Don't just take our word for it; here's what some of our guests have said about taking a tour with us. You can read more reviews of our tours on TripAdvisor.
We have spoken often of you and Gukgai since we left you. We adored our experience with you both. It was perfect and we can't imagine how we could have seen and learned so much any other way than with you both. We would highly recommend you and we hope our paths cross again someday.
Tina Maloney - Newfoundland, Canada (July 2019)
My relatives loved the tour, and the tour guides as well! So thank you so much to you and P'Gukgai for today. We will definitely contact you again the next time the relatives come over!.
Cedric Teng - Singapore (June 2019)
I just wanted to take a few moments before I pack up my computer to send you a message to say thank you again for the two very wonderful days exploring a little bit of Isaan. You made me feel more than a customer, you made me feel like I was out with a couple of good friends. Your knowledge of the history is truly impressive and I enjoyed learning. I can tell you truly love living here and sharing that love of Isaan. So thank you again to both you and your lovely wife. I won't even try to spell her name, but she is amazing. Aloha for now.
Steven Daugherty - California, USA (August 2018)
Aui was a great guide. I very much enjoyed my experience. I don't think I would have gotten to see Phimai any other way. Also, learning the history and myths behind all the structure and decoration made it special and "not just another temple." If I know anyone visiting Thailand I will be sure to recommend Isan Explorer.
Randi Jimenez - California, USA (August 2018)
Tim, thank you so much for you and Gukgai's hard work! We really learnt a lot and had a nice trip in Isan!!
Hung Wai Ping - Hong Kong (August 2018)
This is just to thank you again for putting together such a wonderful tour for my friend Christina and myself – we really enjoyed it!! Next to the good organization, we were especially thankful for the staff who accompanied us, particularly Aui, who was great in guiding us and explaining this to us, and whom we also greatly appreciated for her pleasant personality, her flexibility, good sense of humor and overall knowledge of historical (and other) sights!
Alice Thomas - Germany (July 2018)
Thanks for the amazing trip. We both liked it a lot and in the future there will be many occasions where we will look back at the beautiful things we saw in Isan and excellent service given by you guys.
Christof Cuypers - Antwerp, Belgium (July 2018)
Hello Tim, We had a wonderful time doing the Nam Phong trek! Aui was an excellent guide providing answers to questions we had and making suggestions for our tour. During our stop at the village we were welcomed into a house and helped the women prepare things that would be offered during Songkran. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience being able to help them prepare for the festival. We would recommend Isan Explorer to anyone visiting Thailand, especially if they want to experience and learn about its culture.
Tim Harkins - Michigan, USA (April 2018)
We were both thoroughly impressed! For mum I think it was probably the best day in Thailand ever, and I think she has had 7-8 trips in total or something like that. Aui was truly amazing, impeccable professionalism and friendliness and also the best English skills I have ever encountered in Thailand honestly.
Karl Rindlert - Phuket, Thailand (February 2018)
[The Handicrafts tour] was really awesome, so fantastic. What a professional guide you have! I’m so glad that my son saw your company and I could see all this and meet lovely people in the villages. I will surely recommend you to people who will visit Isan. Thank you!
Maria Melin - Stockholm, Sweden (February 2018)
We just got home to California yesterday. We had a fantastic time on your tour. Aui and Gookgai were incredible guides. Not only were they knowledgeable, but they were so kind, caring, and patient. We really liked the attention to detail that they provided such as always walking us to our hotel rooms to make sure they were okay and making sure our food got ordered and delivered at restaurants. They were always willing to go the extra mile such as taking us to a night market. The driver Pong was also great. Not only was he a safe driver, but he was always friendly, joking around with our kids. Sometimes we felt like we had a third guide because he was always helpful and kept an eye on us and the kids. We really enjoyed the itinerary and the many, many incredible sites and experiences on the tour. So, thanks for an amazing tour through Isan. You provide an outstanding, top notch experience from beginning to end.
Kris Vutpakdi - California, USA (January 2018)
We did have a memorable time. This was in no small measure due to Aui who was quite delightful and happy to fit in with anything that we wanted to do – the advantage of the personal tour! … At a more personal level, it was so refreshing to be able to leave the heavily urbanised parts of Thailand and experience pristine forest with its associated wildlife. Yes, we did meet an elephant… Best wishes for the continuing success of your and Gukai's business, Tim. Who knows, we might come and do a longer tour one day and in the meantime if we hear of anyone pondering an adventure in your part of the world, we shall certainly recommend you.
Rod and Ubolwan Hughes - New South Wales, Australia (November 2017)
This was such a fantastic trip. We saw some awesome things and had a great time. Khun Aui and Khun Tommy were great…I have already recommended your company to three sets of people!
