We are conscious of the economic welfare of local communities and take as much opportunity as possible to buy local crafts and produce (on at least 6 days of the tour). One of our clients’ favourite locations to do this is the famous floating market on Inle Lake where locals gather with their colourful boats to sell fresh produce and traditional wares. There is a five day cycle for the floating market that literally circles the lake; here people come to sell their traditional wares early in the morning and return to their village for the afternoon. Depending on its current location we will be able to visit it, but if not, there are plenty other places to support cottage industries along the way e.g. seeing how tofu is made and sold with yellow split peas when we pass through Kaung Daing.
We are keen to adhere to the National League for Democracy’s call in 2011 for responsible tourism in Myanmar. On this trip we ensure all hotels used are non-regime and we spend each evening in a small restaurant. The advantage of paying locally for a meal is that you ensure the money goes directly to those who are working hard to make our visits welcome.
A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise that they are paid and treated fairly. Our leaders and guides have been trained in responsible travel and actively encourage our suppliers, drivers, and other members of our team to respect the environment, protect the culture and support the local economy. By using local leaders, we also hope they educate their own communities to help them maximise from our visit.
In Kalaw we are accompanied by local guides from the Rural Development Society (R.D.S) as we explore the area on foot. The tracks we use are centuries old trading routes used by the Pa-O, Palaung and Danu ethnic minorities for moving their cattle and harvesting their crops, and afford spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. The R.D.S. was founded by several chiefs from ethnic tribes in the surroundings of Kalaw and helps fund wells, filtering systems and schools in many remote villages. As our walk is run in conjunction with the R.D.S we help to support those villages that are not reached by other companies and will have a warm welcome from the local villagers.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.