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Yes this is another fantastic trip report on Tong.  We booked Tong for the 11th Jan and my friend booked one of her other guides, Nui, who was also wonderful.  We did the 2 together but in 2 separate VIP vans.  WOW the vans are fantastic - pillows on the seats for the long drive back, DVD player with surround sound, curtains on windows, water and soft drink and of course ice cold face towels.

On the way to the floating market, Tong took us to see a temple with ornate wood carvings, she also took us to a china painting factory so we could use the nice clean happy rooms (toilets!).  Tong really thinks about her clients.  She didn't want us to have to use the "gymnastics" toilets at the floating market.  We also stopped and saw the markets that are across the railway.  The owners have to pick up everything and move it 8 times per day!!  Amazing.

 Floating Market - We had done this trip the year before with a standard tour company.  Tong's way is much more authentic.  She takes you all around the canals, including the back part where all the houses are.  She knows all the best vendors and bought us the most delicious food.  We even stopped at "starbucks" and got coffee in a plastic bag.  Tong also buys food for the many dogs that live around the banks as well as fruit for other animals at the Tiger Temple.  She is an immensely giving person.

 We did a flying trip to the River Kwai as we wanted to catch the tigers at the Tiger Temple.  Now before anyone gets on their soapbox, let me tell you what Tong said. She said that many people are only at the temple once for an hour or so.  She has been there for many hours on many days and does not believe the Tigers are drugged but she pleads for people to make up their own mind.  Personally, knowing how much Tong loves animals, I am certain she would not support any place that was harmful to them.  She also gives a very comprehensive rundown on the history of the temple and how the animals came to be there.  I was a little sceptical and nearly didn't go but my friend was adamant and I am so glad I did.  I would not want to miss that experience for the world.  Because Tong is there so often, the handlers and monks know her very well.  As a result, she is able to get them to take close up photos of the little baby cubs and also the really big tiger.  She also manages to get you first in line for the walk and the photos with the tigers - Only she could manage that!!  But the most amazing thing we did at the temple was to visit Bam Bam (Tong calls her her daughter).  Bam Bam is a brown bear that was orphaned as a baby.  Tong helped to train her to climb and eat fruit etc.  Because of this, Tong has a very close relationship with Bam Bam.  So much so that the bear got excited when she heard Tong approach.  Tong fed her the fruit she had purchased from the floating markets and also gave her milk tablets.  What she did next, totally blew us away.  She got in the cage with it and fed it a bottle.  Bam Bam nuzzled Tong and you could see how close they were.  Bought a tear to my eye actually.  After establishing Bam Bam's mood, Tong invited us into the cage to sit next to and feed Bam Bam.  What an experience!

I know everyone has an opinion, but the experience we had with Tong convinced me that the Tiger Temple treats all the animals well and all the trainers, handlers and monks truly love them.

Our final stop for the day was at an orphanage.  Tong sponsors 3 children here and they all ran up to her excited when she arrived.  Tong had organised for us to buy the children ice-cream.  We did want to buy them a special lunch or dinner but ran out of time.  My children scooped the ice-cream and handed it to the children of the orphanage.  It was a very moving experience.  WE then got to play ball with he kids but unfortunately had to leave to catch a plane.  My children honestly said that experience was one of the best in a 4 week trip and they are going to use their pocket money to sponsor 1 child each.

Lisa WarnerI knew that we would have a wonderful time with Tong but what I didn't realise is what a great humanitarian and animal lover she is.  In her spare time - even as a young adult, she would visit old people, orphanages and shelters for animals to volunteer.  She truly is a special person.  Anyone who does a tour with her will be touched in a special way for life.

Lisa Warner


Suzy CassioI took my mother to Thailand in May 2007, this was to be a memorable trip for her as she hadn't been overseas for 45 years! I found a reference to Tong on TripAdvisor (great site). The references were so glowing I couldn't ignore her.

Tong picked us up from our hotel very early and we headed north from Bangkok, stopping at points Tong thought we would enjoy. The floating markets were a fabulous experience, as was River Kwai. But the absolute highlight was the trip to the Tiger Temple - at first when Tong mentioned we should stop there I didn't want to go - but she persisted and mum and I were thrilled with the experience.

Tong was very considerate, very knowledgeable and very cheeky. We just loved her. It was a spectacular day and I recommend her to everyone I know going to Thailand (in Australia that is every second person). The best guide I have ever come across and the prices were very reasonable.

Suzy Cassio

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