our guide was knowledgable, funny, and his English was fluent. This tour gave us enough time to see everything without dragging on. I would definitely recommend taking a tour to see The Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha, because wihout one you wouldn't learn as much.
Obviously the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew are off the scale and a MUST. The Palace was incredibly busy as you'd expect. Our guide was ok.
The tour itself of the Grand Palace Complex was good, but short. We were supposed to have 2 hours there, but we only had 1 hour 20 minutes. The tour started 25 minutes late because one couple had not arrived. Then while driving through awful traffic, the bus driver talked on his cell phone for 45 minutes in what appeared to be a personal conversation instead of concentrating on driving strategically in the traffic. Several times he could have made strategic moves in traffic, but he didn't because he was not paying attention to driving. We were gone from our hotel for over 6 1/2 hours for a tour that was to be approximately 3 hours. It was frustrating and disappointing.
This was our first day in Thailand so we were a bit disorientated. Rather than pick us up at the hotel, we were asked to meet the tour at Sathorn Pier. We got there in plenty of time but our tour bus did not. We had to wait nearly 45 minutes for the bus to turn up and only knew that it was running late because two lovely guys at Sathorn Pier who organised other tours helped us to contact the travel company. No reason was given for the late arrival but we're presuming it got stuck in traffic. Unfortunately, once we'd been taken to another hotel by taxi and caught the coach, we were again the victims of Bangkok traffic, making us more than an hour and a half late to the Grand Temple, with just over an hour to see everything. Our guide did his best, and he was very informative but it felt very rushed. The visit to a gem seller after the tour was an unnecessary addition signed to get us to spend money on jewels! If I was going again I'd visit in the morning as the Grand Palace was rammed by the time we got there, and I'd also go by boat rather than bus as we spent more time on the transport than we actually did at the temple.
The Grand Palace is aptly named! It is magnificent. The jade Buddha is awesome.
We took the tour on January 14, 2015. The day was gorgeous with a beautiful blue sky which brought everyone out for the day. Our guide, however, was able to lead us to the least crowded spots for better observation. Unfortunately, his English was "not-so-good" and it was difficult for me to understand him. He did seem very knowledgeable about the area.
If this is your first trip to Bangkok, I would definitely recommend a tour before venturing out on your own!
For those wanting to see the Grand Palace, it is truly a beautiful place you have to see once. The palace is five stars. Read other reviews regarding dress code and expectations - they helped us prepare. I would highly recommend going early morning before the crowds get too large and going on a weekday will be even less crowded than the weekend. It was very crowded when we went Sunday afternoon. I recommend NOT booking this through Viator - thus my two star rating of this tour. The rest of this review is for Viator.
Viator: Please see if you can arrange a different tour company for the Grand Palace other than this tour operator. Our tour started late, was very rushed, the guide - as nice as he was - spoke very bad english, we got no water breaks, and we ended up at a very expensive jewelry factory for 45 minutes that wasnt mentioned. Finally, the guide tried to push us to spend 1000 baht each to go on a river cruise, which would cost more than this tour. We declined and it took us another 30 minutes to get a ride arranged back to our hotel. We have used Viator for many tours in the Philippines, Malaysia, and even took the Bangkok Rice Barge tour the day before and have loved them all. But this one was very poorly done and needs to be changed. I dont want to worry about being taken advantage of when taking a tour. I also should be able to spend more time at the palace and not driving in a van and at a jewelry factory two of the three hours on this tour.
United States of America
Our tour guide did not speak English understandably...and consequently we only understood a fraction of what he was saying. To make matters worse, the Grand Palace was closed on the day we went - and the tour company allegedly did not know ahead of time. We tried to make the best of it by visiting the Vianmek Mansion, but it was only marginally interesting.
The tour it self was very nice. Our quite was very well informed and told us many interesting facts about not only the Grand Palace but the ruling family in Thailand.
Our only complaint was the tour ended at a jewelry makers shop that was quite large and we were expected to browse there with a sales person before being taken back to our hotel. Not what we had signed on for and very pushy.
