I just returned from this trip and thought it was wonderful. The itinerary was well planned and the hotels were very good. There was a nice balance of free time, although in couple of hotels we got there so late in the day that we did not have time to enjoy what the hotels had to offer. The River Kwai Resotel was a bit rustic but very nice but required walking up a fairly steep hill with a lot of steps to get there.
Our guide - Ya - was good but his pronunciation of some English words was pretty poor, making it difficult to understand him at time. But to his credit, he went out of his way to make stops that demonstrated a great deal about Thai culture. There were times that he either did not understand questions or did not know the answer to them so he would give a "pat" response that dealt with the general topic but did not answer the question.
I have had good experiences with Gate 1 in terms of places that they stop for purchases of local items. However on this trip the gem factory and leather shop that they recommended were very over priced.
My only real complaint about the trip was the seat assignment on the bus. I was traveling with a group of 10 or so and we had no problem sitting in the back of the bus - a section that we actually preferred. But there were times when things got crowded and our group always shared. There were four females who paid for the single supplement. Based on that payment they felt that they were entitled to a single seat on the bus every day and did not have to share. When the issue was raised with them they were adamant that because they paid a single supplement they got a seat to themselves every day. When I confronted one of the women her comment was "I'm sorry your feel that way - but I'm not giving up my single seat." One day another woman was having car sickness sitting in the back of the bus and asked to sit with one of these women and they refused!
I brought this issue up to the guide and in my opinion, he dealt with the issue very poorly. Granted, he cannot control people who are totally inconsiderate and lack any understanding of the terms of a single supplement but he could have handled the seat assignment issue better. I have been on trips where there was a seating chart every day which is pretty regimented but may be necessary. Unfortunately, perhaps Gate 1 will have to make a note on single supplements to make that clear.
Aside from this issue - this is a wonderful trip. One other caveat, there is a great deal of walking and stair climbing in this trip. It is not for the faint of heart. People who have problems walking long distances or dealing with steps should probably not undertake this trip and Gate 1 should probably make a not of this when advertising the trip.
Product or Service Mentioned: Gate1travel Tour.
Reason of review: Seat assignment issues and guide.
Preferred solution: Let the company propose a solution.
Gate1travel Pros: Generally very good.
Store Location: Cleveland, Ohio