See Asia Differently are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism throughout Asia. All our trips are designed with the local people and the culture of the country in mind. We try and help to make a difference wherever we can, by supporting various charitable organisations and making the conscious effort to be as green as we can; such as running our vehicles on Bio Diesel whenever we can and we are also constantly on the lookout for new eco-tourism ideas.
We strongly believe in doing the right thing and making the right ethical company decisions wherever possible, from employing the right people, educating our customers on Asia, choosing the correct suppliers and working towards improving the environment around us, to help promote and support responsible tourism.
Responsible Tourism is easier than you think
We aim to be the Asian leader in customer delivery. From the first point of contact, through building trust and crafting personal itineraries all the way through to looking after you on the ground. A representative will meet you when you arrive and sit down with you to go over your itinerary again. Pointing out things of interest, giving restaurant and activity recommendations and making any final changes where necessary.
We only recruit people who have the same core values as we do. We provide a safe working environment, a very good competitive Asian salary as well as favourable working hours. We provide internal training as well as sending our staff on external conferences and training programmes. We believe that if you look after your staff then they will be much better at looking after our guests.
We select who we work with very carefully and encourage them to adopt similar sustainable practices as we do. We always look to support good quality and reliable independent establishments. As it is extremely important to offer you quality, professional and consistent holidays of the highest standard possible. The quality of products in Asia varies immensely, so don’t always be drawn by the cheapest offer you receive.
This is a huge priority for us, especially in the changing world that we currently live in. The earth is at a tipping point and we have to make sure that we all do our bit to help out. Doing the right thing does not have to be hard work and it is easy to adapt various initiatives from recycling, reusing your water bottle when on tour, educate the people that you meet and encourage others to follow in your footsteps.
We have teamed up with the wonderful people at the Soulcial Trust as we aim to support the local communities as best we can in the places that you will visit. From forming this partnership we are able to take you to some fabulous social minded programs such as Green Clean Cambodia, Naga Earth, Kumae and Rehash Trash to name just a few. Ask us about the social initiatives we can offer before you travel; as giving back as you travel will give you such a remarkable feeling.
Hotel Health & Safety
All the hotels that we use have health and safety certificates from the Ministry of Tourism in their respected countries. We do not carry out our own health checks as this is a government requirement. However upon our own inspections if we are not 100% satisfied then we will no longer use that hotel.
Responsible Tourism Supporting Xlability
As part of our partnership with the Soucial Trust we are also supporters of ‘Xlability’ which is a disability awareness project that emphasizes the ability of disabled people through sport both in India and Cambodia. This project involves an educational program to help schools and organisations to understand more about disabilities in India and Cambodia and how to overcome these setbacks.
The creation of a wheelchair sports centre in Cambodia and a three-year international wheelchair sports exchange program with teams in India, France and Cambodia is the current priority of the initiative.
Check out this BBC Paralympic video of how we feel.
Ability NOT Disability – Yes you can!
Helpful Cultural Tips
Some helpful Cultural Tips of how to conduct yourself when traveling in Asia
Don’t leave your brains at home – Think about what you’re doing!
Dos and Don’ts at Religious Sites
- Be respectful when entering a temple as you would when entering any house of worship.
- Religious objects such as statues of Buddha, offerings, altars, may not be touched or moved.
- Shoes and hats must be removed before entering a temple, with the shoes being left outside.
- Shirts must be worn at all times with the exception of beaches and your hotel pool.
- One should not sit in a temple with the feet pointed toward a Buddhist statue. It is customary to sit facing the statue with the legs folded under you.
- You should not touch monks or their robes.
- Please do not bother monks during times of prayer. Always be respectful when taking photos of monks, especially during the morning alms procession.
- If a monk agrees to pose for a picture with you, please pose respectfully.
- Do not climb on, sit on, or lean against any Buddhist statue.
Responsible Shopping & Social Interaction
- It is recommended that you do not buy from children selling on the streets. The theory being that this encourages them to remain on the streets.
- It is strongly advised to not buy any artefacts. Many archaeological sites have been looted, thus robbing countries of their history and cultural heritage.
- It is recommended that you do buy new handicrafts produced by local organizations supporting local crafts people.
- It is also illegal to purchase any wildlife products from endangered species. After habitat destruction, the illegal trade in wildlife is the second largest threat to species extinction.
- When shopping in local markets and small shops, bargaining is the norm. However small shopkeepers make their living in these shops, so please bargain only if you really think the price is too high.
- We all want to have a clean environment. However, local people often seem oblivious to the pollution around them. But you can set an example by not throwing your trash around. It may not always be possible to find a trash can, so keep your trash with you until you can dispose of it properly.
- Plastic bags are a major cause of pollution. When shopping, put your purchases in your bag or backpack so you do not have to take plastic bags. If you do take plastic bags, try to reuse them.
- The head is the highest part of the body, and one should avoid touching people on the head.
- The feet are the lowest part of the body, and you should not put your feet up on furniture or other objects. You should not gesture with the feet, or point at people with your feet.
- Local people, especially women, will often crouch slightly when passing in front of someone. It is polite to slightly crouch or give a slight head-bob when walking in front of a person who is sitting down.
- Do not step over someone who is sitting on the floor.
- Public displays of affection (kissing & hugging) are frowned upon.
- Confrontations in Asian cultures are to be avoided. Try to remain calm, and do not raise your voice. Losing one’s cool is to lose face.
- Polite greetings are usually accompanied by a Sampath (palms together in front of one’s face with a slight bow). They may shake hands as well. However, hugging and kissing the air beside the face, common in western culture, is not done.
- In Asian culture it is not considered impolite to stare at someone, and it is not uncommon for the local people to stare at you in return, they are just as fascinated as you are.