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Green Heroes

Sampan Travel are committed to acting in a sustainable fashion and working towards making Myanmar not only a better place to visit, but also a better place to live.

And we are not the only ones.

Below we list a handful of other companies and organisations that are striving to preserve and enhance the heritage and precious qualities of this country, whether it be environmentally, economically, or socially.

These are Myanmar’s Green Heroes.


Pomelo for Myanmar

Pomelo is a not-for-profit shop in Yangon, selling handicrafts from Myanmar polished towards a Western sensibility. Pomelo work with individuals, families and disadvantaged groups throughout Yangon and its environs, discovering underground artisans and collaborating with them to design and create handicrafts for visitors in Myanmar. Pomelo also provide their artisan partners with basic business training to enable them to upscale their business and improve the lives of themselves and their families. Pomelo products are top-quality, and all money made by the company goes back to the artisans and their families and communities.

You can find more information about Pomelo here. If you would like to know how we can incorporate a visit to the shop into your Yangon itinerary, with the chance of meeting some of those that work with or for Pomelo, please write to us at enquiries@sampantravel.com.

Helping Hands

Helping Hands Yangon

Set in a grand old house in a back street of central Yangon, at Helping Hands young men chisel and whittle away at chairs, wardrobes and dining room tables, sitting cross-legged on the floor surrounded by sawdust and scraps of carvings.

Helping Hands was set up in the wake of Cyclone Nargis which hit Myanmar in 2008. The storm was the worst in generations, claiming thousands of lives. Many of the men at Helping Hands are orphans from Nargis who were taken in after the storm and trained as carpenters. Professional artisans now work alongside ex-street children, restoring old Burmese teak furniture back to life and creating new products.

A visit to Helping Hands - wandering through the workshops, having a peep inside the house, dodging errant kittens on the floor - is a lovely thing to do as part of your Yangon tour. Small items such as breadboards and spoons can be bought from the carpenters and inside the house visitors can purchase fabric as well as a selection of products from Pomelo.

More information on Helping Hands can be found here. Please let us know if you would like to visit Helping Hands while in Yangon. 



Sanon is a restaurant in Bagan that trains disadvantaged youth of Myanmar in catering, hospitality and the F&B business in general.

With an open plan kitchen, guests at the sublime Sanon restaurant are able to watch the young cuisiniers hard at work. The food is superb, and the service not only sweet and obliging, but utterly professional. Indeed, for those not in the know, it would come as a surprise that the staff are actually ‘students’.

Sanon is a ‘not for profit’ organisation run under the banner of the Myanmar Youth Development Institute and any funds generated are reinvested back into this or other similar projects within Myanmar.

To find out how we can incorporate a visit to Sanon into a Myanmar itinerary, please write to us here - enquiries@sampantravel.com. You can watch a video about Sanon here and read out interview with Restaurant Manager and Senior Trainer Ye Min Thant here

Villa Inle Resort & Spa

Villa Inle Resort & Spa

Villa Inle Resort & Spa radiates an ambience of luxury. Each villa at this hotel is designed to meld in seamlessly with the surroundings, featuring local paintings, wooden ceilings and expnasive living space.

The lake upon which these bedrooms look out over, as well as being sublimely beautiful, is also one of Myanmar's most fragile and threatened ecosystems. To thrive, it requires hotels on the banks to act in a responsible manner. Villa Inle is doing just this.

Villa Inle is the first hotel in Myanmar to be awarded the Gold Travelife Certificate as a Sustainable Hotel. Villa Inle has managed to incorporate sustainable measures from energy reduction to child safety and workers’ rights throughout its operations, without losing an ounce of quality. The hotel tracks water usage throughout the hotel and grounds on a weekly basis, aiming to reduce usage by 5% this year. The hotel has implemented a reduce-reuse-recycle policy for waste management, and also aims to reduce its energy usage by 5%.

Villa Inle’s sustainable credentials spread into social responsibility, funding projects in local villages, hiring from the local region and purchasing goods from local artisans.

We highly recommend staying at Villa Inle. You can read the words of the General Manager of the hotel Aung Ko Ko, when we sat down with him in Spring 2017

Inle Heritage House

Inle Lake | Sampan Travel

Inle Heritage House is a not-for-profit organisation working to preserve and enhance the culture of Inle Lake and the people who call it home; helping it to become not only a better place to live, but also a place to visit and work in. The House was set up by people of Inle who are proud of the rich heritage of their region, and who want to ensure that their children and grandchildren grow up in the same surroundings.

For Myanmar youth, the Heritage House has set up a college to train students in the burgeoning hospitality sector.

For visitors to the area, Heritage House offers cookery classes in the famed Shan cuisine and serves up ‘Grandma’s Inthar Cooking’ in the restaurant. These are recipes that have been handed down for generations, with all ingredients coming from around the lake.

Those searching for an even more immersive experience may wish to sleep on stilts in a house designed in traditional Inle fashion. These six stilt houses are surrounded by floating, organic gardens, which can be appreciated upon one’s personal terrace.

To see how we can incorporate a visit to Inle Heritage House, please write to us here enquiries@sampantravel.com.