Organizing tours and travel in such a widespread area as Southeast Asia entails a fair amount of staff; admin, tour-leaders, guides, drivers etc so below is just a selection of our co-workers with the main criteria being merely whoever we happened to have a photo of to hand.
Our aim is to combine the best of both worlds with ‘Western’ organizational and logistical skills associated with the in-depth local knowledge and expertise of our locally employed staff.
We’re also very proud, and reckon it’s a good sign, that many of our staff, both full-time and freelance have been with us for many years so are all well versed in the unique All Points East style as well as being highly experienced. Our tours hope to show you the ‘must see’ sites and some of the lesser known ones but importantly doing this in a relaxed, flexible and fun way. We won’t forget you’re on holiday and guides’ social skills are at least as important as knowing exactly what year that temple was built in!
Mark has over 25 years experience in Southeast Asia, including several as researcher for guidebooks before setting up Gecko Travel, now All Points East, in 1999 with sister Lesley as a result of a bet with a mate in a South London pub. Mark now concentrates on the research and development side – checking out new itineraries, destinations, hotels etc and of course keeping up with any new bars – but still finds time to lead Cambodia, Lao and Burma tours as well as contributing to various travel sites and blogs such as travelfish.org since, as Mark says, “I got into the travel business because I love travel, not sitting in front of a computer all day!”
Wipaporn, or Wi, is also one of the original founders of all Points East and whilst originating from Bangkok now runs the All Points East, Southeast Asia office in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Wi’s another one you can’t tie down so alternates her time between ‘boring office stuff’ and leading tours to Burma & Thailand. Being a mum herself Wi’s speciality is family holidays.
Anyone making enquiries or booking a tour will have come across Lesley Schofield, or just Les, in our UK office. Prior to setting up All Points East she claims to have spent far too many years in Public Sector Administration in the UK and now spends far too much time bemoaning her lack of opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia. Lesley’s hobbies are cleaning, grocery shopping and doing the school run which she much prefers to gardening, cooking, reading or walking the dog in the dense Waterlooville rainforests.
Swiss born Jean-Daniel Schranz, (aka JD, Geneva Jones or whatever else our passengers choose to call him), our Thailand manager, has called Thailand his home for over 20 years and his wealth of local knowledge and love of the region are invaluable on the Thai tours that he leads with such enthusiasm.
Harold de Martimprey, (the one on the right), originates from France but, as he says, swapped the concrete jungles of the Paris suburbs for the tropical jungles of Cambodia and now resides in Phnom Penh where he runs our Cambodia operation as well as doubling up as manager of our French language tour section.
Our man in Cambodia – Tes Viesna or Fin to friends was born in Siem Reap, Cambodia and after several years of organizing logistics as well as guiding our Cambodia trips now runs our All Points East Siem Reap office. An expert on Khmer history and Angkor temples he’s also very knowledgeable about local food and karaoke bars!
Gary Latham divides his time between London where he’s a freelance travel photographer and Southeast Asia where he leads our All Points East photography tours. A Lancashire lad, he studied photography at Fylde College and Lancaster University before moving to London in 1996, where he assisted well known fashion and advertising photographers before going pro in 1999. Gary’s a multifaceted talent, equally at home in the studio or out on location with his own special way of seeing the world and a distinctive and unique style that has been described as cinematic, other worldly and emotionally charged.
He has worked for most of the UK’s major travel magazines such Lonely Planet, Sunday Times and Conde Nast as well as the Sunday supplements and has been a regular contributor to Food and Travel Magazine since 1997.
Says Gary, “The great photographer, Henrie Cartier Bresson once said that he made his best images when his… “Head, heart and camera were all pointed in the same direction…” Our aim on these tours will be to try and apply this principle. Together we will explore the best way of photographing the things we find interesting, intriguing or simply beautiful. We will look and learn how to make our photos more relevant, interesting and fun and ultimately more rewarding”
Seen here looking rather pensive, (or just wondering why the horizon’s at an odd angle?), is our latest recruit Ryan Descoteau who hails from Seattle Washington. Ryan first came over to Southeast Asia on holiday, (well he calls it vacation), in 1999 whilst working for Lonely Planet’s California office. He reckons he loved it so much he promptly handed in his notice and has been based in Thailand ever since. Before joining All Points East, where Ryan contributes to web marketing, itinerary development & blogging, as well as finding time to run Burma, Cambodia and Thai tours, he claims to have been employed as guide, computer researcher, commercial actor, office manager and English teacher so guess we were lucky to come across him when he wasn’t too busy!
Sarawut Thinpathom, (Oh’s a bit easier!), returned to his homeland of Thailand after spells in Australia, the US and Laos, and now takes great pleasure in showing off his country to our passengers with equal amounts of enthusiasm and knowledge. Seen here preparing for a jungle trek in Thung Yai Wildlife Sanctuary on the Thai/Burmese border.
When we find great staff we like to keep them and Tuyen, from Vietnam’s Nam Ding Province has been leading our Vietnam tours with enthusiasm, efficiency and a wealth of knowledge for over 8 years now. Tuyen was fortunate when he was younger and received sponsorship from a Canadian teacher to enroll in a tourism business management course at Hanoi University. Says Tuyen, “I’m proud of my country and love showing it to visitors – you need to be either rich or a guide to travel so widely in Vietnam and I get to see the length and breadth of it on a regular basis! From the mountains and hill-tribes of the north to the fantastic Mekong Delta, there’s such a lot of variety!”
Moe Zaw hails from Taunggyi in Burma’s Shan State and is just one of our awesome regular guides for our new Burma tour. Don’t expect to lose any weight on one of Moe’s trips though since apart from being an expert on local culture, religion, history and ethnic groups another of his passions is showing visitors the local delicacies! Vastly experienced guide, all round great guy and a happy man with the changes currently going on in his country.
One of our Lao stars, Sone from the old Mekong port of Thakaek, manages to combine loads of fun and general wackiness with spot on meticulous organization! How she does it we don’t know but never a dull moment with Sone on one of our southern Laos tours.
And for those more camera shy staff members….
Our much appreciated team of local guides, (who we didn’t have photos of to hand), includes nuclear scientist turned guide Dalat in Saigon; Ms. Aor in Bangkok, Chet, Veng, Samet and all our wonderful ground staff in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Sena in Sri Lanka, Pong in Northern Laos, Leo and Tony in China, Hadji, Yap and all the Malaysia team, our awesome Borneo guides Alex and Henry and Mya, Yan, Nemo, Hla Maung, (who also kindly provided some of his excellent photos for pour new site), in Burma. Many thanks also to the tireless Phyu Phyu in Rangoon, Laos’s one and only Crewe Alexandra supporter Rob in Vientiane, Jo in Kota Kinabalu and Rene in Hanoi for all their help and organizational skills that ensure the smooth running, (well most of the time!) of all our range of Southeast Asian tours and holidays.