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Andaman Explorer

Pandaw’s ‘Rangoon to Ranong’ cruise on the MY Andaman Explorer down Myanmar’s southern coast allows passengers to discover one of the country’s least visited regions, disembarking at towns and cities studded with the rich footprint of Burma’s turbulent colonial past.

At 61 metres and with Rolls Royce engines, the Andaman Explorer began its life on the seas in 1963 as a Norwegian coast guard vessel. She was later acquired by a Italian oligarch who spruced her up with Carrara marble floors and a jacuzzi on deck. The Andaman Explorer’s ‘ice class’ hull and glitzy accoutrements make her both a sturdy and serene vessel upon which to discover one of Southeast Asia’s least explored coastlines.

If commencing in Yangon, the initial stop of the 11 day cruise will be at Mawlamyine, the first ever capital of British Burma and once commonly referred to as ‘Little London’. Over the course of a couple of days passengers of the Andaman Explorer will be able to explore this colonial town that inspired Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘The Road to Mandalay’ and where George Orwell wrote his essays ‘A Hanging’ and ‘Shooting an Elephant.’ There will also be daytrips to the mountains and limestone caves of Hpa-An and to Thanbyuzayat where the Commonwealth War Graves Commision maintain a cemetery for the prisoners of war that lost their life constructing the Burma-Death Railway.

Further south, Pandaw take their passengers to the towns of Dawei (formerly Tavoy) and Myeik, the latter once the home of the swashbuckling privateer Samuel White of Bath. With its Portuguese churches and scruffy shipyard, Myeik has the seductive ambience of a port town from a Robert Lewis Stevenson novella. Myeik is the starting point from which travellers can explore the islands of the Mergui Archipelago, visiting the Moken or ‘Sea Gypsies’ that have lived on these waters for centuries. The Andaman Explorer will eventually reach Kawthaung just across the border from Ranong and the southernmost point of Myanmar.