Getting to know them

by
26 January 2018

Spending time with local people is a rewarding way to get to the heart of a country, says Saul Greenland, from Responsible Travel

Tasmanian Odyssey

Wineglass Bay, in the Freycinet National Park, is accessible via one of Australia’s greatest road trips

Wineglass Bay, in the Freycinet National Park, is accessible via one of Australia’s greatest road trips

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Mongolian cultural holiday and Naadam Festival

FAMILY home-stays are often the only way to reach remote regions that regular tourists miss. This holiday relies on homes and traditional ger camps (traditional round felt tents) for accommodation. Here, you can meet people — many of them still traditional nomadic herders — in the middle Gobi, central high steppe, and the Khangai Mountains. Round off your trip by visiting the Naadam celebration, which forms a main part of the calendar for most rural Mongolians. Wrestling, horse racing, and archery are key events at the festival.

More details: To find out more about this particular holiday, click here. Priced from £1856 per person for 17 days, excluding flights.

 

B&B self-drive tour of Tasmania, meet the locals

TASMANIA is Australia’s wilderness island-state, and has some of the most stunning landscapes in the Southern Hemisphere. Self-driving means that you can discover its waterfalls, lakes, and pockets of rainforest, but this tour helps you to meet its people, too. Spend your evenings off the tourist trail, staying at farms, family run B&Bs, and wilderness cabins, tucking into home-cooked meals and meeting resident Tasmanians, many of whom are involved with wildlife and environmental conservation.

More details: To find out more about this particular holiday click here. Priced from approx £556 for seven days, excluding flights.

Eternal LandscapesA ger camp in the Khangai Mountains

Tribal and rural experience of India

ARUNACHAL Pradesh is the north-easternmost state of India: a densely forested region where numerous tribal groups live. This immersive holiday is the chance to participate in their everyday lives: eating with them, visiting homes and markets, and observing (or even taking part) in traditional dances and festivals. It is an insight into a side of India that few travellers experience, and this tour provides vital income for each tribe, which helps them to preserve their unique culture.

More details: To find out more about this particular holiday click here. Priced from £1050 for 12 days, excluding flights.

 

Cuban casa holiday

STAYING in Cuba’s unique casas particulares — private homes that are open to travellers — is the way to get beneath the skin of this island nation, away from the tourist hotspots. Each casa is unique, but they all offer wonderful home cooking, good value, and the opportunity to learn about Cuban life from your host. This tour takes you from iconic Havana, through the tobacco and coffee fields around Viñales, to Trinidad and Varadero. Local guides take you behind the facades of Cuba’s towns to visit schools, fruit stores and cigar factories, unearthing the real Cuba many tourists miss.

More details: To find out more about this particular holiday click here. From £1328 for 15 days, excluding flights.

 

Costa Rica homestays

ON THIS holiday to Costa Rica you can stay with one of seven families in the Talamanca mountain range. Two of the homestay hosts have children; so travelling families have the chance to make new friends, and others have wonderful orchid gardens, or run coffee or dairy farms. All the families continue lifelong traditions, such as growing and cooking their own beans and corn, hand-making tortillas, and picking coffee. Practise Spanish, enjoy three home-cooked meals a day, and a host of fun activities — including a coffee-farm visit, guided hikes, cooking classes, and horse riding.

More details: To find out more about this particular holiday click here. Priced from approx £75 per person, per night.

Undiscovered DestinationsPerched on a hill that rises from the Gangtey valley, the Gangtey Monastery is the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. The surrounding village is inhabited mainly by the families of the Gomchens (lay monks) who take care of the monastery

Bhutan holiday, culture and festivals

BHUTAN’s living traditions and rich religious heritage are the focus of this holiday. It takes you to some of the most remote parts of the Himalayas, accompanied by a guide, visiting monasteries, temples, and palaces, including the spectacular Tiger’s Nest Monastery, and seeing villages where people follow a traditional Bhutanese lifestyle. A highlight is the chance to tuck into local food and enjoy the ceremonies and dances at celebrations including the Tamshing Phala Festival in Bumthang, and the annual Black-necked Crane festival in Gangtey.

More details: To find out more about this particular holiday click here. From £2495 for 13 days, excluding flights.

 

Cambodia small-group tour, a food adventure

EATING, cooking, and shopping for food is a great way to meet and mingle with people. This small-group foodie adventure around Cambodia takes you to the country’s heart, via its stomach. Enjoy flavours and favourite dishes from the capital, Phnom Penh, to Siem Reap and coastal Kampot. Cambodia’s unique and ancient cuisine is different from neighbouring Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos: pepper is preferred over chilli, and fresh herbs and fish are featured, as well as French staples such as baguettes. Meet the people in markets, on buses, and on a homestay in Banteay Chhmar (in a traditional Khmer house on stilts). Take cooking classes, and tour a market with a local chef, learning about the building blocks of Khmer cuisine.

More details: To find out more about this particular holiday click here. From £772 for nine days, excluding flights.

 

Ethiopia holiday, tailor made

THIS holiday, run by a small Ethiopian-based travel company, unlocks this little-visited country. Guides at each destination are on hand to help travellers to understand the monuments, festivals, and cultural and tribal ceremonies, and to host visits to charities, too. In the north, the medieval rock-hewn churches of Tigray and Lalibela, and the 16th-century castles of Gondar, are highlights, while a journey to the Omo Valley, in the south, brings the chance to meet tribes living in remote villages.

More details: To find out more about this particular holiday click here. From £2483 for 17 days, excluding flights.

 

Responsible Travel is an online travel directory of 5000 holidays from over 375 suppliers that take environmental impact and local benefit into account. To find out more about any of the trips call 01273 823 700 or visit www.responsibletravel.com.

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