 / 22

Cambodia/Vietnam Border - Chau Doc

AM & PM: After crossing the border into Vietnam in the morning. Visit a Moslem Cham tribal village and a catfish farm in Chau Doc with a guide or do your own thing and take one of our mountain bikes and explore the local market or visit the splendid Catholic Church.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 7
Location
Chau Doc
Day
7 / 22

Tan Chau

AM & PM: Explore the labyrinthine canal system around Tan Chau to visit a Taoist temple where the monks will read fortunes. Continue through local villages by Xi Loi stopping off to help locals tend their fields before stopping off to visit a fish farm and earn merit by releasing fish back into the Mekong.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 8
Location
Kampong Chhanang
Day
8 / 22

Gao Giong

AM: After a short sail downstream, travel a short distance by coach to the Gao Giong ‘green oasis’ with its bird sanctuary. Here a diverse selection of water birds and egrets that gather in the tens of thousands across the Duong Tharp Muoi or ‘Plain of Reeds’. Rowing boats traverse the canals to visit the principal nesting areas.

PM: In the afternoon visit Con Phuoc Island and go ashore to explore by tuk-tuk to see basket production and visit a 100-year-old Catholic Church and local carpentry shops.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 9
Location
Gao Giong
Day
9 / 22

Sa Dec - BenTre

AM: Sail early to Sa Dec which has an interesting market and the traditional Vietnamese house of Mr. Huyn Thuy Le, the 'lover' of Marguerite Duras, a famous French novelist whose book was immortalized in the film L’Indochine. There is a fine catholic church here too.

PM: Afternoon sampan exploration of the Delta’s backwaters and labyrinthine canal system.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 10
Location
Ben Tre
Day
10 / 22

My Tho - Saigon

AM: Early morning sail to My Tho Port and disembark after breakfast for your transfer to Saigon. Head to the airport for your flight to Vientiane.

PM: Upon arrival our guide will be waiting to take you to your hotel for the evening.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 11
Location
My Tho
Day
11 / 22

Vientiane

AM: Pick up from your hotel in Vientiane at 08.00am, followed by a local long-tail boat expedition to your Pandaw vessel upstream.

PM: Lunch and drinks will be provided on the local boat by your Pandaw chef and bar staff. Embark your Pandaw in the afternoon for a welcome briefing and welcome drinks. We moor overnight at Pak Lay.

Edit

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 12
Location
Vientiane
Day
12 / 22

Cruise The Mekong

AM: Cruise upstream on the Mekong, passing lush jungle scenery and tiny riverside villages. Morning presentation on the Lao language after a short walk at Pha Laeb village.

PM: If time permits, we will also enjoy an afternoon walk at Ban Khok Fark.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 13
Location
Pak Lai
Day
13 / 22

Xayabouri Dam

AM: Morning walk at Ban Pak Bor Khummu village before passing through Xayabouri Hydroelectric Dam, taking an inside look of the workings of this somewhat controversial attraction as we navigate the locks.

PM: Afternoon visit to Ban Na San village, a Hmong minority village.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 14
Location
Ban Pak Bor
Day
14 / 22

Kuang Si Waterfalls

AM: In the morning we moor at the village of Ban Mouang Khai and visit the dramatic Kaung Si waterfall. On the way back to the ship, we stop at the Laos Buffalo Farm, a social enterprise utilizing the abundant buffalo in Laos.

PM: Arrive in the heart of the temple city of Luang Prabang mid-afternoon where there is a buzzing night market and many great cafes and local restaurants. Traditional Laos Bacci ceremony and dancing on the upper deck during happy hour. Moor overnight in central Luang Prabang.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 15
Location
Luang Prabang
Day
15 / 22

Luang Prabang Craft & Culture

AM: Today we explore the various handicrafts of Laos in more detail. We start with Ock Pop Tok, a social enterprise providing sustainable employment and training for the women of local weaving villages. We then head to TAEC (Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre) to understand more about Laos musical instruments. After lunch aboard the ship, we sail toward Ban Chan and take part in a pottery demonstration at the local pottery workshop.

