VŨ TRUNG HẬU, Director
Vũ Trung Hậu graduated from Hà Nội University of Foreign Languages in 1994 with a double major in English and Russian. While still in college, he began his lifetime interest in tourism by working at the famous Central Water Puppet Theatre in Hà Nội. After graduating, Hậu became a licensed tour guide, selected for his language skills to act as a tour guide in Hà Nội for visiting dignitaries and as a guide for private tours throughout Việt Nam on behalf of several international tour companies.
In 1997 Hậu teamed up with British travel writer Tim Doling (now an ASIAPLUS TOURS Consultant), providing him with logistical support for several book research trips into the remote northern mountainous region of Việt Nam. From 2000 to 2009, Hậu worked as an international tour manager, specialising in planning and leading tours for American tourists. During this period, Hậu attended tour management training sessions both in Việt Nam and abroad and established an extensive network of professional contacts in all areas of the travel service industry.
As a tour guide and tour leader with a passion for history and local culture, Hậu has also developed close personal relationships with local service providers, the people “in the field” who can bring that extra dimension to the travel experience. In 2009, drawing on the extensive knowledge and skills he had amassed throughout his career, Hậu founded Tam Nguyên Travel. Together with his team of consultants and associates, he has since developed ASIAPLUS TOURS, the company’s dynamic and rapidly expanding inbound travel arm. Hậu’s enthusiasm and his devotion to travel services inform his vision for ASIAPLUS TOURS – to make the company the destination management company of choice and to ensure that every person and every group using its services has an unforgettable and unrivalled travel experience!
TIM DOLING, Tourism Consultant
Tim Doling has spent most of his career in the cultural sector, running theatres and arts centres in Coleraine (Northern Ireland), Horsham (England) and Hong Kong and undertaking cultural projects in Asia, Africa and Europe for UNESCO, the British Council and Visiting Arts.
Since the 1990s Tim has been based mainly in Việt Nam, where from 1999 to 2004 he worked with the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture and Information on a Ford Foundation-funded project to develop arts management training curricula in three Hà Nội universities.
During the same period he created the Visiting Arts Cultural Profile national web portal project, which included the acclaimed Việt Nam, Cambodia and Laos Cultural Profiles, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.
In 2007-2010 Tim worked with the Ministry of Culture of Slovakia to create the bilingual Slovakia Cultural Profile and in 2008-2010 he worked with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Ministry of Culture in Kabul to create the first comprehensive English-language Afghanistan Cultural Profile web portal.
Tim has authored numerous books, including The Railways and Tramways of Việt Nam and guidebooks on North West and North East Việt Nam.
Tim's particular area of interest is carrying out detailed research on hitherto undocumented historic buildings, with a view to harnessing the heritage value of the urban landscape for tourism.
Since 2010 Tim has written a new book of historic walking tours, Exploring Hồ Chí Minh City, which will be published in early 2014. In the meantime, Tim recently launched two new Heritage Tours of Sài Gòn and Chợ Lớn, based on material from this new book, which introduce a wealth of lesser-known heritage buildings as well as giving a new slant on the city’s better-known historic vestiges.
Tim is currently working on The Railways and Tramways of Việt Nam: Historic Postcards and Photographs, and Exploring Đà Nẵng (both late 2014).
TRẦN THỌ BÌNH, Tour Consultant
After graduating from the French École Supérieure de Journalisme de Lille in 2002, Binh – or Bill as he is often called by his expat friends – spent several years in media working as an editor at Việt Nam News Agency. However, his passion for adventure and interest in working with disadvantaged communities led him into communications and fundraising work on a number of poverty alleviation projects run by NGOs Action Aid and Veterinarians Without Borders and international organisations such as IUCN and UNDP. More recently he became involved in the travel industry, joining the company in 2009.
While working on community projects, Binh acquired an extensive knowledge of ethnic minority customs and culture which he has since put to good use developing immersion tours and homestay concepts for ASIAPLUS TOURS
Having travelled extensively in Europe and the UK while studying in France (2000-2002), Binh also developed an in-depth understanding of Western travellers’ needs and expectations, enabling him to design tour programmes which help them take full advantage of the Southeast Asian cultural experience.
One of Binh’s great passions is good food and he can often be found with a glass of bia hơi (local draught beer) in hand advising visitors where to sample the best food in Hà Nôi!