Thank you for visiting us. We've been organizing trips in Asia since 1993— the first North American company to do so in a newly-opened Vietnam, Cambodia, then Laos and Myanmar — virtually every unexplored corner of Southeast Asia (read Escape Magazine's 1994 article on us). Our arts and culinary interest lead us to expand into Japan and Thailand, and course, China, where my family originated.
As my own children have grown up along with the region, we have in recent years begun to focus on family travel hosting families with children of all ages (read about our Vietnam family tours including my 11 year-old's trip diary). I'm also thrilled about our family tours in Myanmar — the welcoming Burmese are gracious, warm, and delighted to see children visiting their country.
What's important to know about us besides our long and enduring experience in the region? Many years ago we decided to "keep it real" to respect the place and the people of the region and remain a smaller boutique operator, organizing immersive and completely authentic trips for only a few hundred discerning travelers each season. It's about the right amount that we've found we can still keep remember everyone's first name and provide all the attention and meticulous planning required to make sure every trip is not only perfect but thrilling and unforgettable. Let us plan an immersive, authentic, entirely unique trip, leveraging our local knowledge, from low-to-the-ground adventures to "ultra-luxe" journeys (without the ultra cost).
What sets us apart? We're a smaller boutique operator, organizing only private trips, no two the same but curated and meticulously organized for each of our travelers. Since then, we've organized hundreds trips, often for repeat clients and their friends. Enjoy authentic experiences, rich personal encounters, delightful activities and memories to last a lifetime. Enjoy the convenience and 24 x 7 service with an office in San Francisco, and within most countries we operate.
Kurt Vonnegut once said, "peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." The places we organize trips excite travelers like no others in the world, and we have plenty of unique suggestions. 25 years after living in and leading the very first adventures trips of Vietnam, I still lead trips there because as Anthony Bourdain observed, "once you love Vietnam, you love it forever." I've been honored and thrilled to work with clients named Devito, De Niro, Zuckerberg, and hundreds of others who learned about our expertise in Asia and not only carefully-planned, but one-of-a-kind trips.
What's new? Quite a bit, we've been in Japan for over 20 years now, organizing unique arts and culinary trips, far-flung photography tours in Bhutan with photographer Mark Tuschman, the most popular culinary trip in Vietnam for our partner, Atlas Obscura, and family trips—our favorite—in Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan.
Many of our travelers say Vietnam was their favorite place, but I think that is also because of the very special trips we plan for them. My country is about the people even if all you hear about is the food, that is amazing too and even is also our most popular kind of trip. I will be happy to plan your dining experiences, I very much like introducing our travelers to the authentic foods of Vietnam and interesting chefs like Didi Corlou, "le chef," as we call him, who has even educated me about some rare spices used in Vietnamese cuisine. We may also arrange meetings with artists, chefs, war veterans and many others, even people along the way and this is what is so remarkable about my country. We are very friendly and enjoy guests all the time. We are also "kid-crazy" and love to arrange trips for families with kids and share their excitement that is always a thrilling part of travel in Vietnam. I will be in contact long before you depart and also meet you after you arrive in Hanoi, my hometown, and look forward to hosting you during your time here - something I've enjoyed for over 20 years.
Everyone should visit Japan at least a couple of times, but even that is not enough to explore the special places one must see. Experience another side to Japan in places that are even popular, revealing what is most real and interesting in each destination. We planned with careful attention every detail of your trip, but also with time to enjoy spontaneous things that are the best part of travel anywhere.
What is most interesting in Japan? The arts, formal and arisan crafts, and of course, our cuisine—but most surpring to our guests, is the variety from legendary sushi chefs to local mall food courts which also have interesting and delicious dishes. For families, it's my personal opinion there is no place more exciting for kids! From manga to robots as they say, we have everything here to make kids happy and having fun.
My story is like others in Laos, growing up in one of the poorest countries in the world. My father lost everything after the revolution and as a young child I worked on the steep hillsides in "dry rice" fields with my family. But my father never stopped educating me and saved enough money for me to attend school where learning English was a fortunate thing for me. It allowed me to work as a tour guide and to discover I loved traveling myself. After twenty years of greeting new friends I still enjoy sharing my hometown, Luang Prabang, and the beautiful countryside along the Mekong river. I'm proud to say that when many of our travelers leave, they tell me they did not know much about my country before but that after visiting, Luang Prabang was one of their favorite place of all. It is a quiet place where you can discover the past of Asia.
There are many wonderful NGOs and charities focused on human assistance and development the region, including one of our favorites, Room to Read. Sadly, native wildlife has been decimated in recent decades with little attention. A handful of projects have appeared, including Orangutan and Asian elephant programs in Borneo, Sumatra, Laos, and Thailand. In the spirit of bringing attention to this plight, we've adopted Chocolate as our mascot and provide support to the Orangutan Project that provides funding and expertise for his well being at the Batu Mbelin Quarantine Centre located in Borneo. Camp Leaky is another such projects focusing on Orangs.
"Born in June, 2010, Chocolate was confiscated from villagers in Southwest Aceh. He was very thin, with dry skin and dull, wiry hair. By chance, his confiscation coincided with the presence of a film crew from NBC in the USA, and Paul Hilton, a well known photographer based in Hong Kong, so the whole process was well documented. Both were in the area covering a spate of recent fires in the nearby Tripa peat swamp forests, from where Chocolate without doubt originates. He was named Chocolate, as someone stopped at a roadside store to buy some chocolate, and was then informed during discussions with locals about an orangutan for sale, hence the name… Chocolate has now been introduced to another young infant male orangutan, named 'Pandu', from Kutacane in South East Aceh. At first Chocolate seemed not so interested in 'Pandu', and 'Pandu' seemed a little afraid of his new room-mate. But after a month they were much happier and were often seen playing together." Read more about Chocolate and the Orangutan Project.
Read more about us: Why Indochina Travel
It begins the before you touchdown… You feel it when you enter the terminal. It hits you during the drive from the airport—this is a place unlike any other. We’re inspired and passionate about the unique places we travel, with a deep commitment to culture and authenticity and never satisfied with the ordinary. We’re honored to host our travelers on what we've planned to be momentous once-in-a-lifetime journeys, exploring what we consider the most thrilling places in the world for travel. Even the most experienced of our travelers find themselves fascinated and delighted at every turn. As your experienced partner (the very first American tour operator in Vietnam, Laos, Cambdoai and Myanamr), we plan only extraordinary trips, introducing you to people, places and doing things that will inspire you as they do us.
No two trips should ever be the same. Especially given the mystery and enchantment of Asia. It's not just the destinations and hotels that can be different. The beauty of travel is how everyone has their own personal inspiration, their own perceptions and preconceptions that can evoke emotion from afar. It arouses us to move, encourages the removal of boundaries, and embraces the exoticism that makes our planet so unique.
After more than two decades we've never ran the same trip or itinerary twice. Every tour is private and customized, based on an intimate understanding of the local. We were the first North American tour operator in Vietnam and have pioneered the development of luxury tourism in the Asia region. And we're still evolving, crafting new experiences to provide a fresh angle on a region that is very different now to what it was in 1993.
We want you to be immersed in the destinations you visit. We want you to share stories with iconic people who have shaped their city. We're passionate about insider experiences that go far beyond what you can find in the guidebook. We want to softly open all your senses to the allure of the continent. And returning home, we hope you feel the same way that we do about travel: it is not just about exploring and discovering; it's also about the intimate connections you are able to make, with both a place and a people.