Burma vacation, tailor made

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Departure information

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Burma vacation, tailor made

Environment

In a number of the destinations that we offer, tourism is not particularly well established, let alone the idea of responsible tourism, and in these we find it particularly important to work with our local teams and suppliers in order to raise the issue of sustainable travel and ensure that it is placed on the agenda and becomes a better known concept. This is particularly relevant to Burma, which has experienced a massive increase in tourism over the past few years. To ensure that our groups have minimal impact upon the environment we work with our local team to ensure that all guides and drivers receive extensive training on sustainability policies, from not dropping litter (which unfortunately is commonplace in Burma) to ensuring that natural habitats are respected when trekking or exploring the countryside. Where possible we will use local transport to minimise carbon emissions.

Many hotels in Burma lag behind the 'green thinking' adopted by accommodation in more established tourist destinations. Through our local team we work to ensure that the hotels we use understand responsible tourism policies and make moves towards implementing them - this involves basic principles such as reducing energy and water usage, that have long been practiced elsewhere but are not so established here, as well as encouraging proper methods of waste disposal.

Burma is a land with an incredible amount of unique wildlife; unfortunately very little of this receives effective protection. We strongly discourage our travelers from buying any wildlife associated souvenirs, which can be a problem in more remote parts of the country.

As part of the pre-departure information which all travelers receive, we include an extensive section on how to travel responsibly.

Community

Having been isolated for so long but now experiencing an influx of tourists, Burma is particularly susceptible to the negative influences that tourism can sometimes bring. We recognise that we have a special responsibility to ensure that the traditions that make it such a special place to visit are not eroded. Our travelers are briefed in depth about how to behave appropriately when visiting local communities, so as not to offend local customs. If travelers want to bring gifts for the communities we administer these via the guide who can make sure they are appropriately distributed.

Travelers are also given guidelines on appropriate behaviour concerning photography; too many times this can cause offence, especially in more remote communities, and we emphasise that this is a two way process and should only be carried out with the consent of people being photographed.

We actively encourage our travelers to eat in local restaurants; not only does this provide a much more enjoyable and authentic experience than hotel meals but it helps to spread the benefits from tourism among small businesses in the area. We make a point of not staying in any government owned hotels but instead prefer to use those hotels which are independently owned.

Reviews of Burma vacation, tailor made

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 07 Feb 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


It was a fantastic experience; our favourite parts were staying on Inle Lake, visiting the National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens near Mandalay and the Golden
Rock. We also spent a day on a cycle trip around Inle which was great!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


There is a lot to do and see and the tour was really busy. We only had 15 nights and little free time to digest the experience. I would recommend staying for longer - go to Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Pindaya, etc etc but extend the tour and stay longer in places other than the cities and visit the beaches - they look
amazing and we plan to go back and travel away from the main tourist areas. Its a very safe place to travel.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We tried to buy things directly from local people in markets etc. The tour was well planned and we stayed in small hotels etc with guides and drivers from a
local company. We did make some internal flights but that is inevitable if you want to cover the distances that we covered in the available time. The airlines
tend to be owned by 'cronies' but hopefully that was the only contribution we made to their vast fortunes. We also tipped staff directly and helped the guides
with English language when requested.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We are SO lucky to be able to travel here - it was a real delight. The locals were really friendly (and it felt genuine rather than chasing the tourist dollar!) It
was a very busy vacation with a good balance of culture, nature and sight-seeing. Had we known how busy we would be we would have added a beach break at
the end.

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