Elephant, Floating Market and River Kwai Tour

We are a UK family of 5 with 3 girls aged 16, 14 and 9. We considered the Tiger Temple Tour but the Tiger Temple visit itself got mixed reviews and was considerably more expensive.

This tour was perfect for us as it had something for all of us. The stops broke up the 3 hour journey to the main attraction – the elephants. Mum particularly wanted to see a floating market while in Thailand. It felt very touristy but kept her happy. Dad (me) wanted to see the Bridge Over the River Kwai. I found that highly emotional – my parents were young adults in the war and so it has always been a factor I have been aware of. The war felt very close when we were walking across the bridge. The kids particularly wanted to do elephant bathing and that lived up to their expectations and exceeded ours. It was definitely worth paying the extra to go bathing – we also did the riding which is still fun but much more passive than the bathing.

The other thing that made our long day – 7am pick up 7 pm return – was the quality of both the service and of the van. The van was spacious and very comfortable. It also had excellent comms facilities so we were able to watch a harrowing but ultimately uplifting film about Eric Lomax (a PoW of the Japanese) on the way there, and then a complimentary disc (video and photos) of our elephant bathing on the way back (which was delivered to our hotel the next morning). All that combined to make the journeys easy.

The service came from Na our guide and Joe our driver. Na was highly knowledgeable about both the River Kwai – she is from the area and used to work at a hotel there – and about the elephants. She knew all the mahouts and elephants individually. And when my camera’s memory card got full she offered me hers. Highly recommended – ask for NA and Joe if you can.