Trails of Indochina

Unique itineraries to Vietnam and Southeast Asia

By: Jonathan Siskin

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Folklore singers entertain
guests in Hanoi.
Agents with clients planning visits to Vietnam can benefit from the expertise of Trails of Indochina, a Southeast Asia specialist well-versed in all aspects of travel to the region, offering a compelling lineup of itineraries featuring themes ranging from adventure and archaeology to cuisine and culture.

Tu Nguyen, director of marketing at Trails of Indochina’s U.S. office, works with agents in creating customized itineraries for both FITs and groups.

A native of Vietnam, Tu takes requests by e-mail and phone and aims to get everything right down to the last detail.

“Our goal is to maximize time and efficiency, and if necessary we can turn around an itinerary within 24 hours,” said Tu. “Vietnam is an especially hot destination right now and our business is up 50 percent over the same period last year.”

Two of the company’s best-selling tours are Living Traditions (10 days, nine nights) and Artistic Journeys (12 days, 11 nights). The Living Traditions itinerary is built around the many flavors of Vietnamese cuisine and illustrates how these native foods connect past and present Vietnam.

Highlights include three days in Hanoi during which participants can join Buddhist nuns for a vegetarian meal in an ancient pagoda. The tour also spends two days in Hue, during which there are visits to palaces built during Vietnam’s last dynasty and a stop at the former home of a princess to learn recipes once served in the royal court. The itinerary concludes in Ho Chi Minh City, where a cooking session can be arranged at the private residence of Cam Van, the Julia Child of Vietnam.

The Artistic Journeys tour provides an inside look at several galleries and studios in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and also visits the workshops of artisans carrying on traditional folk art forms passed down through families for generations dating back more than a thousand years. The tour ends with three days in Cambodia and includes a visit to the capital, Phnom Penh, where a Cambodian artist meets with the group for a discussion of Khmer art.


While Vietnam is its number-one destination, Trails of Indochina also customizes tours for four other countries in Southeast Asia Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (Burma). Some of the more intriguing itineraries are a 10-day, nine-night Vietnam-Cambodia program called Archeology Indochina, a 12-day, 11-night Spiritual Laos and Burma itinerary and a 12-day, 11-night Wild Laos and Thailand tour.