Which is your Best Travel Destination - Local Tour Guide Contact and Pricing.


Kumarjo

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Aug 24, 2012
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I am a hobbist Travel Photographer. I try to find best places for photography and source some good local guides for that particular place, so that I can have an affordable and authentic trip as compared to big travel companies.

I am gathering suggestion here from people about the best place they travelled for photography and the local guide contact and pricing they paid for the trip.

It will be quite helpful for other like minded travellers to make up decision as to where to go and whom to use.
 

Kumarjo

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Aug 24, 2012
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Its surprising to see not even a single reply to this thread. Good bye guys.
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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Do your research first before asking. Such a wide topic and asking for leads in all directions is not going to get you anywhere. Do your own homework first, then ask a more focused question like a specific area you want to visit. If you want general answers like these, maybe you can try some of the photo trip organizers in the industry and select from a catalogue.
 

Kumarjo

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Dear Sir, I have done my homework and research as well. You are just assuming I did not.

Why I should not ask a question on wide topic. Why should I only ask about a specific place. if I only need to find about a specific place. I can get it on google or the photo trip organisers webpage which I have done a thousand times. No need to come to this forum for that. The reason for my question is here to find a place which is worth while to travel for photographer and which I may not have any idea about and to find the right guide based on experience of fellow photographers.

If lot of people here comes with the places and guide, it will not only help me, but a lot of other people in the forum as well including the newbies.

I always do homework and research on a place before I travel. I travel solo two times a year. I have done a lot of research on lot of places. This is a part of my homework as well to find places and guides.

Most of the people here would have gone for 10 to 20 trips. All they need to answer is about the best place they visited and the best local guide they had there. It is really surprising to see no one is interested to share their experience which might help all fellow travelers.
 

Octarine

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Jan 3, 2008
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Best place, best guide, best price... The best trips I did had nothing of this in the planning.
When people travel they have certain preferences and limits (budget, comfort, accommodation, food etc) and from your own experience you will know that it is quite difficult to align these topics even within a small group of close friends. Let alone the topic about the destination, where the choice is as wide as what our planet (and universe) offers. That's why your question is too wide. With a narrow target (e.g. around Mt Bromo, ID) this might yield some results.
Your idea sounds like creating a directory of locations and local guides with contacts and rates. While I hope I understand your intention, I have to say that such things simply change too fast. Every other day another guide and tour agency pop up, people move around, other shops close down. Very soon any of such directory would be outdated or create substantial work in keeping it updated.
Another thread with locations: https://www.clubsnap.com/threads/what-is-the-most-photogenic-destination-you-have-ever-been.1715208/
 

Kumarjo

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Let me be the first. I will provide some information from my trips. All the below mentioned are local guides from the respective places who knows the place better.

Guilin - China : A fantastic place to capture cormorant fisherman portrait, The Rice terrace and the karst mountain. Its one of the best places for photography to travel on a budget. I made a solo trip with Mercier Zeng Photography Tours. There price is quite reasonable at around 300 USD per day including transport and photography guide. They also arrange the Cormorant fisherman just for your solo picture opportunity. You will spend almost the same price as a group photography tour organised by the Singapore operators, but you will be solo and decide what you wish to do.

Ethiopia : Resently went on a solo trip to Ethiopia with Zani Ethiopian Tours. Kindly contact Messay there. He is from the local tribe and he knows most of the tribes of ethiopia and speaks their language. I made a trip for 5 days, visited the Hamer, Kara, Mursi, Dassanech tribe and attended a Bull Jumping ceremony. He charged around 1000 USD for transport with guide. We camped in the village of the tribe itself so that we can shoot them early morning in good sunlight rather than travelling to hotel and back. Most of the places I visited, I was the only tourist there. even I was the only one camping there. A trip to ethiopia can become good or bad depends on the Guide, because the tribe wont respond to all the guide. They respect him and it makes our job to shoot easier. Again the cost when comparing to organised trip is much much cheaper.

