Regardless of the type of traveller you are, it’s important to remain conscious of your choices while travelling. Known as ethical travel, this concept entails supporting the local economy of the country you’re visiting by choosing local.
But it’s not only about choosing local - afterall, some local brands may still support slave labour or other types of unfair conditions. It’s about choosing how far your money can impact not only those around you but also the world around you.
So considering the current state of the climate, why not choose eco-friendly hotels around South East Asia?
CambodiaAccomodation: Tree Lodge in Mondulkiri Province
Why: The owner of the Tree Lodge in Mondulkiri is also the owner of the Mondulkiri Project which is a registered Cambodian NGO. The organisation funds the protection of wild elephants while simultaneously supporting the local Bunong tribe with employment, medicine, and food. The Mondulkiri Project offers tours with elephants in the wild, as should be; this money is then funnelled back to rescuing overworked or abused elephants. The hotel is eco-friendly as the bungalows were locally made with local wood - even the menu is eco-friendly as it sources local organic produce.
LaosAccomodation: The Gibbon Experience in Bokeo Province
Why: Land mismanagement, commercial cropping, illegal logging, and excessive slash-and-burn practices were some of the reasons why The Gibbon Experience started. The conservation efforts eventually created Nam Kan National Park which is where some of the world's highest tree houses are located. The best part? You literally fly through the forest to reach your accommodation as zip lines surround the luscious national park. Well, actually the best part is that by choosing to stay here you sustain the lives of more than 120 tribal people.
ThailandAccomodation: Reverie Siam in Pai
Why: The Reverie Siam elevates recycling to another level, recycling even leftover cooking oil and food. If you’re wondering how the food can be recycled, it’s simple - leftovers are given to staff with farms as for the farm animals to remain fed. In fact, the hotel focuses on the training and wellbeing of the staff; many of the staff are from ethnic groups bordering Myanmar and Thailand. Some even constructed the resort then were trained as gardeners or chefs. A win/win situation for the environment, as alternate water systems are also utilised, and the locals!
IndonesiaAccomodation: Sharma Springs in Abiansemal
Why: Sharma Springs was built and furnished with local bamboo. The bamboo was, and is, carefully selected from around Bali and Java. Not only is bamboo one of the most sustainable building materials but the bamboo sourced for Sharma Springs was also harvested from clumps that continue growing yearly, highlighting the importance of sustainable architecture. Currently the tallest bamboo structure in Bali, Sharma Springs is located within the Green Village which is quoted to be, “a living community of globally connected individuals who care about nature”.
MalaysiaAccomodation: Alila Hotel in Kuala Lumpur
Why: Despite being located in a busy area constantly congested with traffic, Alila Hotel is eco-friendly the way a millennial is: aware of global issues yet still living luxuriously modern. The sleek yet simple rooms are equipped with ‘Giving Bags’ so guests can donate unwanted or preloved items to local charities. Besides that, the hotel also: reduces operation of the hotel lift during off-peak hours, opts for salt based chlorine, harvests rainwater, uses in-house recyclable glass bottles over single-use plastic, and installed energy-efficient air-conditioning. Told you the hotel mirrored overachieving millennials!
MyanmarAccomodation: Arakan Nature Lodge in Rakhine State
Why: For those more adventurous, Arakan Nature Lodge is the epitome of living naturally. Think: an outdoor shower, no glass windows, no air-conditioning or fan, and a dry composting toilet. The water system even reuses runoff water from showers and dishwashing for purposes that don’t need pristine water. Despite back to basics facilities, the eco-lodge is tastefully designed, with the nine huts made of recycled wood and thatched roofs made of nipa palm. Plus, there’s plenty of fun activities to immerse yourself in, like swimming, snorkelling, hiking, and more! Even though you can explore the neighbouring village, there aren’t any restaurants nearby so the cost of the accommodation includes three meals per day, sourced from local farmers.
VietnamAccomodation: Eco Green in Da Nang
Why: One of the only hotels in this list with actual statistics, Eco Green Da Nang is proud of its achievements and understandably so! The eco-friendly hotel boasts 60% Energy Saving, 26% Water Saving, and 34% Less Embodied Energy in Materials. The last achievement is based around how the structure of each room is designed as to maximise natural sunlight and air flow which in turn reduces the need for air conditioning. As if that weren't eco-friendly enough, the operating system is run entirely on solar energy!
PhilippinesAccommodation: Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort in Puerto Princesa
Why: This resort is similar to the other eco-friendly resorts listed (energy-efficient lighting and air-conditioning etc.) but it’s tackling climate change more aggressively! Each guest has to pay an additional $1 per night, in collaboration with the World Wide Fund Philippine (WWF-P). This sum provides a child with the opportunity to be educated about climate change, living a sustainable lifestyle, and waste management. Not a surprising initiative considering the Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort is a pioneering member of the Zero Carbon Resorts group in the Philippines.