Tour Op 5-26-2006

Journey to Asia

By: Irma Widjojo

Journeys Within, founded by Brandon and Andrea Ross, specializes in trips throughout Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Burma, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Spanning the globe with offices in California and Bangkok, as well as a home base in Cambodia near the Angkor Wat temples, Journeys Within is known for friendly service and an eco-friendly attitude. All guides are locals in each country, and as Americans living in Cambodia, the Rosses feel they have added expertise.

“We believe strongly in knowing the product and the area ahead of time,” said Andrea Ross.

As Europe becomes more expensive, Ross believes that Southeast Asia is gaining popularity in the travel industry and has seen an increase in the flow of travel to the destination over the past four years.

Ross added that what makes their company different from other Southeast Asian tour operators is that they are able to give a Western perspective on the countries and take into account American standards and traveling habits.

Apart from the standard tours offered, Journeys Within customizes trips to suit agents’ and their clients’ needs.

Private trips offer a combination of many different aspects of the countries, from historical to cultural to adventure. Specialized itineraries can be developed for young executives on a budget, as well as for retirees who have more time to travel and want to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Journeys Within works with both travel agents and directly with guests, but according to Ross, while the staff are always available to answer questions, the tour operator allows agents to be the experts.

“We would really like to work with [agents] and be a great local resource without any communication barrier,” said Ross.

In addition to being a tour operator, Journeys Within also owns a recently expanded B&B on the outskirts of Siem Reap, Cambodia.

There is a 10 percent commission on standard tours. For customized tours, travel agents can contact Journeys Within directly.