Vietnam and Cambodia cultural tours

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18 Feb 2018
US $ 2900
excluding flights
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Vietnam and Cambodia cultural tours

Environment

We strive to offer fun-filled and educational trips for our travelers by hand-selecting each accommodation, restaurant, activity, and local guide to ensure quality. At the same time, our selections also reflect our belief that the people, wildlife, and environment need not be exploited in order to be enjoyed.

This is particularly of importance when we visit Angkor and its vast network of temples and ancient edifices. In the past decade, Angkor has seen a large increase in tourists, not all of whom have this famous site's preservation and maintenance in mind. Our Cambodian guide is a native of Siem Reap and is truly an expert in all that is Angkor. This means that he is very much invested in keeping the site beautiful and well-restored and he will instruct us on how we can play a role in this.

Cambodia is a huge country and there are lots of things to do and see, so while we do take some motorized transportation to get from point A to point B, almost all activities in each city/town are by foot or by bicycle. Thus, lowering the amount of air pollution we create.

At the majority of our accommodations, each room is equipped with one to two large glass carafes which are refilled with water daily by the hotel staff. If you need more, all you have to do is ask the front desk and they are more than happy to provide you with more. Because the carafes are able to be washed and reused, this helps reduce plastic waste in the two countries.

We try our best to stay in accommodations that have the environment in mind. In Koh Rong, our hotel is also eco-friendly as the island itself relies solely on solar and/or generator power to keep its bungalows equipped with electricity. Thus, reducing the imprint its guests and visitors make on the local environment. Two other accommodations on our trip are made from all natural and local materials. These hotels are very beautiful and comfortable, but they are also places that you can feel good about staying at!

Another stop on our trip is at a local village just outside of Phnom Penh where victims of polio are taught how to make free trade goods from recycled material. They are then able to sell those goods to earn a living, which otherwise, would be a bit difficult due to their physical limitations from the illness.

Our trips offer a number of activities that introduce our travelers to the local environment and make them aware of the environmental issues facing the region such as air and water pollution. We therefore encourage everyone on our trips to be mindful and conscious of their disposal habits.

To minimize our carbon footprint, we try to offer activities that are accessible without a motorized vehicle. In addition, we kindly request that our travelers adhere to the local customs and social norms regarding waste disposal and amenity usage (i.e. shower, air conditioner). Our small group size also contributes to this. With a smaller group, we are less likely to have adverse impacts on the local society. For instance, a large tour group can take up all the seats on a local bus or book out an entire restaurant forcing locals and other travelers away from their preferences and affecting their everyday lives.

Community

Our local guides know all of the best kept secrets and off the beaten path sites to help our travelers experience the best that Vietnam and Cambodia have to offer. They will always recommend the best local establishments and places of interest based on your interests and their personal favorites, so you know you're getting an authentic experience. In this way, the local economy is stimulated and the Vietnamese and Cambodian people also benefit. We feel that one of the best ways to help a country as a traveler is to buy locally.

On our trips we will be stopping at local non-profit shops such as the 'Daughters of Cambodia', which employs formerly trafficked women as well as dine at nonprofits like 'Genevieve's', which employs disabled Cambodians and gives them a fair chance to earn money rather than live day to day by begging for money on the streets.

In Hoi An, there are also a number of local artisans that have small workshops where they create jewelry, woodworks, and calligraphy. These are privately owned shops and all is created by the owners themselves, which means the money goes directly to the people who worked so hard to create such beautiful objects.

In Cambodia in particular, we will NOT be visiting any orphanages or schools on the trip. In our experience, many of these schools are set up to exploit the children for financial gain and offer them little to no actual educational support. We will, however, visit local villages where we can spend time with the locals and if you'd like, purchase notebooks, pens/crayons and other school supplies for the local children.

We stay uniquely at small locally-owned accommodations, unique hotels, which are owned and run by local citizens. Most of the hotels at which we stay have less than 10 rooms and are truly unique. Unlike the large chain hotels and resorts, the owners and workers of the accommodations see more direct financial benefits. We also urge our travelers to try to speak and interact with the workers and owners at their accommodations to get a feel for life in these two countries and to inspire cultural exchange and education.

Our trips are for those who want to experience a country and are open to broadening their awareness of the world. Come join us on an amazing adventure!

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