RV Song Hong Pandaw

Specifications of RV Song Hong Pandaw

Year of build2023  /  Age: 1
BuilderHai Minh Shipyard / Saigon Shipyards Co Ltd (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
Ferry route / homeportsHalong Bay (Vietnam)
Speed11 kn / 20 km/h / 13 mph
Length (LOA)45 m / 148 ft
Beam (width)9 m / 30 ft
Gross Tonnage350 gt
Decks with cabins2
Sister-shipsChampa Pandaw, Laos Pandaw, Sabaidee Pandaw, Yunnan Pandaw
OwnerPandaw River Expeditions
OperatorPandaw Cruises

RV Song Hong Pandaw Review

Review of RV Song Hong Pandaw

The 2023-built RV Song Hong Pandaw ship cruises in North Vietnam - on Song Hong River (Red River) and Black River waterways, leaving from homeport Halong Bay/Ha Long City. The newbuild boat's sisterships are the Thailand-built fleetmates Laos Pandaw (2015), Champa Pandaw (2016), Yunnan Pandaw (2016) and Sabaidee Pandaw (2018).

In 2022, RV Song Hong was advertised as Pandaw River Expeditions' second boat to offer cruises on Red River - joining RV Angkor Pandaw in 2023. Pandaw started Red River Vietnam voyages in 2015 and these itineraries have been one of the company's most successful.

Like all Pandaw ships, Song Hong has an ultra-shallow draft that allows safe navigation on the region's tricky waterways. The ship design also features two wraparound promenades (open-air, covered deck areas). The Upper Deck's promenade provides access to the Restaurant & Bar Lounge that offers alfresco dining at its roof-covered terrace.

The riverboat has 10 identical cabins (sized 17 m2 / 180 ft2). All staterooms offer as standard amenities twin beds (some converting to double, all with premium mattresses, quality linens, duvet, two kinds of pillows), French windows, air-conditioning, spacious wardrobe, electronic safe box (in the closet), writing desk (vanity with chair and make-up mirror), under-bed storage (for suitcases), en-suite bathroom (WC, shower, washbasin, hairdryer, towels, slippers, bathrobes/kimonos, Spa-branded amenities), unlimited bottled water, Yoga mats (for in-cabin use), nightly turndown service. Onboard 24-hour laundry is also available. On all shore excursions are provided shoe cleaning and cold towel services (after), bottled water (Pandaw-branded aluminum bottles as giveaways), first aid-trained assistant guide.

For the construction of RV Song Hong Pandaw was used hardwood from sustainable forestry. Next video contains photos of the construction process.


Like on similar Pandaw ships, Song Hong Pandaw passengers are able to spend leisure time on the aft part of the covered upper deck. Meals are served bistro-style indoor and outdoor on the upper deck. Breakfast is buffet-style but preceded by light bites, tea and coffee for early risers. Lunch is either buffet-style or sit-down (waiter-served, with a la carte menu choices), while dinners are 4-course and waiter-served. Pandaw's food ingredients are locally sourced and always fresh.

Domestic beers, spirits, soft drinks, coffee and tea are complimentary and served on the upper deck at the bar/library lounge. An open-bridge policy is in place. Wi-Fi is slow because of the remote regions traveled. However, some riverside ports may feature Internet shops. The riverboat provides quality mountain bikes available complimentary for passenger use on independent shore trips.

RV Song Hong Pandaw cruise ship

Pandaw "Halong Bay and Red River" itineraries

Song Hong Pandaw ship cruises on the following cruisetour itineraries.

  • 10-day "Halong Bay and Red River" - prices start from USD 3220 per cabin (US$322 per day).
  • 21-day "Halong Bay, Red River and Laos Mekong" - prices start from USD 7145 per cabin (US$715 per day).
  • Pandaw cruise prices are inclusive of entrance fees, tour guides (English-speaking), crew gratuities, shipboard accommodation and meals, beverages (bottled mineral water, jugged coffee, teas, tisanes), bus transfers (airport-ship-airport).
  • Pandaw cruise prices are not inclusive of international flights, port fees, Visas, fuel surcharges, shipboard laundry services, alcoholic drinks, non-cruise staff gratuities (tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators, cyclo drivers).

