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Mathew Smith

Mathew Smith, a former language teacher from the UK, went to Thailand to teach in 1987 and fell in love with Southeast Asia. Fluent in Thai, Mathew is revered by trip members for his extraordinary knowledge of Southeast Asia’s politics, history, and culture, and also for his easygoing style and sense of humor. Mathew has led Wilderness Travel’s Indochine trips for almost twenty years, yet he’s still constantly intrigued, surprised, and delighted by the people he meets and the places he explores. “It is seldom that you get to lead a trip to three such fascinating countries—Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia—whose histories and cultures, although unique, complement each other so well.” He also explores Burma frequently, enchanted by the country’s quiet beauty. “I particularly love the rural areas and am inspired by the nature of the relationships between the Burmese people and their environment…this is an especially exciting time to travel there.” Mathew is a gentleman and scholar with an uncanny ability to run a smooth trip. His home base is in Chiang Mai where he lives with his wife and daughter.

Upcoming Trips

Client Testimonials

Matthew clearly loves SE Asia. He is extremely knowledgeable about the political history, cultural history, religion, and art of the area. He is easy to understand, fun to be with, and is a great travel companion in every way.
— Marshall Y., Los Altos, CA
Mathew's intellectual curiosity and genuine affection for each participant made the trip a joy!
— Joyce L., Floral Park, NY
Mathew was a terrific guide. His easy-going manner and extensive knowledge of Buddhism and the country was much appreciated and made this a memorable trip. He gets an A+!
— Bill B., Portland, OR
Myanmar: Wonders of the Golden Land
Absolutely top notch leadership! Great sense of humor, infectious enthusiasm, constantly on the lookout for highlights to share, including details at Angkor he was discovering anew.
— Lucia C., Santa Fe, NM
Mathew's tremendous knowledge about all we saw and the countries we visited added enormously to our trip experience.
— Thomas K., Stamford, CT
Mathew is a real pro. You are lucky to have him. His knowledge and feel for the country is encyclopedic. On top of that, he's a great guy.
— Marcel F., Santa Barbara, CA
Burma: Wonders of the Golden Land
Mathew was simply the best! He is knowledgeable, smart, funny and very engaging. I can't imagine a better guide.
— Patricia B., Laredo, TX
Mathew is a great tour leader. This was our second trip with him and we would do more. He is unflappable and fun to be with.
— Colleen W., Santa Monica, CA
Burma: Wonders of the Golden Land
This was my second trip with Mathew. His knowledge, enthusiasm, humor, and organizational skills make him an ideal guide.
— Kathleen H., Champaign, IL
Burma: Wonders of the Golden Land
Mathew was fabulous! We all enjoyed his sense of humor, his easygoing nature, and his knowledge of the areas we visited was phenomenal.
— Terry H., Kalispell, MT
I can't imagine having had a better trip leader. His overall knowledge, wit, personality, and leadership qualities were exceptional.
— Linda M., Little Silver, NJ
Mathew was unflappable, charming, masterful in a couple of tight spots, patient with us, informative, possessed of a deep perspective on these places; overall the ideal leader.
— Robert W., Santa Monica, CA
Matthew was a delightful leader, with very good communication skills and in-depth knowledge of the history and culture of the countries we visited. He had a great sense of humor, and not only responded to needs and interests but anticipated them.
— Rami C., Newtown, PA
Mathew is incredibly knowledgeable about all aspects and places in the trip. The fact that he was at one point a teacher of history is a bonus. He brought a depth of detail and knowledge to each place that was unexpected and helped me connect to each place.
— Anna B., Mt. Kisco, NY
Probable one of the best, if not the best tour guide I’ve ever had. He really, really makes everything happen.
— Alice G., Houston, TX
Burma: Wonders of the Golden Land
We look forward to going on another trip with Mathew...what more needs to be said?
— Lauren P., Santa Fe, NM
Burma: Wonders of the Golden Land
