Authentic travel experiences that give back

More and more of us are seeking holidays that give us a truly authentic experience of our destination, in doing so directly benefitting local communities. The following are just some of the ways you can access these kind of experiences; ask your Travel Counsellor about the whole array of others that we can offer.

Authentic travel experiences that give back


Trekking Bali's Hidden Rice Terraces

Part of the fee you pay for this extraordinary experience goes to local farmers. As well as seeing some of Bali’s famous fields that cascade down the hillsides, growing everything from rice to tomatoes, and discovering the ancient subak irrigation system that enables them to function as their own unique ecosystem, you’ll see a  subak  agricultural temple not usually visited by tourists and tour a local food market. The guide is English-speaking but local, meaning you’ll get a true insight into this fascinating practice. Visitors come away with a traditional handcrafted gift: an udeng (square headcloth) for men and a sash for women.

A Community Projects Tour, Cuba

Introducing visitors to local cultures and encouraging them to interact with local life, this Havana tour looks at the way locals have often used art as a way to express both their hopes and their frustrations and also as a way of improving their local communities and breathing life into neighbourhoods. Again, an English-speaking but local guide will help you really get under the skin of this city and the theme.

Otentik Discovery, Mauritius

This free app curated by the island’s Attitude group is an interactive way of getting off the beaten track and seeing the destination with fresh eyes, with options including a walking street food tour of the vibrant capital Port Louis with its food market and colourful Chinatown. Along the way you’ll sample the likes of alouda (a traditional drink of basil seeds and agar agar), roti rolls, and Chinese cakes and sweets while meeting the locals who make and sell them.

The app will also help you discover some of the island’s loveliest but least-known landscapes on foot, by bike or by moped. Other Otentik experiences include having dinner with a local family, helping out in the kitchen before sampling fantastic home cooking. 

A Bangkok City Safari

Carbon friendly, socially beneficial and fostering cultural interaction, this tour takes you in search of Bangkok’s highlights while travelling like a local, by public boat, skytrain and tuk-tuks. You’ll discover the Grand Palace, iconic Wat Pho temple and Lumpini Park, stopping in the latter to watch monks’ alms bowls being produced by artisans and to explore Jim Thompson House, which delves into the history of the American silk merchant.

The full-day tour takes you beyond the crowded streets for a closer look at the traditions and lifestyles of Thai people, from school kids to business people as they commute to school or work. You’ll also glean an up-close look at the ways of life of locals living alongside the canals, in houses precariously balanced on stilts.

 A Healthy Cooking Class at an Organic Farm in Vietnam

Benefiting locals, culturally interactive and carbon-friendly, this experience takes you to an eco-friendly farm (part of a green agriculture project to educate local farmers) just outside Hoi An to pick the ingredients for your private cooking class. The passionate team will tell you how the farm protects the local soil, before your lesson in making five aromatic, nutritionally balanced dishes, grinding rice flour, creating rice paper with copper vessels and creating your own organic juice recipe. Once you’re done, you’ll sit down to feast on your delicious, authentic local cuisine.

To book your holiday including one of these authentic local experiences, or for inspiration for other destinations, call your Travel Counsellor today.

Experience the best of New England

20 May 2024

Combining history, culture, and mountains, our New England self-drive holiday is an amazing trip, perfect for all year round, and when you choose to go will depend on what you want to experience. May and June are the best spring months, with gorgeous blooms and reliable warmer, drier weather – perfect for hiking. Summer is all about New England's rocky and white-sand beaches, while autumn is the most popular time because of the famous ‘fall foliage’. In winter, you can ski in Stowe and enjoy lots of winter activities in Mount Washington.

Explore the captivating country of Malaysia

20 May 2024

If, like us, you’ve been glued to your screen watching Race Across the World Season 4,  you may have been inspired by Episode 6,  when contestants had to make a 2000km journey ahead across Malaysia – a spellbinding part of South-east Asia that many travellers don’t know a huge amount about. We’ve showcased a couple of Malaysia tours that will really give you an idea about the fantastic sights and experiences that await you there.

Explore extraordinary lands from Canada to India with APT

20 May 2024

Celebrating an incredible 95 years in operation, family-owned brand APT is an absolute go-to for touring and cruising all over the world. Whether you choose one of its bestsellers such as the following two Canada and Canada–Alaska itineraries, or if you try out one of its exciting new Small Group Journeys, such as those in north and south India. APT is focused on meaningful connections with local culture, food, and people, travelling in small groups made up of no more than 16, and staying in intimate, characterful accommodation.