Asian boutique tour operator, Trails of Indochina, is bearing down on a new set of standards in immersive tailor-made travel in the region after marking its 20th anniversary. Having recently expanded from Southeast Asia into East Asian nations such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan, the company is staying true to its founder John Tue Nguyen’s questing approach to tourism.
Nguyen, credited for popularising unique experiences for a high-end audience in countries including his native Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, is applying a similarly immersive approach to his firm’s new markets with unforgettable adventures like watching a master artisan weave kimonos in Kyoto, and private lessons in Shodo, an ancient Japanese calligraphy style.
Trails of Indochina’s product suite spans arts & crafts, culinary, culture & history, family, philanthropy, photography, romance, wellness and more.
Now the firm is upping the ante at the highest end of the market with a new Ultra-Luxe division to meet demand from ultra-high net worth (UHNW) customers seeking authentic, exclusive experiences.
Nguyen says the evolution of an Ultra-Luxury arm is one of the most exciting aspects of the businesses future.
“Since the very start, Trails of Indochina has approached travel from a very considered, refined perspective. We know all the very best hotels and high end experiences in the region intimately,” Nguyen said.
Another significant addition is Ancient Hue, a collection of five restored and refurbished traditional garden homes in Hue, Vietnam’s former imperial capital. A passion project for Nguyen, originally from Hue, Ancient Hue fits with his history of preserving local heritage and developing compelling product steeped in history.
Founded by Nguyen in 1999, the firm has grown from humble beginnings to become a major element of the remarkable boom in bespoke tourism in Southeast Asia, employing around 250 people worldwide.
“Since the start we’ve 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.”
Nguyen’s initial idea for the business was hatched when he was working in Hue as a guide to the handful of tourists that passed through the city at the time. Noting a gap in the market for high-end immersive experiences that showcased Vietnam at its most authentic, Nguyen seized an opportunity that most others failed to see.
“At that time, no other companies were offering luxury, high-end, experiential travel, but I saw the opportunity clearly in my mind,” he said.
“Today travellers are more willing to explore and they have certain expectations. That’s why it’s just as important for us today as it was in the beginning to really learn, understand and to innovate with the ultimate goal of delivering unforgettable experiences to our travellers.”
More info on Trails of Indochina at trailsofindochina.com/
Lead image: A new Ultra-Luxe division will offer exclusive experiences in some of Asia’s most stunning locations