The guide and driver met us at 8 AM, right on schedule. It was an hour and 1/2 drive into Bangkok, very comfortable car and the driver was careful if fast. The locations were amazing. I loved the Grand Palace and the Reclining Buddha the best but there was so much color and beauty there, that I didn't know what to take pictures of next. Since it was Dec. 31, it was incredibly crowded but still well worth seeing. The lunch was on a moored boat and was fine, not gourmet but not too hot for my tastes plus there was lots of variety.
However, I will say that while the guide obviously loved his city and knew a lot of ways around the crowds, he didn't give us much information. With that long drive to and from the city, there was time to talk about history, culture, etc and he didn't seem to want to talk all that much. Our questions were answered with very short replies. He did seem surprised at how quickly we ate lunch (we didn't want to miss anything) and although he took us to the tourist shop, we didn't want to buy anything there (too expensive and touristy). I would have preferred going through one of the markets to get a flavor of the street life in Bangkok.
I did fall in love with Bangkok and will come back someday and spend a lot more time here. Oh, and we got back in plenty of time so as not to miss the ship.
All in all, although I would have liked more information, I was glad we went.
My tour guide Tiny was very good. She told me enough information about the Grand Palace, without overloading me with details. A great tour for solo travellers as well- collected from your hotel and returned there, so a good opportunity to see Bangkok.
we were under the impression that we would have a around about 3 hours of a private tour with lots of history about the city but in fact it was less then an hour. This was very dissapoionting. The gentlmen that took us around was very nice and had some good knowledge but we felt as if we went very fast as there was a lot to see. We dont think this was actually the case or we missed a lot. When we got back to the hotel we looked at the booklet that they give you as a tourist entering the Wat Phra Kaew and Grand Palace and there was about 32 points of interest you could look at! which we could have looked at ourselves! We dont think it was worth the money at all and feel completely ripped off by the whole experience. Its a real shame as the person that took us was very nice.
It was beautiful to see all of the riverside temples and the Grand Palace lit up at night. The food was decent, the entertainment was a good sort of interesting and amusing.
Doing what: Bangkok Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya River
This was a great tour however the rules have changed and you now need to make sure that your legs are covered down to your ankles, I had shorts on that covered my knees completely but that wasn't acceptable for the grand palace. Our tour guide was great and very knowledgeable as she showed us around but it was very hot so make sure you take lots of water with you!
I had ascertained proper dress for this tour the day before. I was told that my arms and knees had to be covered. I had previously visited many temples so I knew that it was OK to wear a tunic without sleeves provided that I had a shawl to cover my arms for the visit. For the bottom I was told to wear long pants so since I was wearing a tunic, I wore leggings. Instead of greeting us upon our arrival, our guide began giving me heck about the way I was dressed. She said a shawl and leggings were totally unacceptable for the visit to the Grand Palace. She then went to talk to her guide colleagues, pointing at me and complaining - everyone was looking at me. I got so upset I told her to forget the Palace Visit and to just do the canal cruise. We enjoyed the canal cruise, but the encounter with the guide had totally soured our tour. We are also completely disappointed that we never did get to visit the Palace.
Pick up from our hotel was prompt an efficient with only two other pick ups on the way to the Grand Palace.
Our tour guide Krit was very informative and funny with some unusual facts about the Palace and Bangkok in general.
We arrived at the Palace 10 minutes before opening and we're virtually first in! Partly due to the cloudy skies and slightly off season.
Krit explained everything nicely for first timers, but you need to ask questions to get beyond the usual tourist level of detail.
We spent about one hour and twenty minutes on the tour before starting our journey back.
Now, this is the bit I didn't like.
We were taken back to our hotels via a gem factory / showroom, and it was explained very clearly there was "no obligation" to buy and if we preferred to be taken back from there to our hotel immediately that was fine.
We endured the tour of the gem outlet, which was interesting (with some polite salesmanship) and declined to purchase anything.
Then we were taken back to our respective hotels in comfort.
My advice is the tour is great for first timers and although the gem factory visit is not listed (or too intrusive) be prepared.
All in all a good, safe and informative morning.
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