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Who We Are


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Insider Tours was founded by Sivalingam Vasanthakumar (known as Kumar). Born in Kandy, Sri Lanka, Kumar spent his childhood working on the family homestead: milking cows and goats, feeding chickens and watering the vegetable gardens. Kumar’s parents are from southern India. He went there himself to study his B.Sc. (agriculture) at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. His Master's in sustainable agriculture took him to London. Kumar’s passion for community-based development led him to set up Insider Tours. He owns 20 acres of land in Devon, farms the small holding, sells South Indian food at farmers markets, and manages Insider Tours.

Kathy (our Peru tour partner)

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Kathy is our lively Peruvian tour partner. She was born in Peru, on the north coast before moving with her family down south to Arequipa. She studied economics and then sociology at university, before setting up her own tour company (she likes to be her own boss), which she has run for the last eight years. Her parents run B&Bs in Arequipa and Cusco. Kathy adores children, the mountains and jungles of Peru, and traveling and meeting new people. She owns her own small piece of land in the Colca Valley where she proposes to run a small ecolodge.

Rajiv (our Sri Lanka partner)

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Rajiv has been involved in Sri Lankan tours since 2001 when he set up Adventure Lanka Tours with his brother Ruban. As a people person, Rajiv was always the client facing partner - leaving Ruban to handle the back office side. It is noteworthy that they always preferred to concentrate on smaller groups and solo travellers. 13 years on the company has weathered a Tsunami, the recession and an ugly civil war. However all of this is now the past and Rajiv is ready to welcome you back and show you the true magic of Sri Lanka.

Thomas (our India partner)

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Commander Thomas has used his naval background to great advantage. Well organised, universally popular and with a ‘get on and do it’ approach to conservation and community-based ecotourism, Thomas has built up a network of local projects, offering tourists the chance to really submerse themselves in local culture. The Executive Director of his own travel company, Thomas is a former Electronics Engineer of the Indian Navy. He has been an active member of the Nilgiri Angling Association and the Tahr Foundation at Munnar. He has also had vast experience in trekking and camping and has been an active volunteer member assisting the Kerala Forest & Wildlife wing in their fieldwork in Kerala.

Lt.General Jimmy Singh (our Himalaya partner)

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General “Jimmy” Singh, spent most of his Indian Army service in the Eastern Himalayas, having commanded a Mountain Brigade in Sikkim, a Mountain Division in Arunachal Pradesh, and a Mountain Corps responsible for the defence of Sikkim and Bhutan. He has walked to almost every pass on the Himalayan Watershed. He retired to the remote village of Samthar that nestles in the low Himalayas of Bengal. The village comprises hamlets of scattered homesteads set amidst terraced farmland. General Singh has initiated homestay holidays in Samthar and helped to set up a pre-school facility for local children.


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Daisy (Kumar and Harriet's eldest daughter) is a web and graphic designer. Her business site is Daisy Vasanthakumar. She is currently going into her second year at Greenwich University in London studying Graphic and Digital Design. In her spare time she enjoys cooking and exploring the Kent countryside.


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Molly (Kumar’s youngest daughter) is studying a degree in Veterinary Medicine at Edinburgh University. Her dream is to farm alongside Kumar and own her own mobile veterinary practice.