To continue our ongoing work in travelling responsibly, we always focus on tailoring experiences for sustainable tourism...
To continue our ongoing work in travelling responsibly, we always focus on tailoring experiences for sustainable tourism. Responsible travel is much easier than it seems, with current industry trends focused on community development, cultural preservation and wildlife protection. This is aided by the fact that visitors are seeking out an exploration of the destination that is authentic and different, things that lend perfectly to a sustainable and responsible framework.
Laos is an ideal destination to visit as a responsible traveller!
Laos, although a country which is less busy than its neighbors, it is home to a relaxing culture that has faced a great deal of hardships throughout its history. Nine years of covert bombing operations, one of the region's poorest economies and relative lack of infrastructural development, but this humble country is a beautiful place to visit, with verdant national parks, remote minority communities, and charming attractions. It also can benefit immensely from sustainable tourism incentives, which are relatively easy to support. Here are 6 ways to support responsible travel in Laos.
1. Responsible Thinking
Laos is a totally land-locked country which is strikingly different from its neighbors. Most goods are imported driving up the cost of general services and items compared to Vietnam and Thailand. There are still a great deal of unexploded bombs left from the Secret War in remote areas, and threats to its expansive natural ecosystems and isolated minority communities stemming from resource development on behalf of foreign investment.
Therefore, there are a lot of challenges facing Laos. If you have the chance to visit it, it’s very necessary to spend a bit of time soaking up about its history for a better context of how people live there now.
2. Responsible Behavior
It is recommended to use your knowledge to contextualize your choices during your visit such as bringing a reusable water bottle for your journey, contributing directly to local economies and going off the beaten track to truly interact with your destination. Be conservative in your apparel, do not touch anyone’s head and respect monks.
On a more general note, you will notice that Laos has an almost laid back attitude. This peaceful country has a contemplative and calm pace, making it a rather tranquil destination. However, it’s important to keep this cultural climate in mind if your transfer is running late or a vendor is taking a long time to decide on a barter with you. Patience and ease go a long way in Laos.
3. Responsible Spending
As mentioned above, it is best to spend locally. Spending the money for the dinner at a local restaurant or a feast of barbecue at the night market is welcomed, rather doing that at your hotel. When you purchase something, be sure to check whether it was made by a member of a minority community such as Hmong people or that it does not contain any ivory or related endangered animal by-products.
Generally, every LAK spent should jump directly into the pockets of the local community so that you can directly support this country’s local economy and encourage investment in these smaller regions.
4. Responsible Stay
Whatever your style of travel is, finding accommodation that gives back to the community in Laos is easier than you think.
There is a great deal of choices that suits your budget well. For the adventurous, Tree Top Explorer Eco Lodge offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to sleep in the rainforest canopy of Dong Hua Sao National Park. Associated with materials sourced in the forest, it is powered by a hydro turbine at a nearby waterfall, even your meals are locally sourced. Not only do you get to trek in the jungle and sleep in the trees, your main way to get around is soaring through the air like a gibbon on a zip line! Homestays in remote areas are also a great option for responsible travellers.
5. Responsible Explore
Laos is abundant of off the beaten track places. With many remote and rural corners, Laos offers perfect opportunities to explore beyond the highlights. The further you go, the more you can discover of its natural beauty while impacting communities for the better. With resource development being one of the main incentives of Laos’ economy, every LAK spent on the traveller’s journey promotes sustainable tourism.
Visiting remote minority communities in their natural splendour offers alternative employment opportunities to individuals without many options. However, these incentives need to be responsible for locals and travellers alike.
6. Responsible Wildlife Interactions
Laos boasts for its verdant rainforests, towering karsts, roaming hills and peaceful rivers. It’s also home to some of the most diverse wildlife interactions of the region. There are still risks posed in resource development and illegal wildlife trade for animal by-products, however most travellers will not support this accidentally. Laos is known as Lane Xang, which means the Kingdom of a Million Elephants, and while that number of elephents has decreased, there are still quite a few roaming the jungle.
As a visitor, we encourage you to interact with them in a responsible way, meaning not riding the elephants
and connecting with them in a positive environment.
You can read more about our policy to travel right in Laos as well as sustain-ably support its local communities.