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Can you recommend eco-tourism or wildlife trips in SE Asia?

Can you recommend eco-tourism or wildlife trips in SE Asia?

May 16th, 2009, 12:52 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2009
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Can you recommend eco-tourism or wildlife trips in SE Asia?

Hi There!

Has anyone on the forum gone on an eco-tourism or wildlife tour in Thailand, Cambodia, or Laos? If so, are there any tour operators you would recommend I check out?

Here is some background on me: I am an MBA student who is about to travel to SE Asia to work on developing business models for potential eco-tourism programs in Laos. The project is part of a pro-bono program where UC Berkeley MBA students donate their business expertise to international organizations. During part of the trip we will be checking out existing tours to learn from their success stories. I am hoping that the users of this forum can guide me to some of the better tours to visit and learn from while I am there!

Also, if anyone is interested in helping my team further, we are collecting information on international travel preferences at the following link:
http://berkeley.qualtrics.com/SE?SID...mIw4&SVID=Prod

Thanks for your help!

Lauren
lauren_ucb is offline  
May 16th, 2009, 05:12 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,249
http://www.theboatlanding.laopdr.com/ is one of the best known and longest running "eco" operators in Laos. I have stayed there and is is a very nice place but not being an eco expert, I cannot vouch for its eco credentials.

http://www.greendiscoverylaos.com/ is another high profile operator.

Eco tour operators are heavily reperesented in Luang Prabang Main St although I severely doubt whether there is anything much eco about many of the operations. We used Tiger Trails for one trip in Laos but abandoned it halfway through because they were so bad.

Good luck with the project it sounds like a lot of fun! If you need any "mystery shoppers" to do some testing , i am sure you will get many volunteers from this forum!!
crellston is offline  
May 16th, 2009, 06:46 AM
  #3  
 
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The Boat Landing in Luang NamTha and Green Discovery are connected but I'm not sure what the precise situation is. I have trekked with Green Discovery and was impressed. I have heard the criticism that they are more expensive than other operators but my guide told me that they pay their guides and the minority villages where you stay more than the others.

I feel Green Discovery would be well worth a visit. My opinions are probably subjective though.

Good luck with your research.
silverwool is offline  
May 16th, 2009, 03:34 PM
  #4  
 
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This group may be somewhat more culturally focused than strictly eco, though they are inter-related. Their approach is intellectual with a good amount of spiritualism thrown in. The founders are an American theater professor (who is also the foremost expert on Balinese masked drama) and a Balinese dancer.

http://www.danutours.com/
marmot is offline  
May 16th, 2009, 11:22 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Haven't had any direct personal experience with these, but you might wish to check them out:

In Thailand: http://www.track-of-the-tiger.com/

In Cambodia: http://www.pepyride.org/
MichaelBKK is offline  
May 17th, 2009, 01:17 AM
  #6  
 
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Hi Lauren:

I can't help thinking that you are a piece of spam. Some cyber sixth sense, I guess. Forgive my scepticism. Please do pop in and tell me I'm wrong. I hate to see well-meaning people wasting their time.

Could you just explain what berkerly.qualtrics.com has to do with UC Berkeley?

What does 'work on developing business models for potential eco-tourism programs in Laos' actually mean?

Who are these 'international organizations' you are 'donating [your] business expertise' to?

And exactly what business expertise would that be?
dogster is offline  
May 18th, 2009, 12:37 AM
  #7  
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Join Date: May 2009
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Thanks to everyone for your great feedback! I will definitely research all of these programs while still here in the U.S. and hopefully I will have a chance to check out some of them in Laos.

To the skeptical responder (and anyone else who is curious), here are some additional details:
- Qualtrics is online survey software. The Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley is a Qualtrics client, and as such I have chosen to use that tool for my survey.
- I am participating in a program called International Business Development through the Haas School. You can learn more about the program at the following link. And if you click on clients and you can actually see mine, Wildlife Conservation Society: http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/HaasGlobal/IBDindex.htm
- My business experience includes the first year of my MBA studies, my 4 years working for a leading management consulting firm, and my 2 years as a business analyst for a major US retail company.
- My client for this engagement is Wildlife Conservation Society. A previous MBA team did similar work in Gabon. Here is a link:
http://www.wcs.org/353624/wcs_ecotourismgabon
lauren_ucb is offline  
May 18th, 2009, 03:09 AM
  #8  
 
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Fair 'nuff, Lauren. Good luck.
dogster is offline  
May 18th, 2009, 06:29 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,072
Have you tried posting on the Thorn Tree site/
also Tripadvisor and Thai visa sites?

THere are potentially many more "eco-travellers" on THorn Tree.

I have serious concerns about "eco-tourism in S.E. Asia - I believe the term is being appropriated by unscrupulous businesses to increase profit
khunwilko is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 07:36 AM
  #10  
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Join Date: May 2009
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Hi Khunwilko-

I agree that there are some companies mis-using the term. It seems like there are other organizations with good intentions but poor execution. So we are trying to learn from best practices of the best program and learn from the mistakes of the others. I've already posted on TripAdvisor, but I will definitely check out Thorn Tree and Thai visa. Thank you for the recommendation!

Lauren
lauren_ucb is offline  

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