What makes a good trip ? The itinerary, the activities and the meetings are obviously crucial factors. At ORLA Tours, we are convinced that the quality of the guide is just as decisive. A good guide can make the trip magical. He creates the meetings by making the connection between you and the local people. He is also in charge of telling you the history of the country, a lot of anecdotes and small details. Even with a meticulous organization, a tour is extraordinary only if your guide makes you live it 100%. That's why we decided to write this article dedicated to our guides. What is their training? How are they selected? You will know everything about the key element of any accompanied trip.
Why would I need a guide for my trip in Laos ?
Let's start from the beginning, why should you travel with a guide? Well, mainly because it's the law. In Laos, any traveler who organizes his trip via an agency must be accompanied by a local with his official guide card. This directive has the merit of guaranteeing tourists an accompaniment by a person trained for that.
Moreover, even if you do not go through an agency, it is strongly recommended or mandatory to call a guide when you leave the tourist circuits. Indeed, what will happen if you hurt yourself in the middle of nowhere? If you get lost and don’t see anyone for more than ten kilometers? Local people do not speak English; thus, it will be difficult to get away. This is why, in addition to the legal aspect, the accompaniment of a guide is an essential security.
Finally, sharing and communicating are for us two fundamental values. Discovering a country is not only admiring its landscapes. It's about talking with local people, chatting with isolated tribes and learning about their customs. Needless to say, isolated ethnic groups in the mountains do not speak a word of English. The guide is the link that allows you to create this bond. You will experience a real immersion in the country and its culture.
Being a guide in Laos, a job that takes time to master.
Accompanying tourists, it has to be learned, it is a job. So how does one become a guide in Laos? The minimum training required to obtain an official license lasts 45 days. We learn how to behave with travelers, how to handle a conflict, manage hotel reservations, etc.
Once the license acquired, it is still only the beginning of the way to become a guide. Indeed, one must also learn a foreign language. To become an apprentice guide you will have to go to university to take private lessons, or learn by yourself. There are many nationalities visiting Laos, so it is important to choose which language to learn. Obviously, English is the most common choice because the most used. French speaking guides are quite rare because it is a language that takes time to be mastered, at least 3 years.
Once the license has been acquired and the language has been learned, a travel agency must be found. Because a guide card is nothing without the name of a company on it. This company will be the caution for the guide. Thus, each turn departure must be validated beforehand by this company.
Finally, as with any profession, experience determines the quality of a guide. It is estimated that it is only after 3 years of exercise that the job is fully learned.
Our company only works with the best guides in Laos
Tourism in Laos is booming. Hotels are built by dozens and travel agencies are multiplying. Naturally, the number of guides follows the same ascending trajectory and they are more and more numerous. At ORLA, we only work with no more than fifteen guides.
about ten. Why limit yourself when you have the choice? To guarantee a constant quality. Once new guides have proven their quality, we do our best to keep them with us. And for that, we pay them responsibly, approx. $ 50 to $ 70 a day. This may seem excessive in a country where the minimum wage is $ 100 per month. But it should be noted that they work only 5 to 6 months of the year, and not every day during the high season.
In addition to this decent wage, we try to provide them with the ideal working conditions. The itineraries are detailed, reservations are already made, no surprises to be expected whether on the travelers side or guide’s one. It can thus focus 100% on its activity and make you discover Laos in the best possible way.
Proof that our strategy is working: all our guides trained by us are still with us today.
We select specialists according to your type of travel.
What makes the quality of a guide? His experience. That's why we only work with specialists by activity. Thus, we have guides for treks, for handling large groups, for cultural visits and finally others for the bike. The information to be transmitted is not the same, and the customers have different expectations. Each one is only active in his field of predilection, they become real experts over the years. Of course, they can also be versatile.
The same goes for the language spoken. We use guides who speak English, French, Russian, Chinese or German. Each of them is specialized.
That's it, you know everything about our guides. They will take care of you and become your best friend during your trip! Specialized in activities and languages, they turn a simple trip into an unforgettable human experience. We will never repeat it enough, discovering is sharing, exploring is meeting. The guides are your link with the local populations, essential to allow communication. Want to meet Phay for your discovery tour? Or Nyay for your motorcycle trip ?
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