Daina Shaw - Bangkok, Thailand (July 2017)
Our guide was extremely flexible and accommodating based on our changing needs/energy levels. There was a good diversity and enough focus on the things we said we were interested in…Driver (Tommy) was super safe, friendly and the vehicle was in great condition…Dealing with Tim and Aui were super prompt and to the point, with good suggestions for options…Awesome food at each spot (thanks to the ordering support from Aui).
Simon Cramp - Melbourne, Australia (July 2017)
Good morning Tim. We enjoyed our Isan Tour immensely and wanted to thank you, Gukgai & Aui for the wonderful care you took of us - we certainly felt spoilt. The information you gave about Thai culture, religion, etc. was fascinating and certainly gave us insight into the Thai lifestyle & psyche. Also the driver was great and we always felt safe…We will not hesitate to recommend your tours to our family & friends. Thanks again for all your help.
Dieter & Heide Kazenwadel - Melbourne, Australia (June 2017)
It's Andy here from the Chiang Khan/Phu Luang trip last week! I just wanted to thank you again for all your tireless work helping us on the trip! We were very lucky to have had this opportunity with all of you. I spoke to the students today and they said they enjoyed the trip a lot.
Andrew Larner - Vientiane, Laos (May 2017)
Dear Gukgai and Dear Tim, How can I thank you enough for all your kindness and care during my five-day trip in Isan province? You really made sure that I saw everything I had hoped for (and more). The special tour you devised for me exceeded all expectations…what a fantastic company (and wonderful couple) you are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart…the time spent with you was by FAR the best part of my four-week trip.
Charlotte Pinder - Bath, UK (March 2017)
Hi Tim. We are finally home, getting back into the right time zone, and following up on all the details of our trip to Thailand! I cannot begin to thank you and your family enough for all your support and assistance with our trip to Udon...Working with Jeap was a joy! Her enthusiasm for our goal, her flexibility in meeting our needs, and her sunny disposition was outstanding.
Patricia Milhous - Florida, USA (February 2017)
Thank you for a great tour! And especially thank you for all the good and interesting information. You guys make a great team.
Bård Marthinsen - Oslo, Norway (February 2017)
We both enjoyed the trip with Gukgai and Aui very much. The two ladies gave us good information and Aui is a very good and safe driver. For us it seemed more to have a trip with friends than a tourist trip. For sure we will recommend Isan Explorer.
Madeleine & Heinz Spaar - Zurich, Switzerland (February 2017)
Best tour we have been on and wish we were staying longer because we would do another one. Friendly and knowledgeable. It was like travelling with friends…they were brilliant. The vehicle was the best I have ever been in and the driver was great. I would recommend anyone doing this tour to see local lives and beautiful temples and ruins. It's a must for anyone travelling to Khon Kaen.
Rachael Mueller - Alice Springs, Australia (December 2016)
On behalf of our school and all of us who participated in the 2-day tour you organized, we wish to thank you for everything. All students including us teachers enjoyed and are happy for all the activities that you offered….Again, thanks a lot.
Teacher Xcel (Panyathip International School) - Vientiane, Laos (December 2016)
We had an amazing tour in the Isan region. We thank you for the perfect organization. Aui and Palm were very nice company. Aui is an exceptional guide. She informed us well and answered all our questions about Thai nature, culture and history. She has the talent to know when she has to be present and when being discreet to give us some space when needed. We will recommend Isan Explorer.
Bart De Moor - Brussels, Belgium (November 2016)
Isan explorer organised a 4 day custom Silk Trail of the Isan Region tour for my sister and myself. All our needs were met, silk groups organised (plus other sights), the accommodation was great and the guide and driver were polite, knowledgeable, flexible, and attentive to our needs. Well worth taking a wander off the beaten track and checking out this often overlooked area of Thailand.
Kaye Adams (owner Distinct Impressions) - NSW, Australia (October 2016)
Thank you so much for all your efforts to help us to have a lovely day touring around Khon Kaen. We truly enjoyed our guide Aui and meeting you at the temple in the afternoon.
Jasmine Gould - Virginia, USA (October 2016)
Thanks for a fascinating and fun tour. We had a good time and learned a lot…We can't offer enough thanks for all your efforts in making our stay in Isaan memorable.
Lois Kaminsky - New York, USA (August 2016)
Hello Tim! We loved the tour! Aui was very nice with us and we learned a lot about Phimai and all the other places. We really like the way the tour worked.
