South Laos holiday, Mekong adventure
Description of South Laos holiday, Mekong adventure
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As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetOur aim is to provide a genuinely small group, low impact tour including a mixture of popular and off the beaten track sites on our itinerary. By limiting groups to small sizes (maximum 12 persons) we aim to reduce the impact on both local communities and the environment whilst allowing for greater interaction with said communities.
It also results in a higher guide/customer ratio thus greater facility for supervision and individual assistance and allows us to use smaller hotels and restaurants and employ the services of more genuinely ‘local’ operators perhaps not otherwise well equipped for larger groups.
By combining the well-known tourist sites with rarely visited destinations this diverts tourist revenue and contact with responsible tourism into areas not usually benefiting as well as providing a more authentic view of the region visited.
Providing suitable, relevant information for our customers; to help them to gain a wider understanding of our style of tourism that focuses on learning, genuine interaction with the local communities, reciprocity and cultural exchange processes is also a key element of this tour.
As with all our tours national park visits are included and activities such as bird-watching offered which we hope will encourage protection of the natural environment and provide financial incentives for doing so.
All hotels are small and independently owned with proven responsible travel credentials and all (fully-licensed) guides and drivers are locally employed.
Meals are provided in either locally-run restaurants or local-style cafes, market and street stalls. All products are locally sourced and all staff are local residents. The emphasis is also very much on traditional Lao food which we hope increases an interest and pride in the region’s cuisine.
Additional food products - for takeaway lunches, picnics etc – are deliberately purchased from local bakeries and /or fresh produce markets rather than chain supermarkets.
All transport is locally owned – whether minibuses or boats and tuk-tuks for shorter journeys.
With regards souvenirs our clients are also encouraged to buy from either markets or outlets attached to aid and educational organizations such as for example rather than the large, purpose-built souvenir stores.
We ensure to the best of our ability that all accommodation used on this tour employs sound environmental and social practices in terms of recycling, water conservation and product sourcing as well as employment policies.
By explaining our methods and the reasons behind them local agents, guides and hotels are encouraged by us to adopt further responsible tourism practices themselves and guides and drivers are provided with additional training in this respect.
Furthermore, accommodation is specifically chosen with location in mind so that at any given destination on the tour most key sites are within easy walking or cycling distance thus keeping vehicle use to a minimum on the itinerary. This also negates the need for any form of taxis during free time as guests can walk or cycle to any points of interest.
To reduce transport all staff are locally employed. Lunches and dinners are all local style and take in local eateries which use 100% locally sourced products. Again, any inclusive meals consist of traditional fare so are heavy on vegetables and sustainably-sourced fish, light on meat and lack any dairy products.
PeopleThis tour includes visits to the following projects: COPE (Vientiane) and Mekong Blue Women’s Silk Weaving Centre (Stung Treng).
Entrance fees and/or donations help the following aid projects: COPE (Vientiane) and Mekong Blue Women’s Silk Weaving Centre (Stung Treng). Ticket fees at: Wat Phu, Konglor Cave, Preah Vihear, Khone Phapaeng Falls and numerous others help with restoration, conservation and local development as sell as providing revenue and employment.
On a general level, leaders and guides provide suitable, relevant information for our customers; to help them to gain a wider understanding of our style of tourism that focuses on learning; genuine interaction with the local communities, reciprocity and cultural exchange processes. To be aware of the potential impact of tourism on the local society, culture and environment, and to behave and dress appropriately with a respect and appreciation for local customs, mores and traditions and a respect for the ecology of areas visited. Our guides and leaders thus facilitate communication of our values to both travellers and local communities, educating them in sustainable tourism practices.