GROUND Team

The GROUND team is located around Asia – working closely with our partner communities as possible to facilitate long-term, sustainable development. Our local staff are experts on their own countries, and are always nearby supporting our groups and facilititating activities. As you’ll see, our team is comprised of many nationalities and everyone brings a lot of varied experience to GROUND. We’re sure travelers will love to get to know us as much as we love to get to know them!

Lauren Groves – General Manager

GROUND Asia

Lauren, born in the UK, has a passion for educational travel and first hand experience of transformative travel from her trips teaching English in rural China, as well as studying and working in both Poland & Germany.

Lauren is passionate about responsible tourism management and has led several projects in the field, the most recent one being a tech project in Indonesia focusing on clean drinking water and reusable plastic bottles.

Lauren joins GROUND after spending 6 years in Budapest, Hungary where she worked for a tour operator, youth hostel and DMC. In Budapest she held various management roles covering both sales & marketing, HR and operations.  She is currently completing her MSc in Responsible Tourism along side her work with GROUND, convinced that tourism can have a positive impact on both people and places, when done right.

Contact Lauren: lauren@groundasia.com

Jayni Ground Staff

Jayni Gudka – Assistant General Manager

GROUND Asia

Former Londoner Jayni loves responsible travel and a good story, especially when they come together in a way that has a positive social and educational impact.

Whilst working on various different community-focused projects in Indonesia, Myanmar, rural India, and the UK, she has kept returning to tourism-focused projects in various capacities. More recently she spent six months in The Gambia working on developing content for a new community-based trail, and also set up the Responsible Tourism Minglers Association for youth and student activists whom she continues to advise.

In her spare time, Jayni sits on the Board of Directors for London-based social enterprise Unseen Tours who work with homeless and formerly homeless tour guides, and is also studying for an MSc in Responsible Tourism Management, having recently completed an MSc in Asian Politics too.

Contact Jayni: jayni@groundasia.com

Ammway

Ammway Kongsuk – Finance & Administration Coordinator

GROUND Asia

I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand to a wonderful family who I love very much. With a great support of my family and great opportunity, I was able to lived in Bath, UK; Melbourne, Australia and Montana, USA. I graduated from the University of Montana (Go GRIZ) with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration minoring in Finance. I lived in the states for about 10 years, and began my financial career at Missoula Federal Credit Union in Montana, USA.

As of now my adventurous  journey abroad may ended, but I get to work as a  Financial and Administrative coordinator  with GROUND Asia (Thailand) and continue pursuing my financial career, practicing the cross-cultural skills, loving on my family, and living in the land of AMAZING beaches. I am bless to be part of GROUND Asia.

Contact Ammway: ammway@groundasia.com

linda oum - tour director

Linda Oum – Tour Director

GROUND Cambodia

Linda is known for her motivation, dedication and friendly smile. She was the driving force behind Khiri Travel’s educational travel division before helping to launch GROUND. She has been working tirelessly on our flagship community development programs in Cambodia since 2008. Linda has worked in the travel industry for almost ten years and has been instrumental in sharing her expertise on program development with other countries in the GROUND network.

Linda was born in a Thai refugee camp. Her childhood was very difficult but she has converted this tough experience into positive energy for building development projects that benefit her home country. Her work in community development has also been instrumental in making GROUND a unique and transformative program for explorers.

Contact Linda: linda@groundasia.com

Patcharaporn Chaimuangraj Wan - Tour Director

Patcharaporn Chaimuangraj (Wan) – Tour Director

GROUND Thailand

Wan has worked for many years in the travel industry as a travel director with experience in B2B, B2C and Community Based Tourism (CBT). As the former Thailand specialist for Phuchan Travel, Wan can craft any kind of itinerary, for any travel style, tailored to any budget.

She has also built a successful community development programs in the north of Thailand to help modify homes for the elderly to address their special needs. Wan recently completed the Travelife Sustainability Training Course for tour operators and travel agents.

