We recently attended an annual gathering of sinologists, and were curious about what people get up to after they graduate. One person with an interesting answer was Roman Križanič, CEO of Deseti brat and an active tour guide based in Slovenia and South East Asia.
How long have you been in the tour guide business, and how has your work changed over the years?
I‘ve been involved in organizing and guiding adventure and active tours for the last 20 years. The first trips were mostly to China, as I was a Sinology student at the University of Ljubljana. After that the focus was on SE Asia in winter, as more and more summers were reserved for exploring and touring Slovenia and neighboring countries. It became my routine: spend winters in Asia – Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Malaysia, and of course China and Taiwan – then summers in Slovenia. The best of weather all year round – escaping winter.
It’s also great because I can combine showing amazing places around the world to guests from Slovenia, and beautiful places in Slovenia to visitors from all over the world. I mostly run tours to Asia through my travel agency, Deseti brat. In Slovenia we’re a group of enthusiastic friends gathered around the TrekTrek travel agency. Our dedicated work has also been recognized by some of the world’s best tour operators and organizations in the US, including National Geographic, as we are their main partner in the area.
What size groups do you work with?
Keeping groups small, a max of 10 to 12 people, is one of the main advantages of traveling with us. We’ll remember your name within the first day and can take you to almost every corner of the country. We avoid big buses and walk or bike whenever possible. We love off the beaten track places, which you can visit on foot or in small van along some stunning country roads. And yes, smaller groups are more likely to get invited to people’s homes!
Do you have any standard tours of Slovenia, or are they always customized?
We do both. We know our country very well, we know amazing local hosts, we can bring you to the best restaurants, from home cooking to world class chefs, you can join us on the most scenic hikes in the Julian Alps or meditation style easy strolls through green forest, alpine valleys, and meadows. Get in touch with us and we will come up with the best tour based on your wishes.
My favorite tours in Slovenia combine active days with culinary experiences. What more you can wish for than summiting a peak with great views or cycling a few hours next to a pristine river and then biting into the amazing Slovenian food. One of best tours I did was Slovenia combined with Istria and Dalmatia in Croatia. The variety of places, scenery, food, and climate on that trip was just mind blowing.
In general I’ll always be a big fan of outdoor activities, but no extremes. And it’s this passion for this type of traveling I try to bring to our tours.
What things tend be highlights of your tours in Slovenia?
Hiking and biking are probably most popular, and I’m happy that with these more and more people follow our advice and we explore less known places. That said, I guess it’s hard to resist the beauty of Lake Bled and some caves.
Which places outside Slovenia are you favorite to visit for pleasure?
My favorite place in last few years is Raja Ampat, an amazing archipelago west of West Papua in Indonesia. Marine life at its best, amazing snorkeling, diving and island hopping. Great for active holidays for anyone that likes sea activities. I love to get into a sea kayak and quietly paddle around hidden lagoons and stop at coral reefs or just to say hi to ocean mantas, turtles or even whales. I’ve been leading to Raja Ampat for four years now.
Where haven’t you been that you’d like to visit?
Please don’t ask me this. Are trips to Mars already open? If not, I still have many places to visit around the world, including some around Slovenia. But it looks like the USA and its national parks will be next – too many friends are inviting over.
Where can people learn more about your work, and maybe book a tour?