Camel rides through the desert in India, elephant rides in Thailand, pony carts in Luxor and donkey rides to the Valley of the Kings. These a just a few of the many animal riding opportunities offered as part of the experience in tourism destinations. But is it cruel for the animals? Or is it actually a good thing because your payment is helping fund the handlers and enable them to better care for the animals?
We asked animal welfare organisations for their views on animal riding…
The Intrepid Foundation’s volunteer administrator, Anna Wade, recently travelled to Cambodia with her husband, two twelve-year-olds and her adventurous septuagenarian parents and one of the highlights for them all was visiting The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB)…
“ACCB was established in 2003 to help conserve the local wildlife and to educate people on the need to protect their indigenous animals. Located 30 km (18 miles) north of Siem Reap, ACCB endeavours to rehabilitate some animals to return to the wild and care for those who couldn’t survive without their help.
Now I am back home and still pining for the warmth and excitement of Thailand; my wonderful group; and our superstar leader, Ben!
Ben really ensured we all had a great time throughout the trip and cajoled those of us who were intimidated by food we weren’t familiar with, to give it all a go! Although my mission was to try as many Thai curries as possible, Ben gave us even more fab food adventures. Although porridge is my breakfast staple at home, the Thai version (with meat balls and egg) she introduced us to was a real feast to start the day!
Emma Brady and her boyfriend travelled on Intrepid’s Essence of China trip in July and are still raving about the experience…
“China!! What a country, even after talking to people about it who we’d met along the way we still weren’t sure what to expect? What we can say after spending 3 weeks here is that it’s truly amazing and every single person we have met and talked to has been super friendly and helpful and every place we have visited has been a pleasure!
Exploring in countries like Bhutan so often leaves an indelible impression, and that was certainly the case for Cate Gaston…
“LOL as I am writing this in Kolkata, a herd of goats were just ushered by along the main road, I just love travelling!
“Coozoozambo La from Druk Yul”, Hello from the Land of the Dragon.
Well what can I say about Bhutan… Oh so much. I will start with some interesting facts about the last Shangri La…
* Bhutan is a land locked country between India and Tibet
* it is the size of Switzerland
* has a population of nearly 650,000 people
* you have to pay the Kingdom the privilege of entering and touring the country and last year they only issued 17,000 visas
In April/ May I travelled through Cambodia and Vietnam with Intrepid under the leadership of Grant Finster. Although initially Grant seemed quite reserved and quiet for a leader, it did not take long for his qualities to shine through – his quiet fund of knowledge, mutual affection and respect of the local people and skill at making everyone in the group feel included. Grant did his utmost to ensure that all of us got maximal enjoyment from the trip, despite personal interests and differences.
My own “special story” is set in Hoi An where I spent a couple of days quite ill with Campylobacter gastroenteritis. On venturing out at the end of the second day to have dinner with the group, I became quite nauseated and returned to the hotel. Before I left, my “roomie” and great trip mate Angie asked me, with some concern, whether I could manage to eat anything. I responded that the only thing I could imagine eating was toast and honey, just like my mother made when I was sick in the stomach (many years ago).
The exact numbers of cyclo drivers in Phnom Penh is uncertain, but what we do know is that the people who do this exhausting job are amongst the poorest of urban poor in Cambodia. In 1999 the Cyclo Centre Phnom Penh was established to improve the welfare of cyclo drivers through the provision of support services, basic medical care and livelihood support.
We are very pleased to announce that the Cyclo Centre is now one of the beneficiaries of The Intrepid Foundation Community Project Fund and donations received will be used to increase the profile of the Cyclo Centre, highlight the situation of cyclo drivers and to seek ways which increase the drivers’ self-sufficiency and sustainability of the Centre.
South Americans are not all poncho wearing pan pipers or crazed futbol fans, there is also a serious majority of the population who love their seafood. In fact, for centuries there has been a friendly rivalry to produce the tastiest ceviche and now this gastronomic battle is being contested between the majority of Latin American countries!
Peru and Ecuador both claim ceviche as their own, as both countries have an impressive variety of fish and shellfish, but historians are leaning in favour of Peru. Every Latin American country gives this seafood salad recipe its own individual flavour, particularly with the garnishes they choose. In Peru, ceviche is served with slices of cold sweet potatoes or corn-on-the-cob, while in Ecuador it is accompanied by popcorn, potato chips, or corn nuts. In Mexico ceviche is even served as a taco filling.
There’s no doubt that exploring Machu Picchu in Peru, now voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, will make you feel on top of the world, but for Intrepid’s Martin Ruffo he was just trying not to feel like a dead man as he made his way to Dead Woman’s Pass…
“Day 2 of the Inca Trail is perhaps the hottest topic among travellers in Peru. Extremely hard for some and a walk in the park for others, everyone is quick to share their experiences, feelings, fears, failures and successes on the most challenging day of the trek. And this is mine:
Some say you’d be mad to travel to Mongolia in winter, but as Kate Sykes discovered there are precious rays of sunshine to be enjoyed even in the freezing temperatures.
Kate visited Mongolia as a volunteer for Lotus Children’s Centre, a dedicated non-government organisation that has been operating since 1995 and benefits from the support of The Intrepid Foundation and Intrepid travellers. There are 300 days a year of sunshine in Mongolia, but it’s the smiles of those children that warms Kate’s heart most…
“Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city, is generally not a pretty city, especially in winter. The weather is bitterly cold, the building facades grimy, the pavement is cracked and undulating, making walking difficult even without the slippery ice, the haze grim and the cacophony of tinny car horns in rush hour punctuates what could possibly be calm mornings. There are a few diamonds in this rough place though, and certainly make a visit, even in winter, worthwhile.