Southeast Asia has abundant nature such as the sea and tropical rainforests. Many countries have recently been making concerted efforts to promote tourism and sustainable eco-tours.
An eco-tour is a trip aimed at understanding the value of natural attractions such as the natural environment and historical culture in a way that they can be understood and connected to conservation efforts.
● Conservation of nature and culture
● Economic return or benefit to local communities
● Learning experience of travelers
An eco-tour is an experience tour which meets the following requirements:
(For details, see this article Be an earth friendly traveller!)
There are many “eco hotels” in Southeast Asia where traveller’s can fully enjoy the wonderful places! At this time, we would like to introduce the recommended eco hotels in Southeast Asia.
Nikoi Island, Indonesia: A beautiful island with ancient nature
Nikoi Island is a very beautiful island that has preserved the rich nature such as white sandy beaches, various coral reefs, and tropical rain forests which have been left almost untouched.
There are also dives and rock climbing on the island, where one can enjoy a variety of activities. Explore nearby islands by rock climbing, mountain biking, or picnic on an uninhabited island nearby. It is even possible to watch the protected turtles at some times! There is also a pool with beautiful beach views, tennis courts, board games, and sometimes cooking classes where travellers can cook local food.
The buildings and furniture in the accommodation itself and in the dining areas are constructed from driftwood collected over the years from the surrounding islands. It’s not just recycled, but it’s also very beautiful. In addition, the room has a high ceiling and is arched so that the air circulates and the temperature is naturally comfortable. Furthermore, the use of artificial materials such as cement, plastics, and paints is minimised. The hot water is solar heated and all lighting is LED lighting.
- Food sustainability
The food plants are grown on their own farms, and if it is not something that can be grown onsite, then they are procured from local markets and local companies as much as possible.
- Flora and fauna protection
An external consultant was asked for advice and has conducted an island survey. The survey is being used to protect flora and fauna.
World Responsible Tourism Awards 2019 (Benefiting Local Communities) Silver Award
Topas Ecolodge, Vietnam: A place with a magnificent view of the mountains
Topas Ecolodge is an ecolodge located in the Hoang Lien National Park, situated in the north of Vietnam. As it is located on the top of the mountain, it has a great view – something that would make one feel as though they are in a city in the sky. When the weather is especially clear and there are few clouds, one has a remarkable view. In addition, there are high and low altitudes in the national park, so there is a rich variety of plants. The biodiversity is rich, and it is said that about one-third of the amphibians native to Vietnam live in the area. It is highly sought after to be able to take a walk, cycle, or trek in such a natural place!
The peoples of the hill tribe, a minority ethnic group of Vietnam, live in the surrounding area. This offers travellers a rare opportunity to get a glimpse of their lifestyle and to learn more about their cultural heritage.
- Securing local employment
Emphasizing the hiring of local villagers, it contributes to the local community by supporting everything from education to employment.
- Local production for local consumption
Focusing on local production for local consumption, food and resources are shared with the local community.
- Energy saving and recycling
The ecolodge uses electricity generated by solar and hydropower generation and encourages guests not to waste electricity. Food waste is used as livestock feed, and reusable items such as cans and boxes are distributed to local people for reuse and upcycling at home. Furthermore, glass bottles are crushed and reused as building materials.
- Wastewater treatment
Wastewater is purified with sand and plant filters and treated so that the wastewater does not adversely affect the local environment.
World ’s Leading Eco-Lodge 2019 Nomination
World ’s Leading Eco-Lodge 2018 Nomination
World ’s Leading Eco-Lodge 2017 Nomination
Soneva Kiri, Thailand: A place for something truly luxurious
Soneva Kiri is a resort which receives various awards every year.
What comes to one’s mind when thinking of luxury? In Soneva Kiri, “peace”, “time”, and “space” are regarded as luxury. The feeling is that it’s truly a luxury to touch the sand or have dinner under a starry sky, so it is encouraged to go barefoot and have an experience that is completely different from life in the city.
Travellers can enjoy food in unusual spaces such as a waterfront restaurant or a restaurant in the air. There is also an all-wood playground for children, and qualified staff will take care of the children, making this resort recommended for family trips. Various activities such as learning to make paper crafts are also available.
The resort faces the sea so guests can enjoy snorkeling and diving. For those interested in the locally culinary delights, there is even the possibility to learn Thai food preparation from the chef, and even how to make coconut oil! One is able to experience various things that otherwise don’t usually take place in urban life.
- Consideration for marine life
The beach on the eastern side of the island is a famous habitat for turtles, so people leave it alone and have avoided the installation of unnatural lighting.
- Local production for local consumption and the effective use of waste
Vegetables, fruits and herbs are grown in a 1.2-hectare vegetable garden and these are utilised by the resort for cooking. Food waste is used as bio compost. And any waste other than food is also used for reuse, recycling and construction material.
- Utilisation of natural energy
Solar panels are installed on the roof of the accommodation facility to generate electricity.
- Wastewater treatment
Wastewater is filtered using a natural filtering method.
- Forest protection
When constructing the villa, only the wood was used in which the resort visited the supplier and confirmed how it was produced. Hand-woven interiors are sourced from a Sri Lankan cooperative that supports the employment of rural women. Furthermore, the trees felled from the island during construction were kept to a minimum of 8%, and roads were constructed on neighboring islands. Palms that had planned to be cut for harvesting were transplanted instead.
World Responsible Tourism Awards 2019 (Best for Reducing Plastic Waste) Silver Award
HICAP SUSTAINABILITY AWARDS 2019
RESPONSIBLE THAILAND AWARDS 2019 (Best Eco-Lodge / Eco-Hotel)
Batu Batu Island, Malaysia: A hideaway island surrounded by coconut
In Malay, meaning “rock”, Batu Batu is a tropical uninhabited island, a small island with coconut trees and beaches. Guests can snorkel and dive in the sea, kayak or stroll around the area, or trekk in the forested areas.
Guests can enjoy the view of the sea or the jungle from the spacious room of the selected villa.
Malaysian timber is used and the number of trees to be felled is minimised. The furniture is made from recycled wood that has been certified by environmental certification FSC. The restaurants and other facilities are open, and are architecturally designed to increase air flow in order to minimise the use of air conditioners.
- Environmental guidance for guests
Restrictions have been placed on fishing, collecting marine life and feeding of marine life as well as instructing guests not to damage corals during snorkeling or diving activities. The resort lighting is intentionally modest so as not to adversely affect the turtles which share the area.
A portion of food waste is used as bio compost for small local farms. Those items that can be recycled are sold to vendors, and the money earned is used to benefit employees. In order to avoid the use of plastic, the island does not sell or provide bottled water in a single-use plastic bottle. Water and reusable glasses are provided. The resort does not provide disposable amenities such as toothbrushes and cotton swabs. In addition, cooking oil and used engine oil are collected and sent to recycler stations.
World Responsible Tourism Awards 2019 (Best at Wildlife & Nature Conservation) Silver Award
Did you find any eco-friendly hotels you might like to visit?
It is good to keep in mind that the places that are environmentally friendly are also concerned about the construction of accommodation facilities, the daily waste treatment, the way energy is produced, and the overall effects on plant and animal life.
A good perk of the eco hotel is that travellers have the opportunity to do various activities that may not otherwise be normally possible. So it is advised to just enjoy the stay as much as possible and to get as much out of the experience as one can. Maybe even pick up a few hints about rarely thought about things one can do in their own eco-friendly life.
When looking for accommodation options in the future, please notice the environmental efforts individual accommodations are taking as well!
Would you like to learn more about eco-friendly travel?
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