Both cruise tours start in Hanoi and include a domestic flight to Halong Bay (homeport/departure port for embarkation).

The "Halong Bay and Red River" itinerary includes:

  • (DAYS 1-2-3) Halong Bay (3-day overnight stay with food and accommodation provided by the ship)
  • (DAY 4) Kinh Thay River cruising (onboard lecture themed on Vietnam's history, geography, boat people, plus a Water Puppets show)
  • (DAY 5) cruising towards Hanoi (afternoon visit to the ceramic village Bat Trang, traditional dance dockside)
  • (DAY 6) Hanoi City - guided tour visits Hoa Lo Prison (aka Hanoi Hilton), Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a traditional coffee shop
  • (DAY 7) cruising on Red River and evening arrival at the town Viet Tri (land excursions along the way visit Thay Pagoda, and Tay Phuong Pagoda, a carpenter village)
  • (DAY 8) cruising on Lo RIver to the ferry station Tien Du (bus tour visits Gia Thanh village famous for making conical hats from palm leaves and bamboo) follows cruising to Hung Lo Ancient Village (house-temple-pagoda)
  • (DAY 9) cruising on Da River (through Ba Vi National Park) to Hoa Binh (from where is visited the Duong Lam village), in the evening is offered a tour of the galley/ship's kitchen, the boat's engine room and crew quarters.
  • (DAY 10) cruising on Black River to Hoa Binh Dam (Southeast Asia's largest hydroelectric dam. A boat tour in the morning in the reservoir visit the dam's power station and a village. In the evening, on the cruise ship is held a traditional music and dance performance by local people.
  • (DAY 11) is the debarkation day when the ship is disembarked after breakfast (at 8.30 am). Follows a visit to a museum and an authentic village.

The longer "Halong Bay, Red River and Laos Mekong" is a 21-day B2B (back-to-back cruise) that combines the above reviewed itinerary with a 10-day Mekong River voyage.

  • (DAY 1) Vientiane (embarkation port, overnight mooring)
  • (DAY 2) upstream cruising on Mekong River (onboard morning Lao language presentation, afternoon cooking demo, evening arrival in Ban Xanakham (overnight mooring)
  • (DAY 3) cruising to the town Pak Lai (French colonial architecture, food market
  • (DAY 4) morning visit to the village Ban Park Bor (Khmu tribe), afternoon passage thru Xanyaburi Dam (hydroelectric powerplant)
  • (DAY 5) morning visit to the village Hmong, cruising to the village Ban Mouang Khai, afternoon bus tour to Khaung Si Waterfalls, a butterfly garden, Luang Prabang (Kingdom of Laos' royal capital), overnight mooring
  • (DAY 6 in Luang Prabang) morning guided city tour visits temples, libraries, the royal palace complex, National Museum. In the late afternoon is held an onboard traditional Laos dancing show (overnight mooring)
  • (DAY 7) morning tour by a local boat visits Pak Ou Caves (25 km north of Luang Prabang, with 4000+ Buddha icons). In the evening the ship departs for Ban Bo.
  • (DAY 8) cruising through Pak Beng to Pak Sit.
  • (DAY 9) morning tour visits the Khamo village
  • (DAY 10) cruising to Chiang Sean (Golden Triangle/border crossing), on the cruise ship is held a farewell cocktail party with a traditional Thai dance show in the evening.
  • (DAY 11) Tourists disembark the ship in Chiang Sean (at 8.30 am) for a bus transfer to the hotels (2-hour travel to Chiang Rai) or the airports (6-hour travel to Chiang Mai).
  • (DAY 12) from Hanoi Airport starts the flight to Halong Bay for embarkation on Song Hong Pandaw for the "Halong Bay and Red River" voyage.

Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All companies and their fleets are listed there.

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