Some Of My Favorite Tour Guides

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Some Of My Favorite Tour Guides

“To let life happen to you is irresponsible. To create your day is your divine right.”Ramtha

A great tour guide is one that creates an experience that you will remember. The best guides I’ve had have left me wanting to go back to the destination or have left me feeling like I’ve made a new friend. I have had many amazing tour guides but I picked ten in no particular order.

Ogus Kaya, Turkey

Ogus is such a warm, friendly and truly motivated guide. He is organized and punctual. We traveled for a few weeks in Turkey with him. He taught us a tremendous amount about the history and architecture. I was obsessed with the Mosque architecture of Sinan. We felt that he wanted us to love Turkey as much as he did and i think everyone did.

One of the highlights of the trip was the balloon ride over Cappodocia. I like my feet on the ground and was not going to do it. He finally said that he would go with me. He reminded me that he had two small children and one on the way. This balloon ride became one of my most cherished travel memories which I would never have done without him. ogus 51@yahoo.com

Petar Vlasik, Croatia

Petar was my first internet tour guide. After a land tour and small boat tour both cancelled, I decided to take my kids and plan a trip through Croatia by myself with Petar. This was the first time I had ever done anything like this without a husband. It was before Trip Advisor. He was recommended by Rick Steves  (so i knew he wasn’t a serial killer). Petar was smart, funny and so knowledgeable about his beautiful country.

We had a wonderful trip. Croatia is still one of my favorite countries for those who have not been there yet. I did not listen to him about hotels and I was sorry. I learned from Petar that a good tour guide always knows best and to trust my instincts about internet tour guides. http://www.dubrovnikrivieratours.com

Dvir Hollander, Jerusalem, Israel

Dvir’s knowledge, insight, humor, non judgmental world view and kindness made touring this amazing city with him a special experience. We met at lunchtime and we were hungry. When Dvir recognized that we were kindred spirits about food, he described himself as a “ friendly dictator” when it came to where we should eat.

If you are going to Jerusalem, I highly recommend hiring him – not just for the delicious food, but for how much you will learn and experience. He has the unique ability to figure out just what you want to do and then he casually adds in what he feels you are missing. The trip was perfect. Contact him at hollander2000@gmail.com.

Guide Gift Bangkok,Thailand

Gift was another guide that I found online before trip advisor. I read the reviews on her page and went with my gut. She is knowledgeable, kind, and fun to be with. I felt like I was seeing Bangkok and Ayuthetta with one of my friends.

She has her plan but is always ready to change if there is something you want to do. She also knows a very good place for Thai Massage. When you are in a part of the world that feels very different from yours, Gift can make it feel like home.
http://www.privatetourthailand.com)

  Do Sy Quy “Buffalo Joe”Hanoi, Viet Nam

My guide in Hanoi  was Mr. Do Sy Quy. He was my first guide in Viet Nam  and set the tone for an amazing experience. “Buffalo Joe” is kind, friendly, funny, intuitive and very knowledgeable about Hanoi and Viet Nam history.

I connected with him immediately and feel like I have a friend in Hanoi. i will always remember our drive to and from Ha Long Bay and everything we did –  especially the Thanh Chuong Viet Palace. http://www.incensetravel.com

Andres Miguel, Buenos Aires, Argentina

i have had a few great guides in Argentina but I had to pick Andres Miguel because he is a tango dancer.  Everything we did that day was related to tango  –  a boat on a river, good food, shopping, a milonga and always tango stories. He changed things around and went with what interested me.

The boat ride was an impromptu surprise as was eating at a family restaurant on Sunday for the best empanadas. He was the perfect tour guide for me and gave me a gift of the perfect Buenos Aires day.  tango@culturacercana.com.ar

Jose Villa, Cartagena,Colombia

The hot, sleepy city of Cartagena is such a special place and seeing it with Jose is the way to go. Being alone he let me tag along to teach English at their church and visit the music school his son Kevin attended..They were both knowledgeable and fun.

We saw the old city, beaches, markets, took a private boat to the islands, visited a fishing village, paddled a canoe through the mangrove tunnels and strolled the streets of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I stayed an extra few days because I loved this city and felt so safe and taken care of. http://cartagenadestiny.com

Carolina Velasquez Obreque, Santiago, Chile

Carolina was our tour guide in Santiago and Valparaiso. She was funny, knowledgeable and organized. She came to us through Vaya Adventures. We spent a beautiful day with her exploring the Casablanca wine region between Valpo and Santiago.