Contact Wan: wan@groundasia.com

Yoana Wida Kristiawati – Tour Director

GROUND Indonesia

Born in the multi-cultural country of Indonesia, Yoana spent her childhood exploring and interacting with people from diverse backgrounds. She studied Intercultural Communication during her university years and was a founding member of a student organization, AIESEC Universitas Gadjah Mada. that organizes volunteer opportunities for international students. Yoana previously worked as a Project Manager for a Japanese educational NGO that focused on youth exchange programs.

Yoana wants to use her experience to build cultural understanding and erase stereotypes. Her focus is in bring people together and helping them work across cultural boundaries. As a native of Yogyakarta, she seeks to inspire and empower people to create positive change by contributing to her local community.

Contact Yoana: yoana@groundasia.com

Nguyen Thi Phuong (Phuong) – Program Coodinator

GROUND Vietnam

Phuong comes from Bac Ninh, Vietnam, famous for Kinh Bac traditional culture and Quan Ho folk songs. She is a young woman who loves travelling and supporting people as well as the environment. Phuong often joins several volunteer activities at school, such as; tree planting, road construction, helping deliver educational materials to school kids in remote areas. She also used to working as a tour guide and was able to travel all around the country.

She especially has a strong interest in traditional performance arts, such as ‘quan ho’, ‘cai luong’, ‘ca tru’, ‘don ca tai tu’. As a GROUND team member, she wants to dedicate her love and experiences to help introduce Vietnam’s beauty to the world and also, to help local people in each region to have better life and broaden their horizons.

Contact Phuong: phuong@groundasia.com

Natarika Ngamwongwan (Nat) – Tour director

GROUND Thailand

Working for GROUND is an amazing opportunity for me to put my experience into practice. As an undergraduate student, I joined a volunteer team to build a library and the foundation for a playground at a school in Nakhonratchasima, Thailand that was in rather dire straits .

I felt something truly meaningful during the project and knew that I wanted to turn this experience into more than a memory while also knowing that I wanted others to feel what I had felt that day. As a GROUND Tour Director, my job is to design journeys and ensure a smooth operation before, during and after the journey. I especially look forward to seeing my communities develop as more and more teams visit us.

Contact Nat: nat@groundasia.com

Siyin Lay Program Coordinator

Siyin Lay – Program Coordinator

GROUND Cambodia

I was born and raised in Banteay Meanchey Province located 50 km east of Poipet and 30 km north of Banteay Chhmar temple. My love of travel inspired me to enroll for a diploma in Hospitality and Tourism. Afterwards, I trained as an intern at Intrepid Travel Cambodia before joining Khiri Travel Cambodia’s Operations team.

During the two years I have been working at Khiri Travel, I have gained more knowledge of my home country and had the opportunity to travel around Cambodia also. Now that I am joining GROUND, I am happy to be working for our local communities. I love learning new things and getting to know people everywhere I go.

Contact Siyin: siyin@groundasia.com

ground vietnam - NGUYEN THI VAN

NGUYEN THI VAN (VAN) – Sales Coordinator

GROUND Vietnam

Van comes from Bac Ninh province in Northern Vietnam. When Van was a third-year student at University of Languages and International Studies, Van found her passion for travel and tourism. This led her to enroll in the Faculty of Tourism Studies, University of Social Sciences and Humanities. During Van’s student life she had many part-time jobs and experienced aspects of tourism such as working in restaurants, hotels and managing events.

Van feels happy to be a part of GROUND so that she can use her skills and knowledge to design educational journeys that bring travellers unique and memorable experiences as well as contribute to sustainable development of local communities.

