Champions of environmental awareness, Buffalo Tours was one of the first tour operators to take visitors off the beaten track with a vision of zero impact on the environment and maximum benefits for the communities.
What to experience ?
Buffalo Tours began taking tourists off the beaten track in the mid 1990s, providing those searching for an authentic experience with two-way cultural exchanges with local communities. Buffalo Tours has established a tight bond with grass-roots residents and ethnic minorities. At first a Vietnam specialist, Buffalo has now extended its operation in the Mekong Region, please check out their website for a complete description of their products.
Specialists of adventure and biking tours, Buffalo Tours restricts its offer to small group nature tours to ensure a low-impact experience. Their expeditions enable travellers to see Vietnam’s stunning scenery by day, and immerse them in its culture with homestays at night.
As the frontrunners in responsible tourism to Mai Chau, Buffalo Tours offers exclusive expeditions to this fascinating hill tribe region located in the north-west highlands just 135 km from Hanoi. Their six-day “Discovery Trek” roams the mountainside, staying in six ethnic villages including the White Thai, Hmong, Muong and Zao. More strenuous, but a great way to absorb Vietnam’s northern mountains, is Buffalo Tours’ four-day cycling journey to Mai Chau.
How does it help ?
Since the mid 1990s, Buffalo Tours has taken pride in being the first fully-owned Vietnamese tour operator offering responsible tourism experiences. Since opening up Mai Chau to tourism, Buffalo Tours has been instrumental in conserving the local hill tribes’ cultures. They educated the locals on the concept of sustainable tourism and how it may improve their local economy. Tourism has enabled villagers to remain in the land of their ancestors and continue age-old traditions such as weaving and farming while generating income through homestays. The alternative was moving to urban areas to work in factories and shops.
Buffalo Tours’ aim is to create win-win-win situations for all involved in tourism:
win for communities = poverty reduction, natural & cultural preservation
win for clients = experiential learning & travel objectives met
win for NGOs = fundraising, market outreach
Buffalo Tours educates clients with very comprehensive responsible tourism guidelines that cover cultural, social and environmental issues. Further, 100% of Buffalo Tour guides are locals trained in environmental protection, they also receive cultural training on the ethnic minority tribes. They are champions of environmental awareness and take every measure possible to reduce their impacts. The company also assists Mai Chau communities with recycling efforts, and provides crops and water buffalos for farming, water wells and composts for waste.
Every year, Buffalo Tours operate medical treks to the hill tribes; local and international doctors embark on house calls, and take traditional medicine and treatments into consideration.
They contribute to poverty reduction, better labour conditions and farming techniques, schools’ construction (with World Expeditions and Antipodes) and have given hope to a region stricken by poverty. They estimated they made a total of $40,000 USD in donations in 2010, 3% of their profits.
- 2007 Face of the Future Award by the Pacific Asia Travel Association
- 2008 ‘Outstanding Customer Service – Luxurious Adventures’, the Guide Award
- 2007 Best Tour Operator, Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Awards
- Named one of the 158 Best Adventure Travel Companies in the World by National Geographic Adventure (NGA) magazine.