ABOARD KINDAT PANDAW – Our one-hour flight from Yangon with Yadanarpon Airlines even included breakfast, something we appreciated in view of our early departure. That makes it a cut above most U.S. domestic carriers in terms of service.
Given our 7 A.M. arrival in Bagan, it wasn’t surprising that our cabin aboard Kindat Pandaw wasn’t yet ready. Consequently, our driver and guide gave us a tour of the local market, located in Nyaungu, the town adjacent to Bagan where the airport is located. It’s the largest population center in the area, and its market was surprisingly large and diverse; mostly produce but also fish (from the river), poultry, prepared meats, handicrafts, sundries, etc.
Even with our excursion to the market, we were the first passengers to board at around 10 A.M. During a brief wait in the lounge for our cabin to be readied, we met several other passengers who boarded soon after we did—a woman from Britain, a couple from Australia, and two couples from the U.S. By the end of the day we had 17 passengers aboard, the majority, British, and all cordial. This means our vessel is only about half-full; we expect because we’re in shoulder season. Occupancy should pick up during the next three to four months as the weather cools and dries.
We are looking forward to small-group comradery aboard a vessel that promises to be low-key and relaxed. Based on our first lunch and dinner, we would say the food should prove to be a most enjoyable part of our experience. It seems everything we eat is produced in our ship’s galley using fresh, local ingredients and reflects local cuisine.
Our accommodations are quite generous, especially for a small vessel. Teak lines floor, walls, and pedestals for the twin beds. The en suite facilities include a surprisingly large shower. A desk, wardrobe, and night tables complete the furnishings. Storage beneath beds is deal for stashing luggage after un-packing. All cabins on the vessel are the same size and layout—eight on the upper deck, 10 on the lower. All have air conditioning and double sliding doors leading to exterior deck. Double sliding louvered teak doors with locks protect the glass doors. The combination provides generous access, views, and the opportunity for plenty of fresh air when conditions are right.
Aside from the perimeter upper and lower decks, the public spaces include an upper deck lounge amidships, enclosed and air conditioned with large windows on three sides. Aft on the upper deck, the shaded “sun deck” is for open air lounging and where all meals are served. The Kindat Pandaw contains no climbing walls, casino, or spa, but then it doesn’t look like we’d have time for them in any case with all the shore excursions planned. We’ll provide more on the program and the staff in a later post.