I absolutely loved this tour! We did this tour the first day we arrived in Bangkok on the recommendation of a friend. Our guides, Khing and Tao, were both excellent. Tao picked us up promptly from our hotel, and took us by taxi to boat. He helped us order our morning coffee (and taught us how to order it in Thai, which was SUPER useful for the rest of the time there), and picked up snacks for us to have on the boat. Khing and Tao made sure we had a variety of different fruits and that bottled water was always available to us during the tour. The stops at the Orchid Farm, various Wats, and lunch were excellent. The local food was delicious, and we were permitted to sample the soup to be sure we enjoyed the taste of it before ordering.
I had the unfortunate experience of losing expensive sunglasses over the side of the boat during our lunch stop (we were warned ahead of time to be careful, whoops!), and Khing actually found someone who was willing to dive into the canal and search the bottom of the river for my sunglasses, which were recovered! That was totally unexpected and I was SO appreciative!!
The puppet show was interesting, but, for me, not the most exciting part of the tour. I could have passed on it. Unfortunately, there were no floating markets when we went as it was a weekday, but we did get to see many sights along the canal and hear interesting facts throughout the duration of the tour. At the end of the day, Khing and Tao ordered us a couple desserts (including mango sticky rice) before the tour concluded. It was really great having tour guides who could order for us because it allowed us to try and experience food we would otherwise be unfamiliar with. We also bought a mosquito relief ointment at the orchid farm that was crucial for the remainder of the trip!
Everything during the tour is paid for, and there is time to do a little shopping at the end while at the artists house. The only minor hiccup we had was the end of the tour; we had paid for transportation back to the hotel which I dont think our guides were made aware of. They did take us back to the hotel via song tao and the BTS, which was very inexpensive (and, ultimately, not a big deal to buy the tickets), but, as we had paid for transportation in advance this should have been covered. In hindsight, we really only needed the pick up from the hotel, as getting around Bangkok is very simple and straight forward.
One of the best parts of the tour was the personal knowledge and stories told by the guides about their lives. It was so interesting to hear about Tao's time as a monk, and hear about Khing's other interests in travel and photography. Khing also presented each of us on the tour with a personal card containing one of her photographs at the end; it was such a thoughtful gesture and something I love having as a keepsake from the trip.
I highly recommend this trip, and think that both guides, Khing and Tao, are excellent!
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