Who We Are

Our Mission

To craft and lead adventures that treat travelers like family, to educate about, and connect with, the wider world, and to encourage a sense of global community.

Tahoe Global Guide Service is the brainchild of a Vietnamese-American couple who are educators in the US.

J. Derek Larson is a professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Sierra College in Truckee. He has been a teacher, outdoor guide, and SCUBA instructor since 1989.  He has traveled extensively all over Southeast Asia, including mountaineering expeditions in Tibet and Pakistan – but his favorite destination is Nepal. On one expedition, he befriended Dasonam Sherpa, a veteran of ten Everest summits. After losing far too many friends and relatives on the slopes of Everest, Dasonam wanted to secure a safer future for himself and his family. Hence, they struck up a partnership to bring trekking groups to the Solo-Khumbu. Dasonam and his family take care of our trekking groups like family. Their deep connection to the region gives our treks a cultural depth that you will be hard-pressed to find with other trekking companies.

Hien Nguyen Larson fled Vietnam in 1980 with the “second wave” of boat people.  She made it to the US after a harrowing year bouncing between refugee camps all over Indonesia.  Landing in Los Angeles without knowing a word of English, she is a testament to our “land of opportunity.” She holds two masters degrees in education, and she is currently the Principal of Alder Creek Middle School in Truckee, California.

After marrying in 1998, Hien and Derek moved to Lake Tahoe and have been blending their love of travel, education, and outdoor adventure ever since. After scouting Vietnam first on their own, they began leading trips there in 2002.  It was an emotional experience for Hien to return after such political upheaval, but she found a country eager to put the past behind it and a people warm and welcoming to Americans and their entrepreneurial spirit. Hien’s uncle in Ho Ch Minh City (Saigon) is Tahoe Global’s point person. Through “Uncle Loi” and the many contacts developed all over Vietnam, Hien and Derek can provide you with a much more intimate tour experience than most travel provider


Extraordinary Experiences

Nothing prepared me for the beauty and majesty of the Himalayas … We ate excellent food and always had reservations at lodges along the trail in advance of our arrival. I was free to focus on the journey, scenery and experience with my daughter, because Derek had made sure that every other detail was attended to. Our trip culminated with a day at Mount Everest Base Camp, at just below 18,000’. While there were views and encounters with local people that will stay with me forever, standing at Everest Base Camp with my 12-year-old daughter is something I never imagined. Thanks to Derek and his incredible guidance, this is a memory that my daughter and I will cherish for the rest of our lives.

Seamus Gallagher, Truckee, CA


Our Core Values

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