Tuesday, October 07, 2008

News - Luxury Cruise along Rajang River to Sarikei

An interesting piece of news appeared below. It's really up to Sarikei to tap the potential tourism revenue coming upstream the Rajang River. What will make the cruise stop longer in Sarikei besides buying a few packets of fruits? How to attract other tourists (not from this cruise)? We will explore and debate this in the next post.

Source: New Straits Times, 1st Oct 2008

SIBU: A Myanmar-based riverboat company plans to start a luxury Rajang river cruise in July.

The cruise, along Malaysia's longest river with a length of 640km, will be run by Pandaw Cruises, which says it is the largest river cruise company in Southeast Asia.

The company was set up in 1995, reviving the name of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company of old Burma which in the 1920s, ran a fleet of more than 650 vessels on the rivers of Myanmar.

RV Orient Pandaw
Source: Pandaw

Pandaw Cruises now runs cruises on the Irrawaddy and Chindwin in Myanmar, the Mekong and Tonle in Cambodia, and the backwaters of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

The company has a fleet of four riverboats, all newly-built replicas of the original Clyde-built steamers, with a shallow draft to enable them to moor at areas where other larger ships cannot.

A new 55m-long ship, the four-deck RV Orient Pandaw from Vietnam, will be used for the Rajang cruise. The ship has 30 luxury state rooms.

RV Orient Pandaw Specifications.
Source: Pandaw

The Rajang cruise, over nine days and eight nights, will begin in Sibu with stops at Kanowit, Kapit and Nanga Mujong in Balleh, before moving on to the Pelagus Rapids, Song, Sarikei and Tanjung Manis towns.

The boat will also stop at longhouses, logging camps, the vestiges of the Brooke White Rajah era such as Fort Emma in Kanowit, Fort Sylvia, the Pelagus Resort in Kapit, fruit and pepper farms, traditional songket textile workshops and other places of interest along the way.

Three cruises a month are planned. The cruise will cost US$2,250 (RM7,260.50) per person.

Sibu Sarawak Tourist Board (STB) executive Rudy Anoi said Pandaw's managing director, Paul Strachan, travelled up the Rajang river last month to study its potential and to make preparations for the maiden cruise.

"He also held a meeting with STB chief executive officer Gracie Geikie and local tour operators on the possibility of co-operating with them," he added. -- Bernama


nelson said...

I think it's just too expensive and RM2250 is more logical.

regarding sarikei, pepper, pineapples, kompiang, kampua, visit to tamu... still minimally exploited.

nelson said...

By Michael Chiew

SARIKEI: The new Nyelong Bridge located at Jalan Melanti will open for use by the public from 7.00 pm on October 26, according to Datuk David Teng Lung Chii, Assistant Minister of Food Industries, as he chaired a preparatory meeting to discuss details on various programmes scheduled for the grand occasion. He said works and finishing touches on the RM22 million bridge project were entering the final stages now.
Also present at the meeting were Sarikei Member of Parliament, Ding Kuong Hiing, Sarikei Devision Resident, Michael Dawi Allie, and his deputy, Felicia Tan Ya Hua, and heads of local government departments and statutory bodies.
The bridge, Teng added, will provide a direct transport link for the residents of Sarikei and Bintangor, helping to speed up agricultural development in more remote interior and bring further economic progress to the areas concerned.
The soft opening event on October 26 would feature a simple walk-over ceremony and presentation of various cultural dances and songs, said Teng.
Heads of government departments, statutory bodies, community leaders as well as members of the public would be expected to witness the important event.
Meanwhile, Teng, who is also state assemblyman for Repok, thanked the government for the bridge project which will provide much convenience for people in the areas concerned.
After the opening of the bridge, the existing two ferries would be expected to cease operations with effect from November 1.

sarawakiana said...

Reminds me of the opening ceremony of the old Nyelong Bridge by the last Governor Sir Alexander Waddell.

It was very simple. The entourage walked across the bridge after a short speech in the hot sun.