The trip was seamless – except when I lost that paper that they give you at customs when you land. Apparently it’s very important in Chile. She went with me to get a new one before driving to Valpo which is why I am home and able to write this. I highly recommend spending some time in Chile with her. https://www.vayaadventures.com

Michai Bojanowski , Wroclaw, Poland

Michai is a wonderful guide who loves his country. With knowledge and humor, we spent a long day in Wroclaw exploring the beauty of the city. He incorporates the darkness of the past as we explore the Jewish quarter. He has such passion for passing on the truth.

Before lunch I saw a street art drawing of man looking out the window. I ask about it. He tells me it is Poland’s most famous poet and playwright Tadeusz Różewicz.

After lunch, he has brought copies of a beautiful poem that he thought would go with what he was speaking about.He made sure we learned a little extra. I love that.  michal.bojanowski@chidusz.com

Wayne Thomas, Aukland, New Zealand

I usually don’t write  about a half day group tour of a city but I learned and retained more information with Wayne Thomas of Bush and Beach Tours http://www.bushandbeach.co.nz/, then any day tour I have ever been on.

He has a way of passing on knowledge that is sometimes funny and sometimes personal  that makes you remember it.  This is a wonderful welcome tour of New Zealand. I highly recommend him.

Fly safe,
JAZ

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How to Make A Pearl In Viet Nam

How To Make A Pearl In Viet Nam

“Quotations are sometimes valuable pearls but original thoughts can be priceless treasures”  unknown

Ancient Chinese literature refer to pearls as originating in the brain of a dragon and being so lustrous as to be visible from a thousand yards. In Ha Long Bay, the Bay Of Descending Dragons is The Ha Long Bay Pearl Farm.

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Until the early 1900’s, natural pearls were accessible to only the rich and famous. It was during this time that Japanese researchers discovered the techniques that could be used to cause oysters to create pearls “on demand.” Oysters create pearls as a defense mechanism. If an irritant, such as sand get inside the oyster shell, they secrete a substance around it which forms a pearl. The Japanese  discovered that if you surgically insert an irritant directly into the body of the oyster this will produce a perfect pearl.

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The man who finally joined the various technical processes with smart business sense and worldwide marketing, was Kokichi Mikimoto. He is credited with almost single-handedly having created the cultured pearl industry.

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Today pearls are affordable and available to all. Cultured pearls share the same properties as natural pearls. The only difference is a little bit of encouragement by man.  (Shopping – Halongpearl.com.vn)

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Di du lịch một cách an toàn,

JAZ

Ha Long Bay, The Bay Of Descending Dragons, Viet Nam

Ha Long Bay, The Bay Of Descending Dragons, Viet Nam

“Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves.” Carol Pearson

Ha Long Bay is considered to be the most beautiful vista in Vietnam. It consists of 1,969 islands and islets situated in the Gulf of Tonkin.

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This area is known for its spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Ha Long Bay has been recognized as a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The literal meaning of “Ha Long” is “Bay of Descending Dragons”. A local legend says that a family of dragons was sent to defend the land long ago when the Vietnamese were fighting the Chinese invaders. The dragons thought it was so beautiful that they decided to stay upon what is now Ha Long Bay.

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It houses a great diversity of ecosystems including coral reefs, freshwater swamp forests, mangrove forest, small freshwater lakes, and sandy beaches.

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The islands feature beautiful grottos and caves with interesting stone formations and hidden ponds.

The way to see Ha Long Bay is on a Vietnamese boat or junk. There are many options to choose from in all price ranges. I think one night is good but you can do more as well and explore many caves and beaches.

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I was on the Paradise boat. ( http://www.paradisevietnam.com). It had good food, a relaxed atmosphere, a helpful friendly staff, tai chi, cooking lesson and luckily good weather for the boat to go out. ( captain, manager – very helpful)

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Our first stop was exploring Amazing or Surprising Cave. I can’t remember the name. It was amazingly surprising.

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The next day we took small boats or kayaks to explore some of the smaller areas.

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There were monkeys.

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I was the only American on the boat and I got to experience this amazing place with people from Taiwan, England, Korea, Brazil and Australia. Not everyone spoke English but we were all having the same connected interaction at the same time in this beautiful place. Travel, experiences, education and knowledge always make the world seem smaller.

Di du lịch một cách an toàn

JAZ