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Home The Pandaw History
History of the Pandaw
The vessel that would one day bear the name Pandaw was one of the six boats commissioned after WWII, with the same design of the pre-war IFC vessels, for the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company. After the Second World War ended in 1945 and the British returned to Burma (now reverted to the original Burmese name Myanmar), it was understood that the country would gain her independence soon and that the IFC and other British-owned enterprises like timber and oil would be nationalised.


The vessels were commissioned in 1947 to the famous Yarrow & Co. shipyard on the river Clyde of Glasgow, at a period of time when Scotland was the greatest shipbuilding name in the world. Then, the expression 'Clydebuilt' was synonymous with shipbuilding excellence.


The ship was boarded up to be protected from sea waves and she sailed for Rangoon (now reverted to the original Burmese name Yangon) in 1950. By that time, Burma has been independent for four years and the IFC has been nationalised and turned into the Inland Water Transport Board. Many ex-flotilla men, but no British, continued serving on their beloved ships.


Her maiden voyage was on 12 January 1950 when she began the run between Mandalay and Bahmo, carrying both cargo and passengers.
The river run was and is necessary, because the overland route by rail or road remains time-consuming and at times with more delays, when bridges or roads are damaged by monsoon rains. The river ride is always pleasant and the view of the Second Defile that lies between Bahmo and Mandalay is spectacular.


In 1998 a newly-setup Irrawaddy Flotilla Company founded by art historian old-pandawScotsman Paul Strachan chartered her from the IWTB and renovated her into a luxury cruise ship with 16 cabins, operating the boat on the Ayeyarwaddy River for five years until 2003. In the same year, a new charter was signed up by Ayravata Cruises and the ship underwent a major renovation at the Dallah Dockyards near Yangon.


While retaining the many old touches such as teak and ironwood decks, old brass outfitting and the teak-walled spacious cabins, additional features were incorporated to make her lovelier, more comfortable and safe, a truly boutique-style cruise ship.


Specially-designed new furniture replaced the old, new air-conditioning, silent generators plus new water de-sedimentation and treatment systems installed. A new Reverse Osmosis Water Purification System and new cooking equipments were brought for the kitchen. The vessel is now equipped with a state of the art fire detection system. For a luxury touch, natural handmade soap is installed in each shower and essence burners in each cabin. The menus were completely made over and include such succulent fare for dinner as roasted turkey with mushroom sauce, and the lunch buffet offers a variety of Western and Asian cuisine including delectable desserts.


New Year or Christmas trips and special requests offer enchanting firelit dinners on a sandy island with wonderful food and traditional dance and music entertainment by the Bagan School of Arts.


The late board members of the original IFC of the colonial times would truly be proud if they could see the excellent condition of the modern-day Pandaw, in all her loveliness.
Built in Scotland on the Clyde
in 1947 by the famous ship-builder
Yarrow & Co with the same design of
the pre-war Quarter Wheller
steamers of the Irrawaddy Flotilla

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