Having travelled extensively ourselves and witnessed first-hand how tourism can have either positive or negative effects on local communities and the environment, we always endeavour to leave a positive mark on all places we send clients and promote awareness of the local environment.
What could be better and more sustainable than a cycling tour for your next holiday? Indeed, choosing a cycling tour represents a truly sustainable manner of travelling and exploring a country while reducing CO2 emission and minimise your footprint. Furthermore, using a bike as a mean of transport to move around the different sites within a destination also helps to reduce noise pollution.
Particularly in a country like Myanmar, places of historical and religious value such as the Htilominlo Temple, the Shwezigon Pagoda and Popa Taung Kalat are also known for pilgrimage. Therefore, respecting the local environment and the locals’ way of life is essential to guarantee tourism positive impacts on the destination. Additionally, as highlighted in the itinerary, our Myanmar tour tries to reduce car usage at the minimum possible and only when necessary.
This trip has a strong focus on exploring natural wonders with the aim of fostering a love of and respect for the environment and subsequently conservation in the areas visited.
• Where we stay: As a boutique travel company we strive to offer unique and authentic travel experiences in line with sustainable accommodation. Many of the operators we work with are eco-friendly and run their businesses in a more environmentally friendly manner. For instance, guests are offered free drinking water refills to minimise wastage of plastic bottles. While in remote areas, we carry rubbish with us and ensure we do not disturb anything in the natural environment.
• While we are there: We ensure that our clients are given the correct guidance while visiting protected areas and/or heritage sites in order to minimise impacts on the environment and respect the natural wonders of the area. We collaborate with guides who are local to the area and have been trained, bettering their communities. Typically these areas also ask for a fee to appreciate the protected area. These fees go to conservation and infrastructure efforts directly supporting the reserve.
• As a company: We strive to operate as a paperless company as far as possible, and recycle wherever facilities are available. We use toxic-free fair trade products whenever we can.
Our tours are designed with the intention of maximising the benefits that our guests can have on the host community. This is the reason why we endeavour to follow responsible guidelines and teach guests about responsible tourism in order to encourage them to be mindful of the environment and respectful of local people and culture. With all our tailor-made trips we enjoy offering new routes and encourage travel to areas that are not on the main tourist trails and which further support smaller, local communities.
As previously mentioned, this cycling tour is already a truly sustainable approach to the destination as well as a respectful tourism behaviour towards local communities in Myanmar. However, we believe that while travelling, socio-economic differences between the host community and the tourists might create some sort of negative effects. In order to avoid this, we tried to focus on engagement.
In fact, throughout the trip, travellers are offered the chance to meet the locals properly, for example For in Mandalay to Pyin Si guests not only have a great opportunity to explore the breath-taking countryside but also to experiencing Burmese villagers' life and enjoy their exquisite local cuisine for lunch. Additionally they are given the opportunity to visit local fishermen villages such as Mondalay Village and undertake a workshop about gold leaves and how to make them.
Moreover, with the aim of sustain local development and economic growth, we suggest our guests to shop local in places like the colourful Nyaung Oo Market where they can enjoy some local shopping of amazing handicrafts.
• As A Company: We believe in the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs and try to emphasis this in the way our tours are arranged. Where possible we aim to create a bond between staff and traveller so our clients gain insight into the real life of local communities. We endeavour to keep our groups small, minimising the environmental and social impact that the participants have on the destination. Through travel with us, we aim to help meet an important local need by contributing to the area’s economy, creating jobs and by eating locally sourced food and using locally sourced products.
• Where we stay: As a boutique travel company we search for authenticity and uniqueness from the local suppliers and whenever possible, encourage our travellers to stay in privately owned accommodation. We believe that working with hotel/accommodation owners who source staff, products, services and produce from within the community gives the local people an opportunity to gain from the increase in tourism to the area.
• While we are there: As previously mentioned, we work in partnership with locally employed guides who having been professionally trained, better their communities and provide insight into the local culture. We encourage interaction with local communities, however we keep our group sizes small and provide advice during the trip to ensure our impact on the indigenous way of life is minimised. Typically these areas also ask for a fee to appreciate the protected area, which go to aid conservation, employment and infrastructure efforts directly supporting the community and surroundings. We also encourage our clients to support the livelihood of the local community by purchasing locally produced crafts wherever possible.