PM: We finish the day with a sunset cruise on the Mekong alongside Luang Prabang, returning to moor overnight in the centre of town.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 16
Location
Luang Prabang
Day
16 / 22

Luang Prabang

AM: Early morning walking tour to observe the alms offerings to the hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning. We continue after breakfast to the morning market before taking tuktuks for a city tour of this well preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries and royal palace.

PM: The afternoon is free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 17
Location
Koh Trong
Day
17 / 22

Pak Ou Caves

AM: Morning at leisure in Luang Prabang before setting sail at midday upstream.

PM: Afternoon sightseeing by local boat exploring the unique Pak Ou Caves, a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces. See the production of local Laos whisky at the Whisky village and shop for locally produced handicrafts.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 18
Location
Pak Ou Caves
Day
18 / 22

Ban Ton and Sandbank BBQ

AM: Day of sailing upstream along the Mekong with morning walk through Ban Ton village.

PM: In the evening, we moor alongside a sandbank for a special riverside barbecue and cocktail party. Light paper lanterns with the crew and enjoy a dance in remote Laos.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 19
Location
Cai Be
Day
19 / 22

Pak Beng Elephant Sanctuary

AM: Laos is known as ‘The land of a million elephants’ and today we will visit a rescue sanctuary that is helping to preserve the elephants of Laos and provide sustainable alternative employment for Mahouts who once trained and rode these beautiful creatures.

PM: Afternoon walk at Ban Pak Sith Khummu village.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 20
Location
Pak Beng
Day
20 / 22

Pak Sith - Chiang Khong

AM: Today we sail the final leg of our journey upstream toward Huayxay. Cross over into Thailand via the Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge before rejoining your ship in Chiang Khong.

PM: Enjoy a ship tour of your Pandaw vessel and fruit carving demonstration from your Pandaw Chef. Farewell cocktails and Thai traditional dance on board for your last evening.

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 21
Location
Chiang Kong
Day
21 / 22

Disembarkation

AM: Disembark by 8.30 in Chiang Khong and group transfer to hotel/airport. En route, explore the Golden Triangle including a visit to the opium museum. Continue to airports or city hotels in Chiang Rai (2 hours) and Chiang Mai (6 hours).

Champa Pandaw - The Full Mekong, Four Country - Day 22
Location
Chiang Kong
Day
22 / 22
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Accommodations

Social Areas

Front Deck
Bar
Captain Cabin
Dining
Living Room
Outdoor Restaurant
Recreation Area
Dance Performance

Suites & Cabins

Champa Pandaw - Main Deck-1 Champa Pandaw - Main Deck -2 Champa Pandaw - Main Deck - 3
12 Cabins

Main Deck

Guests
2
Size
14 m² / 150 ft²
Beds
Double / Twin

These ample-sized rooms feature various amenities to ensure guests have a comfortable stay. The beds can be set up as double or twin configurations. The rooms also feature unlimited mineral water for guests to stay dehydrated at all times, kimonos, slippers, a hairdryer, and spa-branded amenities with a private ensuite bathroom.

Champa Pandaw - Upper Deck - 1 Champa Pandaw - Upper Deck - 2 Champa Pandaw - Upper Deck - 3
2 Cabins

Upper Deck

Guests
2
Size
14 m² / 150 ft²
Beds
Double / Twin

Identical in configuration and amenities to the Lower Deck cabins, the equally spacious Upper Deck cabins are more exclusive, boasting both a privileged location higher up for better views of the passing scenery and closer proximity to the action of the neighboring saloon.

Technical Information

Deck Plan

Features

  • Air conditioning
  • Lecture room
  • WIFI available
  • Kosher Meals
  • Medical staff
  • Souvenir shop
  • Hot showers
  • All inclusive
  • Charging areas for electronic equipment

Equipment

  • Bicycles
  • Yoga mats
  • Flash lights
  • Water canteen/bottle
  • Insect repellent
** Use of certain equipment at additional cost, ask for details
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