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Responsible Trips in South-east Asia

28 February 2021

Responsible Trips in South-east Asia

If you’re looking to maximise the positive impacts of your travels on the environment and local communities of the South-east Asian destinations you visit, you’ve come to the right place. Travel Counsellors works with hand-picked partners in South-east Asia to offer fully bespoke itineraries including the major sites, half- and full-day experiences and optional add-ons that take you off the beaten track, as well as the best accommodation for your budget and eco-friendly transport such as bike, boat and train.

 

A Sample Cambodia 7-day Tour: Sustainable Highlights

Visit to Artisans Angkor, which supports Cambodian arts and crafts, and helps young people find work in their local villages, to see wood and stone carvings, lacquering, gilding, and silk paintings being created. Dining for a Cause in Siem Reap, discovering local cuisine in city restaurants that support local social missions, causes and charities.

Trip to the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), the first nature conservation project established in Cambodia, seeing various endangered species including a squeaky otter, hooting gibbons and miniature tortoises, plus its bee-keeping project. Tour of the Cambodian Land Mine Museum, an educational centre and social enterprise sponsoring children whose lives have been impacted by these weapons of war. A performance of Phare, the Cambodian Circus, set up in Battambang in 1994 by young returnee Cambodians from the refugee camps, who have been taught to use art as a means of coping with trauma. Day at the UNESCO World Heritage listed Angkor Wat, including forested areas of its Archaeological Park exclusively visited by locals living and working in Angkor. Evening at Bambu Stage, a cultural venue reviving traditional arts, to enjoy shadow puppetry about Cambodia’s history and popular culture; rare photographic images, clips from old movies and live acoustic music; and Angkor Temples Decoded, with storytelling, live drawing, scale models, video projections and music. Private boat trip across Tonlé Sap lake, Cambodia’s heart, seeing traditional ways of life in its floating villages and flooded forests. Bike tour of local villages run by a social enterprise, with stop-offs to learn how locals produce rice paper, prahoc (fish paste), grolan (sticky rice stuffed in bamboo) and other native treats. Ride on the Bamboo Train, set up by the villagers to transport goods and people after regular trains were halted. Rice-milling and betel-leaf ritual displays at the Ancient House, the oldest standing Khmer timber house in Wat Kor Village, where the lady of the house will give you a guided tour. Visit to serene Phnom Sampeau, home to to the notorious killing caves of Cambodia’s troubled past.

 

The chance to meet friendly locals in the rural Mekong Delta, spending a day living under their roof, cooking together and learning new skills such as coconut-mat weaving.

A homestay on a river island in the Mekong Delta, helping the hosts prepare traditional dishes, travelling by boat and on foot through the meandering waterways to witness local artisans at work, and browsing in local markets.

Cycling the backroads of Mekong villages, meeting with locals and getting hands-on making coconut products – a long-standing local cottage industry.

 

Good to Know

Travel Counsellors’ partnership with in-destination travel experts and locals throughout South-east Asia gives access to unprecedented local experiences that can be combined any which way you like for the ultimate bespoke itinerary.

Optional Add-ons: Short Side-trips to Neighbouring Vietnam

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