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.
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.
Suites & Cabins
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.
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.
- Air conditioning
- Lecture room
- WIFI available
- Kosher Meals
- Medical staff
- Souvenir shop
- Hot showers
- All inclusive
- Charging areas for electronic equipment
- Yoga mats
- Flash lights
- Water canteen/bottle
- Insect repellent