Responsible travel guidelines

Travel Authentic Asia operates our business with a strong impress of Responsible Travel. We believe that it is us, tour operator and travellers, somehow play an important role in building this world better. By traveling responsibly, we will contribute to the progress of tourism in general and at the same time improving our traveling experience. Responsible travel helps us to build a positive image in the eyes of local communities as well as support sustainable travel. It is not something a strange, abstract concept but is just our actions, behavior and appearance we conduct everyday during our traveling. With a litter effort you will make a great difference.
The following guidelines are standards of behaviour we expect from people on our trips.

Responsible travel guideline Asia

Be informed

  • Before embarking on the trip, learn something about the country you will visit and take time to understand the customs, norms and traditions. The more you know about it, the fewer faux pas and better your holiday. It is advisable to learn at least some basic rules that relates to your travel here. When in the country you have to abide by its laws, rules and social norms. If you have anything in doubt, please, ask your tour guide or group leader.
  • Try to learn some local language and practice them during your travel. This might not very much help in conversation but helps you to open the door of people's heart and to gain affection from them.
Responsible travel guideline Asia

Respect local culture and values

  • Respect local traditions and customs of people and the country you visit. Cultural, religious and political sensitivity is very important. For what you see and experience, do not be critical or arbitral. There are certain some things not the same your standards or quite different from your practice at home but that is what people here do and accept and that form the world. Please remember that you come to visit the country because it is different from your home. We hope that the difference is something material for you to have an interesting trip.

Social Etiquettes

  • In Asia or Southeast Asia in particular, showing affection in public is considered inappropriate. Respect local dress standards and dress appropriately. On beaches, nude bathing is not acceptable anywhere. In a village river, covering with a sarong are necessary for women. When in doubt about dress, look how the majority of locals are clothed.
  • When visit temple, pagoda or holy places in general, dressing honestly is required. Short and singlet or tank top dress are not accepted. Respectful and quiet are good manner. There are certain places where shoes and hat need to be removed. It is the same when you visit a local home and do not turn your back nor seat with your feet point toward the altar.
  • Concepts of privacy here can be very different to your home country. Asking about name, age, job, family and even marriage status is something common among local and that type of practice may be applied when they talk with you. Don't be affronted or consider it rude or an invasion of privacy. It's usually just genuine curiosity and friendliness.
  • Keep looking straight in to people's eyes when talking is the norm in Western practice but might be not here. In certain circumstances, keep looking into people's eyes, especially when talking to a senior is considered impertinent or impudent. Instead, they look a bit down and nod their head. So, if you for some time confront this situation, do not assume that people are shy or unreliable but it is just because of their tradition or habit.
  • Crooking your finger to call somebody is considered impolite and if you do it with a serious mien or manner then it most likely cause unsympathetic reaction. People generally use a subtle downward waving motion to summon someone.
  • Touching among the same sex in certain circumstances is not type of harassment but it is simply kind of showing sympathy or friendliness. You might see friends in the same sex hand in hand on streets. On the other hand, touching and showing affection between opposite sex in public is considered ridiculous and offensive to the people here.
  • Always seek permission before taking pictures of the people. Often just pointing at your camera will result in a bright smile and a nod. There may be time people do not want you to take their photo, just give them a smile and give up trying. Absolutely avoid paying for the right to take a photo as this erodes people's self-respect and encourage a begging mentality. If you promise to send people their photos always do it, otherwise don't promise.
Responsible travel guideline Asia
Responsible travel guideline Asia

Go green and reduce negative impacts

  • Help preserve natural environments. Protect wildlife and habitats and do not purchase products made from endangered plants or animals. Avoid contributing to illegal or detrimental trade in wildlife by not purchasing them then.
  • Respect cultural and natural resources. Activities should be conducted with respect for the artistic, archaeological and cultural heritage. Do not touch limestone formations or coral reefs underwater.
  • Leave only footprints and take with you only photographs and memories. Ensure that all trash and litter is packed out for appropriate disposal. Turn off the lights, fans and air-conditioners when you leave your room. Use water sparingly.
  • Please do not give money, sweets to the local people in the communities we visit or pay for the right to take photo as it create unequal relationships between host and visitor. Never buy anything from children or giving them money, sweet... They should be in school or playing, not selling or begging.
Responsilbe travel guideline Asia

Be flexible and easy going

  • Open your mind to other cultures and traditions. It will transform your experience and you will earn respect and be more readily welcomed by local people. Be Open your heart. The traveller who wishes to have a happy and successful trip should keep as calm, cheerful and friendly as humanly possible. Patience, courtesy and smiles are virtues that open many doors. Accept and enjoy offers of hospitality when you can - "please come and drink tea"! By taking the time to chat with the locals you will learn about their daily lives, culture and attitude to life, plus have a very enjoyable time and a few laughs. This is a chance for them to learn about your culture too.
  • When you do shopping, start bargaining with some idea of what you consider a fair price for the item to be. The correct price for an item is the price you agree to pay, that keeps both you and the seller happy. Be polite, patient, but firm in your bargaining. No-one ever has received a cheaper price through being rude or insensitive. Most importantly, enjoy the experience, and remember you're often only bargaining over only a couple of dollars - keep it in perspective.

Respect your traveler fellows

  • If you book for a group tour, then during your travel you will join and share with other group members. Group members may come from different countries and they have also their own cultural style, background or expectation. Sharing and respect are needed among group members. The more you join together, the more fun you have and the better experience it is. If you happen to share the room with someone, it is good chance to have a new friend. If any wrong thing happens, do not be fussy. Just tell our tour guide or group leader to help you and things should be dealt without making hurt to anyone. We seriously oppose any bad behavior, harassment or disrespect toward any member of the group and the one who cause the trouble will be excluded from the tour.
Responsible travel guideline Asia

Donation and support

  • During the tour, especially those of culture discovery and land crossing, you will most likely visit some of national heritages, temples, pagodas and kind of religious sites. There are commonly donation boxes there and you can put some small money in. This is not compulsory but your little donation will help to partly cover the conservation and maintenance of the site, giving more chance for the heritage to live and promoting our world of culture diversity.
  • There may be sometime you will happen to visit charity centers, non profit organizations, ophanages or/and natural, culture conservation centers. Except included in the tour cost, some donation from you will be highly appreciated as it will help to facilitate the living standard of the disadvantaged children/people and/or contribute to meaningfull works that is being carried out by the people there.
  • Contribute to economic and social development by using local services during your travel. Every single dollar you spend here will help to bring work and income to people. For the local people in the community you visit, you can support them by buying their products in fair price. Enjoy local food at small local restaurants. Local culinary delights are part of the joy of travelling! Some local products/handicraft for your use at home or giving as souvenirs to your family member, friends wll absolutely be wonderfull for all.
Responsible travel guideline Asia