One of Asia’s pioneering boutique tour operators, Trails of Indochina, is marking its 20th anniversary by applying its approach to immersive tailor-made travel in new markets, opening a new Ultra-Luxe division, and launching Ancient Hue.
Having recently expanded from Southeast Asia into Far East nations such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan, the company is staying true to its founder John Tue Nguyen’s questing approach to tourism. John is widely credited for popularising unique experiences for a high-end audience in countries including his native Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, and is applying a similarly immersive approach to the company’s new markets with unforgettable adventures such as watching a master artisan weave kimonos in Kyoto and private lessons in Shodo, an ancient Japanese calligraphy style.
The firm is also targeting the highest-end market with a new Ultra-Luxe division to meet demand from UHNW customers seeking authentic yet exclusive experiences.
Another significant addition is Ancient Hue, a collection of five painstakingly restored and refurbished traditional garden homes in Hue, Vietnam’s former imperial capital. The latter is a passion project for John Tue Nguyen, who is originally from Hue, and fits with his track record of preserving local heritage and developing compelling product steeped in history.
“We are really proud of what we have achieved so far and I would like to thank our team worldwide for continuing to be proactive and innovative and sharing in the vision we have for the company,” he said. “Since the start we have been focussed on delivering unique tailored tours in Asia. What sets us apart from other tour operators is that we really believe in developing exclusive products and aim to deliver those to our customers in the most personalised way possible.”
He told ITTN: “We have about 100 clients from Ireland each year, but we have not targeted this market yet – and currently only work with one Irish tour operator, Joe Walsh Tours. The most popular destinations with our Irish clients are Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.”
Founded in 1999, Trails of Indochina employs around 250 people worldwide and has offices in countries around Southeast Asia as well as in Europe and the USA. Experiences, many of which are exclusive to Trails of Indochina, might include a master class on Hue’s imperial gastronomy with a recognised authority on the cuisine, or an audience in Hanoi’s backstreets with one of the few remaining practitioners of Hang Trong, a traditional genre of Vietnamese woodblock printing.