Tour Guide: Go Differently to Asia

“Don’t follow the crowd. . . Go Differently” is the motto of a sustainable, responsible tour company offering volunteering trips and “ethical holidays” to Bali, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Laos, and Thailand.

For example, an ethical holiday to the North Andaman in Thailand would include sleeping in a homestay, learning sustainable fishing practices, helping your hosts cook a traditional meal, and listening to tsunami-survivor stories from locals. The more adventurous can see the annual two-day Surin Elephant Festival in Thailand and volunteer for a week at the elephant mahout camp near Pattaya.

Go Differently explains its dedication to sustainable travel:

By keeping groups small, using knowledgeable local guides, local transport (from trains to elephants), local family-run hotels and homestays in rural villages, they ensure that as much of the price you pay as possible stays locally. Itineraries include major sites (who could go to India and miss the Taj Mahal?) but also take you off the beaten track to experience the true culture of the country you are visiting.

The company has also recently developed a “Vietnam Voluntourism Venture”—a tour so new, it’s not even on the website, yet. But IT’s got the scoop.

On the Vietnam trip, guests get a few days to take in Hanoi, including a traditional water puppet performance and visits to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the Hoa Lo Prison (“Hanoi Hilton”), the National Army Museum, and the Women’s Museum, which documents the “long-haired army,” a.k.a the female combatants during Vietnam’s wars. Before heading to the Vietnam Friendship Village, volunteers visit the Ethnology Museum to learn about Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups. Guests might also get to plant trees, paint classrooms at local schools, and even teach English. The rest of the 14-day adventure is spent exploring minority villages, participating in local culture (trying traditional sports like one-legged races), and even getting to volunteer at the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project, a Germany- and Vietnam-based volunteer group helping to protect the langur monkeys.

We hope more information about the Vietnam trip will be released soon, so be sure to check the Go Differently website frequently.

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Photo: Nikki Bond, Go Differently

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