If you are anything like me, you prefer a local’s Airbnb over a pricey hotel, the hole in the wall restaurant with delicious street food over a fancy waitlist restaurant, and biking through local parks instead of a huge guided group tour. If you aren’t from the area and your time is limited, it could be hard to experience the city like a local. Local Guddy was created to help with that.
The new Istanbul-based start-up, Local Guddy, “connects travelers and locals through unique local tour and experiences.” Now, most major cities have a few local guides ready to give you a customized experience for half the cost!
The booking process is easy and the website user-friendly. Sign up, search your city for a tour, and message the guide to check for availability. Much like other ‘shared economy ‘ websites, the guide and the traveler are both able to write a review about their experience and the person. You can choose your tour and guide, just as much as the guide can choose you! We did have a couple of issues with 1 or 2 guddies not writing us back, but I am thankful for that since our guide was so amazing.
Our travels through SouthEast Asia this summer took us to some pretty cool places. While planning our first stop in Bangkok, we knew that we wanted to experience one of the local floating markets. The markets can be crowded and the language and food are definitely foreign. Choosing to tour the market with a Local Guddy guide was the best of both worlds.
Our tour started in downtown Bangkok at a local metro stop where our group of four met our Local Guddy guide named Imp. We promptly hailed a taxi and chatted throughout the half hour drive out to the “Khlong Lat Mayom” floating market. Imp is a university student in Event Management using Local Guddy to do some work and gain experience on the side. The hours allow her to work at her available time and practice one of the many languages she knows with foreigners from all over the world.
After arriving at the market, Imp led up through the narrow single walkways of booths and vendors telling us about all the different types of food. Some of the vendors offered us samples, and other times we just make notes about what we wanted to try more of later. After buying a few Thai teas and finding a table, Imp took inventory of what we wanted to try for ‘lunch’ and went off to gather the smorgus-board of food for us*. She took care of all the money, communication, buying, and questions for us!
Here are all the foods we tried at the Floating Market: (I’m not sure if I can even remember what all of them are now!)
- Papaya salad
- Pad Thai
- Satae grilled chicken
- Deep-fried pork belly
- Thai Sweetmeat
- Rice Cracker
- Thai tea
- Fried chicken wings
- Mung Bean Thai custard
- Orange dessert in the leaf- Khanom tan (toddy palm cake)
- Curry crab
- Somboon Seafood
- Pad Thai
- Krua apsorn Bangkok
After thoroughly enjoying our meal, we took a 2-hour boat tour around the neighboring villages via the intricate canals and waterways for only 100 Baht (appx $3). If I did have my google maps, I would have never remembered where we went! The boat tour took us to a stop where we saw an old traditional Thai home preserved against the tide of modernization. From there, we walked through the villages by foot (definitely no access for cars and very limited access for bikes and motorcycles) to meet the boat at another destination.
Imp was with us all the way and enthusiastically answered all our questions about the Thai culture, the villages, food, and whatever else came to mind. I know for sure that a self-guided experience would never have yielded such an enjoyable time at the Floating Markets!
If you are interested in being a guddy or guide, for Local Guddy, for your local area, the process seems quite simple to sign up. The team even provides training for those unsure about being a guide, the special Guddy Academy to teach you how to be a better guide.
For more information:
Email: [email protected]
(*Note: We paid our fee of our tour in cash when we met. Other tours offer an online payment option. Check the tour description for this.)
Read more about others’ experiences with Local Guddy:
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[DISCLAIMER: *This post was in collaboration with a brand.* I was not paid for this post. However, I did receive complimentary tours a travel writer and expat blogger. One of the purposes of our website is to highlight tours and services for travelers like ourselves. At the same time, we will not recommend businesses/activities we do not think our readers will enjoy regardless of the friendship we create along the way.]