I can't imagine a better trip leader than Mathew. He excels in all regards, is deeply knowledgeable, driven by his own infectious curiosity, a masterful storyteller. He's always looking out for the welfare and comfort of his group and goes to great lengths to ensure that our experience is superlative.
— Jim A., New Orleans, LA
Burma: Wonders of the Golden Land
Mathew is extremely good at what he does. He has an ability to read the people in his group and then knows how to work with them as individuals. He has a great sense of humor and always had me laughing or smiling. His knowledge of the sites and history was amazing.
— Darren L., Howard, CO
Mathew seemed to enjoy the trip as much as we did—which made it that much more fun, and encouraged everyone to have a good time. I would go with him again in a heartbeat!
— Ed W., Santa Rosa, CA
I have never had a better trip leader than Mathew. He has an infectious sense of humor, is warm and fun to be with, and imparts a sense of adventure to the trip. He has a tremendous knowledge of history and tells the tale in an interesting manner. What a gem!
— Mark L., Melbourne Beach, FL
Matthew was like having Herodotus and John Cleese rolled into one.
— Logan R., Bloomfield Hills, MI
Mathew makes his leadership seem effortless, while it is far from that! Absolutely fascinating stories, filled with knowledge and detail, and always absolutely hilarious—what a great personality!
— Susan S., Riverwoods, IL
I've taken perhaps a dozen trips with a leader(s) and Matthew is at the top. His combination of knowledgeability and warmth is unusual.
— Norman M., Urbandale, IA
Matthew was great. He is personable, knowledgeable, and patient. We enjoyed his considerable knowledge of the culture and history. Couldn't imagine a better leader.
— Dick S., Pound Ridge, NY
Probably the best trip leader we have had the pleasure of being with.
— Ken K., Charleston, WV
Matthew has an amazing depth of knowledge about the history and cultures of the countries we visited. He is so casual and unpretentious that at first you don't realize how much he must have studied to understand and work in these cultures so effectively. He also has that amazing ability to get along with almost anybody! Great leader!
— Linda L., San Antonio, TX
Mathew is by far the best guide we have ever had. He is always in great spirits, patient, well organized, and he is highly educated about Indochine. He makes the trip engaging, informative, and fun.
— Marjo K., Bend, OR
We were all amazed by Mathew's comprehensive knowlege regarding every aspect of the trip. And, he was fun to be with.
— Francine B., Armonk, NY
Burma: Wonders of the Golden Land
Need I say more? Mathew was great! We travel to gain knowledge and understanding of the world's different cultures. Mathew's depth of knowledge and understanding of the culture is incredible and greatly added to our experience.
— BJ F., Alexandria, VA
Burma: Wonders of the Golden Land
Fantastic leadership in a relaxed, efficient manner. He's the best we've ever had.
— Emily A., Jackson, WY
Matthew was oustanding in every respect. His blend of humor and cheerfulness, combined with a quick mind and abundant facts, made the trip far more enjoyable and meaningful than we had expected.
— Jim C., Phoenix, AZ
Excellent! Low-key, unflappable, great leader!
— Margaret M., Orange CA
Mathew was an excellent leader. He made us all feel comfortable and really tried to accommodate us in every way. He made special things happen.
— Jean B., Carmel CA
Road to Mandalay
I’d gladly add Matt to the pantheon of WT guides I’ve had the pleasure of traveling with over the last 10 years. He is warm, easy-going, and has a fabulous sense of humor. He is also extraordinarily knowledgeable about Indochina.
— Sarah M., Seattle WA
Mathew Smith was a 5 star leader—always helpful, sociable, efficient, caring and topped off with a great sense of humor. We could not have asked for a better leader!
— Deborah H., New Orleans, LA
I can’t say enough about Matt. He was fun, pleasant, extremely knowledgable and unflappable. Very easy to be with. Had a lot of confidence in him.
— Helaina T., San Mateo, CA
Mathew Smith was extremely knowledgeable and was able to explain the history in a manner that really kept one's attention. He's a very witty and wonderful guy, an asset to WT.
— Mary M., Stillwater MN
Mathew was simply outstanding. Extremely knowledgeable with a terrific sense of humor.
— Sandra B., Oakland CA