As a solo traveler, I often use group tours for just Day tours or week-long trips
And what makes the tour unforgettable (except for the place…) is not so much the organization, equipment, weather etc… it is the tour guide!
Some are exceptionally good… but some can be horribly bad. I have decided to share with you some of the best and worst tour guide experiences I had.
Australia – Red Centre: the one with whom it did not click
During my 5 day tour around Uluru, the guide was quite impressive taking care of driving, getting the wood, cooking etc… especially as it was pouring rain. However I had a reallz hard time as we did not have the same style at all. He was completely free, things will happen when they will happen and, as you know, I am a crazy planner.
So when he told us we could go walking around Uluru, I said ‘great, where and where are you picking us up?’ And his answer was ‘oh I will tour Uluru many times and find all of you!!!!’ Ahhh, driving me crazy!
Japan: the replay-guide
I joined an organized day tour to Mount Fuji. This was sadly a huge bus, and I prefer small group tour.
Well, it was not that bad. He had drawings and maps to explain but he was repeating all of his sentences twice word for word the whole time! Also driving me crazy!
Thailand: worst situation ever
I booked a day tour at the hotel to go & visit the amazing ruins of Ayutthaya. This is a beautiful place, but if I had taken a bus to go there it would have been exactly the same
Also the hotel guaranteed an English speaking guide, the guide actually did not speak a word of English… he could not even tell us at what time we were supposed to be back to the bus! We had to draw a clock on a piece of paper…
Australia-Great ocean road: in the heart of the action
In Melbourne for the weekend, I booked a small group tour to the Great ocean road and this was one of the best tours I’ve ever done. First the scenery was stunning.
And on top of that the guide was really great: funny, knowledgeable, helpful. At one point we stopped and head down to the beach at Loch Ard Gorge where he had some of us climbed on a big rock and re-enact the history the place was famous for. It was the wreck of the Loch Ard and its 2 survivor (check the story here). Strangely he picked the good looking blond girl to be the survivor… 🙂
Namibia: YoYo Quality
On my second week of Namibia, we had a very nice guide that was exceptional for some part and terrible for others.
For example, explaining history was not really his thing. We arrived at Twyfelfountein, famous for its engravings, and he started telling us how the New Zealand people requested that site to be on the World Heritage Site List with 31 votes etc… 2 min later I read the sign and found out the real story, LOL:
However, he did something so fantastic for us that week, that we awarded him with a card of best tour guide ever!
He got us to look lions in the eyes. Go check the story here!
So yes, a guide can change your experience, but I found that when booking a small group tour, you are almost assured to have a good guide even if he is not your style!
And you, do you have some good stories about tour guides?
ZZOE from ZigZag On Earth Travel Blog