This travel agent did a great job coordinating our travel goals with available events.
She did a great job choosing our guide and driver in Bangkok. Our guide added so much to our trip and provided such personalized attention, offering suggestions to optimize our time there and navigated the local culture to make the best use of our time and minimize inconveniences. He is also funny. Our driver was a safe driver and had cold water and washcloths for us after every stop. They were always on time. They were fantastic and everyone should hire them.
Our guide and driver combo in Chang Mai was less impressive. We felt like our driver was somewhat reckless, although many drivers drove that way. Our guide offered little information spontaneously on the first day( better on the second day), and the guide and driver, husband and wife, had a lot of personal conversations on our drive from Chang Rai to Chang Mai instead of engaging us. There also seemed to be a miscommunication regarding the itinerary. We had planned for a bike ride in the morning and then a walking tour of the lost empire in the afternoon one day with our travel agency. The guide told us that the bike ride was of the lost empire and then we had the afternoon off to stay at the hotel, explore on our own. The bike ride was actually in the countryside like we had planned and was wonderful, but we never did see the lost empire. That happened to fall on the king's birthday, so I don't know if that played into it or not. We appreciated the time to relax at the beautiful pool at our hotel, however. One thing that I would suggest to the travel agency is regarding the cooking class that we attended in Chang Mai. It was wonderful, but some warning about transportation would have been helpful. Trucks from the class came to pick us up from the hotel followed by stops at 2 more hotels around the city before going to the cooking school. With the traffic, we ended up spending over an hour in the back of a hot truck to get there (45 minutes after the 3 hour class to get back). The driver didn't speak English to explain the plan, so by the time we got to the class, we were a little crabby. Had we been prepared for that, we would have been perfectly happy taking that in, and we would have brought water bottles for the trip.
Bangkok--Lopburi Monkey temple, Grand Palace, back street food tour . Great tour guide in Bangkok-he offered us suggestions to optimize our experiences and taught us a lot about the things that we were seeing. He even helped us navigate through the airport to start the next leg of our trip. Our driver in Bangkok was also exceptional.
Chang Mai--We had a wonderful bike ride through a countryside village. He was a great guide and we were able to talk with some local farmers. Our hotel was fantastic in Chang Mai--best place we have ever stayed. We took a cooking class which was very good--entertaining instructor, great food, made me feel like we could do that at home.
We only spent one night at the resort on the Phi Phi Islands by our choice to accommodate our other scheduled plans. I would have either spent 2 nights so that we could do some resort excursions or skipped it all together. One night gave us enough time to enjoy the beach and pool.
I also maybe would plan it to have more of the Bangkok time on the weekend. Weekday traffic was bad.
TRAVEL COMPANY COMMENTS:
Kari thank you so much for your review and the feedback that we spoke on the phone about as well. We’re so glad that you had a great time with your guide and driver and that they really went above and beyond in taking care of everything for you during your time in Bangkok. I’m sorry that your guide in Chiang Mai was not as impressive to you. I had spoken to your guide and they mentioned that on the first day some of the group was sleeping on the drive and they didn’t want to disturb them. For the driving the road rules can vary in the different areas, but we never want you to feel unsafe. Our drivers are highly trained and we’ve never had any kind of incident. We’re so glad that you loved the bike ride in the countryside but are sorry that there was some confusion about the visit to the Lost Empire. Taking a cooking class in Thailand is fun, so we’re glad that you really liked that experience. This was a group activity, and though we did list this as such on your itinerary we didn’t specifically state that the transfer could stop at other hotels too. I know that can be a little tiring, especially when it’s hot out. That’s great that you enjoyed your hotel in Chiang Mai. I’m happy that we were able to get that room upgrade for you to make the time there truly special. You were a pleasure to work with, and I’m so glad that your family got to experience some of the wonderful things around Thailand. Best regards
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