Tanzania Safari : I choose a local tour operator. Katikati safrais. This was operated by Sebastian. He is a local and he has set up his own company. So the price he offered us was much cheaper than the actual tour operators. He can also arrange open group trips where other peoples can join. When I saw 6 person group trip per vehicle, I asked him I wanted to travel with 3 or 4 maximum per vehicle. He changed the group trip to 4 person per vehicle. The Lodges we stayed were wonderful. End of the trip we had only 5 person instead of 8 people. So We have two jeeps for 5 persons. We paid around 2400 USD for a 7 day trip. One day in Tarangier, one day ngorongoro and 2 days in serengetti to witness migration and balance in central serengetti. If you cant afford those expensive tour operator or the photography organised from singapore who charge you 10,000 sing dollars. This will be your best option.


Ladakh : If you wish to travel to Ladakh. You can look for Darter.in. You can tell them you want to discuss your trip with Manish. He has been organising trips for them for over 15 years. He organise trips during summer as well as winters. The price will be much cheaper than the options you see in singpaore. You can just arrange the trip with them and start from their starting point. He is one of the famous photographer in India as well. You will get good guidance from him on photography and timelapse.

I have also traveled to other places like Australia, Kamchatka. But I wont be recommending the guides I used for these places.

I know this Information I shared here will be useful for at least few people from the group and will be relevant for at least the next 3 to 4 years.
 

Kumarjo

Member
Aug 24, 2012
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Best place, best guide, best price... The best trips I did had nothing of this in the planning.
When people travel they have certain preferences and limits (budget, comfort, accommodation, food etc) and from your own experience you will know that it is quite difficult to align these topics even within a small group of close friends. Let alone the topic about the destination, where the choice is as wide as what our planet (and universe) offers. That's why your question is too wide. With a narrow target (e.g. around Mt Bromo, ID) this might yield some results.
Your idea sounds like creating a directory of locations and local guides with contacts and rates. While I hope I understand your intention, I have to say that such things simply change too fast. Every other day another guide and tour agency pop up, people move around, other shops close down. Very soon any of such directory would be outdated or create substantial work in keeping it updated.
Another thread with locations: https://www.clubsnap.com/threads/what-is-the-most-photogenic-destination-you-have-ever-been.1715208/
Thanks for your proper explanation. I understand what you are saying. Anyways I am sharing my experience here. I will be happy if it can help few people in the forum and at the same way it can help the few good guides who made my trip wonderful.
 

Kumarjo

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Aug 24, 2012
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Join a photo group tour
Photo group tour are not for me. they just charge you high prices for those trip in the name of training. Further you travel with 15 plus pax and you all try to shoot the same thing.

I spent 1500 dollars on my solo trip to Guilin for 5 days with a personal guide/driver. The same trip in a photo tour company in singapore cost you the same 1500 dollars with 15 pax along. Now imagine 15 pax shooting the cormorant fisherman at the same time. I like to have time for myself when i travel and also try to save cost.

My solo trip to ethiopia for 5 days was around 1000 USD. A photography tour charges you 4000 USD for the same and you travel with 10 to 16 pax.

I paid 2500 USD for my tanzania trip for 8 days, whereas a photography trip to the same place cost around 7000 USD to 10,000 USD

I would like to travel to Italy to visit rome, tuscany, cinque terre. But a photo trip currently charging me around 5000 USD for 10 days. I am just looking to find some travel buddy or partner who can make this trip with me. Then we would be able to do it for 2000 USD or less.
 

ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
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The price comparisons mentioned in previous posts are meaningless. One may be able to claim having spent a lot less. But at what risk? And at what degree of suffering? I had a group of friends who went on a trip to an Asean country, on a budget trip where they suffered many bouts of food poisoning and dysentery.
The joke is that it need not be like that - because all of the group members are rich/very rich. Fortunately they made it back alive. It could have turned out otherwise in a very bad way, leading to serious illness or death.

Sometimes people think a destination is great just because it is far away or less commonly visited by tourists. Supposedly it confers bragging rights in Facebook posts. "I go to X place cheaper than you", is another childish boast. People pay more for comfort and safety. They are not stupid to pay more.

When you are overseas in certain countries the dangers are not to be sniffed at. You can get disease, injured or robbed if you are unlucky or not careful or not street wise. It also depends on who the traveler is. That is the reality. For example if the traveler is a business owner owning several properties and big bank account/s; then he (or she) has a lot to lose if severe injury or robbery or theft or death happens. 不是烂命一条.
They don't mind paying more to manage/minimise the risks when travelling to so-called "exotic" locations.

