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“Amazing customer service!”
Review of Banana Boat Tours

Banana Boat Tours
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Better boat trips and tours. The Mekong River is your gateway to local experiences and popular attractions around Luang Prabang. We also can take you to authentic experiences on and around the Nam Ou River, Nongkhiaw area. Take a tour with us and enjoy travelling at your own pace.
Reviewed 19 July 2018

My friend and I had booked a trip for Laos, and I was extremely excited to explore all of the highlights I'd heard about; the Mekong River, the Kuang Si waterfalls, the temples, the bears...and I was even more thrilled to find an affordable, all-in-one trip through Banana Boat.

Emi was polite and easy to communicate with through email, and I was able to book a deposit for my friend and I about a week before we would arrive in Laos. There are plenty of reviews out there about this trip (BB01) - and let it be said that it was BEAUTIFUL. However, this review is focused less on the trip itself, and more on the amazing customer service we received from Emi.

Once we arrived at Kuang Si waterfalls, my friend and I made our way through the bear sanctuary and to the lower falls. As it was the rainy season, it was VERY slick (be careful when visiting!) and my friend slipped and broke her ankle. Thanks to the kindness of strangers, she was transported to the local hospital and we were able to get her immediate care. I was concerned that we would miss our ride back to the boat service and therefore back to the hotel, and had no way of contacting Emi.

However, through word of mouth, she found out about what happened to my friend and showed up at the hospital to ensure she was okay. She got us a ride back to our hotel, helped to secure the pick up of crutches for my friend, and arranged communication with me, as we would be staying in town longer than anticipated before it was safe for my friend to fly home.

The following day, Emi delivered crutches, showed me around town and gave me some wonderful suggestions for take-away and local food so my friend and I would have options outside of our hotel food for the remainder of our trip. She was attentive, genuine, and a lovely presence. In addition to this, she also coordinated a river cruise since we missed the last half of our BB01 tour.

My friend opted to stay behind and rest, but I had an amazing 4-hour trip along the Mekong River where I got to taste the lao lao whiskey, enjoy delicious snacks, explore the Pak Ou caves, and soak in the sunshine on a relaxing boat. I took dozens of photos, but only included a couple.

Enough cannot be said about the kindness of Emi and the quality of both her character as well as the experiences through Banana Boat tours. I would absolutely recommend booking through them, and plan on using this company again if I return to Luang Prabang.

Thank Ailsa W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MekongQueen, Owner at Banana Boat Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 13 August 2018

Thanks for your kind review Alisa. Travelling in the green season everyone needs to take their time walking around Luang Prabang as the banks and unpaved paths get very slippery. We are lucky to have the Free the Bears Sanctuary staff at Kuangsi to help in cases of emergency and our captain Pouk, has a keen sense when something is not quite right. I hope your friend's surgery went well and wish you better luck with travels in the future.

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"pak ou caves"
in 12 reviews
"across the river"
in 7 reviews
"rice paper"
in 2 reviews
"river life"
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"tuk tuk"
in 14 reviews
"great trip"
in 5 reviews
"drinking beer"
in 2 reviews
"kuangsi waterfall"
in 3 reviews
"weaving village"
in 2 reviews
"day trip"
in 5 reviews
"private tour"
in 3 reviews
"baguette"
in 3 reviews
"southeast asia"
in 2 reviews
"low season"
in 2 reviews
"unique experience"
in 2 reviews
"changing rooms"
in 2 reviews
"captain"
in 13 reviews
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5 - 9 of 96 reviews

Reviewed 6 July 2018 via mobile

I joined BB01 with my friend. A tuk-tuk picked us to the pier at around 10 am. As the tour was not guided, a staff explained our itinerary clearly before we got on board. The team prepared us some snacks, drinks, light picnic lunch, and fruits.

The first stop was Long Khoune Temple. It took around 10 minutes to get there by boat. There was a little girl who showed us around and led us to an underground cave with some Buddha statues and a shining rock pillar (she was guiding us for tips). Then we headed to Chompet Temple. After a 15-minute walk, we arrived at the temple. We enjoyed a panoramic view of Luang Prabang as described on the company's website, although it was a bit tired to go upstairs.

We cruised to Ban Thin Som to ride a car to Kuangsi Waterfall after visiting the temples. The views of Mekong were nice with the blue sky and hills of different shapes. The ride was so relaxing.

