Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Full booking for river cruise

Booking for the RV Orient Pandaw Rajang River Cruise is already full for this year and beyond the expectation of the company, the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company.
The founder of Pandaw Cruises, Paul Strachan, in an email to Eastern Times yesterday, said although the Pandaw Cruise would only start in July, bookings for the upcoming cruise was already full.

He said response was that overwhelming due to the active selling of the cruise by company to their long established list of clients who had experienced such cruise in Vietnam and Cambodia.

“It seems that hundreds of our old passengers are just waiting for a really exciting new product like this to come along,” he said, adding that Pandaw Cruise was also actively promoting stop-over in the state capital of Kuching and other towns in Sarawak to be added to the Rejang river cruise.

The cruise would be Malaysia’s first luxurious cruise when the Pandaw Cruise began operation in July this year.

Operated by on the RV Orient Pandaw, a ship that is a replica of the old colonial river steamer, this cruise will sail along the Rejang River.
The RV Orient, with 30 staterooms, will make a nine-day voyage along the Rejang which is adorned with picturesque scenery provided by the lush rainforest and longhouses by the riverbank.

The founder of Pandaw Cruises ,Paul Strachan, described the journey as a rich eco paradise and this is a true reflection of Sarawak’s new destination tagline “Sarawak-the paradise within”.

Starting from Sibu,the cruise will sail up-river to smaller towns of Kanowit and Kapit before turning into Rejang River’s main tributary of Balleh and heading towards the Pelagus Rapid.
From Pelagus, the cruise will return downstream to the town of Song and continue on to Sarikei and Tanjung Manis towns before returning to Sibu.

Apart from stopping and enjoying the rustic attractions in Sibu, Kanowit, Song, Kapit, Sarikei and Tanjung Manis, passengers can also take a smaller boat to visit the longhouses and enjoy the hospitality of the Iban community living along the river.

Steeped in tradition, the Ibans are known for their friendliness and rich cultural heritage. Other activities that passengers can do during the cruise include jungle trekking and visit to farmland where fruits, rice and pepper are grown. For the adventurous ones, they can also go shooting the rapid. Sibu is accessible by direct flights from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching provided by Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia.

The flight from Kuching to Sibu only takes an hour and Kuching being the main gateway to Sarawak, is also connected by direct flight from Brunei, Jakarta, Pontianak, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.

These flights are currently operated by Malaysia Airlines, Royal Brunei Airlines, Air Asia, Tiger Airways and Batavia air. In March Kuching will see another airline, Jetstar Asia, making a direct flight into the city from Singapore.



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