Our tour was quite good compared to some of the other reviews I have read here. Our tour guide, Mack, was very friendly and humourous and did his best to be helpful and accommodating. We positioned ourselves at the front of the boat and were lucky to have other friendly tourists sit with us. We did a similar tour 14 years ago and had an idea of what to expect. However, I was overwhelmed with the popularity of James Bond Island. Our boat pulled in on the other side of the small island and therefore had to trek up and down a narrow staired pathway. Many tourists stop mid way to take photos and hold up the traffic flow. By the time you get to the other side, you almost have to make your way back. The stalls holders are pushy and quite rude. I had to use the toilet whilst I was here and it was very primitive and dark inside. Avoid if you can!
The caving was ok, but I would not recommend if you have any difficulties climbing or are claustrophobic. The sea canoeing is interesting but be prepared to tip your guide at the end. The set lunch at Panyee Village was ordinary. Being a non-seafood eater, the choice was limited. We wandered a little bit through the stalls, but the humidity was stifling and unpleasant. Our last stop was to an island for swimming and recreation, unfortunately our guide realised halfway there that 2 of our passengers were left behind at the fishing village. We had to stop while he radioed back to another boat to pick them up. They did rejoin our tour and all was ok - but it does highlight that you need to be back to the boat at the designated time.
When we did reach the swimming location, I was disappointed. The water was dirty and grey. Not the beautiful colour I was expecting. There was a bar selling drinks, but it was a primitive setup.
The trip was quick and we returned on schedule. The crew were great and skillful. As we pulled in to port there was an expectation to put a tip in for the crew. All in all it was a great but tiring day.
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