Discuss ways to satisfy your urge to travel without ruining the places we all want to see. Take only photographs, leave only footprints...

cultural travel?

on_ancient_road

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  • Added on: March 16th, 2008
This seems like the right place to ask this question. How do you feel about
"cultural" travel? I have good and bad experience and have the feeling that
cultural factors/traditions are even more vulnerable to irresponsible
tourism. What do you think?

linds

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  • Added on: April 3rd, 2008
I know what you mean. I think some tour operators can easily abuse the new interest in cultural travel so I think it’s 100% up to travellers to make sure they’re responsible about it.

Many moons ago, on my first trip to Thailand, I had read about the hill tribes of northern Thailand and was always interested in the long neck tribe – did their necks work when they took off all the rings etc? Anyway, I planned my trip around going to see them but once I got to Chang Mai to book the trip I spoke to lots of ex-pats who lived there and they told me how abused the hill tribes had become due to tourism, not necessarily physically but the poor tribes people, even though they wanted to go to school or work, were made to dress up in traditional costumes and act for the hoards of tourists who would visit all under the orders of the local militia who ruled the hills. They then took all the money, trinkets and gifts the hill tribe people were given or had made and had to repeat the fiasco with every tour. One of the local Thai people told me a friend of his was hit with the buttress of a rifle when his child kicked up a stink and wanted to go to school instead of dressing up for the tourists.

Needless to say I never went. I didn’t want to be part of something that had become a forced side-show.

That was almost 13 years ago so I dare say it’s changed since then but it definitely made me think twice about how I travel. So I say travellers shouldn’t just stick to a cultural trip, just pick a country, plan a route and be natural with the locals, which to me is always the natural way to travel and much less contrived.

Linda
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Barrie

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  • Added on: April 8th, 2008
So I say travellers shouldn’t just stick to a cultural trip, just pick a country, plan a route and be natural with the locals, which to me is always the natural way to travel and much less contrived.

Absolutely agree with you Linda when you wrote that. In Indonesia we rarely see the abuse on tribespeople in an effort to increase tourism. But, there is time...

Indonesialogue
'Wombat Wanderer'

E.M. Forster: It is only by going off the track that you get to know the country...

Craze_b0i

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  • Added on: April 8th, 2008
I am always slightly wary of anything that is put on as a 'cultural show' for the tourists, since you don't really know if it is authentic tradition or just put on. I'd much rather go to things like local festivals where you know it is real culture you are seeing and not something just done for the visiting tourists.

Slightly off-topic... This thread is a really interesting subject. But it seems interesting threads posted here in Eco-travel get rather neglected since fewer people read this part of the forum, which is a big shame. You could say that this is where interesting threads come to die...

Dear moderators: maybe the answer is to let people post this type of thing in general chat so more people can read it.
"Let's see if we can enjoy this recession. i enjoyed most of the previous ones."
- Zoomcharlieb.

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KateL57

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  • Added on: April 8th, 2008
I guess I think it depends on what people make of the term "cultural travel". Generally speaking, visiting a place and avoiding places where tourists/travelers/etc congregate (and McDonalds and such), you can see "culture" ... it doesn't have to be on an organized tour.

I'm not big on organized tours myself, and agree that things may be "put on" and not authentic - but a) if that floats people's boats, so be it...there are examples of that in the US and we don't think of it as necessarily exploitative and b) there are a gazillion ways spending money can have a positive or negative impact, and while I think it is valuable to think about it and let that guide your actions, I don't think it's something that there are easy answers for.

(oh, and I'm not a mod anymore ... but, um, I think people post things where they want to, not out of fear that mods will beat them up or won't "let" them...)
Make cay, not war - Kesmen

Craze_b0i

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  • Added on: April 9th, 2008
Well I posted a thread about flying and global warming in open-chat and minutes later it got moved here. There was already a similar thread running here, started by anniebanannie, but even annie's thread died pretty quickly.

I am not really complaining here, just making a suggestion as I see it. It's up to BnA how they run their forums, and mostly they do a fine job.
"Let's see if we can enjoy this recession. i enjoyed most of the previous ones."
- Zoomcharlieb.

my travel website

KateL57

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  • Added on: April 9th, 2008
okay, didn't know about that, craze_boi...
Make cay, not war - Kesmen

marcvanopstal

Thorn Tree Refugee
 
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Joined: July 11th, 2008

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  • Added on: July 11th, 2008
Best cultural travel would be to try and stay at people homes, to see how they live
------------------
Founder of http://www.12visitme.com, where tourists and volunteers can help people in development countries via tourism



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