Thursday, January 22, 2009

News - Luxury Cruise along Rajang River to Sarikei - The Itinerary

Into the Heart of Borneo
A Journey on the Mighty Rajang River

Pandaw Cruises are excited to announce that they will inaugurate a new expedition cruise on the Rajang River in Sarawak from July 2009.

Following in the footsteps of the British explorer and travel writer Redmon O'Hanlon, the brand new ORIENT PANDAW will make an eight night cruise three times a month from Sibu to the Pelagus Rapids and beyond up the Baleh River.

The Rajang River is rarely visited by travellers on account of its inaccessibility and lack of tourist facilities. It is though the longest river in Malaysia. Cruising in the extreme comfort of a Pandaw, passengers will be able to visit Iban longhouses, make boat trips up tributary rivers and see the vestiges of the colonial Brooke Raja.

But above all, passengers can view from the Pandaw's observation decks the rich tropical rain forest close at hand. Jungle treks, for all levels of walker, are a must - this is after all one of the most diverse and exotic eco paradises on the planet.



*Cruises depart 3 times per month from 01 July 2009 to 30 November 2009

Example of 9 Day/8 Night Cruise
10 July 2009: Sibu
Transfer from airport; board ship in the bustling city port set close to the local markets and temples. Free time to explore the town on foot with its attractive streets of old Chinese shop houses, redolent of Malacca or Penang but without the tourists. Sibu is a big port with sea going ships coming up and off loading. From here the fast express boats depart for the interior.


11 July 2009: Kanowit
Cast off at dawn and proceed up the mighty Rajang. Morning stop to visit rattan workshops. Here the river is still wide and full of shipping. At the river station of Kanowit we visit the Brooke Raj Fort Emma, of wooden construction and amazingly surviving intact after 150 years. Explore deeper inland by long boat up the Kanowit River and voluntary jungle trek back to the Pandaw moored at Kanowit.

12 July 2009: Kapit
The upriver capital has an even more interesting Brooke Raj fort called Fort Sylvia with the adjacent tattoo museum showing traditional Iban designs and techniques. We make further explorations to visit an original Iban longhouse, a rare sight as most have been rebuilt in a modern style




13 July 2009: the Baleh River
Just above Kapit we turn up the main tributary of the Rajang, the Batang Baleh navigable for a Pandaw for another day’s sail. Along the river we see a number of logging camps and fine new long houses. Logging is strictly controlled by the Sarawak government, who have a strict replanting programme. We will visit a logging camp and stop overnight at Nagamujong village with its long house, school, clinic and church. We will also see loading points for coal coming from mines deep in the jungle.

14 July 2009: Pelagus Rapids
Return down the Baleh to rejoin the Rajang and proceed another 40km towards the Pelagus Rapids. This section of the river is incredibly beautiful with thousands of islands, reefs and shoals. Navigation here can be difficult depending on water levels and it may be necessary to transfer to long boats to continue our journey. At Pelagus we make a short trek to the Pelagus Resort Hotel for afternoon tea and stupendous views of the rapids.

15 July 2009: Pelagus and Beyond
Further opportunity to trek in and around the Pelagus Resort in this primary rain forest so rich in fauna and flora. After lunch return downstream past Kapit.




16 July 2009: Song
Song is a small river station between Kanowit and Kapit and we stop here to make a boat trip up the Katibas river to visit long houses and the opportunity to trek part of the way back to Song. Continue downstream through evening.

17 July 2009: Sarikei and Tanjung Manis
We now enter the Rajang delta area with its rich agricultural life. At Sarikei we visit a deer farm and pepper plantations. On the coast Tanjung Manis is the main seaport and gateway to the Rajang. Though a modern city it is not without interest. A short drive away, village workshops specialise in songkat weaving. Return upstream stopping over night at Bintangor.

18 July 2009: Sibu
Dock in Sibu early morning and disembark and transfer to airport for onward flights.

More information like pricing and e-booking at eTravel website. This website is meant for the Australian culture vultures and eco-tourists. Tell your Australian friends! Don't miss the boat.

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Updated: Booking info for other countries at Pandaw

11 comments:

Daniel Yiek said...

Sarikei Time Capsule will be taking a breather for Lunar New Year celebrations. Normal programming will resume in Feb.

I'm excited to be going back to Sarikei via Kuching in a car tomorrow. I won't be taking the cruise as I have been to most of the places mentioned. :)

If you recognise me in a kopitiam, pls say hi. I'll be going around to gather new content. I need all of you to dig into your family albums when you are back and email old pics of Sarikei to be posted!

Cheers! Happy CNY!!!!!!

jane said...

have a wonderful new year, daniel. Kong Sii Fatt Chai!

sarawakiana said...

Kong Hee Fatt Choy (I just like this old style....)

Take lots of photos....

I don't know if I could make it to Sarikei because the road from Miri to Tatau is under construction at the moment. However I am praying real hard that I can celebrate NY in Kuching with my mother.

Kong said...

Just drive very carefully. There are bound to be lots of car and my motto is "always assume the other driver is an idiot". That way, I force myself to be extra careful in my driving.

Nelson said...

London launch for Rajang luxury cruise


SIBU: Sarawak’s newest tourism product, the Rajang River Luxury Cruise, will be launched in London on Feb 6.

