There lives a sage in modern times
Was edgy in Australian climes
Found a land to suit,
Found a name to boot,
Arun, he chose to share Siam
‘Arun’, he said, ‘is what I am’.
He answers to no other man.
One of life’s chameleons.
Sakai will forever be a part of hearts each of us loving him for different reasons and time spent one on one. I think his job on this trip posed some challenges. My family of 5 can be quite the force along with my longest and dearest friend and her daughter, we were a pack of goofballs. He had to blend in the rest of the group and make this trip fit everyone's needs. As a business professional I was in awe of his ability to make this happen. He wore me out just watching him hop, skip and jump to make everyone's dreams and aspirations realities.
Family of 5 | Vietnam (In conjunction with Wandering Earl)
Sakai has an improbable collection of skill sets and knowledge that makes him an ideal tour leader. He speaks more languages than I can count on both hands, including Thai, Khmer, Arabic and I don't know what all. He know more about Asian and Middle Eastern history, architecture and law (he used to be a lawyer until he decided to start making an honest living) than the entire faculty of most Universities.
His knowledge also runs to the more practical side of things, such as: which taxi cabs are least likely to rip you off in Hanoi, Vietnam (the green and white "Mai Lin" taxis), what is the best 1940s bar in Siem Reap, Cambodia (Ms. Wong's on Pub Street) and which leach protectors you should wear when tramping through the jungles of Khao Yai, Thailand (don't bother-they never work). Anything he doesn't know, he knows how to find out.
The best actors are the ones who don't look like they're acting. Likewise, Sakai best tour guide who makes you forget he isn't just a knowledgeable travelling companion. Sakai comes across as casual and relaxed, only slipping into serious, professional mode when dealing with incompetent border agents and obstreperous hoteliers.
G.Hopkins | Vietnam |
True to form, Sakai made adjustments to keep guests feeling great. (Some of the "20somethings" preferred western foodhe always made it work out to offer that). He helped another pair to extend their trip and always found terrific street food for those who wanted it. He helped people with a tailor, other shopping needs and requests that popped up. He reads people well and often anticipates a potential challenge before it happens. He knows how and when to connect with people to make them feel important and included truly a talent!
Can't wait to learn about 2016 potential trips!
Anon| Vietnam (In conjunction with Wandering Earl)
Needless to say it was worth it. Value for money? That and more. Sakai is not only a walking encyclopaedia, respectful and polite (as well as a mind-reader I think, as he knew exactly the right places to take me) but also has a genuine passion to helping anyone 'Discover Elsewhere'! I was so impressed that I recently returned with lady-friend, and joined a group tour! By the end of the first day I felt that I knew everybody in the group, or team as I called it, again everyone was happy. See you soon for Northern Thailand.
Matt | UK | Cambodia
The sidewalks have definitely ended… Discover Elsewhere does what other companies claim to do. If you seek adventure, culture, relaxation, meditation, salvation or inebriation - the consultants at Discover Elsewhere work in concert with your needs and their knowledge. This is my second trip and I didn't think it could get better than my first. My private client file evolves as I travel. The staff actively show interest in the changes in my life and adapt my trip. They also listened to all my feedback and acted upon it when creating my second adventure. I was ready for a challenge and I got it, and more - the first intuitive travel company I know. Thanks Sakai and Co.
Steve | UK | Thailand
The trip to Yemen will be something I remember forever. At my request our guide Sakai managed to convince guards to allow us into a security clearance area to see a volcano that I was really determined to see. Later in the trip he calmly stood in front of a loaded rifle aimed at his head and didn't flinch. He ended up waving goodbye and taking the rifle home with him as a gift. He was invited to eat at multiple family tables for the break of fast. In Taizz he was gifted a live goat - we are still unsure how or why that happened. He knows the history, the sites and the ways to sort s*** out. Never felt safer in an axis of evil.
Anon | Dubai | Yemen
This was the most expensive trip I have ever taken and rightfully so: the first ever non-muslim tour of Saudi Arabia, led by the infamous Sakai. I realised why he is such a legendary guide when a group member left the tour. Sakai organised for his arrangements and informed us the following day that this person’s negative approach was not allowing the rest of us to really engage. They agreed all parties would benefit from travelling separately. This decision was made seamlessly with no embarrassment or public confrontation. Sakai was 100% correct and the experience was allowed to blossom as soon as the group dynamic was exacted. Sheer brilliance on his behalf. I would spend double next time knowing that he always gets it right.
Anon | Australia | Saudi Arabia
Sakai is a true citizen of the world and a chameleon of culture. Travelling with Sakai shows you a different side of yourself, the people who live next door in the mansoin and those on the wrong side of the ‘tracks’. No sooner has he arrived in a city he seems to become known. No sooner than he arrives in a country he seems to speak a new language. You can embark on an adventure alone… but you will never find Elsewhere without Sakai.
