Experts & Insiders:
Vietnam Guide Tam Dinh
Here at B&R, we’ve long prided ourselves on bringing our travellers in deep and up close in all the myriad corners of the globe we travel. And after 50 years, we’ve come to realize that the best way to get in deep is not just by befriending the locals, but becoming one ourselves.
And with the possible exception of our home base in Burgundy, there’s no place where this is more true than in Vietnam, where our local guide Tam Dinh has been immersing B&R travellers in his homeland for more than a decade. In addition to having all the curiosity, enthusiasm and character of our B&R Guides around the globe, Tam has the distinct advantage of being born and raised in Vietnam—and he absolutely loves introducing people to his home.
We caught up with Tam to discuss his philosophy on travel, his favourite things to reveal about his home land and how he managed to turn a flooded highway into a Hollywood miracle.
Vital stats: Married*
Years in Travel Business: 16 years
Years working with B&R: 12
Place of Birth: Chu Lai, Quang Nam
Current hometown: Da Nang
Trips guided: 40
Q&A with Tam:
Everyone at B&R has their fair share of wanderlust. When/how did you first get bit with the travel bug?
When I was a little kid, my father took me with him to most of the places he went to and often told me that “he who travels far, knows much.” Since then I have had a passion for travelling and thanks to the open door policy of the Vietnam government I am having more opportunities to show my passion to travellers.
You’ve been guiding for more than a decade. What stands out as one of the most memorable on-trip moments?
I was accompanying travellers to the airport in Hue so they could catch the flight to Saigon and then back to the US, when our car got stuck in flooded water. I looked out of the window and saw a big bus coming. Right at that moment, I got out and stopped the big bus in the pouring rain and took the luggage of my travellers from the car, loading the bags and moving my travellers to the bus.
We arrived at the airport at the very minute the check-in counter closed. My travellers said that it was like in a Hollywood movie! I did not know the bus driver and everyone stared at me at the airport. I was soaked, freezing, but I made it!
What are people most surprised about when they visit your region for the first time?
The friendly people, scenic landscape and good food.
Is there a particular site, dish or cultural element that you most enjoy introducing people to?
The citadel in Hue, the city of Hoi An, local markets and the beauty of the countryside, Mi Quang, Banh Xeo (a local pancake), Pho & different veggie salads, and Vietnam’s rich family tradition.
Favourite trip you’ve ever taken?
A Vietnam Biking trip I guided in February 2009 with Karen MacRae. There were eight couples of travellers. We had so much fun from the beginning to the end of the trip.
Favourite hotel in your region?
Definitely Six Senses Ninh Van Bay.
Favourite restaurant in your region?
Mr Vinh’s house restaurant in Hue.
Do you have a favourite travel quote, mantra or words to live by?
Yes, from Saint Augustine: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
Top destination you haven’t been to, but would like to visit. (And why?)
The United States (New York, California, Washington) because of the history and different culture.
What’s your preferred method for immersing yourself in a country or region?
Learn its culture and customs through reading and watching movies before you go, and then by meeting people while you’re there.
“The world is a book, and those who do not
travel read only a page.”
– Saint Augustine
What’s the best thing that ever happened to you while travelling?
Feeling safe and having hospitality of the people where I have gone to.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had? (And where was it?)
Crab with tamarind at Ba Thoi (a local restaurant) in Danang.Where are you headed in the next 12 months?
Cambodia and Laos
What items are absolute musts on your packing list?
Maps, first aid kit , notebook, pens, water bottle, rain jacket, umbrella, dry and wet tissues.
Someone has just landed in your region, where they don’t speak the language. What’s your number one piece of advice for them?
Have a local guide, of course! But if not, bring an English-Vietnamese dictionary (or Vietnamese phrase book), or have one loaded on your phone.
*Note: We didn’t actually ask Tam for his marital status, but he felt
it was important to include anyway. (Sorry, ladies!)