PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE PROJECTS;
RUKHA - COMMUNITY TOURISM PROJECT - We are a key stake holder in a community based tourism project in Bhutan. We are assisting in the establishment
of a small scale tourism project in the village of Rukha. Please contact email@example.com to find out more details about this project.
LODEN FOUNDATION - We currently sponsor two students to attend high school in Bhutan. We have committed to sponsoring them over the next 5 years.
MIDWIFERY PROJECT - We are hoping to facilitate for Maaike Carter and Frances Barnsley to travel to Bhutan to hold workshops at the midwifery college in Thimphu.
BHUTAN FOUNDATION - We have funded the training of two ambulance drivers in Bhutan.
WHAT OUR GUESTS CAN DO;
BEFORE YOU GO
BE PREPARED - Before you head off on your trip, we provide a suggested reading list and some useful phrases. Any language that you can pickup before and
during your journey will enhance your experience and enrich your encounters with locals.
ON YOUR TRIP
Witnessing first hand a way of life so different to our own is an extraordinary experience and a precious opportunity. In doing so, we feel sure that
you will have no wish to disturb or be an impact on the lives of the Bhutanese that you will visit.
- To this end, we ask you to;
- be respectful of
- always ask permission before taking photographs and respect people’s wishes if they’d prefer you not to. Whenever possible, it is good to take a postal address and
follow through with sending the photographs back to the family.
- be complimentary about any food or drink you try. Do try everything offered if you possibly can.
- be patient. Sometimes things can happen at a slower pace in Bhutan than westerners are used to.
- dress appropriately covering your ankles and arms when visiting monasteries
- Gifts - Please do not give money, pens, or sweets to the local people in the communities we visit, as it can promote a 'begging culture'. It can create unequal
relationships between tourist and visitor, with tourists being seen as purely 'givers', and it can also strip self esteem away from people when they get money for
simply being poor rather than having to solve their own issues of poverty through community action. With sweets - local people may not have access to dentists, nor
be able to afford them. Instead, please read the “Suggested Gift” section of our “Practicalities” document.
- Shop Locally - Why not do as much of your Christmas shopping as possible in rural Bhutan! Any money you spend on artifacts in the countryside can have an
impact on problematic rural-urban migration! Please also consider shopping ethically and not buying:
- items derived from endangered species e.g. fur, ivory
- items where animals may have been treated cruelly
- Use of water - Although it may not seem it, water can be a scarce commodity especially in the countryside where is has to be carried from the valley
bottom, or brought in by truck or horse. keep your use of water to a minimum at all times in the countryside. Going without showers and running water in toilets is to
be expected in some areas.
- hot water supply may be erratic – please be understanding of the difficulty involved in providing this service and use water conservatively
- bring your own water bottle - and we will provide a handmade bottle holder. Our vehicles normally have a 60 litre bottle of drinking water from which you can refill
throughout your journey. Last year we estimate that we prevented 6000 plastic bottles being used and thrown away.
- Biodegradable products - Please bring and use biodegradable soap/washing products with you.
- Fires - Please do not to burn anything other than wood/dung on the stoves in the gers.
- Respecting animal life/wildlife - We ask you to not;
- feed animals unless specifically asked to do so by the owner
- pursue or touch animals as they may get distressed
- pick flowers. Tour Leaders and local guides will provide a reference book where possible so clients can identify plants/birds in situ.
- touch or move fossils
- stroke dogs. Dogs outside/in gers can be aggressive. Stray dogs can carry rabies.
- Electrical equipment - Turn off all electrical equipment and lights when not in use.
- Litter and reduction of waste - Litter is a relatively new problem in Bhutan that comes with the wider availability of pre-packaged goods. The Tourist Authority of
Bhutan ensures that all guides are environmentally aware. There are litter laws in Thimpu, enforcing fines on those who drop litter. We can help by minimising our use
of resources in order to generate less waste and ensuring that waste is disposed of in the most effective way possible. We encourage you to:
- avoid accepting plastic bags for everything in shops and reuse the ones you have (for litter collection etc).
- reduce the amount of packaging taken on tour as it is more effectively disposed of at home than on tour
- on camping tours, where possible, to use reusable food containers rather than foil or plastic bags and avoid using disposable plates, cups and cutlery
- dispose of litter responsibly
- compost food waste – if possible. Alternatively it should be carried until it can be put in a rubbish bin.
- take a plastic bag and collect a few pieces of litter and dispose of it at the end of the walk, leaving the environment cleaner than when you found it! We often
initiate clean up walks. Your help on these is much appreciated.
- If camping please be sure to dig a deep latrine far from any water sources - and cover after use.
- Visiting ancient/sacred sites - We ask you to:
- avoid climbing on ruins
- avoid touching religious objects
- walk around Buddhist monuments and temples in a clockwise direction.
As it is, we donate a percentage of each of our journeys to our Sustainable Projects Fund, so by booking with us you are already making a contribution. We invite our clients
to make any additional donations to the fund or to any of the local charities that we have identified to be doing good things. You can send a cheque payable to the Sustainable
Projects Fund to our UK office or transfer money to Sustainable Projects Fund, IBAN GB67MIDL40171971454757, BIC MIDLGB2125W. Sort:40-17-19. Account 71454757.
If you have time and skills to share with one of our projects, please let Kath know whilst your itinerary is being finalised.