The very ethos of our style of travel is responsible; small groups on fully escorted tours, experiencing the very best of a region, a culture and a landscape, with a friendly local hand guiding the way. Our itineraries are designed to give our travellers real life experiences without compromising the part of the world we are exploring; to travel responsibly is at the heart of our commitment as a global tour operator.
In 2003, we responded to the call for a boycott on travel to Burma by the then democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) party was denied the right to govern the country by the military dictatorship. Over the past few years positive events within the country including the elections in November 2010, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and the subsequent call to end the travel boycott by the NLD, have prompted us to return to this fascinating destination.
By reintroducing our grassroots style of travel, we can contribute to improving the circumstances of the Burmese people by way of initiating a two-way exchange. Firstly, resuming trips will give them a chance to interact with visitors from other countries, thus giving a rare glimpse into life and governance in other parts of the world, and secondly, taking passengers to Burma will help to build awareness of the complex issues this country continues to face, as well as positively contributing to the economy.
We recruit all of the staff you will encounter on this trip from the local area, actively creating employment and benefitting local families. Your group leader, driver and any one-off site guides you meet will all be local. A secondary benefit of this is that it enables us to give you the best holiday experience possible by making the most of their vast local knowledge that overseas guides just don’t have. They can direct you to the best stalls for authentic handicrafts, the best restaurants and cafes and tell you the ‘must see’ sights that haven’t yet made it into the guide books.
You’ll discover small, traditional restaurants on this trip, eating where the locals eat and trying the best of the regional specialities, all from the knowledge of your local guide. These (often family run) properties will be real trip highlights and give you more chances to interact with locals of a relaxing evening. We encourage our travellers to continue our support of local industry when it comes to purchasing souvenirs; visits to places such as Bogyoke Market in Yangon or the floating market on Inle Lake give lots of opportunity to hone haggling skills while stocking up on traditional handicrafts.
This fantastic highlights itinerary focusses on local interaction, from accommodation in small locally owned hotels and guest house properties to a night on a boat. We use local transport such as buses, longtail boats, a songthaew and even horse and cart, all of which are chosen for their balance of giving you, the traveller an amazing experience while all the time supporting local trade, economy and industry – public transport is also the most environmentally sound method of travel, so we try use it where ever possible. The bikes we us in Bagan to explore the temple complex are hired from a local supplier, as is the private vehicle we use when public transport is not practical.
As a company we are very aware of the negative effect carbon emissions have on our environment and as such operate a carbon neutral policy; offsetting the ground emissions of all our passengers on all our trips. On this particular journey that equates to 843kgs of carbon offset per passenger, per departure!
In addition to our carbon offset scheme we encourage all our passengers to take steps to ensure that their trip is environmentally responsible as possible. Your group leader will be on hand to assist with the appropriate disposal of rubbish en route, recycling wherever possible and we encourage all our travellers to use refillable water bottles with purification tablets rather than contributing to the rapidly escalating problem caused by the copious number of plastic bottles discarded globally on a daily basis.