Vietnam walking holiday with Cambodia
Description of Vietnam walking holiday with Cambodia
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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.
PlanetThe way we operate this trip helps to minimise the purchase and waste caused by single-use plastic as much as we can. Before travelling, we advise customers to take reusable water bottles, preferably with an inbuilt filter, and reusable lunch boxes such as tupperware to use for picnic lunches whilst trekking and journeying on the overnight train. Our local Vietnamese and Cambodian partners also carry 20 litre water containers on their buses which are refilled throughout the trip and from where customers are encouraged to refill their personal water bottles.
On this walking trip we explore Vietnam's cities, villages and countryside on foot, thus minimising the carbon footprint of our travel. In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, which are becoming increasingly congested, although it's a small contribution, by exploring these cities on walking rather than bus tours, we avoid adding to the problem. We also choose to take the overnight train between Hanoi and Hue rather than fly, allowing you to take in more of the country with a lower carbon-emission.
In the Pu Luong Nature Reserve in northern Vietnam we stay at the Pu Luong Retreat in a traditional stilt house of the Thai tribal minority who live in this region. The Retreat was established in 2010 in an agreement with its original owner, 82 year old Tran, that has preserved the natural landscape of the plot and provided employment for her family. The new cottages were constructed by local Thai craftsmen and builders in the traditional style in blending with the landscape. The interiors were furnished using locally made decor and furniture. For example the ceiling lamps are made from fishing cages and all tables , chairs and lamps were made by a local man nicknamed the 'Bamboo Master'. Self-taught, he creates many beautiful objects and can put his hand to making almost anything out of bamboo. By staying at the retreat we are helping to maintain these traditional building skills and crafts as well as bringing employment opportunities and income into an economically deprived part of rural Vietnam.
As a travel company we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key, and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage.
PeopleWe have worked with our in-country partners in Vietnam and Cambodia for over 25 years, a partnership that has seen tourism in both countries grow and mature along with our own businesses. During this time we worked together with them to switch from sending UK based tour leaders with our groups to using local Vietnamese and Cambodian tour leaders. We helped to recruit and train a team of local tour leaders that is now over 45 strong. One of the reasons we prefer to use local tour leaders is that they can give a real insight into the culture and history of their home country by sharing their own stories and experiences. In addition we are helping to support them financially through employment, as well as the other members of staff of our in-country partners.
This trip spends one night in a local homestay on the island of Binh Hoa Phoc in the Mekong Delta. This is a fantastic opportunity to interact with local people and also get to know and understand more about their customs, traditions and skills. Our visit also provide financial support to this rural community. We have been sending customers to the homestay for many years and over time seen the facilities improve as the family have been able to plough back their profits into upgrading its structure and interiors.
There are many opportunities to support local craftspeople and cottage industries on this trip through purchasing their wares. As many of our walks take us away from the main tourist centres into villages traditionally associated with these crafts, we are able to spread the economic benefit of our visit into more rural areas. Good examples of this are the villages we walk through in the countryside outside of Hue. Cottage industries we come across in these villages include silk painting, bronze casting and incense stick production. In the Mekong Delta we visit coconut candy and rice paper producers. From Phnom Penh we run an optional trip to Koh Dach which translates as Silk Island. This island is in the middle of the Mekong river and the majority of its inhabitants earn their living through silk weaving, pottery making, woodcarving, pottery and painting.
As a company we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of the UK travel industry body AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.