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Tom Zhou

My passion for travel has taken me to visit all 11 Southeastern Asia countries. 12 years of experience with Odynovo Travel has given me the opportunity to witness some of the world’s most cherished treasures. Such as the unique interactive moment with lovely elephant in Chiang Mai, the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, the historic temples in Ayutthaya, the jaw-dropping scenery along Halong Bay cruise. I love sharing my own revelations from the road with clients, always encouraging them to push outside of their comfort zones. My passion for travel lies in the journey itself, regardless of the time and distance it takes to arrive, there is a meaningful pleasure that comes with ‘getting there,’ ‘getting to know’ the people along the way, ‘getting to taste’ the culinary delights, and ‘getting it right’ by accepting that we are all transient visitors into a foreign world, peeking temporarily into the lives of others and respecting their boundaries.
My vision is designing purposeful luxury travel with an awareness of the impact we have on the environment, and the communities we reach. Together, let us explore whatever it is you seek on our wild and wonderful planet.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"I love arranging honeymoons and romantic short breaks for my busy clients.
I fuel my life with adventures & culture, I hope to inspire you and others around me.
I now have 1 young child, so I am keen to discover all the child-friendly destinations out there! I know what I want in a child-friendly holiday and use this when helping others with these sorts of holidays."

How did you get involved in travel?

"Traveling and exploring was something that defined me from early childhood. After working as an engineer for 2 years, I think it was time to do something I was really fascinated with. I couldn't resist traveling and would like to pass that happy way to other travelers. So I went on to pursue my dream of being a professional traveler and consultant at Odynovo.
“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves!” I am glad that I can help others find themselves in this way!"

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"When I graduated from college, I went to Yunnan province in China first time. I was shocked by the spectacular scenery and cultures there. I took a month to do volunteer work to help local minority children learn English and help the local farmer to sell their sweet honey in Shangrila. During that period, I visited lots of local families and get involved in the local community immensely. The local friends took me to many beaten-off tracks, we hiked 6-7 hrs over the mountain, cycled on the plateau for 3-4 hrs, and saw so many yaks along the way! I couldn't believe the view! We also discovered a turquoise ice lake! That travel and volunteer experience opened a new window for me. Since then, I keep searching for more meaningful and unique experiences, and at the same time introducing them to my clients.

"

Two women wearing Kimonos walking through Kyoto
Ultimate Japan Tour: Tokyo to Kyoto - 11 Days

This exciting itinerary goes beyond normal expectations by including a diverse range of activities for an authentic travel experience. Immerse yourself in Japan's state of the art tech in Tokyo and visit an interactive art museum on the man-made island Odaiba prior to traveling to Fujikawaguchiko where you can look at the famous Mount Fuji volcano while relaxing in an onsen hot spring. You will then depart for Nagoya and visit interactive robots as well as the Ise Jingu Grand Shrine before a bullet train takes you to Kanazawa which has many historic samurai homes and the charming village Gokayama and finally, you will tour your final destination Kyoto by bicycle and discover breathtaking temples as well as the lively city culture.

Honeymoon in Bali - 14 Days
Active Honeymoon in Bali - 14 Days

Tied the knot and want a customized trip to celebrate your love? Try honeymooning in Bali. This tour combines culture, relaxation, beautiful landscapes, snorkeling, and a touch of adventure: the perfect combination for an unforgettable honeymoon.

Recent trip reviews for Tom

Vietnam/KL 2 week trip
Vietnam | Nov 17 - Dec 1, 2022

J
J C.
Mountain View, CA | Reviewed on Dec 05, 2022

We had not done personalized private tours before and the experience overall was better than expected. You will need to budget more for this kind of service to start with, and in the end you will get the quality of local tour guides if you had diligently selected your own tours separately.

We wound up selecting kimkim as the main contact for setting up our private tour. It turned out however, that they worked with another private tour company Odynovo that specializes in the Asia... read more

We had not done personalized private tours before and the experience overall was better than expected. You will need to budget more for this kind of service to start with, and in the end you will get the quality of local tour guides if you had diligently selected your own tours separately.

We wound up selecting kimkim as the main contact for setting up our private tour. It turned out however, that they worked with another private tour company Odynovo that specializes in the Asia countries. They, in turn, hire local freelance tour guides. Odynovo itself didn’t offer tours that cover Vietnam and KL together, so it took kimkim to step in and manage multiple country tours.

In Hanoi, our first tour guide Mr Le Thien was available as soon as we arrived in Hanoi (in fact all the guides are there during the Vietnam part of the tour). During the first full day tour he was thorough in explaining the impact Ho Chi Minh had in Vietnam history and explaining the migration path of the Vietnamese people and surrounding villages to the south. I had some trouble understanding his English in some parts but could manage overall. The tour offered lunch at a local restaurant but the food was not traditional Vietnamese food aside from the spring rolls. The food quality was good but I would prefer more local varieties in the preset meal. Mr Le made up for this by going out of his way to show us local restaurants that served dishes like Cha Ca, Banh cuon, banh mi, etc. after the tour. The hotel accommodations was good since it was within walking distance of the old town and lake. The next day at Ha Long Bay was perhaps the best part of the trip. Note that between destinations, stops are made at various demonstrations and government price shops so you can buy souvenirs. Sometimes it is better to stop at these and not have to haggle with prices, while other times the stops seem a distraction.

