Cruising on Halong Bay, Vietnam

Ask Tran Minh Trung what his most amazing travel experience has been so far and there is no hesitation.

“Kayaking in Bai Thu Long Bay, which is just north of the more popular Halong Bay,” says the Vietnamese tour specialist. “Residents of the area’s floating villages welcome visits from kayakers, and we were invited into the home of a fishing family. The bay itself was so breathtakingly beautiful, I never wanted to leave.”

Like all Vietnamese, Trung goes by his last name, which is actually his first. (Confusing? Rather. But you get used to it.)

Trung’s passion for paddling is new, but his affection for travel can be traced to his university days, when the Ho Chi Minh City native developed an interest in assisting visitors to Vietnam’s commercial capital.

He has since traveled around the world to discover “how tourism can connect people and make life more beautiful,” he says.

Despite all that he has seen so far, Trung still has a lot on his bucket list, including the pinnacle of Vietnam’s trekking destinations.

“I would definitely love to climb Mount Fansipan, in Vietnam’s north,” Trung says. “At more than 10,000 feet above sea level, it’s Indochina’s highest peak. I think going all the way to the top would be incredible.”

Until then, Trung aims to provide travellers with highs that come with experiencing Vietnam on a level most tourists never see it from. It’s his home, and he knows it well, especially Saigon.

“Even to those who have grown up in Ho Chi Minh, like myself, it’s an endlessly fun and fascinating city,” Trung says. “And of course the food is phenomenal. I especially like BBQ Garden Restaurant. It’s a great place to mingle with the local Saigonese people.”