Calendar and opening times for 2019 at the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha temple) in Bangkok.
We pre booked the half day floating market & railway markets tour as we only had half a day spare. Picked up at 06:45 from our hotel. The good... read moreWe pre booked the half day floating market & railway markets tour as we only had half a day spare. Picked up at 06:45 from our hotel. The good bit is that you have a nice comfortable mini van, driver and a good English speaking guide, we had Ms Rani who was lovely. It takes over 90 minutes to get their but she talked about Thailand and answered questions and because it’s a private tour you don’t have to worry about others. At floating market you get a boat tour and can try food and stop to shop as you go. You then get to try local food and more shopping before travelling onto the train market. Ms Rani told us all about the products on sale before we stopped at a good coffee shop to watch the train and we got grandstand places. After that it’s a trip back to hotel. Water was on hand whenever needed and so polite and friendly I would thoroughly recommend and thanks to Ms Rani read less899MichaelG89915 Nov 2019
Our cruise included two full days in Bangkok. Since the ship docked at the Klong Toey port near the center of the city, we avoided the long commute from... read moreOur cruise included two full days in Bangkok. Since the ship docked at the Klong Toey port near the center of the city, we avoided the long commute from the more remote port used by larger cruise ships. We signed up for two full days of touring with BKK Tours. Our guide for both days was Air who owns the touring company with her husband. During our two days of touring we were driven by our driver in a very comfortable air conditioned van. Cold bottled water and cold face cloths were available every time we returned to the van. On the first day we started at the Grand Palace complex. On our drive to the palace complex Air gave us background information and history about the city and the monarchy. She pointed out various monuments, temples, and stupas that we passed during the short drive. Once we arrived at the palace entrance Air reviewed the guidelines and rules on visiting the Buddhist and royal sites – no bare knees or shoulders. The grounds were immaculate, the gilded facades were brilliant, the decorations were elaborate, and everything was in perfect condition! Air described in detail the meaning of various figures and the connection to the Buddhist beliefs and practices. After about 45 minutes of jaw-dropping views we reached one of the highlights: The Emerald Buddha which we were not allowed to photograph. Before we entered the temple Air pointed out what we should look for on the mountain of gold on which the Emerald Buddha sits. She also described the traditions practiced in this temple. It was helpful for her to prepare us with these details prior to entering the temple.
After this highlight we entered a second section of the Grand Palace complex which included various government and ceremonial buildings. Air told us the king no longer lives on the palace grounds and this second section of the complex is now used for official visits, etc. We left the palace grounds after about 90 minutes of touring the amazing site. We exited near the river front where we boarded a power boat for a ride along the canals of Bangkok. Air correctly assumed that we needed a break so the hour long boat ride was well timed. We were back in the van for a short drive to the Flower Market, but first Air shared a special treat with us when we stopped at a street vendor that sold the most delicious crispy fried chicken: a perfect mid-morning snack thanks to Air! The Flower Market was a surprise. Most of the flowers and arrangements are purchased for temple decorations or offerings at one’s shrine or even for their cars.
Next, it was time for another highlight: The Reclining Buddha, but first we saw another mountain of gold, this time topped by a golden Buddha in an adjacent temple! We also saw stupas covered with colorful porcelain flowers. The main attraction, the Reclining Buddha, was huge! Before entering Air shared all the statistics of his height, his length, and his construction. She allowed us ample time to take in this unbelievable object. Photographs cannot capture the immense size and beauty of the gilded icon. Air knew we needed another break so we headed off to lunch in a restaurant adjacent to the Navy Club facility. Fortunately Air ordered a wide variety of dishes for us to sample. We enjoyed relaxing over a delicious lunch and a refreshing watermelon smoothie. The last stop for the day was at the Temple of Dawn which was located on the other side of the river. The Temple of Dawn was originally built in the 17th century and the spires that we saw were added to the temple in the 19th century. The temple consists of several stupas topped with tall spires and every surface is covered with colorful porcelain flowers and designs. Air urged us to simply walk around and view the various shapes and colors. It was quite a treat and a perfect way to end a very beautiful day. We commended Air for how she sequenced the day and provided the perfect pace for us.
The goal for our second day with Air and BKK Tours was to travel out in the countryside and experience a unique railway market and an authentic floating market. Air and her husband offered several options for a shortened day in the countryside and they urged us to follow their favorite recommendations. They were correct! After driving about an hour we arrived at the Maeklong Railway Market. First we walked through a section of the market housed in a large building which resembled the market we saw in HCMC that offered produce, meat, and fish. In many ways this market seemed better organized and cleaner. Next Air led us to the second area of the market that was behind the first section. That’s when things changed. The market was now on both sides of narrow gauge railroad tracks. The displays were right up to the edge of the tracks and the customers walked along the tracks. Everything imaginable was available, especially in the seafood areas: large green-lipped mussels, prawns of every size, fresh produce, and even frogs! All seemed normal, but Air told us where to stand because things were about to change very soon. After hearing a couple of toots, the display tables/carts were moved away from the tracks on rollers and the awnings were put in a vertical position. A train was slowly approaching and customers, displays, and awnings were all tucked away. The train continued to move slowly through the market and immediately after it passed, the displays and awnings and customers all were back to normal. Evidently a train passes four times daily in each direction and the process repeats eight times. It was quite an experience and we thanked Air for encouraging us to witness it.
