Low Impact Transportation: This trip gives you the chance to try out the slow boat on the Mekong from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang, overnight sleeper train from Hanoi to Hue, public bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, a cyclo ride around the center of Phnom Penh and using the local tuk tuks to get around in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Getting around as the locals do not only allows you to experience the culture on a deeper level, but the same way it is at home, using public transport is the most sustainable way to go – after walking and cycling of course! Supporting local culture and businesses: There are a multitude of opportunities to support local businesses and immerse yourself into the culture of Indochina on this trip. From the colourful markets to the bustling food stalls and cafes, the choices for eating and handicrafts are endless and the money is staying in the local economy - a vital way for tourism to make a positive impact. Activities that take you to markets, locally-owned restaurants, locals’ homes and villages are vital to the local peoples’ ability to truly benefit from tourism.
Our style of trip, travelling, eating and staying with the locals, puts you right at the heart of the culture in Lao, Vietnam and Cambodia. On the slow boat down the Mekong you have the option for a great local lunch cooked on the boat by the family, in Luang Prabang we have an included meal in ms La’s house where you get the chance to be a part of a Baci ceremony (a lao ritual which guardian spirits are bound to the guest by white strings tied around the wrists) and to enjoy some great local food. In Hanoi we enjoy some of the local food, sitting on small plastic chairs on the side of the street or café da, Vietnamese ice coffee or if you like join in with the locals drinking Bia Hoi (cheap fresh beer also served on the street or in small local shops). Chatting with the locals will give you an amazing insight in local life. It may not be apparent that learning about and respecting other cultures is part of being a responsible traveler, but we believe that this discovery is a natural way for people of all backgrounds, nationalities, and religions to interact and learn from each other, fostering peace and understanding. And it’s just plain fascinating!
Support World Heritage: On this trip there are numerous opportunities to visit important heritage sites on foot or by bicycle such as the famous Luang Prabang, Citadel in Hue, Hoi An old town, Angkor Wat and other temple’s in the Angkor complex. We also visit the limestone karst mountains in Halong bay by boat, among others. Celebrating world heritage is an important way to participate in sustainable tourism. Many world heritage sites are designated for protection so that all the world’s people can share in these fascinating and historical wonders for generations to come
Other optional unique experiences on this trip that allow you to support the local economy and learn about Vietnamese culture include: Bike ride in the country side of Hoi An exploring the Vietnamese life outside the city, having lunch in a local family’s home. Get up early in the morning in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Phnom Penh and see the locals doing exercise, and if you like join in. Visit some of the less touristy villages on Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia and see how the local’s live on floating homes or hoses on stilts.