It’s been a few years (thanks, COVID) since we took a ‘free’ tour. This post is a review of the GuruWalk Bangkok free walking tour. This company is new to us, but we’ve used others in the past. After all, you get to know a city by walking it.
We went with GuruWalk.com this time because the company did not require a credit card to “book a spot.”
I don’t recall a credit card as a necessity in the pre-COVID travel world when we’ve done other free walking tours in other cities and countries. But when I tried to reserve a spot on FreeTour in Bangkok, a credit card was required to ‘guarantee’ the reservation.
I’m not into needlessly giving out our card number. Could there be a better way to invite problems? Our credit is frozen and we travel with only two cards. It’s just that simple.
The power of Google: FreeTour comes up in the first several search result slots. But I kept going down the list, and finally found another, new option: GuruWalk. No credit card needed to ‘hold my spot’ with GuruWalk, so I booked our Bangkok free walking tour.
Review: GuruWalk Bangkok free walking tour
Our guide confirmed right after I made the reservation. We showed up, true to our word.
The tour covered a large part of the historic old section of Bangkok, histories of some kings, some Buddhist temples, and some markets.
Our guide Swai answered all of my questions. What’s more: he offered to continue answering additional questions anyone had by messaging app after the tour. (‘Line’ is the most-used messaging appin Thailand, but it doesn’t work on my old iPhone so I still use WhatsApp.)
The tour was excellent. I don’t need to recount all the points on the tour – there are plenty of reviews of the sites online. I’m only giving my review of GuruWalk itself, since the company was new to us.
After the tour, GuruWalk sent me a survey via email. I took the time to complete it.
I’d recommend this company for any budget tourist who wants to get to know the lay of the land on an walking tour.
Even though the tour is ‘free’, participants are encouraged to ‘tip’ (pay) the guide.
In our case, Swai spent more than two hours walking around and explaining sites and culture to us, drenched in sweat, and he made an offer to answer any question after the tour was over through text message.
We gave nearly $20. I saw other group participants gave enough so that our guide made around $50. Great for him! He truly deserved it.
Now, if only more tourists would come… because the suicide rate in Thailand was the highest in Southeast Asia before the pandemic, and it’s even higher now.
In fact, one sad reality on our tour: we saw many businesses that have shut down because of the lack of tourism. Also, some parks were recently reopened after long COVID closures.
Thailand is relaxing entry requirements on May 1, 2022. No more ‘Test & Go’ program, no mandatory quarantines.
We think this is great – but we’ll still wear masks indoors and around large crowds!
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