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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Things I Have Learned In Thailand

Things I Have Learned In Thailand

“If your mind is happy, then you are happy anywhere you go.  When wisdom awakens within you, you will see truth wherever you look. It’s like when you’ve learned how to read — you can then read 
 anywhere you go.”  Phra Ajarn Chah (Thai Buddhist monk)

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Bangkok has the longest city name in the world; written out it’s actually: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

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In Thailand, it is  required to  stand for the national anthem when it is played (in the street, in the  cinema, in the airport, in the train station, in the bathroom or at the beach etc, (Phu Quoc island location of “The Impossible”)

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The first case of HIV Aids was reported in Thailand. Thailand has the highest prevalence of HIV Aids in Asia.

Thailand has one of the worst child sex trafficking records in the world.

In Thailand it is deemed impolite to ask someone their age or salary.

Thailand is home to the world’s largest gold Buddha, the largest crocodile farm, the largest restaurant, the longest single-span suspension bridge, and the world’s tallest hotel.

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Several years ago, Bangkok was named the hottest city in the world by the World Meteorological Organization. Stay hydrated.

You can be jailed for not wearing underwear in Thailand.

Every Thai male has to become a monk  at some point in his life even if only for a short period, and at almost any age between completion of school and the beginning of a career or married life.  it is a period of about three months. The reason being is to do it for your mother so when she died she would hold on to your monk’s robe and go to heaven.

In Thai tradition,  touching the head is severely looked down upon. The Thai people believe that the soul resides in the head, which makes it an extremely sacred place that should not be touched.

The Kings head is on all Thai currency, therefore if you step on a banknote or coin, it is considered to be kicking the king in the face. They love this king. His face his everywhere.

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All Buddha images, no matter how small, tacky or ruined are sacred and should never be used as a backdrop for your photo. (Ayuthetta)

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In Thailand, the left hand is used for going to the bathroom and the right hand is used for eating and greeting. Unfortunately, I am left-handed so I am rude in Thailand.

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Thai boxing has a spiritual and ritualistic part.  There is music and sacred clothing decorated with Buddhist symbols, There are different significant bows and a dance. Then they try to beat the crap out of each other.

In Thailand, the children do everything for the parents.  They are grateful to them for being born, for  giving them  food , clothing, shelter and education. In America, the parents do everything for the children. They are grateful to them for being born and give them food, clothing ,shelter and education.

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The ‘King and I “ is banned in Thailand. Anyone caught smuggling in the “King and I” will be arrested.

The gold stupa in the Emerald Temple in Bangkok has a monkey and a giant on it to carry the world. Everyone must carry their own burdens in this world but the giant and the  monkey also carry all the human burdens.

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It is cheaper  to buy Chang Mai hillside tribe products in Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok (biggest market ever)  than it is in Chang Mai.

Putting on sarong pants is more complicated than it looks. There are rules for the placement of the knots and folds. They are different for men and for women. Sexual orientation  is also shown by the placement of the knots.

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Ayutthaya was the old capital of the Thai kingdom  resembling a  graveyard of temples and headless Buddhas (beheaded by the Burmese in the thirteenth century) and ruins showing what it might have looked like.

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Thai people  greet and bow in the traditional way with palms touching. Most people great each other in this way and say “sa wat de kah”   It is based on the ancient Thai  culture. They were always working in the rice fields and their hands were dirty so this became the most polite greeting.

Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that has never been under foreign control. Burma and  Malaysia were part of the British empire. Laos and Cambodia were under French control. (Putthaya)

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Condensed milk is a staple in Thailand and Thai coffee. You can find it in every Seven Eleven and in bulk at Tesco.

An ice cream sandwich in Thailand is ice cream between two pieces of white bread. They don’t serve bread with meals but rice instead.

Thai is a tonal language which means one word can have many meanings depending on how it is pronounced. Thai people think is very funny the way we pronounce Kwai in Bridge on the River Kwai. Apparently the way we say it, it means  male sex organ.

Thai people eat most of their food with a spoon in their dominant hand and a fork in the other. Chopsticks are only served for soup..

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95 per cent of the people are Buddhists.

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Thailand was called Siam until 1939.

Shopping at Siam Paragon and MBK are just like shopping in any other huge shopping mall.

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The first Thai massage school was started 417 years ago at the Pho temple in Bangkok. People today still learn the same techniques and the original drawings show that each part of the body has a meaning.

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In Bangkok, “best quality fakes” are near “best quality hotels.”  It does involve hidden stores behind other stores up staircases in back alleys  but one block from the Shangri La Hotel and Penninsula ferry stop.

In ballet, the shape of the feet is important, in Thai dancing it is the shape of the hands, the length of the fingers and if they are double jointed, that is the most important.

It is often nicknamed as the “Land Of Smiles,” because of the perceived gentleness of its people. The country is really populated by smiling, inviting, and receiving people. Thais are really gentle, polite, soft-spoken, friendly, and hospitable human beings. (great tour guide Gift  www.privatetourthailand.com)

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For more info go to Looking  For Buddha In Bangkok

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/looking-for-buddha-in-bangkok/

Sa Wat De Kah and Fly Safe

JAZ