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“Bangkok Food Tour + Chiang Mai Elephants”

Smiling Albino - Day Tours
Ranked #36 of 154 Outdoor Activities in Bangkok
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Owner description: See a different part of the world, differently. Custom luxury tour & adventure travel company delivering unforgettable Asian travel experiences.
Reviewed 12 January 2018

Really disappointing experience for both of our tours. I'm a food reporter in Chicago, so the Bangkok experience had been recommended by others. Tour guide was great, and some of the stops were o.k. (satay skewers, pad thai, congee and noodle soup in Chinatown), but we spent too much time in the van, and $170 per person for four of us was just obscene. Also, having to wire the money ahead of time via bank transfer was a pain. Also, they don't take pics of the experience like every other tour company.

The Chiang Mai experience was worse. Told that the cave visit was cancelled due to low oxygen there, we drove 90 min. to see a very touristy (and sad) elephant camp where we spent 30 minutes. Great tour guide had the sense to stop on the way to show us a local market that was super cool. Then they drove us another hour to a touristy orchid farm, where we spent 20 min. Had a leisurely raft ride, but nothing special. Spent 4 hours in car for a 6.5 hour tour day. Have asked about partial refund, but company dragging its feet. Again, extremely expensive for the experience you get. Would seek out other tour companies.

2  Thank Steve D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
smiling_albino, Owner at Smiling Albino - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 15 January 2018

Hi Steve and Amy, we are sorry to hear of your disappointment and do appreciate your feedback here. It is a rare review and we have examined every aspect of your trip. We don’t usually visit touristy elephant camps or orchid farms on our trips, and in this case were trying to find the best fit with the time available and your interests, and we can see that the experience did not live up to your, or our own expectations.
Our trips are carefully planned and tailored for each guest. The challenges of peak high season can sometimes interfere with these plans as on your Bangkok excursion on Christmas day and your Chiang Mai adventure on New Years Eve. In both cases, our guides made changes to the itinerary to avoid crowded sites and heavy vehicle traffic. They had learned from you that these were important concerns of yours.
On a happier note, we are pleased you enjoyed your Smiling Albino guides. The training and experience they have are part of the crucial difference that make trips memorable and sets us apart from other touring companies.
Once again we do appreciate your comments and thank you.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5 - 9 of 57 reviews

Reviewed 7 January 2018

We did two Smiling Albino Tours on our trip - one night food tour in Bangkok and one day trip in Chiang Mai. Our guide on the food tour was great but it was a lot of stops so beware. The food was incredible and she found some of the most unique and interesting places. One of the best soups I've ever had was on this night street food tour of Bangkok.

The day trip in Chiang Mai was disappointing. We were picked up in a very nice van with a great driver and tour guide but were told we could not do the cave part of the tour we had booked. Instead we would be visiting an orchid farm. He did make a quick stop on the way out of town so we could see a local market. That addition was the highlight of the trip as it was the most local and least touristy aspect.

After that we drove 90 minutes to an elephant ride that was very disappointing and rather upsetting. The elephants are forced to take tourists on a ride and for a 90 min drive we had a 20 minute ride. I also felt terrible for the elephants as I suspect they are beaten with the hooks the riders have in their hand. I should have researched more before the trip and asked that we go to a sanctuary instead of doing a ride. We then drove another 45 minutes to a touristy orchid farm where we only spent 20 minutes there. So it was a lot of driving for not a lot of sightseeing. Lastly we did a raft ride which was nice but not that special. If you are booking a day trip make sure you know what you are getting and if all of the driving will be worth it.

Thank Amy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
smiling_albino, Owner at Smiling Albino - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 15 January 2018

Hi Amy and Steve, we are sorry to hear of your disappointment and do appreciate your feedback here. It is a rare review and we have examined every aspect of your trip. We don’t usually visit touristy elephant camps or orchid farms on our trips, and in this case were trying to find the best fit with the time available and your interests, and we can see that the experience did not live up to your, or our own expectations.
Our trips are carefully planned and tailored for each guest. The challenges of peak high season can sometimes interfere with these plans as on your Bangkok excursion on Christmas day and your Chiang Mai adventure on New Years Eve. In both cases, our guides made changes to the itinerary to avoid crowded sites and heavy vehicle traffic. They had learned from you that these were important concerns of yours.
On a happier note, we are pleased you enjoyed your Smiling Albino guides. The training and experience they have are part of the crucial difference that make trips memorable and sets us apart from other touring companies.
Once again we do appreciate your comments and thank you.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2017 via mobile

This company was fabulous!!!! They heard what we wanted to do and customized the trip for us. Fabulous guides, unique ideas and wonderful surprises for us!! They could not have done a better job in any way!!!!!!!

Thank Sfpol40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
smiling_albino, Owner at Smiling Albino - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 3 July 2017

Wow! Thank you so much for the rave review! We'll pass your kind words along to the entire team. Fabulous guests make our work so much easier. We hope this trip's experiences remains with you forever. We'd be overjoyed to host the next big family adventure!

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Reviewed 17 February 2017

Our guide Pete tailored our time in Bangkok to our interests, allowing us to cover a lot of ground in our short 3 days! We were greeted in our hotel room with a personalized guide book from Smiling Albino that included a variety of recommendations around the city. We traveled by foot, BTS, tuk-tuk, city boat, long tail boat, and taxi to incredible pagodas, the flower market, the Grand Palace, and through canals. Pete knew a ton of history at each landmark, as well as the best restaurants and sights that weren’t overrun by tourists so that we could get the best local experience! Would definitely use Smiling Albino when traveling back to SE Asia.

Thank bridgetsp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
smiling_albino, Public Relations Manager at Smiling Albino - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 22 February 2017

Thanks so much for this great review Bridget! We are so happy you and Thomas enjoyed your trip with us. Your experience in Bangkok is exactly what we try to custom make for each one of our guests, and we are glad Pete showed you both a good time! We look forward to helping you plan any Southeast Asian adventures in the future! Vietnam next? :-)

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Reviewed 2 October 2016 via mobile

I live in Bangkok and this is the third time I have travelled with the amazing team from The Smiling Albino. This time they arranged a week up North biking, hiking, motor scootering and boating around both Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. It was faultless from the guides, drivers, food and itinerary. There are loads of tour companies however I don't know any others so customized, so service focused and above all so authentic. You don't just visit somewhere - you experience it. I can't wait to travel with them again. Thanks guys!

4  Thank Geoffrey_100255068
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
smiling_albino, Marketing Mahout at Smiling Albino - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 4 October 2016

Thanks so much Geoffrey! So happy you enjoyed your THIRD trip with us! And what an awesome review. You summed up our unique selling points perfectly. You also experienced one of our favorite adventures with all the activities we offer. Must have been a blast. We'll let the whole team know how happy you are with their efforts. Look forward to trip number four!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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