In Hoi An/Danang, Mr. Bui Anh Tuan was our guide. He was very knowledgeable about the My Son Holy Land and Hoi An ancient town, both of which were highlights. He provided a lot of insight in Vietnamese life and culture and was humorous which was a plus. The second tour at Ba Na hills is more like a Disneyland like resort. The hotel location and tour lunches were pretty good, with a good selection of Vietnamese dishes to sample. This was the next best spot in Vietnam as there are less motor bikes zooming around and the area is close to the coast so we were able to try the fresh fish for dinner.

In Ho Chi Minch city, Mr. Victor was our tour guide. Compared to the other cities and guides, the intensity was ramped up a level. A sheet with over 20 or so bullet items is handed to you to watch for scams, stolen phones, rude locals, and a bunch of other things to watch for. This might be useful if you started the tour in Saigon, but we had already been seasoned in Vietnam customs up to that point, so it just raised anxiety unnecessarily. The guide was prepared with plenty of background material in several notebook binders and YouTube-like videos from his phone. The material could get overwhelming presented in this fashion, but you have to appreciate the level of energy the guide provided to present it. The hotel was a little older than other hotels we stayed at and located in a similar hectic part of the city. The hotel selection was perhaps the worst of the trip. The Mekong delta tour was not quite as impressive as it did not include any visit to floating markets. It seemed more geared toward providing monetary support to the locals than providing a memorable experience. The lunch was very good. The next day tours at the Cu Chi tunnels and city tour were better as they provided in depth content about the war. But the lunch option was very poor as the Vietnamese dishes had no flavor.

Finally, in KL, there was no tour guide to greet us at the airport. You can tell the discontinuity of the different country tours. The hotel accommodations were good.

Hotel Reviews
Bhaya Classic
Quang Ninh

Friendly staff. Food options good. Rooms were clean and had good character. Definitely best part of the trip including visit to caves, beach and kayaking activities.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Lasenta
Hoi An

Within walking distance to the ancient town. Good breakfast options especially the Vietnamese coffee. Friendly staff gives good restaurant recommendations

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Alagon D'antique Hotel & Spa
Ho Chi Minh City

On the old side. Tiny, slow elevators. Tub with shower affixed to it was awkward. Bed is firm. Located in a busy area so not relaxing.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur

Good breakfast options. Friendly staff. Location within walking distance to street markets.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
The Lapis Hotel

Good location. Clean. Not much of a view. Breakfast options ok. Elevator touch buttons hard to activate

Authenticity & Character
Location
Close to old town
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Tom Zhou
Tom
Tom Zhou
Local specialist in Bangkok | Reviewed on Dec 05, 2022

Hi J C.

Thank you so much for leaving us such a detailed review and valuable suggestions. It is so happy to hear that you have enjoyed your trip overall although there are still some spaces for us to improve in the future.

According to your feedback , I will not use Alagon D'antique Hotel & Spa for my clients in the future and also redesign the Mekong delta river tour, thank you so much for your valuable feedback.

I am sorry that I forgot to mention the difference of the airport transfer... read more

Hi J C.

Thank you so much for leaving us such a detailed review and valuable suggestions. It is so happy to hear that you have enjoyed your trip overall although there are still some spaces for us to improve in the future.

According to your feedback , I will not use Alagon D'antique Hotel & Spa for my clients in the future and also redesign the Mekong delta river tour, thank you so much for your valuable feedback.

I am sorry that I forgot to mention the difference of the airport transfer service in Malaysia. It is only driver and vehicle arranged for that day in Malaysia. I will remember to tell the discontinuity of the different country tours to my future clients.

I appreciate all your detailed comments again and hope in the futre I can help you customize more trips to other countries. By the way, we can operate tours to all countries in the Southeast Asia region now.

Best regards,
Tom

A C review of Vietnam and KL trip for Jerry and Billy
Vietnam | Nov 17 - Dec 1, 2022

A
A C.
Mountain View, CA | Reviewed on Dec 03, 2022

The guides and drivers were helpful and accommodating.

In Hanoi, Mr. Le “Leo” was kind enough to take us to some restaurants to taste some food we wanted to try.

In Hoi An and Da Nang, Mr. Tuan allowed us to stop by a tailor to get some custom clothes.

In Saigon, Victor helped us negotiate the chaotic Saigon traffic. One suggestion is that he should provide links to the videos he showed rather than showing them during the drives. It can be difficult to watch videos while in a... read more

The guides and drivers were helpful and accommodating.

In Hanoi, Mr. Le “Leo” was kind enough to take us to some restaurants to taste some food we wanted to try.

In Hoi An and Da Nang, Mr. Tuan allowed us to stop by a tailor to get some custom clothes.

In Saigon, Victor helped us negotiate the chaotic Saigon traffic. One suggestion is that he should provide links to the videos he showed rather than showing them during the drives. It can be difficult to watch videos while in a car.

In KL, Suzi and Mr. Wong were particularly accommodating. We were able to go to the observation deck of the Petronas twin towers, despite that not being on the schedule. Mr. Wong’s driving through a flash flood thunderstorm on the way back from Melacca was quite impressive.

Activity Reviews
Bhaya Classic Cruise -Day 1
Ha Long Bay

The sights are gorgeous

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Full Day Kuala Lumpur City Tour
Kuala Lumpur

We were able to change plans and go to the Petronas twin towers observation deck

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Tom Zhou
Tom
Tom Zhou
Local specialist in Bangkok | Reviewed on Dec 03, 2022

Hi A C.

Thank you so much for leaving us such a detailed review and valuable suggestions. We are so happy to hear that you have enjoyed your trip. Thank you again for your choosing us for this trip to Vietnam and Malaysia!I will forward your suggestion about video links to Victor. I hope to see you on the next holiday to South-East Asia again.

Best regards,
Tom