Juan | Argentina | Egypt, Jordan, Syria & Turkey
As my first trip to SEA, I was blown away by the beauty of the country, the people and the culture. I learnt so much not only about that area of the world, but also about myself and I would recommend this trip to anyone. It was filled with such a mixture of activities, I was never bored. The quality of the transport and accommodation was fantastic and the food was always delicious. This was the most amazing trip I have ever been on and I hope to return to Thailand very soon!
Anon | UK | Thailand & Cambodia (In conjunction with Wandering Earl)
I was extremely happy with Sakai! He knew so much, not only about Cambodia and Thailand but was a fountain of knowledge about everything it seemed. His ability to speak the local languages also seemed to come in handy. He was very fun, caring and passionate about what he did! It was a surprise to have such a brilliant guide as a step in.
Anon | UK | Thailand & Cambodia (In conjunction with Wandering Earl)
Sakai is always there. Always curious. Always looking for interesting things to do. Plenty of historical information that was tailored to this particular group and their interests. Good forward planning and arranging for accommodations, transfers, events and local guides. On a first trip to this particular part of the world, to have found that little cove and that little restaurant that let us stay in that cove if we ate there, is what I have come to expect of Sakai. From hiking at the waterfalls, to hidden coves, to picture postcard sails into ancient marinas to a day trip to Montenegro, Sakai led us, happily, through a trip to Elsewhere. Sakai and the trip were a delight.
Janet | USA | Croatia & Montenegro luxury yacht adventure
Dean was a great skipper and an excellent addition to the trip. Clearly his priority was the yacht but he did a good job of maintaining that while joining the group for adventures. Courteous but no nonsense. I always felt that he knew where everyone was and when they needed to be elsewhere he made that quite clear. I thought his interactions with the group were just right.
Janet | USA | Croatia & Montenegro (luxury yacht adventure)
Sakai is awesome! Speaks the languages and has a lot of connections, knows big time about history and culture of the area. Also super fun and flexible, but makes sure everything is done, I didn't worry at all during the whole trip.
Anon | USA | Thailand & Cambodia (In conjunction with Wandering Earl)
Sakai: Awe. Some. Enough said. He knows his stuff (local languages; best places away from the super frequented ones). He entertains. He’s helpful. And just overall a good guy. I consider myself lucky to have met him. Does not happen often.
Anon | Luxembourg | Thailand & Cambodia (In conjunction with Wandering Earl)
Sakai is definately the top tour leader (in over 50 tours that I have done) if all tour leaders were as good there would never be a bad tour because he takes any little negative and turns it to a positive and with adventure travelers expecting things to go wrong it is great to be able to roll with the punches so well- strive to get more like him or start cloning. Travellers everywhere will be thankful.
Gema | Australia | Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria & Morocco
His organisation and language skills were excellent and it was wonderful to have a leader who was just as excited as us about the areas he was travelling through. His dedication to his role was shown in the lengths he went to to get an Algerian visa - and subsequently become the first tour leader to be allowed in to Algeria and the first person to lead a group across the North African continent in over a century.
Allan | Australia | Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria & Morocco
I wanted to thank you again for leading the amazing journey that we have completed…I went on the trip with enormous decisions to make about my life, and I finally made them the day we walked up the mountain at the refuge to watch the sunset…fitting in a way that it was in Algeria…because I am in total awe of that country, it’s amazing landscape and people….I get goose bumps every time I think of rock climbing in the desert…can’t wait to return… You gave us an incredible gift through the passion, knowledge and cultural sensitivity that you have in your life and your work, and I very much doubt any other tour guide would have made the trip such a magical experience as you did…. Thanks Sakai.
Tracey | Australia | Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria & Morocco
The tour was great - the itinerary was well thought out. and very exciting. Our guide, the enigmatic, Sakai. was the best part of the entire trip.
Anne | UK | Northern Thailand & Laos
Sakai was always very conscientious of making sure we were educated about the culture and way of life of the people we met and interacted with and that everyone was treated with respect. We hired local guides in various towns to teach us more about the history and environment of the places we were visiting. I cannot say enough about the quality of this trip as a whole and Sakai who seemed to be everybody’s best friend, confidante and mentor.
Allison | Australia | Thailand, Laos & Vietnam
I went on a trip to Croatia with Sakai and couldn't have asked for a better plan or more well executed trip. Sakai brought us to so many hidden incredible spots that we would never have found on our own. Our group was filled with all different types of people and Sakai did an amazing job catering to everyone's wants and needs. I'm looking forward to my next Discover Elsewhere trip!