Bridges take a long time to build in our new era. Probably it takes a long time to estimate all the fringe benefits and hidden costs. Especially difficult when costs go up three or four times a year and many people change their minds too many times.

Cow Peh Cow Boo....the contractors say. As if the poor cannot even cry.

BurungHelang said...

A three day luxury cruise down YangTze river is less than USD500.

Daniel Yiek said...

What is "visit to tamu"?

There'll be a post of Nyelong River's Meranti bridge coming up. I have been collecting pics in preparation for this launch. Pls send in the latest pics (near to completion)

I believe this cruise is targeting the high end tourists who want the romance of the Orient Express type of luxury. Different segment of the market from the mid range mass market tourists.

nelson said...

i meant a visit to our pasar tamu. Sibu central market is enough to make them WOW. hmm... nothing much that can think of. We must create sth to attract the tourists.

Voluntourism said...

Many small luxury river cruises also have naturalists, historians and other experts onboard to educate and entertain cruisers. They offer informal lectures, lead expeditions and answer questions. Completely narrated excursions and sightseeing are generally a part of the price of the cruise. Luxury cabins of the cruise feature historic decor and luxurious appointments, thus offering comfort and convenience to those cruisers who wish to travel around important and historical sites. Many of the small luxury river cruises have single-seating dining and nightly entertainment in elegant showrooms

Gallivanter said...


BurungHelang said...

I hate to put down my home town but unless the colour of the water in Rejang river turns clear, I doubt that such a venture will make serious money in many years.

Daniel Yiek said...

Time will time whether this cruise will bring in the tourists. Marketing to the right target audience is important to build awareness and preference.

Here's my view after visiting many cities and countries over the years.

For those that will come are those who want the Sarawak Experience. They want the romance and adventure of the silty and mighty Rejang River. Taking a small boat ride on the Rejang River with salty sea breeze is a very different experience vs white water rafting at the Canadian Rockies.

For those that want clear rivers and streams, Sarawak is not for them. The alpine countries will be their destinations. The savvy traveller would have done his/her research before embarking on a tour.

Food for thought...

burunghelang said...

I agree with you Daniel 100% that those who visit are the nature loving adventurous type. So a sampan tour would make perfect sense.

BurungHelang said...

"Indiscriminate timber extraction upstream had exposed the catchment areas. Rainwater flows swiftly into the Rajang River, bringing down silt and sand downstream. In less than 2 decades, the crystal clear water of the Rejang River has changed to yellow colour, making it the “Huang Ho” of Sarawak." quoted from http://yippeego.com/ypwordpress/?p=513

Daniel Yiek said...


Tour operator to start Rajang River expedition in July

KUCHING: A new cruise on the Rajang River in central Sarawak will be introduced in July by Pandaw Cruises, a South-East Asian river cruise company.
Called “Into the Heart of Borneo”, the cruise will take passengers up -river from Sibu to Kanowit, Kapit, the Baleh River (a tributary of the Rajang) and the Pelagus rapids before heading downstream to Song, Sarikei and Tan–jung Manis.
The nine-day trip on the colonial-style RV Orient Pandaw will end in Sibu.
Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) president Wee Hong Seng said the new service would be a boon to tourism in the state’s central region.
He said the cruise would attract tourists because of the rich culture and diverse ecosystem found along the Rajang River, the longest in Malaysia.
“It will give passengers a jungle experience. The longhouse culture along the Rajang River is a selling point while downriver is Sibu where passengers can extend their holiday,” he told The Star yesterday.
He said the STF would tap into the opportunities that the cruise offered by coming up with attractive tour packages.
“We should try to get visitors to stay an extra day or two in Sibu and its surroundings,” he said. “For example, they can do a Sibu city tour.”
According to Pandaw’s website, there will be three cruises a month, departing on the 1st, 10th and 20th. Prices start at US$2,250 (RM7,890) per person in a shared main deck cabin inclusive of meals, shore excursions and Sibu airport transfers.
For more information, visit www.pandaw.com.

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