Daniel Tapia - Madrid, Spain (July 2016)
We had a great trip, saw the amazing temples at Phimai etc and learnt so much from Aui…Definitely a 5/5 Isan Explorer experience for Janet and myself.
David and Janet Tranthim-Fryer - Perth, Australia (July 2016)
The tour was excellent. The indigo weaving village was the best…We loved the museum as well. Aui was also an excellent guide. I have already been referring your tour to others. Thanks again for a great experience.
Nancy Sorofman - Iowa, USA (June 2016)
It was an awesome trip – more than I could have hoped for and I’m glad that I deferred to your judgment…I want to express my thanks to you and especially Aui for what you did…Her ability to bond with the local people at the places we visited was remarkable. She makes local people feel special and respected as artists, craftspeople, and parts of communities. This is sharp contrast to some other tours where the people are treated as zoo members…For me, the two home stays were the highlights of the tour. Again thanks for everything.
Jim Deyrup - Florida, USA (May 2016)
Dear Tim, Once more I would like to say thank you for this unbelievable wonderful day.
Horst Fischer - Germany (March 2016)
The silk village was an awesome experience. Meeting the weavers, walking around the village, meeting the children–it was memorable!…Benz was extremely personable, her English was excellent. She was very accommodating to my mother who has some sight restrictions and was affected by the heat. We all enjoyed her tremendously…Setting up this modified tour required many emails back and forth for months ahead. I appreciate the patience involved and the fact the Tim stuck with me throughout! The result was a personalized tour that was memorable, informative, and a blast!...I can't think of any way this would have been better. We are so thankful to Isan Explorer for making the "tour of a lifetime!" My family was delighted to have such a wonderful experience with Isan Explorer…We highly recommend Isan Explorer and will use them again when we return!
Donna Chrzanowski - Pennsylvania, USA (February 2016)
We really did enjoy our three day tours…We spent lots of time on the lake, and we stopped several times to admire the flowers and try to get the perfect photo! The pottery workshop was great also. On the second day all the temples were very interesting, and especially our tour through the Wat Nong Wang...Probably the highlights of our Khon Kaen day tour were the markets, a terrific lunch, and Wat Chai Si. The trip to Prasat Phimai was most memorable. It was made even more interesting due to Aui's knowledge and commentary…Aui really stood out as she was able to explain the significance of many features of the temples we visited and interpret the Buddhist murals at Wat Chai Si and Wat Sanuan Wari. I felt very safe with her driving also. I would certainly feel confident recommending Isan Explorer Tours to others.
Elizabeth Cheong - NSW, Australia (February 2016)
We were very pleased with the tour, especially with Poppy and Aui. They were exceptionally polite, accommodating, patient and willing to satisfy our every need. They made every effort to make sure we were comfortable throughout the entire tour. They were more than happy to change the itinerary when we saw fit and give us suitable alternatives. They had the friendliest dispositions all the time…The tour was really well designed and we really enjoyed meeting all these people along our way and discovering their day to day life.
Alex Beaumont - Hong Kong (January 2016)
We had a wonderful time in Khon Kaen. Your people treated us well, and we thank you. We will pass your name on to any friends travelling in the area.
Robert MacPherson - Queensland, Australia (December 2015)
We were impressed by the organisation, your promptness in organising the trip, quick reply to emails with questions. That was for us very important as the timings were very tight. We liked Tum and Aui, they were very kind and helped us throughout the trip…The itinerary was very good, given the amount of time at our disposal. We managed to see many things, we wish we had more time to spend in Isaan! Also the food was amazing, the best we had in Thailand!!! We are missing it already!
Samantha Baldini and Aniello Del Sorbo - London, UK (December 2015)
Our trip in Thailand was really very special, so I really thank you for putting together such a well planned itinerary, with so many different aspects of the country being covered in a short time. And thanks as well to our two guides Ooei and Poppy who were delightful, efficient and good company as well.
Anne-Marie and Stephen Harrison - Saint-Privat-des-Prés, France (November 2015)
We did a five day trip through Isan with Isan-Explorer. Tim gave us great advice on things to see, distances to travel and places to stay. During the trip our guide Aui learned us a lot about Buddhism and the Thai temples. We also really liked the visits to the handicrafts families. We were struck by the sincere friendliness of the people. The monkey parks and the elephant village were a big hit with the children. The two Khmer temples, Prasad Phanom Rung and Prasad Muang Tam, were the highlight of the trip. Really, really beautiful!
Of course, the trip would not have been the same without Aui. She did a great job. She was friendly, flexible and relaxed. She could tell us (almost) all that we needed to know, not only about the temples, but also about crops, folklore etc.. And if she did not know, she would ask a monk or one of villagers. We were very happy to have her with us.
