Sustainable travel — Thailand
Everywhere we look these days, it seems like environmentally sustainable issues are in focus. Tourism plays a big role in the development of a sustainable planet, and we as travelers can make a positive impact by taking responsibility and choosing to travel sustainably.
So, where and how to travel to be a part of the solution?
Thailand is a great example of a country that is taking big steps toward being respective towards nature and at the same time offering travelers a different kind of experience than the very often popular tours of the big cities and popular attractions.
When you think of Thailand, one of the first destinations that pops to mind is, of course, Bangkok. People are visiting it for its historical, cultural, and natural sights, and that fast-growing busy city offers eco-friendly accommodations. Or Chiang Mai, a city with beautiful nature, rich wildlife, and elephant parks. Then Phuket is known for its mesmerizing sandy beaches with turquoise water and plenty of outdoor activities like snorkeling, diving, hiking, and animal sanctuaries.
But there are many more hidden treasures, islands, and beaches you can visit which are overlooked. There you can enjoy a peaceful holiday away from the crowds and have a deeper feeling of local culture while enjoying the same popular activities. At the same time, you are making a positive impact by reaching outside of often overpacked destinations, and that way contributes to preserving nature. Not to mention the support you are giving to the local community.
As an alternative to staying in hotels or luxury resorts, you can choose a homestay vacation which means that you are sharing a home with local hosts. And what is a better way to immerse yourself into the local culture than to spend time with Thai families? You could learn how to cook traditional Thai food, can go fishing with fishermen, or assist with the production of craftwork. Here are some examples of experiences you will never forget.
Ko Yo Homestay
For example, the community on Ko Yo Island in Southern Thailand offers inclusive activities to tourists that demonstrate nature-oriented cultural harmony with its natural resources. The main income of the community revolves around sustainable fishing and the farming of chempedak, a cousin to jackfruit, and organic cotton weaving. Tourists can help cultivate the chempedak and join local women in weaving coconut leaves into “khro” to protect the fruit from insects. They can learn traditional prawn-trapping techniques passed down over generations before retiring to their own personal “khanam,” or floating house situated over the calm waters.
Akha Ama Coffee
As a tribute to its founding mother, a member of the Akha hill tribe set up a coffee production company in order to generate jobs and local economies in the area. This product is now affectionately called Akha Ama coffee. The local community continues to practice sustainable agriculture on its ancestral lands. Its three-day Coffee Journey invites tourists into the daily lives of the coffee farmers, from bean to cup.
Mae Kampong town
A small village of just over 130 houses and 370 inhabitants, which has become a model for community tourism in Thailand. Mae Kampong is ideal for growing tea, a plant that has yielded many benefits in northern Thailand. Later, they also incorporated coffee cultivation. The locals are organizing their tourist offers by themselves, and it can involve helping with daily tasks or simply enjoying the local vibe and visiting surrounding beauties like Mae Kampong Village and combining it with Muang Cave and Sankhampaeng Hot Springs.
Other than that, Thailand is organizing many voluntary green initiatives with the goal of preserving countries’ natural goods hand in hand with offering an immersive experience for their guests. You can look over elephants, collect rubbish by diving, or help save dogs and cats from the street.
All in all, Thailand should be on the bucket list of every sustainable traveler. Because of all the sustainable initiatives, they practice, but also because just seeing all that breathtaking nature is a good reminder of what we are trying to preserve.