We arrived at the Kuangsi Waterfall at around 12 pm. We visited the bear rescue center. Two moon bears were fighting, they roared loudly. The others were lying. We learned some fun facts about moon bears there. It was quite interesting to visit there. We saw the waterfall soon after we left the center. Many people were swimming in the natural pools. You should prepare your swimsuit if you join the tour. We walked around and saw some beautiful butterflies! It was so surprising that they stayed in one position usually for a long time, so we could take nice photos of them. The area was very great. Nature lovers would love it.

After around 2.5 hours of free time, we returned to the carpark to ride the car for returning to the pier and returned by boat. On board, we enjoyed fresh fruits and Lao beer on the way.

Overall, the tour is recommended if you are interested in exploring the nature of Luang Prabang. It provides people with a special way to explore different places in a day. It is very easy to find the office and make a booking. They are also selling some lovely traditional crafts there.

Thank oiyinn2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MekongQueen, Owner at Banana Boat Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 9 July 2018

Thank you Oi yin N for this review, glad you enjoyed the nature of Luang Prabang, Your description gives lots of helpful information, one little note would be we stop in Ban Sing, Thin Som is the village next door, but I'm surprised you can even remember all of these names!
Enjoy your travels.

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Reviewed 11 May 2018 via mobile

We didn't find the office straight away but then saw the sign, it is located within Ma Te Sai handicrafts store.
We booked BB01 and had a great day. Not a busy time of year so it was just the two of us on the tour with a long boat and comfy chairs all to ourselves. Substantial lunch. Chicken salad baguettes which we took up to the waterfalls and ate. The captain asked us how long we would spend at the waterfalls and we weren't sure so said 2 hrs but we could have happily spent 3 hours up there. The most enjoyable pay off the day was relaxing on the boat ride back drinking beer Lao (which was sitting in the cooler on ice, along with waters and coke) and eating the local beer snacks and fruit that were provided as part of the picnic. We particularly enjoyed the deep fried mushrooms with kaffir lime, and found some more at the markets later!
A fantastic day out especially if you prefer a small group and not a tour bus.

2  Thank Mary H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 17 April 2018

When we booked our trip, we had not anticipated that Laos celebrates New Years so very big and that many things would be closed. When I contacted Banana Boat, they reminded me of this, even noting that their offices would be closed, but that they would try to arrange a trip. They did and it was amazing! Picked up at our hotel, we enjoyed the ride up to the Kuang Si Falls with our great driver, and were given as much time as we wanted to climb up near the falls. We also loved the great lunch provided. Later, we met up with our boat for a delightful trip up the Mekong to the caves...really a relaxing trip up and back, with the same deference to our pace to climb up and around both caves. I was also very impressed that Banana Boat checked back with me after the trip to see that we were not disadvantaged by the new years festivities. We most certainly were not - and had a ball with this tour.

1  Thank Paul J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 7 April 2018

Thoroughly recommend this trip! Easy to book with owner, Emi, good office location at Ma Te Sai. We paid US$88 each (2 people) and had our own private (new) boat - including full lunch (baguettes/specialty fried Oyster mushrooms with Kaffir Lime leaves/peanuts/date-like fruit/sweet rice balls), water, soft drinks and 2 beers each. (Emi reduces price if more people book the tour.) Clean boat & toilet, good taxi driver (Kampai) and careful boat captain (but didn't speak much English). Didn't matter as the Banana Boat Manager met us at the Mekong with our lunch and showed us to our boat.
1: Collected by luxury 7-seater from our hotel and drove to beautiful Kaungsi Waterfalls. A fabulous place and you walk through a Bear Rescue Sanctuary on the way... Take a swimming costume & towel! (Changing rooms there)
2: Dropped into the delightful Butterfly Park just down the road. A magical place with lots of butterflies!
3: Driven back to town to board our own boat on the Mekong River. Great packed lunch. Nice trip on the river.
4: Didn't do Whiskey Village as the gangplank was too unstable and the muddy bank up to the village too steep for me.
4: Sailed on to Pak Ou Caves. Um, I didn't think much of it, although the many statues of Buddha were quaint. Unstable bamboo jetty and really STEEP steps.
Then sailed back to Luang Prabang and taken back to hotel by same taxi/driver.
We would thoroughly recommend this trip - particularly if you don't have much time.

2  Thank blairabroad2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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