Tan on Tong in Bangkok?

Old May 23rd, 2007, 12:31 PM
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Tan on Tong in Bangkok?

I know that both guides have their fans. I have exchanged emails with both and I'm leaning toward Tan (she is very detailed and quite a bit less expensive than Tong), however, she can't confirm tours with us until much later in the season. Our travels are in November. She says that she can't confirm now in case her boss should have some important client for her that would cause a conflict. She does promise to send someone of "her team" if this should happen. Question -- should I confirm with someone now or is it still quite early? Has anyone used both guides for a comparison? Has anyone had a "replacement team member" from either? Did it work out o.k.?

Thanks for any help.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 07:18 PM
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i would be leery about someone who cannot confirm.....she obviously works full time for someone else and is trying to moon light.....tong is quite fabulous and very reliable....for nov you need to book now or soon in order not to be disappointed...

what is the difference in price? most of them are about the same price....make sure you are comparing apples and apples...
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 07:25 PM
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Tong is a guide. Is Tan a driver or a guide? There is nothing wrong with hiring a driver rather than a guide, it just depends on what you want.

Full disclosure: I've never hired a guide in Bangkok in 20+ trips there and have hired a driver only once, to get to the Prasart Museum. In the city I prefer to use a combination of public transport and taxis as convenient.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 08:19 PM
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good point kathie...it makes a difference...
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 08:39 PM
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Tan is also a guide. There have been some reports from those that used her, though not as many as Tong. travelmom13 is someone who I distinctly remember as having liked Tan very much.

That said, I wouldn't book someone who couldn't confirm.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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Dilemma, dilemma. I like what Tan writes regarding the touring -- she doesn't try to talk me into her places, offered lots of info on how to do some places on our own, and is just in general, more conversational in her emails -- whereas Tong seems somewhat brisk in her emails, as if her business has grown too much, too fast. I've also read some of the posts regarding the fued between Rhett and Tong which worries me a bit. The pricing isn't a big deal, although Tong is a little confusing about whether or not she actually does the tours or sends a member of her team. I'll need to be clear on that point if we book with her.

However, your advice on confirming a booking now is solid and that was my main concern -- to wait or not.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 07:41 PM
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just a note....remember these people are generally one man shops....they do the touring when available, book the tours, wash their cars, fuel up, tend to their families, shop and work very long hours....
they have others who they suggest or supply us with but generally these are sub contractors or fellow guides..

they are only human....in fact i got a short e mail from tong yesterday and she said it was 1AM and she had been touring all day and was just then answering her e mails before an early morning departure the next morning for yet another wonderful tour...

they do not have staffs....they do it all themselves and like all thais they like to please the customer...

just an aside for understanding their situations...
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Old May 25th, 2007, 05:32 AM
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Thanks for a better understanding. Although I know what you say is true, it hadn't really set in to effect my way of thinking yet. I will be more patient and work to get into my Thai mind-set during the planning. My complete focus is on organizing this one trip right now, so, of course, I'm excited to get it all settled. Thanks for your wisdom.
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