Jenny | USA | Croatia
Of the 11 group tours I have taken so far, this one impressed me the most. I regard most of its success to our fearless leader Sakai. His knowledge and expertise is unsurpassed. The accommodations and transportation were all above my expectations. Overall. Sakai’s knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for the region attracted the envy of backpackers, 5 star travellers and families that all tried to join our group. He enjoys a celebrity status in Cambodia that enables him to show us sides of the country that nobody else can - his language skills in every country we visited made him more valuable than having a guide that was just local to one country. Sakai is South East Asia.
Michael | UK | Cambodia
I had been on a previous Wandering Earl Tour and it was absolutely marvelous, so when I learned Earl wasn't going to be able to lead our South East Asia tour due to illness, I was a little worried. Who was this Sakai guy that was going to lead us instead? Well, was I ever in for the most pleasant surprise of my life. Sakai is just the most awesome tour guide ever; knowledgeable, interesting, brilliant, fun, outgoing... Besides being passionate about the people and places he takes you to, he has a magical way of looking at the world that makes every venture with him that much more spectacular. I hope to travel with him again in the near future. He is a fascinating and wonderful human being and a tour with him is one you will remember for a lifetime.
Liza | USA | Thailand & Cambodia
Overall we saw an excredible amount, experienced the culture of these different countries and our leader went above and beyond trying to answer all questions from the group/arrange for additional trips. The restaurants that we went to organized by Sakai were spectactular.
Katalin | Russia | Thailand, Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia
The tour is excellent. I appreciate the fact that I was able to visit all the important cultural sites. and to be with the locals. Sakai also did a good job in selecting local guides who are a good source of information. I appreciate the experience of eating local food, street food and sharing my not-so-good dancing skills with the locals in celebrating their festival in Thailand!
Nhan | USA | Thailand, Vietnam & Cambodia
Sakai is an excellent and knowledgeable tour guide. He has wonderful knowledge about the custom, tradition and history of Cambodia.
Anon | UK | Cambodia
The most impressive part of Sakai was his knowledge of the local culture. He gave an interesting and informative overview of Cambodian history, while explaining to us what is acceptable and not acceptable regarding the local culture... .. Respect for the local culture and responsible tourism were the main reasons we decided to join this trip. Sakai personified what we envisioned and hoped for in this regard.. Finally. Sakai kept a group of 14 people on time. and helped us create an almost family bonding between us. This by far the best tour group I have ever been a part of. Sakai was the main reason for that.
Daniel | Canada | Cambodia
Sakai's knowledge of Cambodia lead to some very informative day trips outside of the normal temples tour of Cambodia. For example: the visit of the Tuol Sleng prison, the killing fields, the Land Mines Museum. Also, the cello recital at the Siem Reap's Children Hospital. I'm particularly touched by seeing the past and present of Cambodia. Many thanks to Sakai who has done an excellent job in making this tour a learning experience and a great holiday.
Melissa | Australia | Cambodia
Sakai's passion and love for Cambodia definatly shone through. His local knowledge enabled us to get off the beaten track so we could embrace Cambodia's true culture as opposed to experiencing it from the 'touristy' point of view.
Michael | UK | Cambodia
Sakai was a phenomenal tour leader. His organization, professionalism and enthusiasm really made it the best it could be.
Andre | Canada | Laos & Vietnam
Sakai was fantastic. I want to follow him around the world. He has a vast knowledge of the people, culture, history and languages of all the countries we visited. He seemed to know people in every town we went to and always had perfect suggestions of places to eat, shop and visit. He even helped us plan and book the trips and activities we wanted to do after the his tour had ended. The trip would not have been the same without him.
Allison | Australia | Thailand, Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia
Sakai was the absolute best part of the whole trip!! He was knowledgeable about everything - the culture. religion. food. customs. etc. He was respectful. patient. entertaining. highly intelligent. and the perfect guide. He sets the highest standard for tour guides. Sakai set up great optional activities for us - and the majority of the group attended all optional activities and dinners because Sakai did such a great job picking the activities and planning everything.
Anne | UK | Northern Thailand & Laos
VERY SEXY!.. .. Would love to have Sakai as tour leader anytime again!
Erica | UK | Laos
I've dealt with group tours before and been happy with my tour leader. but none have compared to Sakai. His willingness to go out of the way to organize things not on our original plans was amazingly helpful. His knowledge of the area also allowed us to maximize our time on the trip... I'd be significantly more likely to book a return trip to the region if I knew in advance he was going to run it. Either to Vietnam/Cambodia or anywhere, (elsewhere) in Asia.