Dont bother with this tour, just take a taxi instead!
We booked a private day tour to the floating markets and bridge on the river Kwai with Tour East Thailand with Viator.
1. Pick up time - Having booked our trip through Viator we received a message that our pick up time would be 630am from our hotel lobby. Our tour guide Netsura turned up at 645am, saying she had been at our hotel since 6am, but then the driver did not arrive until 655am. Having got up this early it was not a good start.
2. Floating market - we were asked to pay 900 baht for a small boat for a 30 mins market tour, though this was not mentioned on the tour exclusions on the itinerary. This maybe optional, but how else do you see the floating market?
3. Bridge over the river Kwai - Netsura explained we should take this once in a lifetime boat trip from the JEATH museum to see the original bridge which you cant see any other way. Despite the 1000 baht charge, we went along with her suggestion, only to find the remains of the original bridge are clearly visible from the new bridge and our 5 mins boat ride is clearly a scam for tourists.
4. Throughout the trip Netsura gave very little commentary of any interest, but continually chatted to the driver whilst tapping on her iPhone. One would question why we needed a tour guide if this is the case.
We have been to many South East Asian countries including Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore on numerous occasions, so know that this tour falls well below an acceptable standard. Having provided feedback to Tour East and Viator, neither company seems to accept the above the unacceptable - very poor customer service!
We would certainly not be using either company again!
Way too crowded with tourists trying to experience the floating markets. More like bumper boats. Literally went down the canal a short ways and then went backwards up the same canal. Werent told that there was an extra charge for the paddle boats needed to float down the canal. Disappointing for the amount of time taken to reach the market area. Thought there would be some advantage to having a private tour but there wasnt any.
The tour guide and driver were on time and very nice and accommodating. We had a good time at the floating market and River Kwai, although the floating market we went to the most touristy one was very congested and after awhile we got tired of being stuck in traffic in the canal. The guide was knowledgeable and we had a good time. The trip really does take all day. My only complaint was that we had to pay full price for my 1.5 year old daughter, which in Asia usually kids under 2 are free.
The floating markets were full of sights, sounds and smells and so interesting to just sit by the river drinking a coffee and watch everything going on around us. The visit to both the POW Cemetery and Bridge makes one feel very lucky and humble. A long day at 11 hours, but worth the experience. The guide and driver were very helpful.