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Do I really need Tong as a tour guide in Bangkok?

Do I really need Tong as a tour guide in Bangkok?

Aug 23rd, 2007, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,459
I agree with craig and bob and Guenmai and kathie and Gloria...

Feeling very agreeable this morning...I'm off to Portland, NYC and Las Vegas. Live is good!
lcuy is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 12:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 549
I noticed that you posted the exact same question over on trip advisor. The rest of the regular fodors people should check that thread out! They mention us several times. Make sure you read the one about us being rich americans who need their hand held as they travel! That was a good one!
As to your question, I agree with the majority on this one. I really enjoy the planning part of the trip, and part of my planning was planning our day with Tong. If you just contact her and say take me on a tour, that is kind of blah. But since you do like planning, research the out of the way places and have her take you to those places. Tong is not just some run of the mill tour guide, she is VERY good at what she does and has become a good friend.
It seems some people on TA look down on us that use a guide, mostly just because they want to say "everyone look at me, I did this all by myself!" For those people I will make you a special badge to wear on your next trip so everyone knows you are too good for a guide for the day!
travelduo is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,777
I find TripAdvisor hard to use, with all the ads everywhere - maybe I'm just used to the annoying adds on Fodors!

I read through all the responses I could find on this question on that forum, and they seemed to have the full range of opinions we have here. Of course, maybe some of the same people have responded to the question on both sites!
Kathie is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 12:47 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,277
Erica, in the main, I would fully agree with Kathie. Public transport, do it on your own,.....really, that is the way to see Bangkok, or any other city.

HOWEVER, I think that a degree of guidance ie. Tong or someone similar, just to get your bearings and a feel for the place, makes things OH SO much easier.

We have done this on our travels throughout the world. Arrive somewhere new.....hire a guide, right at the beginning, even just for half a day...it makes all the difference.

Enjoy Bangkok......you will never forget it!!
LeighTravelClub is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 01:01 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 31

We are planning a trip to Bangkok in February and were looking into hitring a guide for a day. I just joined this forum and am very interested in Tong or any other guide you might recommend. Can somebody give me contact information? How many people can fit in her car? Appreciate your help, Luba
lshtutman is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 6,664
I-Tong can be reached at Tourwithtong.com.
Gpanda is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 08:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,930
cherry is at: [email protected]

cherry uses a van which probably holds 6 comfortably....tong used a small station wagon the day i went with her and it held 4 comfortably or maybe 5...she drives...cherry does not...
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 08:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,930
i use trip advisor as a reference point...i find many of the reviews biased and negetive....
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 08:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,930
you are much better getting info here where we are totally non-biased....just look at our feelings about the oriental and the penn....we are in total agreement.....
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 09:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 343
Where is OP?

Have you ever been in a country where you didn't speak the language, and the locals didn't speak yours? How many times have you found yourself then in a place where you were the only foreigners, and while a fascinating experience, you didn't fully understand what was going on, the cultural/social significance, etc, and assigned an interpretation based on your own experiences and assumptions?

I think people hire guides like Tong and Ratt BECAUSE these travelers are independent and experienced. They want to know more, at a more local level.

People can come to Hawaii and get around on their own with guidebooks, or they can spend time with locals like me and REALLY get off the beaten path, to places and eateries only locals know, w/ the accompanying level of cultural understanding. Guides like Tong and Ratt are Thai locals who do this professionally.

I've been to Bangkok more than 15 times, and hired Tong for one day. She took us to a temple to buy coffins for unclaimed bodies and thus make merit for my mother, who had just died; to a hidden alley where monks' alms bowls are made by hand the traditional way; to a hole-in-the-wall noodle shop; and to her secret fishing village. At no point did we see another foreigner, and as a non-Thai speaker I gained more on that day than in almost all my other Thai trips combined. I'd hire her again in a heartbeat.
mari808 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 09:40 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 343
Forgot short answers:

No, you don't need a guide just to get around; and

No, we aren't anti-planners who need to be guided everywhere.
mari808 is offline  

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