Review by WTN? Team member Costa
Having arrived in Bangkok, I decided to begin my quest; to seek out a knowledgeable local that would show us the highlights of the city during our short stay. I tried my luck with Couchsurfing, which is usually my go to website for finding guides, but had no success. After a quick Google search, I found a website that captured my attention: Local Guddy. It’s mission? Very simple. It connects local guides with travellers. Their services are available in several major cities around the planet, and they are expanding. I decided to give it a go, and this is my review of their services. Before I begin, I want to mention that Local Guddy is a new website that is growing rapidly. Despite being new and having very few reviews, I took a chance and booked two different tours with two different guides.
The first tour I booked was called “Local food @ Weekend Floating Market,” which was lead by Pattaratida T.
Our guide came to pick us up at our hotel in the morning, which we had arranged via Local Guddy’s messaging system. Pattaratida was very punctual and kind. We had a very great chemistry from the beginning. We talked about local lifestyle, traveling and many other topics as we sped through the outskirts of Bangkok. The market we were headed to called “Klong Lat Mayom,’’ was 45 minutes away by car, but it was a pleasant ride talking with our guide. Once we arrived at our destination, we started exploring the different food stalls, surrounded by vibrant colours and delicious smells. We followed Pattaratida’s recommendations and chose different dishes that we devoured while sitting and chatting at the seating available.
One of the main advantages of having a local guide is that they are able to communicate with the locals, and explain what the dishes are. I am very adventurous when it comes to food, and I’ve tried every single thing that I had previously been offered in Thailand, but having someone explaining what I was eating definitely enhanced the experience. After our tasting session, we walked around, and enjoyed some delicious coconut ice cream as we made our way to the boat station. We embarked on a journey along the canal for only 100 baht ($3 USD), which included two stops: a beautiful local temple and an orchid farm. On our way back, we got to see a famous floating market; a market who’s vendors sell their wares off of boats. After getting off the boat, we hopped in a cab and went to the centre of Bangkok- our final destination. The tour lasted around three and a half hours and it flew by! Thanks again for the great tour, Pattaratida!
The second tour that I booked, “Bangkok Around,” was focused much more on seeing the historical sites of Bangkok. We visited the Wat Arun temple, as well as the Emerald Buddha temple and the Grand Palace. The itinerary also included visiting Chinatown and Khao San Road, which is the backpacking street of Bangkok.
We agreed with our guide to meet at the subway station, but we ended up being a little bit late due to Bangkok’s crazy traffic. It took us a little bit of coordination and two phone calls before we reached our guide, but she was very patient. Once we met her, we went to the boat station and she quickly booked our tickets for the river tour that would take us to the temples. Our first stop was the Wat Arun temple, but since we hadn’t had breakfast, I asked our guide if she knew of anywhere to eat nearby before starting our visit, and she guided us to a food stand. The food was great and cheap.
During the visit of the temple, our guide felt more like a friend rather than a guide. It would have been nice to have some more explanation when it came to the history of the places we were visiting.
After visiting two temples, we made our way to the Grand Palace, a main tourist attraction in Bangkok. After going through security, I was told that unfortunately, I could not enter the Palace wearing shorts, and that I would have to find something suitable to wear. The two others that I was with were in the same situation. To avoid situations like this, it would be helpful for the guide to send out a list of things that tourists should bring ahead of time. The solution was to buy some overpriced elephant pants from one of the shops around the Palace that were profiting from uniformed tourists.
The Grand Palace was absolutely gorgeous. It was pricey for Bangkok, but worth every penny paid (500 baht or 13.37 USD). After visiting the Palace and walking under the hot sun all day, we were quite tired. I decided to cut the tour short, skipping Chinatown and Khao San Road.
In summary, Local Guddy is a promising tool for travellers. It does a great job of connecting tourists with local guides from all around the world. As any new tool in the market, it has many positive points, as well as a few things that could be improved. My experience using their services was satisfying. The first tour I did was absolutely fantastic: well planned and well executed. However, the second tour could have been more organised and communicative in regards to what tourists should bring. Every business has to start somewhere and then adapt to its clientele. Local Guddy is moving is in the right direction, and I have no doubt that with a little more time, and more reviews, guides will be delivering great tours more consistently. Keep up the good work and thank you for this awesome experience!
To book a tour with Local Guddy click here