Traversing three countries and many different communities it is important for travellers to learn as much as possible in advance about the many cultural differences so that we can travel respecting these differences and minimising any negative impacts. Your group leader and the local guides we use along the way will help to break down barriers in your interactions with local people. A visit to the Tribal Museum in Chiang Mai is recommended to learn more of the ways of the communities we will encounter along the Mekong.
Our history of 'giving back to the community' along the route of this trip has included several initiatives from our leaders, particularly with orphanages and support towards equipment and the food fund at the Luang Prabang hospital. People who cannot afford to feed their sick family members in the hospital are fed through this fund. Check with your group leader as to our latest project support.
Near to Luang Prabang, at Kuang Si Falls, you can visit Phet, an orphaned and rare Indo-Chinese tiger. Phet was the only survivor of three cubs rescued by locals, after their parents were killed by poachers. Her situation has brought the plight of endangered species to the attention of local people and travellers and through Care for the Wild and Intrepid, funds have been raised for a permanent enclosure for her. You can visit Phet and she particularly appreciates travellers taking her meat, but she has grown fast and we don't recommend hand feeding, literally!
In Hanoi we can recommend breakfast or a snack at KOTO, a restaurant and vocational training centre for former street kids, established by ex-Intrepid leader, Jimmy Pham. At the end of our journey travellers may donate any unwanted clothing, medicines and bandages, which are distributed to appropriate local charities.