Innovative Western Travel

All photos courtesy Balcon Media Group.

No matter the destination, travel can often leave lasting impressions on visitors who want to experience new things. For those inclined to travel coast-to-coast, Trails of Indochina has become one of the most pioneering boutique tour operators in Southeast and East Asian countries. Having just marked its 20th anniversary, the firm continues to stay true to founder John Tue Nguyen’s approach to tourism by highlighting immersive experiences for a high-end audience. 

Hang En cave, Quang Binh province.

When Nguyen was a young boy growing up in Hue, Southeast Asia barely had a tourism industry. These days, the region ranks among the world’s most sought-after vacation destinations with travellers flocking from all corners of the globe to sample its diverse array of experiences: a compendium of offerings spanning everything from culinary-themed discoveries and rip-roaring adventure to idyllic honeymoons at bucket-list resorts.

“Since the start we’ve been focused on delivering unique tailored tours in Asia,” Nguyen says. “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 personalized way possible.”

Nguyen has been widely credited for popularising unique trips and selecting endeavors that are unforgettable, from watching a master artisan weave kimonos in Kyoto and private lessons in Shodo, an ancient Japanese calligraphy style exemplifying his innovative approach.

Experiences — many of which are exclusive to Trails of Indochina — might include a master class on Hue’s imperial gastronomy with a recognized authority on the cuisine. Or an audience in Hanoi’s backstreets with one of the few remaining practitioners of Hang Trong, a traditional genre of Vietnamese woodblock printing.

Trails is the anchor to an organization that also includes Heritage Line (river cruises on Mekong, Ayeyarwady and Chindwin Rivers), Indotrek (adventure travel) and Ancient Hue (a collection of beautifully realised traditional-style garden homes in Vietnam’s imperial capital Hue).

Heritage Line cruise to Myanmar.

Over the course of the past two decades, Trails of Indochina has notched several prestigious industry accolades at awards events such as the World Travel Awards and the Luxury Lifestyle Awards, and has expanded its destination portfolio to cover most of Asia.

“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,” Nguyen says.

FROM JIMI HENDRIX’S ELECTRIC LADY STUDIOS IN NEW YORK CITY TO GRAMMY-WINNING PRODUCER PAUL EPSWORTH’S THE CHURCH STUDIOS IN LONDON, THE ARTIST-DRIVEN RECORDING STUDIO IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF POPULAR MUSIC.

 

Vibrant spaces designed with the artist in mind, studios like these have become commonplace in North America and Europe where the shared appetite for popular music has created something of an arm’s race, as each studio tries to pack in the latest technology and attract the best artistic talent.

 

A name that may soon be added to this list is Beijing’s 55TEC, a brand new studio that is currently dominating the Chinese pop charts with a string of chart-topping hits, and is turning China’s recording industry into a global competitor.

 

55TEC, designed by the world renowned acoustic design firm Walters-Storyk Design Group (WSDG), is answering China’s appetite for pop, an appetite that has been pushed into overdrive by its growing young population and recent economic strides into cosmopolitan status.

 

A New York-based firm, WSDG has built its reputation on sterling room design in recording studios and live performances spaces across the world. “WSDG knows how to make a world class studio,” explains Li You, head engineer and owner of 55TEC.

 

“Our clients have been very pleased with the look, sound quality, and vibe of our live and control rooms. This is all due to WSDG’s design work.”

 

The studio has boasted almost 30 charting singles in its first 18 months of operation and is showing no sign of slowing down. Its latest triumph is a song by action movie superstar Jackie Chan, which has currently spent 18-weeks at #1 on the Chinese pop charts. Chan’s hit song, “Nothing Is The Same As Before,” has become a compelling calling card that is drawing new talent to 55TEC.

 

“For the artist, the choice of recording studio is crucial,” Li You notes. “They need a place that inspires their performances and makes them feel like they can do their best work.”

 

 

Photos courtesy WSDG.

FROM JIMI HENDRIX’S ELECTRIC LADY STUDIOS IN NEW YORK CITY TO GRAMMY-WINNING PRODUCER PAUL EPSWORTH’S THE CHURCH STUDIOS IN LONDON, THE ARTIST-DRIVEN RECORDING STUDIO IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF POPULAR MUSIC.

 

Vibrant spaces designed with the artist in mind, studios like these have become commonplace in North America and Europe where the shared appetite for popular music has created something of an arm’s race, as each studio tries to pack in the latest technology and attract the best artistic talent.

 

A name that may soon be added to this list is Beijing’s 55TEC, a brand new studio that is currently dominating the Chinese pop charts with a string of chart-topping hits, and is turning China’s recording industry into a global competitor. 55TEC, designed by the world renowned acoustic design firm Walters-Storyk Design Group (WSDG), is answering China’s appetite for pop, an appetite that has been pushed into overdrive by its growing young population and recent economic strides into cosmopolitan status.

 

A New York-based firm, WSDG has built its reputation on sterling room design in recording studios and live performances spaces across the world. “WSDG knows how to make a world class studio,” explains Li You, head engineer and owner of 55TEC.

 

“Our clients have been very pleased with the look, sound quality, and vibe of our live and control rooms. This is all due to WSDG’s design work.”

 

The studio has boasted almost 30 charting singles in its first 18 months of operation and is showing no sign of slowing down. Its latest triumph is a song by action movie superstar Jackie Chan, which has currently spent 18-weeks at #1 on the Chinese pop charts. Chan’s hit song, “Nothing Is The Same As Before,” has become a compelling calling card that is drawing new talent to 55TEC.

 

“For the artist, the choice of recording studio is crucial,” Li You notes. “They need a place that inspires their performances and makes them feel like they can do their best work.”

 

Photos courtesy WSDG.

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