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My husband and I have just returned from our 10 days in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand (two days were for business and the rest were pure leisure) and the highlight for us both were the two day tours we did with Tong's Tours. They were both wonderful days. We 'found' Tong on tripadvisor only a week or so before we flew out of Sydney for Bangkok so unfortunately because of this time-frame we weren't able to have the lovely Tong herself be our guide but we weren't disappointed in any way by the tour guides Tong chose for us in her place (Nui for our floating market/tiger temple tour and Jerry for the fishing village tour).
The first day, we were picked up at our hotel at 7.30am by our driver, David and Nui, a lovely young lady with a university degree in tourism and were whisked away to the floating markets in the comfort of an air-conditioned car, just the four of us. We had been to the floating markets on our first and previous trip to Bangkok on 2005 as part of a much larger group of people in a large bus so being able to have the comfort of our own car with just Nui and David and ourselves was just wonderful. What a difference to our previous trip. On the way to the floating markets, Nui asked us if we'd seen the railway markets to which we replied we hadn't so with the timing being just perfect, Nui quickly guided us there to await this unique spectacle. The market vendors set up their produce right beside the railway track and at the allotted times as the huge train approaches, they deftly fold up their overhead awnings and lower them again once it passes. They don't bat a single eyelid nor view it as an intrusion in their daily lives and is a unique experience for we tourists. We had never even heard of this market so this was a treat and as cooking is a great passion of mine, Nui took us through another fish and produce market where we were able to sample unusual (for us) Thai fruits, herbs, spices, vegetables and sweets along the way. It was truly a double treat for us and I personally came away vowing to find a source for these Thai fruits, herbs and vegetables once back home in Sydney Australia and to add more Thai food to my cooking repetoire. At the time of writing, we have been home now for three nights and I have cooked Thai meals on all three nights! And, yes I did head out to an Asian community the next day despite our jetlag and came home armed with pandanas leaves, green coconuts, fresh coriander, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, little Thai bananas and lots of other lovely things. Our first meal home from Thailand - Thai chicken Our second meal home - Thai noodles

Nui and I at the floating markets enjoying our delicious 'nam tok' soup
Arriving at the floating markets instead of hopping into a noisy motorised boat as we had done on our previous visit, Nui guided us into a smaller paddle boat instead. She took us down the side canals rather than just through the main canal where all the regular tourists flock in their hordes. She stopped every now and then to pick up more treats such as the delicious fried bananas (yum), satays, delicious Thai style iced coffee which gave us the 'caffeine fix' we needed just at that time) and what Nui said was 'the best 'nam tok' soup in the whole market" , and she was right. When I queried her later about why she said it was the 'best', she said it was the only soup where the cook didn't use congealed blood to colour the soup a rich brown but used herbs instead. As an avid cook myself and not partial to such animal protein, I gulped quietly and was ever so grateful Nui chose so wisely. After we left the floating markets with our senses already on the way to being satiated from that experience, we headed to the Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno Forest Monastery, known as the "Tiger Temple". Nui made sure we were well looked after and guided us to the best vantage points for photographs with the tigers, always getting us in first for these photo opportunities and whisking us quietly away from the mainstream of tourists to see and photograph the gorgeous tiger cubs etc. It was all these little personal caring touches that set this experience apart from other tours we have done in the past (we just did a tour of Egypt in September last year and have travelled fairly extensively through Europe over the years). Nui made sure we had a seat underneath one of the few umbrellas whilst in the tiger canyon (extremely important as I am prone to headaches when exposed to too much hot sun) and made sure we had lots of cold bottled water which was very much appreciated by us both. As icing on our tiger cake, Nui then took us up to meet Bambam, an adorable Asiatic black bear, and although we missed not being able to actually get inside her cage as Tong ensures, we enjoyed feeding Bambam her honey water and milk, milk tablets and bananas albeit through the bars or her cage but we still enjoyed a lot of chuckles at her cute antics. Bambam actually mistook my fingers for the milk tablets and for a short moment I held my breath but I needn't have worried as Bambam was as gentle as a lamb as I gently prised my fingers out of her mouth. This was a wonderful experience and one we hope to repeat next year, only inside her cage hopefully. After a delicious lunch in a little local Thai restaurant ('little spicy' at our request) we were returned to our hotel hot, a little exhausted but truly satiated....and very impressed. We waited in eagerness for our next day's adventure with Tong's tour to her 'secret' Thai fishing village.

At 8.30am the next day , Jerry arrived at our hotel and away we headed to the fishing village. After what seemed only a short time though was probably almost 2+ hour comfortable drive, we arrived at the fishing village to be greeted with a cold bottle of water and a welcoming smile from the fisherman's family. We then climbed into Mr. Lead's boat and toured the oyster farm, watched the divers collecting mussels and clams, fed a 'king's ransom' worth of sweet, ripe sugar bananas to the local but wild fish-eating monkeys which was fun. We were then taken to one of Mr. Lead's pole houses and treated to a delicious homecooked and lovingly prepared seafood lunch of fresh oysters, crab, prawns, shrimp paste chicken and a delicious whole sea bass. Our guide, Jerry is a fine young man and a wonderful tour guide who took wonderful care of us and who shared a lot of reflective thoughts with us (being such a 'small world' we discovered we had a 'mutual' acquaintance and Thai mentor). It really added such a personal touch to our experience. What also impressed us further was that our lovely guide from the previous day, Nui, had alerted Jerry that we weren't able to eat food that was overly spicy so our lovely lunch at the fishing village was just perfect. I cannot emphasise enough how it was all these thoughtful 'little' gestures we experienced during these two days touring with Tong's Tours which are more often overlooked by other tour operators and this made the big difference between an ordinary experience and an unforgettable one. We were very, very impressed indeed and wouldn't hesitate to recommend Tong's Tours to anyone. We have already done so on tripadvisor since our return three days ago. "We shall return", as once famously stated. Next year.

Ray and Julie Yee
Sydney, Australia

Jerry (centre) and us enjoying our 'not too spicy' seafood lunch at the fishing village

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moncler sale canada goose herren timberland wien belstaff sale barbour online canada goose sale timberland schuhe damen moncler mantel parajumpers damen timberland boots timberland schuhe parajumpers herren sale woolrich sale parajumpers outlet woolrich parka barbour jacke peuterey jacken herren parajumpers jacken woolrich arctic parka canada goose jacke
lacoste polo nike air huarache nike cortez air jordan schweiz michael kors taschen nike free run 2 ray ban clubmaster air jordan schuhe canada goose herren ralph lauren schweiz woolrich parka woolrich arctic parka tommy hilfiger poloshirt nike air presto moncler skijacke nike air max 2016 louis vuitton neverfull nike free run barbour jacken