Meet & Greet the Locals in Myanmar is Focus of Community-based Tourism
Community-based tourism is a growing trend in Myanmar, especially since the country opened up over the last four years. Gone are the days when travelers had to follow itineraries that would avoid close interaction with the local population.
Travelers can now interact more freely with locals in their homes and villages. Since Myanmar’s population has not had much exposure to foreign travelers, other than perhaps their Thailand neighbours, friendly exchanges are an opportunity that provides both visitors and locals with a deeper understanding of each other’s culture and way of thinking.
Cooking classes are an emerging as a popular tourism activity. While many cooking classes take place in restaurants, Khiri Travel Myanmar has arranged cooking classes directly with the Intha people of Inle Lake as a form of responsible travel. In a home, built on stilts in the lake, an Intha native will share her traditional recipes for some tasteful, home cooking. This family cook will teach us that dishes such as fried rice cakes, steamed fish in banana leaves and vegetable curry can be prepared when your travelers get back home. Income from the cooking class directly benefits the cook and her family and according to reports from previous customers, the Inle Lake food was the best meal of their whole tour through Myanmar!
Another opportunity to participate in community-based tourism in Myanmar is by hiring locals as trekking guides. For example, Khiri Travel can organize itineraries in Shan State that guarantee friendly and rewarding encounters with local guides who provide services to earn a sustainable income from tourism. The 2-day trek through green forests, hilly landscapes and remote villages between the hill station town of Kalaw to Inle Lake creates the impression of going back in time and employs villagers who make traditional handicrafts and work as guides, cooks and overnight homestays.
Community-based tourism has enormous potential in Myanmar, as the country’s tourism sector will be growing substantially in the next several years. Focusing on more intimate interactions with local people ensures the income from the growing tourism industry will benefit the more sustainable and CBT projects while offering authentic cultural experiences for all involved.
For more information about responsible travel in Myanmar such as Intha cooking classes, trekking in Shan State, and CBT opportunities, please contact [email protected]