State Environment and Public Health Minister Datuk Sri Wong Soon Koh said the product would be operated by Myanmar-based Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, South-East Asia’s largest river-cruise operator. Speaking at a Chinese New Year gathering on Friday, Wong said the cruise operation would promote Sarawak in general and Sibu in particular, as well as the 640km river, to the world.

Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abang Haji Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng was the guest of honour at the event organised by the United Chinese Association’s Sibu branch.

The Rajang River cruise is scheduled to begin on July 1 along the country’s longest river.

It will start here and pass through Kanowit and Kapit, then along Baleh River, a major tributary of the Rajang and part of the Iban community’s heartland.

It will then proceed to the Pelagus Rapids, Song, Sarikei and the fishing port and industrial town of Tanjung Manis before returning

Meanwhile, Wong said that Miri would host the 26th National Chinese Cultural Festival in July.

“I hope the relevant government agencies, corporate bodies and others can make it a successful event,” he said. — Bernama

NELSOn said...

Overwhelming response in London to Rajang cruise

By Andy Chua

SIBU: Even before its official launching on February 6 in London, public response to the first river cruise along the mighty Rajang River in the British capital has been overwhelming.
“We have received 60% booking for the entire year. That is an overwhelming response by any standard,” Alexander Sheible told reporters after meeting Second Finance Minister, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh yesterday at the Sibu Municipal Council.
Alexander, the Hotel Director of Irrawaddy Flotilla Company which is making this maiden cruise along the Rajang, said most of the booking came from the United States and European countries including England and Germany.
He strongly believed the response would be even better after the launching of the cruise.
The cruise will start on July 1 on a nine-day/eight-night cruise from Sibu to Kanowit, Kapit, Baleh River, Pelagus Rapids, Song, Sarikei, Tanjung Manis and back to Sibu.
Alexander said the company would be making three trips per month on the 1st, 10th and 20th at a cost of USD2,500 per person.
The second cruise on July 10 is already fully booked. Each trip can take in 60 passengers.

Vessel from Cambodia

He added that they would be using a vessel which was currently cruising along a river in Cambodia for the Rajang cruise.
“The ship will be taken from the Tonie River in Cambodia. We will need two months to repaint and clean it in preparation for the maiden cruise,” said Alexander.
Asked on why the company was choosing the Rajang River, he replied that the Rajang had something unique and different from the Mekong River in Vietnam and Tonie River where it was also operating similar cruises.
“The Rajang has a lot of potential for river cruises and it presents an original destination for the tourism industry,” he added.
Meanwhile, Wong, who welcomed the cruise, said it was an opportunity which did not come very often.
“I am grateful to the Pandaw company for starting this cruise. In doing so, Sibu will become better known to the world. It is also a greater incentive for us here to work harder to promote Sibu,” he added.
Wong also called on those in the tourism industry here including the general public to help make the cruise a great success by making the tourists feel welcome.

-Eastern Times-

Daniel Yiek said...

Nelson,
Wow, that's good news for Sarawak.

There's a typo in the article, Tonle River, not Tonie River. It flows into the biggest fresh water lake in SE Asia, Tonle Sap in Cambodia. I went there last year for hols. There's a floating village of school, religious places, homes, etc.

I hope the tour guide will bring the tourist to see the exotic products brought in by the natives to the Nyelong River market.

For those who know the deer farm owner at Sebangkoi, pls request him to put up new posters at the reception. The reception area has been exposed to the elements of the weather and needs a refresh. I went there last month during the CNY trip back.

nelson said...

yeah, tonle sap lake got a lot of villages on top of it.

i like your idea of putting up posters or advertistments(controlled amount & standard) at the reception near the pandaw jetty for sarikei so that the tourists will know more about the tour packages and places of interest available in and around the pineapple town. even kampua stall can advertise (like bak kut teh stalls all over klang valley).

Daniel Yiek said...

http://www.easterntimes.com.my/index.php?news_id=1&news_content=10805

By Andy Chua, 10 March 2009

SIBU: 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.

cruise liner jobs said...

That is something new. I think it would be fun and very relaxing to take a cruise in that place. considering the adventure and experience the place offers.hope to get on one cruise soon.

Daniel Yiek said...

http://www.easterntimes.com.my/index.php?news_id=1&news_content=11360

Eastern Times, 22 April

River cruise vessel to arrive May 1

ANDY CHUA

SIBU: The vessel for the Pandaw Rajang River Cruise will arrive here on May 1.
Hotel Director, Alexander Scheible in an email yesterday, said the vessel, which had been used in similar cruise in Cambodia, was on its way to the State.
“The vessel will arrive in Sibu on May 1,” he added.
On arrival here, the vessel will berth at Kingwood Hotel wharf where necessary preparatory works will be done on the vessel before the maiden cruise on the Rajang River on July 1. The preparatory works included general cleaning and maintenance of the vessel and repainting.
This colonial style boutique vessel can only carry 60 passengers at any one time.
The Pandaw Rajang River Cruise is scheduled for the 1st, 10th and 20th of each month or three trips every month to places like Kanowit, Song, Kapit, Balleh, Sarikei and Tanjung Manis.
The response to the cruise has been overwhelming since its launching on February 6 in London.
To date, some 1,200 tourists from Europe, England, Germany and France had booked and confirmed for the cruise scheduled from July to December this year.
Each passenger is charged RM2,500 for the nine-day cruise on the Rajang River.

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