Lizette van Bergen - Amsterdam, Netherlands (October 2015)
Best tour I've ever been on; I felt as if the tour was custom tailored to my specific interests, but also showing us unexpected surprises. The guides had a lot of flexibility and patience, and took our sometimes weird requests as a new challenge and adventure.
I was very, very pleased with…everything about it, the pace, the flexibility, the sites we visited, the food, your knowledge about the sites and Thailand in general, your ability to communicate with the local people, etc. The food, too, was fantastic…and I appreciated the guides' suggestions about what local dishes we might like. We had a lot of dishes we've never seen in US Thai restaurants, and the food was so fresh. Thanks again for everything.
John Gardner - California, USA (October 2015)
We have been most delighted with our experience with Isan Explorer. The trip between Bangkok airport to Khon Kaen by car was just right for us, who wanted to feel the country on the roads, and not just take a flight. The balance between the visits of the Khmer ruins, the Buddhist temples, the markets and the villages part of "one village, one product project" was very interesting.
Aui is a very nice person, professional, friendly and attentive to our needs. Palm is a good driver. We felt secure with him. We liked to have lunch with them and taste different meals from Isan. The minibus was very comfortable, air-conditioning just right and fresh water. We will certainly recommend your organization to anyone. Thank you very much for everything.
Jacky and Rose Marie Chassot Colombo - Geneva, Switzerland (July 2015)
Thanks for a great trip!
Glenys Rule - Auckland, New Zealand (July 2015)
The trip was a great success and Aui was excellent…I have made four trips to Khao Yai, where everybody goes to see the [Coral-billed] ground-cuckoo and I have never seen it. Yet we saw it at Phu Khieo extremely well…Also, we saw both the Siamese Fireback, males and females, and the Silver Pheasant, male, much better than I ever saw them at Khao Yai, and the Red Junglefowl were out grazing with the deer every time I looked.
John Rothman - California, USA (June 2015)
The Taste of Isan Food Tour was an amazing experience. I liked every minute of it. From visiting a bustling market in the morning – with rich explanations and savoury snacks – to being guest in a lovely Isaan family for the rest of the afternoon. Everything was perfectly organised, the guides were very caring and always had useful information on hand. Definitely recommended!
Kathleen Ziemann - Hamburg, Germany (May 2015)
Isan Explorer took us all the way from Mae Sai to Ubon Ratchathani recently, a fascinating and interesting journey through the north east of the country. Experts in the region, it was a very pleasurable trip with them. Recommended!
Andrea Carnegie-Smith - London, UK (February 2015)
Tim, your personal attention and your expert knowledge are exceptional. [For anyone] interested in the untouristy, laid-back and beautiful area of Isan, there is no one better to show it to you than the super experienced Isan Explorer.
James Chilton - Oxfordshire, UK (February 2015)
It was quite difficult to find a travel agency for an Isan tour. And we certainly found the most original one, with a great variety of places to visit, some of them that few foreigners have the opportunity to see. A very good mix between culture, nature, authenticity and even fun.
Jean-Marc Beyeler - Lausanne, Switzerland (February 2015)
Thank you very much for helping us arrange a wonderful adventure to Isan. We had a great time. Aui is a very good guide, patient, warm and is very knowledgeable. Palm is a good driver. We felt comfortable and safe with him at the wheel….The silk weaving [at Chansoma] blew our minds.
Virginia Hess & Michael Zullo - New York, USA (January 2015)
I loved the tour. The sights were very interesting and different. It was impressing to see a Khmer temple, historical excavation sites, silk weaving and ancient Buddhist temple in one day. Overall, the tour and the service was excellent, highly recommended to anyone!
Nikoletta Darányi - Hungary (November 2014)
I just wanted to thank you for the awesome tour today! It was everything I wanted and more!…I appreciate your flexibility and knowledge of the area. Nina was a great guide and I found her very easy to talk to and ask questions of. Thank you for the notebook and the warm hospitality during the trip! I hope we can do it again sometime in the near future!
Russ Garrett - North Dakota, USA (November 2014)
Thank you for organising our tour. It was very enjoyable. We especially liked the day walking in the forest…That Phanom was another highlight. Accommodation choices were overall great especially the bungalows on the Mekong. Aui was very helpful and patient with us!! True Thai spirit…Isan is certainly the Thailand I was seeking out and I love the Naga stories.
Maia Lyn - Queensland, Australia (November 2014)
[We loved] EVERYTHING! Especially meeting and watching the craftspeople creating beautiful objects.