Contact Van: van@groundasia.com

Doung Lonh Program Coordinator

Doung Lonh – Program Coordinator

GROUND Cambodia

Doung comes from Siem Reap Province in Cambodia. After graduating from High School in 2014, she enrolled in the Paul Dubrule École d’Hôtellerie et de Tourisme (School of Hotel Business and Tourism) for a foundation year course. After a foundation year of basic academic training, Doung enrolled in the school’s Tourism Certificate program because she wanted to work with people from other countries. She enjoys exchanging knowledge with people from around the world, especially the amazing history of her country.

During her studies at Paul Dubrule, she learned some French with a professional teacher. To improve her skills, she practiced with a friend and the professional team of a tour company about the attractions of Siem Reap. Doung also had the opportunity to do an internship with Khiri Travel Cambodia for three months. She really enjoyed learning a lot about how to work with people and how a tour company works. After her internship, Doung passed her program’s final exam and will receive her Tourism Certificate on 27 July 2016. She continues to study as much as she can to improve her skills in English.

Contact Doung: doung@groundasia.com

Madara team photo

Madara Kulatunga – Tour Director

GROUND Sri Lanka

Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Madara has over 5 year experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, starting out her career as a tour coordinator focusing on experiential travel. Her passion for creating positive impact for both local communities and international travellers has grown as she’s developed her knowledge and experience in responsible tourism.

Having organized several volunteer activities in her previous jobs, including educational trips for underprivileged local students, tree planting and reforestation, beach cleaning and programs focusing on waste recycling, Madara joined GROUND to launch our programs in Sri Lanka – our youngest destination.

Contact Madara: madara@groundasia.com

Duong Hong Hanh

DUONG HONG HANH (HANH) – PROGRAM COORDINATOR

GROUND Vietnam

Hanh, born in Phu Tho province, was a student at Faculty of Management and Tourism, Hanoi University. A combination of studying tourism at university and her personal volunteering, tourism and hospitality experiences inspired her passion for volunteer-based activities that bring sustainable benefits to local communities. Hanh finds the opportunities she has to communicate with and make friends with new people, and travel to now places in her day-to-day work, particularly enriching.

Hanh took her first steps in GROUND as an interpreter, then an intern and now works as a full-time staff member. She looks forward to contributing to tourism and local community development in Vietnam in her role at GROUND.

Contact Hanh: hanh@groundasia.com

Trang team photo

Nguyen Trang (Trang) – PROGRAM COORDINATOR

GROUND Vietnam

Trang lives in Hanoi, in the north of Vietnam. As a little girl, she loved travelling with her parents and yearned to travel further. Later on, she had more opportunities to travel around Vietnam, enjoying the beautiful nature and landscapes, and connecting with people along the way. As a result, her passion for travel and her love for people and country continue to grow day by day. As a university student, she used to lead a volunteering club as part of Vietnam Red Cross Society, actively took part in and organized many volunteering events, particularly those that benefited the less fortunate.

Trang has had many part-time jobs related to education, travel and tourism and at GROUND she found herself at home, joining us full time after graduation, after previous experience as an intern and interpreter. She is proud to be a part of GROUND, and hopes that she will be able to help improve people’s quality of life and develop communities in a sustainable way.

Contact Trang: trang@groundasia.com

Sonethavee Sone Khamheauxay Program Coordinator

Sonethavee (Sone) Khamheauxay – Program Coordinator

GROUND Laos

I come from Bolikhamxay Province in central Laos, close to the Vietnamese border. After graduating from university in Vientiane in 2005, I worked for two years in a European restaurant in Vientiane. In 2007, I joined the Guide Training and Child Wise training programs at the Laos Tourism Administration and started working as a tour guide. After one year, I started a job at Khiri Travel Laos as Operations Coordinator, checking on our clients in Luang Prabang and Pakse.

I live with my family in Pakse in southern Laos. I love to travel and meet people from all over the world. In 2015, I obtained additional professional guide training at the Grand Hotel Pakse in Champasak Province, which focused on dealing with groups and cooperation between guides and tour operators. My newest challenge is joining the GROUND team for southern Laos.

Contact Sone: sone@groundasia.com