Top 10 Private Guides: 2014 Viator Travel Awards

December 17, 2013 by

Local Experts & Private Guides, Things to Do, Viator Travel Awards


Editor’s Note: This post is part of the Viator Travel Awards, an annual awards competition where we – along with our readers, travelers, and fans – select the top things to do and see in each of the major regions we serve, the top things to do in our most popular tour categories, and more.

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Traveling is a blast. But it’s also a lot of work to learn the history, understand the culture, and study the cuisine of your destination in the weeks before your trip.

Viator to the rescue! Our elite squad of private tour guides are here to help you save time and money, all while giving you a deeper understanding of your destination.

We’ve analyzed travelers’ reviews and studied our bookings to compile our end-of-the-year guide awards. From the highest rated guide to the most popular newcomer, we present you with the top members of our team.

Drum roll please! Introducing the Top 10 Private Guides to book with for 2014.

Most Popular Guide: Wallop ‘Joke’ Kittiwititkun (Bangkok)

Meet Wallop ‘Joke’ Kittiwititkun, our most booked tour guide of 2013. Wallop may be serious about Bangkok’s history and culture, but he loves making his clients laugh. That explains all the glowing reviews he receives about his historical sites and temples tours. Wallop is passionate about Thailand and happy to develop custom tours for travelers who wish to venture outside the big city. And while he can tell you the ins and outs of Bangkok’s history, he’s just as interested in his clients’ hometowns. “I enjoy learning about their cultures as much as telling them about mine,” he said.

Top Selling Guide: Mario Bernardi (Rome)

Mario knows Rome like the back of his hand.

Mario knows Rome like the back of his hand.

With a background in art, it’s no surprise Mario Bernardi loves leading private tours through the museums and ancient buildings of Rome. His outgoing personality and passion for all things Italian enabled him to produce the most revenue of any guide in 2013. A professional tour leader since 2002, Mario has helped thousands of travelers beat the crowds and experience a more intimate Rome. Contact him today for a private tour of one of the world’s most famous cities.

Top Rated Guide: Vivie Pan (Beijing)

2013 was Vivie Pan’s second year as the top rated Viator private guide. Her tours of Beijing consistently pull in five star ratings and glowing reviews from travelers. Vivie can help you navigate China’s markets, score a discounted ticket to a kung fu show, and order the perfect Peking duck. She has a car and a van ready to take travelers anywhere from the airport to the Great Wall. Visitors say Vivie has a great personality, speaks suburb English, and creates custom tours that exceed expectations. “She even helped me find a place to get a haircut,” wrote a client.

Top Newcomer: Hiroe Nakayama (Osaka)

Let us introduce you to Hiroe Nakayama, our most booked rookie for 2013. Based in Osaka, Hiroe leads visitors on custom tours of Japan’s most interesting sites, including the Golden Pavilion and the A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, her hometown. Hiroe’s outgoing personality, deep knowledge of Japan, and willingness to design tours around travelers’ interests and budgets landed this new guide at the top of the charts. Welcome to the team, Hiroe!

Top Shore Excursion: Zach Hatta with his tour “Kuala Lumpur Shore Excursions” (Kuala Lumpur)

Designed for travelers with only a day in Kuala Lumpur, Zach Hatta’s seven-hour tour of the city’s must-see sites is this year’s most popular shore excursion. Zach’s day trip helps you maximize your limited time in Kuala Lumpur, zipping around buses full of tour groups in a private car, and developing itineraries based exactly on your interests. A frequent traveler himself, Zach said he’s suffered through “touts, scams, and tourist traps” and is here to help his clients have the most authentic and enjoyable experiences in Kuala Lumpur.

Top Viator Contributor: Maricar Donato (Washington DC)

Maricar would love to tell you all about Washington DC.

Maricar would love to tell you all about Washington DC.

Private guide Maricar Donato loves bragging about Washington DC. Her helpful blog posts, destination updates, and city photos have earned her our top contributor award. Maricar also gets extra credit for designing unique custom tours around the city’s special events. For an unparalleled DC experience, join Maricar on a visit to the White House, a walk through Arlington National Cemetery, or a nighttime tour of the city’s famous memorials.

Most Attentive Guide: Natt Opasanon (Bangkok)

Natt will make you feel at home in Bangkok

Natt will make you feel at home in Bangkok

To private guide Natt Opasanon, clients are friends. Which is why she goes out of her way to help travelers plan their Thailand visits. She sends the most outgoing messages of any guide, landing her our most attentive award. When she’s not helping travelers, Natt leads custom tours of Bangkok and greater Thailand, helping visitors understand the country’s culture and history. You can trust Natt as a Thailand expert. In 2012, she biked through all 77 of the country’s provinces. “I really wanted to see my country properly so I can show it to others with confidence,” she said about the five-month trip.

Top Outdoor Adventures Guide: Cristian Umaquinga (Quito)

Christian will take you on an adventure in Ecuador.

Christian will take you on an adventure in Ecuador.

For the past 11 years, Cristian Umaquinga has led Ecuador visitors from the Amazon to the coast, creating custom itineraries that fit their unique needs and budgets. Cristian’s passion for nature and his homeland have helped him earn our top outdoor adventure guide for 2013 award. Call on Cristian when you’re seeking an Ecuadorian adventure, like hiking through the highlands or paragliding over the Pacific.

Most Popular Multi-day Guide: Ali Akram (Jaipur, Agra, New Delhi)

Sit down and stay a while with Ali Akram, our most popular multi-day guide. Ali’s outgoing personality, flexibility and easygoing nature makes him an easy traveling companion for your Indian adventures. Ali leads multi-day tours through Agra, Delhi, Jaipur and the state of Rajasthan. He also creates custom tours centered around India’s art and history. Visitors rave that Ali’s knowledge makes the country’s temples and famous sites come alive. He’s also popular for turning travelers on to some of the best food in India.

Most Creative Private Tour: “Discovering Gangnam Style” designed by Rob and Kang (Seoul)

Rob and Kang know how to have fun.

Rob and Kang know how to have fun.

Gangnam is not just a dance or a district in Seoul; it’s a state of mind. And private guides Rob and Kang want to take you there. Explore Seoul’s funkiest town with the “dynamic duo of Korean tourism”. Filled with great music and entertainment, as well as historic sites, Gangnam is the best place to experience the intersection of old and new Seoul. Rob and Kang will take you to a local market, an ecological park and the Gangnam arts district. The tour is a blast thanks to Rob and Kang’s witty banter and entertaining feuds.

A big thanks to all our top 10 guides for their hard work, dedication and tireless passion in 2013. Without their contributions, Viator would not be the awesome travelers’ resource that it is today.

Congratulations to the Top 10 Private Guides of 2013. Be sure to keep them in mind when you need a local expert during your travels in 2014!

- Viator Travel Team

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4 Responses to “Top 10 Private Guides: 2014 Viator Travel Awards”

  1. Tina Says:

    Congratulations to all the winners, they all deserve it, another year has past and we’re looking forward for the next year.

  2. Things to do in Bangkok Says:

    Bangkok one of the top destination that i ever been love traveling!!!

  3. Troy Says:

    “Wallop is passionate about China and happy to develop custom tours for travelers who wish to venture outside the big city” Bangkok is in Thailand. China and Thailand are different countries.

  4. Laura Says:

    Typo–thank you for the correction!

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