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April E

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April E

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Jun062013

Tour/Activity

Ang Thong National Marine Park Snorkeling Adventure from Koh Samui

Koh Samui, Thailand

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

This was a terrific day trip and included viewing sights that were very unique. You are taken on a boat, about an hours ride from Koh Samui, to snorkel near a small island, and then taken to view the Emerald Lagoon, which was an impressive site. The guide was fun, energetic and informative and made a point of showing us interesting rock formations or slowing near areas that would make for great photos. He also helped take photos for the tour group every step of the way. Lunch was at a small fisherman's village, and the food was better than expected. We ended the day on a secluded beach where you could either relax and swim or kayak to a nearby formation. The trip was outstanding and highly recommended.

Downsides to the tour, reason for not giving this 5 stars: The boat was absolutely packed, making it very close (and uncomfortable) quarters for changing into snorkeling gear and getting in and out of the boat. This tour would have been far more enjoyable had the group been smaller or the boat larger. It was hard to find a seat, and for such a lengthy journey, it detracted from the overall experience.

Jun052013

Tour/Activity

Koh Samui Island Safari and Elephant Ride

Koh Samui, Thailand

My Rating
1 star rating: I do not recommend this

My Review

I really, really wanted to love this tour. I booked this tour before I left to Thailand thrilled at the idea of riding an elephant. The description describes a lengthy elephant ride (30 minutes), implies that the elephant ride might be somewhere beautiful and picturesque to "see Koh Samui's natural wilderness from a different perspective". I liked the notion of the cooking class and other demonstrations, with lunch included. Its possible that I was put on the wrong tour, because what I got was very different than described, quite unusual with my experiences with Viator.

The driver who picked me up at the hotel was careless, drove insanely fast and almost injured other tourists by driving into flora and fauna that scraped into the back of the truck opening. The local safari that he brought us to was not very clean or organized. The safari displayed a very sad young elephant chained to a post who was "dancing" for us with music, but the animal did not seem to be in the best health, nor did the chained conditions seem pleasant. The monkey show was similar in nature, the chains on the animals detracting greatly from the experience. The elephant ride was about 10 minutes, taking us through back paths filled with trash, debris and homes of very poor locals. Lunch was not included, though I was taken on a tour to the grandmother and grandfather rock, the big buddha, the mummified monk, a waterfall and a local town with about an hour for lunch and sightseeing which was very rushed. I was hoping to see the elephants in a more natural setting, and left instead feeling very sad and sorry for the animals. I would not recommend this particular tour.

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