Soon we were on our way to the next destination. After a 30 minute drive we arrived at the Tha Kha Floating Market which was in an area of palm tree farms. Air recommended this market because it is considered to be the most authentic. When we arrived Air bought a couple of snacks from vendors in a covered walkway. We sampled the snacks as we approached the actual floating market. The vendors were selling produce or food they prepared and cooked on their boats that were floating in the canal. All of the vendors were women! Some were cooking on small propane burners and others used charcoal. Young girls took orders for food from the customers who were walking along the pier and then delivered the meals. It was a beehive of activity that was a delight to observe and photograph. Soon Air suggested we begin our boat ride on the canals. The boat was propelled by a punter who guided the boat along the canals with long poles. The punters were also women! We enjoyed the quiet ride through the canals for about 45 minutes while Air pointed out various plants and flowers. It was so peaceful and relaxing – except for getting in and out of the boats! We returned to the floating vendors, but we did not sample their offerings. Air did introduce us to the fruit pomelo which we did like very much. It is similar to grapefruit, but much milder and firmer in texture. We have since found it at our local Trader Joe’s! Our three hour visit to the countryside was a wonderful experience and the suggestions we received from Air we spot on. Even the drive back to the ship was quick and easy. It was a very enjoyable day discovering the unique markets of the rural Bangkok region. Our two days with BKK Tours were great and highly recommended. read lessJeep6112 Nov 2019
The Highlights tour was exactly as described. Molly was a fantastic guide and conversationalist, and our day was very enjoyable. If you're on the fence about taking this tour, I... read moreThe Highlights tour was exactly as described. Molly was a fantastic guide and conversationalist, and our day was very enjoyable. If you're on the fence about taking this tour, I encourage you to do it. You'll see the "highlights" very efficiently and get familiar with transportation. read lessMariaCherie11 Nov 2019
The river Kwai and Hellfire Pass tour was amazing. Our guide, Air, was superb. She knew exactly how much information to give us to explain everything well, without overloading us.... read moreThe river Kwai and Hellfire Pass tour was amazing. Our guide, Air, was superb. She knew exactly how much information to give us to explain everything well, without overloading us. She was chatty and friendly but also gave us space to savour the moments in the places we visited. This tour is highly personal with Air guiding us the whole day, even suggesting which foods we should try. We were never rushed and if we wanted to spend longer in one area and less time in another, that was totally fine. I cannot recommend this company enough and would book them again when in Bangkok. read lesswdfan01 Nov 2019
It is fantastic trip with an accommodating tour guide, Air and the Uncle driver. They are really sweet and considerate. They both made our trip amazing. They kept offering the... read moreIt is fantastic trip with an accommodating tour guide, Air and the Uncle driver. They are really sweet and considerate. They both made our trip amazing. They kept offering the good service with cold water and cold wipes because of the hot weather. We also had different kinds of local food from them and know something about Thai culture. The tour guide, Air, is very friendly, witty and chatty. We went to Hellfire Pass with her and climbed up and down the hill all together. She is knowledgeable about the history and we enjoyed it so much. read lessmushroomptt01 Nov 2019
Ms. Air was our guide for the city tour and it made it so much easier to navigate around. She helped to negotiate prices with the tuk tuk drivers,... read moreMs. Air was our guide for the city tour and it made it so much easier to navigate around. She helped to negotiate prices with the tuk tuk drivers, a lovely Navy club pier lunch along the Chao Phraya river, a private long tail boat ride was a unique experience too. read lessxidelta10 Oct 2019
Our family of 4 took a tour with BKK Tours earlier today. The tour could only be described as exceptional. Our guide for the day was Air and... read moreOur family of 4 took a tour with BKK Tours earlier today. The tour could only be described as exceptional. Our guide for the day was Air and her driver Aor were both excellent. We were picked up in a modern 9 seater bus at 7am and driven to Krase Cave and wooden railway bridge for spectacular views of the Kwai River. We then went onto the Australian Museum at Hellfire pass followed by a walk along the original train route built by Australian, British, Dutch and American prisoners of war. The whole experience was quite moving. A delicious and very filling lunch followed at the Boutique Raft Resort overlooking the Kwai River. The day ended with a walk across the River Kwai bridge and speed road ride along the river to get a different perspective of the bridge and landscape. We also visited the JEATH Museum to end off our day. Our guide and driver were both outstanding, we were never rushed and everything was included in the tour price including admission tickets, coffee breaks and drinks with lunch. This is a full tour and is highly recommended if you want to experience River Kwai and Hellfire pass in a single day. read lessFletch4508 Oct 2019
Our guide was calm and knowledgeable. Raht did not bombard us with too many facts and figures but she knew what we wanted to know about places when we asked... read moreOur guide was calm and knowledgeable. Raht did not bombard us with too many facts and figures but she knew what we wanted to know about places when we asked her. Terrific for our group of 8 adults from Australia. Recommend this tour and the company BKK. Very good communication. Oh and must mention the driver made us feel safe in the TERRIBLE Bangkok traffic and on expressway but his BEST activity was giving out icy cold towels each time we returned to the most comfortable van we have ever been in for a tour. Plus he gave us lots of cold bottles of water. Also of note was the delicious Thai meal served in a restaurant near big River Kwai Bridge (concrete and metal).
My favourite parts of the tour were the walk over the wooden/metal bridge across little River Kwai and the very moving story of Hellfire Pass at the Interpretive Centre following the footsteps of Prisoner's of War who lived and died building the Thailand-Burma Railway in WWII. read lesslorilijacobs03 Oct 2019
Our 700th review on TripAdvisor: Amazing day tour of Bangkok. We wouldn’t have been able to do half of this without booking with your company. Highly, highly recommended tour!
Our 600th review on TripAdvisor: Really well organised tour to the River Kwai. Our guide, Onn, was informative, organised and made the day for us. The day could not have been better.