For example, one may stinge by not buying travel insurance. 9 times out of 10, nothing happens and the boast is that one traveled so cheaply.
But that 1 time out of 10 when something goes wrong can cost dearly. A serious injury while traveling may require air medical evacuation.
From past news reports, that can cost about $300,000.
 

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ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
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One more thing about promises of super cheap tours to exotic locations.

There is NO free lunch.

In certain parts of South America, Europe and perhaps even closer to home in Bali; naive people have been offered very cheap tours.
Only to be trapped in a bad situation when they are physically in a foreign land; and given an ultimatum by ruthless gangsters to "help carry a present for someone" across the border customs controls. You know what that is. Drug Mules. Narcotics Trafficking. Many young naive people have been tricked/bullied/forced to become drug mules due to their greed for "free or very cheap" tours to fancied destinations.

You need to be suspicious if the offer is too good to be true.
And do not go on far away tour with a total stranger who promises everything wonderful at very low prices.
You can be a victim of a scam.
 

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Kumarjo

Member
Aug 24, 2012
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Singapore
One more thing about promises of super cheap tours to exotic locations.

There is NO free lunch.

In certain parts of South America, Europe and perhaps even closer to home in Bali; naive people have been offered very cheap tours.
Only to be trapped in a bad situation when they are physically in a foreign land; and given an ultimatum by ruthless gangsters to "help carry a present for someone" across the border customs controls. You know what that is. Drug Mules. Narcotics Trafficking. Many young naive people have been tricked/bullied/forced to become drug mules due to their greed for "free or very cheap" tours to fancied destinations.

You need to be suspicious if the offer is too good to be true.
And do not go on far away tour with a total stranger who promises everything wonderful at very low prices.
You can be a victim of a scam.
THAT IS THE MAIN PURPOSE OF MY WHOLE QUESTION HERE. TO FIND FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE USED LOCAL GUIDES AND COMPANIES WHOM WE CAN TRUST.

THE PRICE COMPARISON I SHOWED MAKE MORE SENSE AND NOT MEANINGLESS. FIRST YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT CHEAP TOURS. I AM TALKING ABOUT SOLO TRIPS AND SOURCING GOOD LOCAL GUIDES. THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE.

When you travel on your own, you dont need to pay for your so called photo guide who help you along the trip and take you in a pre fixed itinerary with 15 other people which you cant change. Further you dont really decide what you need to shoot and there is always 10 photographer with you around not letting you take what you want in peace.

Then the cost. if you get a trip from singapore and take a guide, you pay for all his travel and accomodation and plus his salary. when I can make a trip with 1000 dollars, its not required for me to pay 4000 dollars. The local guides always cost much lower and most of them knows the place better. You just need to know how to source local guides.

also, the part about Solo Travel, if you are a real traveller and not tourist, its about understanding the place, the culture and their food. there is always some risk. when you travel alone. but its really worth. i cant explain it to you, because you have to feel it for urself.

I eat local food whenever i travel, not because its cheap. I just want to try local food, because its part of my trip. If i want to go to a country and eat food from restaurant all the time. I can do that in singapore.

Then about the guides I have mentioned above, they are all from a very reputed companies and only that they are local and charge less. they know the place better than any of your photography guide from singapore. Also you should understand even some of the reputed photography guide companies from singapore use them for their purpose.

if you think stingy and I wont take travel insurance. I cant help it. I always take insurance with unlimited medical evacuation clause. I just dont like paying additonal money to a photo guide. I just dont want someone to take me to a spot and point me to what to shot and you call that your best shot. for me its rubbish.
 

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Kumarjo

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"I go to X place cheaper than you", is another childish boast. People pay more for comfort and safety. They are not stupid to pay more.
you might be a rich guy and you may be able to afford to pay more. Its not for everyone. its not boasting, Its about satisfying your desire with in your means and what you an afford and I was simply responding to a question about using photography tours and why i don't want to use one. Its not just money, it also that I dont want to travel with 15 other photographers.
 

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Kumarjo

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Just imaging travelling alone with a guide. Just you, the guide and the whole day to shoot what you want. Nothing comes close to it. Atleast for me. If you have other opinion, that's yours. But don' t try to prove to me that it is the correct one.
 

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