The judges have studied your nominations and now the 2016 top three guides have been selected...
Three finalists have been selected for this year's Wanderlust World Guide Awards. In alphabetical order – Bopha Sok (Cambodia), Samer Saied (Egypt) and Wipaporn Ord (Thailand, Laos & Burma) have made the final cut.
The final results will be announced in a ceremony at London's Royal Geographical Society on 6 October and all three guides will be awarded Paul Morrison bursaries to spend on furthering their skills or on community projects.
Where he guides: Cambodia
Booked through: G Adventures
Bopha has only been guiding for G Adventures for three years but he has already made an impression. Heralding from a village in Kampong Cham province, he worked as a silk farmer and goldsmith while still at school, before moving to Siem Reap to kick-start his career as a guide.
A true people’s person, he loves to give travellers a genuine sense of Cambodia, having his clients interact with the locals, providing the community with invaluable language skills in turn. But his favourite thing is watching the group’s reaction when he introduces them to his favourite place, Angkor Wat – and taking the opportunity to explore it once more himself.
Where he guides: Egypt
Booked through: G Adventures
Samer is a shining beacon for visitors to Egypt – and the perfect antidote to the recent headlines. Prior to becoming a guide, his passion for his country led him to becoming an Egyptologist; now that enthusiasm and knowledge of the country’s ancient history – and how that shapes the Egypt of today – is passed on to his clients.
But as well as enhancing the experience for travellers who visit the country, ‘Sem Sem’ is dedicated to making a difference to the locals, too. He coordinates a women’s sewing project at a community library in Luxor and has spent a number of years as a Scout leader in central Cairo.
Where she guides: Thailand, Laos & Burma
Booked through: All Points East
One of the founders of All Points East, Wipaporn has built her excellent guiding on 15 years of experience. Born in Bangkok, her expertise spans across not only Thailand, but Burma and Laos also. Being a mum herself, Wi – as she’s known to her friends – particularly enjoys leading family trips; she also uses her experience to coordinate projects for under-privileged hill-tribe children and their families in all three countries.
“She’s almost as nice as my mum. Actually, she’s nicer,” recounts one traveller. Another, Sandy Bagnall, adds: “Wi is so thoughtful, kind, generous and just a lovely, lovely person. She shared so much more than just facts about what we were travelling through.”
Leticia Prieto, Spain, Back-Roads Touring
Asanga Bandara Rajapakse, Sri Lanka, Intrepid Travel
Kuenga Metho, Bhutan, Panoramic Journeys
Edward Shepherd, UK, Tours From Antiquity
Alex Graeme, UK, Unique Devon
The awards will be presented by top selling author Bill Bryson. Tickets for the evening can be purchased here.