This is a 'small group adventure' - you will be sharing your experiences with like minded people. Group sizes are limited to a maximum of 11 persons, a genuinely small group. Experience has taught us that smaller groups are less intrusive to local cultures and environments whilst allowing more interaction with local people. Furthermore it means greater flexibility on a day to day basis and on a social level it proves to be fun. Whether you are traveling alone or with friends/family its good value, and a great way to meet new people! The intention is to travel as a group of friends rather than a typical tour group, so don't expect stick-on name badges or any following the umbrella.
Responsible tourism: Northern Thailand and Laos cultural vacation
We instigated the visits to a Lanten tribal village close to Huay Xai in N.W. Laos with the assistance of the local schoolteacher who has since set up a small village co-operative stall where local handicrafts can be sold as souvenirs. This has led to an increase of interest amongst the villagers in traditional handicrafts as well as the locally produced mulberry paper the production of which had almost disappeared.
Depending on local conditions, this trip also includes a home stay in the Hmong village of Loung Lao near Luang Prabang. As well as educating our passenger to the ways of life of another lesser-known people of the region, it provides income directly to the owners of the houses in which we stay as well as indirectly for other members of the village. Passengers are encouraged to make purchases from the village shops and from individual crafts-people. Thus completely cutting out 'the middle man' and providing fair trade opportunities for both the vendor and the buyer. On these visits we also take supplies to the village such as equipment for the school and vegetable seeds.
Information: 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. 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 travelers and local communities, educating them in sustainable tourism practices
Group sizes: By limiting groups to small sizes we aim to reduce the impact on both local communities and the environment whilst allowing for greater genuine 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.
Destinations: We combine the well known tourist sites with many off-the-beaten-track, rarely visited destinations thus diverting tourist revenue and contact with responsible tourism into areas not usually benefiting as well as providing a more authentic view of the region visited.
The tour operator is winner of the 2012 Tourism Authority of Thailand Green Excellence Award for Nature, Marine and Heritage Tourism, the 2010 Tourism Authority of Thailand Green Excellence Award for Best tour operator for Local Communities and the 2008 Tourism Authority of Thailand Green Excellence Award for Best Specialist Tour Operator.
Local products: As much as possible we aim to employ local personnel, (guides, drivers, agents etc), use local restaurants and smaller privately owned accommodation. Customers are also encouraged to buy and use local products and services as much as possible in order to support and stimulate the local economy.
Instruction: 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.
Reviews of Northern Thailand and Laos cultural vacation
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
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 15 Feb 2014 by Gillian Brassington
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Visiting Luang Prabang
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Travel light as there are a lot of one night stays
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Certainly benefited local people because we ate in local restaurants
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?