Where did the last 5 years go? On Feb 6, 2014 we officially launched Expique and our website. This had been the result of 5 months of planning, setting up the business as a Licensed Tour Operator, and developing our 2 initial tours. 5 years ago Bangkok was in the middle of political protests and a coup followed a few months after we launched! Some may say not a great time to start – but by investing at this time perhaps we came out better than existing companies who cut back.
I still remember James – our first real client. i.e. someone who paid us! Strangely he was not after any of the tours we listed on our website which left us a little bit unsure of what to offer but in the end he had a fantastic day in Ayutthaya with Esso. The next day he booked our Diversity & Harmony Tour. Yes! He even recommended us to people a few months later. Bingo!
The first year was great! We did not have many customers, but I got to meet and remember most of them. Meeting guests is what I like most about running Expique – hence it was great! People booked us because we appeared unique – if only more people wanted unique! Fortunately for survivals sake we started to get more customers (but at a cost of going a little more mainstream), and I only wish I could meet and remember all our customers now.
Our Bangkok Night Lights Tuk Tuk Tour started to take off. It was only after about 6 months when we kept bumping into them, that we realized that another company had launch an overlapping tuk tuk tour about 1 month before us and unintentionally Bangkok Food Tours, a company that I had always admired, had become our main competitor. The reality is that together we have grown the “Tuk Tuk Tour” category in Bangkok and by competing I believe we have actually grown together, and managed to create a sustainable business around tuk tuk tours. Unfortunately, many more companies have now started offering similar evening tuk tuk tours as a result, but we still think we are the best!
We have always tried to innovate to stay true to our goals to be unique and innovative, sometimes successfully and sometimes less so:
We never intended to become a food experience company but by slowly adapting to customer interests and opportunities, we have actually become a true food experience company by offering both food tours and cooking classes.
The last year the hard work paid off and we won several awards including being named in the TripAdvisor’s Travelers Choice Awards as the Number 1 experience in Thailand.
However, what remains our proudest achievement is to see how the team has grown and that now we provide regular income for about 60 people: 9 full time staff, 18 freelance guides, 30 regular tuk tuk drivers, several vendors in the Flower Market, and 1 Zoom.
Thanks to everyone who has been part of the team over the last 5 years. A special thanks to the following who have got us to where we are:
Finally, a big thanks to all our customers and who have trusted us to show them Bangkok, as well as our partners who have trusted us with their clients.
Over the next year and next 5 years there is a lot more to come. One big launch coming in March. Watch this space!
For now, Happy 2019 and Happy Year of the Pig.
Simon and Perasa.
(Owners of Expique)