Monika Krupski & Jakob Spitzer - Hamburg, Germany (September 2014)
The 3 day Elephant Encounter tour we booked was truly amazing… Tim took great care in the interests of his guests and his vast knowledge about the Isan area is very noticeable…Isan is a really nice little corner of Thailand, and not overrun by tourists. This makes for wonderfully authentic and natural attractions and interaction with the locals.
Tobias Amberger - Düsseldorf, Germany (August 2014)
It was a great trip! Thank you again and also Aui! I think you are doing a great job and you have a great way to organize tours! At the moment it looks like I will come back to Khon Kaen and I'm looking forward to join you or one of your guides on a trip again.
Lena König - Karlsruhe, Germany (May 2014)
Excellent value to see unique and interesting sites. Our guide had great English skills and answered all our questions. The temple was amazing and unlike anything else we saw in Thailand. I especially liked meeting the women in the cooperative making silk and seeing the process.
Lisa Hinde - Wisconsin, USA (April 2014)
Driving down Route 2222, visiting the gong shops and makers, then having lunch on a floating restaurant on the Mekong was magical in so many ways.
Jody Jaffe - Arizona, USA (February 2014)
You have done an excellent job. We like your tour service very much. And I would like to express my gratitude for your preparation of the surprise birthday cake for Lisa. She had such a great time that day.
Feng-Lan Kuo - Taiwan (November 2013)
Tim, you are amazing!!! You have spoiled us forever with the personalized care!…You were fantastic to work with. You had great ideas. I made suggestions and you incorporated them if possible. You were patient with my need for details. Your phase of our trip was an exceptionally good value for the money. You made a zillion arrangements for us. Our days flowed effortlessly. The itinerary was realistic for us and flexibility was allowed, that is important! And finally, it was comforting to know that you were keeping tabs on us throughout our journey, we felt safe and cared for. Bottom line, Tim, we would recommend your services and/or this particular trip to anyone.
Kay and Huntley Lewis - Wisconsin, USA (October 2013)
Tim's planning was excellent - I am happy that I can visit many places in 4 days' time, but the trip does not feel rushed. And he is flexible with how the tour is run.
April Lim - Singapore (August 2013)
Thank you so much for arranging everything…I came to know a lot about the culture. Say Hi to Aui. I enjoyed the trip with her…I had a great time in Khon Kaen. Will be back next year.
Farhad Behrana - Mumbai, India (June 2013)
We found both Tim and our guide to be generous, helpful, charming people - and easy to be with. Our guide did not feel it necessary to talk incessantly or lecture us on pet topics. What a relief. We were simply happy to hang out with her, and she proved invaluable, of course, in translating everything for us.
David McHale - Germany (May 2013)
Thanks so much. I had a great time. Benjo is remarkable. She helped make my trip everything I could have hoped for and then some. She is an excellent guide. I leave Isan tomorrow, but know that I will be back.
Sydney Isaacs - Quebec, Canada (January 2013)
A wonderful tour, beyond my expectations. The guide made this trip special.
Valerie Walduck - Queensland, Australia (December 2012)
Great cultural experience in a safe convenient mode of travel.
Chris Stirrup - Queensland, Australia (December 2012)
It goes without saying that all of us are very satisfied with the tour! Thanks a lot. It was an unforgettable experience! Benjo is a very nice, caring, flexible and patient person. Not the 'standard' tour guide, but far better (and we were not looking for 'standard' things anyway). Many good memories and beautiful pictures.
Dorien van der Weele - Limburg, Netherlands (July 2012)
Your time and research provided, IMHO, quality sites that are way cool.
James S. - Khon Kaen, Thailand (June 2012)
When we were in Khon Kaen to film, Tim really goes out of his way to show us around and give us information about every place. We were at the car and he would give us insider tips on living, visiting and getting the best out of our trip in Thailand. He is an expert traveler and we found him very credible. He brought us to places that are captivating, as well as those that capture real Thai culture especially in a province like Khon Kaen which is not touristy and can be considered "authentic Thai" for me. He was so informative and all he said guided me while writing my script for the wildlife TV show we were there for.
Annalyn Ardona, segment producer 'Born to Be Wild' - Manila, Philippines (June 2011)
Isan Explorer is a family-run Khon Kaen, Thailand-based tour company offering tours in Northeastern Thailand, known as Isan (sometimes spelled Isaan, Issan, Isarn, Esan, E-San, Esaan, E-Saan, Esarn, and E-sarn). We offer pre-designed and custom Thailand tours for individuals and groups and cater for travelers on any budget, from luxury to backpacker. We embrace slow travel and all our tours focus on culture and/or nature.
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