Thank you for visiting us. We've been organizing trips in Asia since 1994— 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. 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 Asia private family trips including my then 11 year-old's Trip Diary). I'm also excited about our new cycling, architecture, pottery and culinary trip ideas for Japan.
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 private trips for only a few hundred discerning travelers each season. It's about the right amount that we've found we can still know everyone personally 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 really sets us apart? We're a smaller tour 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, 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 partners, and family trips—our favorite—in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Japan.
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 artisan crafts, and of course, our cuisine—but most surprising 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.
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.
My country has changed so much over the last 30 years and I'm delighted to welcome many more travelers to Cambodia. Our temples are the same, incredible sights for anyone, but there have been some wonderful new things, including restaurants that are now among the best in Asia. There are many new interesting activities and events, such as the fantastic street circus, fun for all ages, and special places such as a silk production village past visitors have been fascinated by. An arts scene in Siem Reap has been growing over time and there are now several galleries and spaces. We can also plan authentic encounters, away from town in local villages and schools. If you enjoy cycling, we always recommend pedaling around the temples at sunrise—a remarkable experience. My focus these last 20 years at Indochina Travel has always on the quality of our traveler's trips and am proud to say everyone departs very happy with their travels with us. Thank you joining us.
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. It allowed me to work as a tour guide and to discover I loved traveling myself. After twenty years of planning tours and 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.
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, Cambodia and Myanmar), 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.