Tour guide in Thailand

Old Jan 24th, 2005, 01:39 PM
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Tour guide in Thailand

I've read about the fodorites that have used tour guides in Thailand like Ratt in Bankok. Can you please tell me the pros and cons of arranging for these driver/guides ahead of time as opposed to using the concierge service of the hotel. We will be going to Bankok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. In Bankok, we will be staying at the Peninsula. In Chiang Mai, at the Four seasons, haven't decided yet on Phuket. Thanks!
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Old Jan 24th, 2005, 02:00 PM
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Note that Ratt is NOT a guide, but a driver. Many people on the board have liked her service.

I never arrange for drivers ahead of time, I always just ask for a recommendation from the hotel. I've had good luck with that approach all over the world.

Also you probably won't want a driver/guide for all of your time in any of those places. Indeed, I never use a driver in Bangkok.
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Old Jan 24th, 2005, 02:16 PM
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I think the big difference will be price. Generally the concierge at hotels like the Peninsula and the 4 Seasons will send you to guides/drivers who are registered and work through tour comapnies. They will be more expensive than if you book some of the independent people we have talked about like Ratt. Ratt is NOT licensed as a guide or a driver. Her license is as a taxi driver.
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Old Jan 24th, 2005, 05:11 PM
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Thanks Kathie and Glorialf. Is Julietaxi considered to be licensed ? Should I decide to use her, would I be better off just using concierge? Ratt is already booked. And how much higher would the price be for the concierge as opposed to the drivers that other people have used in this forum? Is it double?thanks.
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Old Jan 24th, 2005, 06:11 PM
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Julie is also a taxi driver. She is not a guide.
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Old Jan 24th, 2005, 06:34 PM
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Oops - sorry, I got cut off.

If you ask a conceirge for a guide, as Gloria says, you'll get a licensed guide. (and it will be more expensive than hiring a driver like Ratt or Julie) I just don't see a need for a guide in Bangkok, and I don't even use a driver there.

In CM, however, you'll need a driver to get anywhere - especially as the Four Seasons is way out of town.

In Phuket, you'll have to decide if you want to use your beach time driving around.
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Old Jan 24th, 2005, 06:59 PM
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drivers like ratt have their time filled up quickly...for instance many people did not get to use her in december as her time was already spoken for....

i always think that knowing of other peoples experiences with someone is always much more reliable than getting an unknown for the hotel....thats one thing i really like about this forum...if you are unsure about someone you can ask more specific questions to a poster...i like to arrange as much ahead of time to save for doing anything but relaxing while on a trip...
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 03:24 AM
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In CM, we had excellent luck with Sergeant Kai at ChiangMaiTours.com. The guide Nooy was super. Take a look at the website and E-mail him. He's very willing to customize a tour if there are things you especially want to do.
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 04:48 AM
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Thank you for all your help. Will get in touch with Sergeant Kai for CM.
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 09:39 AM
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Kathie is right about doing a lot of it yourself!!!!! I was so scared before we left for bkk that we would just get totally lost every day, but i trusted averyone here when they told me the same thing and it went perfect!!!!!! We used Julie to get us to and from the airport and to the floating market becs it was so far away, but besides that i think we used every kind of transportation bkk offers except for the motorcycle taxis that my wife refused to do!!!! And it was all so easy!
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Old Jul 28th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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I toured with Tong in Bangkok and looking forward to meeting her again in a few weeks.
Many times while walking around with Tong..I saw the guides at the GP doing a memorized tour..trying to finish the tour to get the new group of tourists.. Tong kept explaining many things that even tourists there (who had a guide with them) also stopped and listened to her..
She took us to see the mountain where the top-knotted ceremony was held..white elephant's bones and original costumes of the emerald buddha.. She always asks if you would like tto do a quick tour or go deep in detail..She was very flexible..
If you tour with her..
you will see the differences..
I highly recommend her..this is not about the car..but the quality of guides imo..
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Old Jul 28th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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We have reserved two days with Tong for our November trip to BKK. She has been emailing with me for months to work out an itineray (I keep on changing what I do or don't want to do) and has been very accommodating and all around terrific. As our first 2 days in BKK (at the tail end of our trip) are with her, I think she'll help us acclimate to the buzz of the city.

We found Tong through recommendations on this board and even 6 months out, she had some dates booked already. I'll definitely report back, but thus far I am impressed. I feel as if I am going to spend 2 days with a friend in her city, rather than hiring a guide.
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Old Jul 28th, 2006, 10:43 AM
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I, too, used Julie taxi. We had Julie herself and she's wonderful. While she may not be a licensed guide (yet?), her English is excellent making it extremely easy to communicate with her. She has a great sense of humor and is knowledgeable about many of the sights. We had a great day with her.
Karen
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Old Jul 28th, 2006, 12:38 PM
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I also used Tong in BKK for two days in July. We loved her. I also observed other guides at the tourist spots and unlike the others I saw, she did not rush and was FULL of information. She customized our tour to our individual likes and dislikes and interests.

I highly recommend her. She is a licensed guide and has a nice, new, comfortable air conditioned vehicle that seats 7.

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Old Jul 28th, 2006, 03:30 PM
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As Tong is also a guide, and has a nice A/C Car, are her charges quite a bit more? than say Julies Taxi?
Can you provide contact details for Tong please?
Sue
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Old Jul 28th, 2006, 03:38 PM
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I don't know how much Julie charges, but Tong was very reasonable.

Her contact information is
[email protected]

Tong's rate was something like 3,000 baht/day (this was a low season rate). Over10 hours = 300 baht/additional hour. This rate doesn't include any entrance fee, parking fee and express way. When she takes you out of BKK, she charges for gas, but it was really insignificant.
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Old Jul 29th, 2006, 03:43 AM
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I used Poon, Ratt's sister in CM. She is a taxi driver but is as or more knowlegeable of her area than Ratt, it seemed. She is lovely and worth using unless you want tons of history. I say that because her English is only fair but in our 3 days with her it was not a major obstacle. She has an older Mercedes with a top-notch A/C system. She has cold towels, bottled water and even brought me a cream from home for a sore knee. She will do anything reasonable to please you. Kai may have a leg up on her in communication skills but I never used him. I believe I paid 2800Baht for a 10 hour day but 2 days were about 11 hours and she would not take more so for the 3 days we gave her $60 gratuity.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2006, 09:05 AM
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I would like to get in contact with Tong and/or Ratt so that we can arrange a one day tour in Bangkok in early January for the four of us. Can you give me their email adress or how to arrange it?
[email protected]
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Old Sep 3rd, 2006, 11:31 AM
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Jenn - you wrote:

Her contact information is
[email protected]

Were you referring to Ratt or Julie?
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Old Sep 3rd, 2006, 01:39 PM
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The email address above is for Tong.

Do a search on this board and you will find contact info for Ratt and for Julie as well.
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