At Insider Journeys, we’ve been changing lives through travel for 25 years. We believe travel is about more than a vacation. It’s about getting to know a country in all its glory, through meeting welcoming local people and seeing places through their eyes.
We take you on a journey that you’ll experience with all your senses. Gazing on the mighty limestone peaks of Halong Bay in Vietnam; inhaling the aromatic steam rising from a bowl of steaming hot miso ramen noodles in Sapporo, Japan; treading the well-worn path through the jungle to witness the sunrise over Angkor Wat in Cambodia. It’s magical moments like these that create stories that you’ll be telling your friends and family for the rest of your life.
After much research and discussion, we took the decision to change our name from Travel Indochina to Insider Journeys. Moving away from Travel Indochina better represents the broader range of destinations we now visit and helps convey our mission to provide experiential travel experiences.
With a growing number of travellers to the region, we opened our first operations office in Laos in the capital Vientiane, followed shortly after by a small team in Luang Prabang.
After previously supporting our North American clients from our UK office, demand dictated it was time to open an office in the USA. Our North American team has now helped thousands of travelers experience Asia as insiders, and demand for our comfortable, experiential style of travel continues to grow amongst travelers from Canada and the USA.
After much on-the-ground-research, we commenced running small group tours to Bhutan. Starting with our popular Highlights of Bhutan, we now take in some of the country’s most vibrant festivals such as the iconic 'Jambay Lhakhang', to offer travellers a truly immersive experience in this small but fascinating country.
So close to India, it did not take long to realise we had to add beautiful Sri Lanka to our small group touring programme. We started with the 14-day Sri Lanka Discovery which remains our best-selling tour of the country to this day.
As tourism begins to open up in Burma (Myanmar) it is a natural progression for us to begin runnning tours, making sure we travel resposibly to maximise the benefit to the local communities we travel to. Burma soon becomes one of our most popular destinations.
Now one of our most popular destinations, Japan was an iconic country to add to our offering. From ancient traditions to neon-lit cityscapes, Japan is a land of contrasts, and a popular choice for those seeking to experience a completely different side of Asia.
It was a logistical unknown. Having established offices across Indochina, starting operations in a country home to almost 1 billion people was an exciting but, at times, daunting prospect. Still, after our first few intrepid tours we soon found our feet and India is now our most visited country behind Vietnam, Cambodia and Japan.
After booking UK clients via our Sydney office and with word of mouth really helping to introduce more travellers to our style of travel, we opened our UK office. Based in the heart of a charming university town, this was our first office to open outside of Australia or Asia. Starting with a team of just 3 we now have 11 UK-based colleagues who look after our UK-based travellers.
With cultural tours now established, more and more of our travellers were interested in relaxing on some of Vietnam's spectacular beaches. To meet this demand, and to better serve travellers visiting Saigon and Hoi An, we opened an office in Danang which we still run today.
During this period, the first of our offices in Cambodia open; initially in Cambodia's capital city, Phnom Penh, and the second in Siem Reap, gateway to the temples of Angkor and a city now known for its vibrant nightlife, arts and restaurant scene.
Our first tours to The Middle Kingdom commence. This was our first small group tour to run outside of Thailand or the Indochina region, and while the first tour took in the key sights, we now run small group tours that visit some of China's more remote regions.
Five years after opening, demand was increasing and we opened our second operations office in Vietnam's ancient capital, Hanoi.
Having entrenched our services in Indochina, we looked to expand our offering in Asia and Thailand seemed the next logical step. Already a popular destination for a beach holiday, we focused on bringing the incredible cultural history to life for travellers lookoing for a more in depth exploration of the country.
With our first tour deemed a success, we began running one or two tours each month to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
Paul Hole and co-founder Mark Bowyer led their first tour of Vietnam with a group of friends who volunteer to help test their first itinerary. Insider Journeys now run 9 dedicated Vietnam small group tours, and it remains our most popular destination to this day.
Paul Hole first visited Vietnam in the early 1990’s on the recommendation of a school mate and later co-founder of the business, he instantly fell in love. Back then Vietnam was a very different place, but the warmth of its people and stunning scenery remain unchanged. After that first, visit these two men were resolved to finding a way to live and work in Vietnam. It would be less than a year before they began running small group tours there. As the business heads into its third decade Paul regularly confirms that he has the perfect job.