Sustainable Eco-Resorts for Ethical Luxury and Authentic Local Experiences in Thailand

Going Eco: Sustainable Eco-Resorts for Ethical & Authentic Local Experiences in Thailand

As a conscious traveler, it is important for you to travel in a sustainable way. But, you also want a great experience. You most definitely want to feel like you are on vacation and enjoy a bit of those luxuries you don’t get every day (at least for a few nights of your trip!). And with that being said, you also want to feel adventurous and get a real picture of what life is like in the destinations you are visiting. You want to be a part of a story – to give back and to come away with amazing memories.

Over the next few weeks, we will be delving into authentic, socially-driven and eco-friendly travel in Thailand.  We will show you where to stay, what the best experiences are and what amazing social enterprises and conscious companies you should be supporting along the way.

Expect adventure, natural beauty, smiling faces and a whole lot of heart as we explore the lush country of Thailand.

Eco What?

Spending a few days at an eco-resort in the lush jungles or along the sandy beaches of Thailand may be a great choice for those times when you want a bit of pampering while still traveling with your authentic, adventurous and socially-conscious style.

Thailand has a TON of eco-lodges and resorts that claim to be environmentally friendly, which is great-and-all. But what does this really mean? How much impact are they really having?

As you look for eco-lodges and resorts, it is important to understand how they are actually effecting the environment around them. For The Global Commute, this most importantly means: how are they effecting their local communities.

Not having air-conditioning or electricity may be less strenuous on the environment, but if that is where the resort’s eco-responsibilities end, than that means little to the local community and flora and fauna. What is really means is a whole lot more for the bottom line of the resort (who has conveniently lowered there costs on your account by switching off the lights and cranking up the temp…).

So to help you with your eco-choices in Thailand, here are The Global Commute’s top picks for eco-resorts in Thailand who are actually doing things right. These resorts tick all the boxes: they care and support their local communities in addition to the surrounding environments; they embrace the culture and use the resort as a platform for cultural awareness; and, they provide comfort and professional hospitality to their guests in a way that stays true to the destination.

 

Bangkok Tree House

Where: Bangkok
How Much: starting from $165 per night

Sustainable Eco-Resorts for Ethical Luxury and Authentic Local Experiences in Thailand

Why we love it:
The bamboo “nests” offer a unique way to spend the night along the river in Bangkok. And for every booking, the hotel removes 1 kg of trash from the waterway. You can chose open-air tree house rooms or glass and bamboo-enclosed rooms with high-efficiency air conditioning to rest comfortably.

While your’e there:
The location is great for enjoying daily, low-key living. The hotel provides free bikes for reaching the area’s attractions like 200-year-old Wat Bang Nam Phung Nok temple, Bang Nam Pheung floating market and the Sri Nakon Kuan Kan Park, with its stunning botanical garden. The hotel will even pack you an organic picnic lunch to enjoy while out exploring.

Best local/social activity:
Cooking with Poo is a Thai cooking class in the Klong Toey slum run by Khun Poo, a local to the slum who fought the odds and grew a social enterprise in her home town from scratch (literally;). She now has a best-selling cookbook and leads daily market visits and cooking classes, helping her community out of poverty.

 

River Kwai Jungle Rafts

Where: Kanchanaburi
How much: starting from $100 per night

Sustainable Eco-Resorts for Ethical Luxury and Authentic Local Experiences in Thailand

Why we love it:
Fall asleep to the sound of the river current beneath your floating hut. Despite the fact that there is no electricity at this super eco-friendly resort, the huts provide a sense of calm as you unwind to enjoy nature. There is something utterly romantic about the gas-lit lanterns that fill the raft’s halls at night. River Kwai Jungle Rafts supports the nearby Mon community by building a Mon school and playground, as well as providing drinking water hygienization, proper waste management and malaria protection.

While your’e there:
Jump right off the raft into the refreshing river. Or, travel by long boat through Sai Yok National Park to view Sai Yok Yai waterfall cascading off the cliffs into Kwae Noi River.

Best local/social activity:
The Baan Unrak Foundation, meaning ‘House of Joy’ is located 2 hours upriver. The children’s village and outreach program works with Thai and Burmese displaced women and children. Their vegetarian cafe and bakery is a perfect place for lunch in support of their work. You can also purchase handicrafts made at their weaving center.

 

Hintok River Camp at Hellfire Pass

Where: Kanchanaburi
How much: starting from $100 per night

Sustainable Eco-Resorts for Ethical Luxury and Authentic Local Experiences in Thailand

Why we love it:
Self-proclaimed ‘glamping’ – Hintok River Camp’s canvas tents provide a sense of connection to nature but are equipped with extra comforts. The setting couldn’t be more ideal, on a gigantic cliff overlooking the River Kwai, surrounded by a local village and several temples. Hintok is also serious about their community involvement. The Camp has built a school for children, created a water sanitation and malaria protection program, and much much more.

While your’e there:
Enjoy a campfire on the cliffs, take a dip in the natural swimming pool, or trek along the historic Death Railway constructed during the Second World War.

Best local/social activity:
Just north of the Kwai Jungle River Rafts,  a visit to the Baan Unrak Foundation is recommended during a boating outing up river.

 

The Pimalai Resort & Spa

Where: Koh Lanta Yai Island
How much: starting from $185 per night

ustainable Eco-Resorts for Ethical Luxury and Authentic Local Experiences in Thailand

Why we love it:
Reachable only by the resort’s private boat, once at The Pimalai you will be tucked away in the rainforest at the water’s edge. The resort is secluded, peaceful and luxurious… but that doesn’t mean boring either. There are plenty of eco-initiatives happening to keep you preoccupied (if you so desire). The resort employs around 175 local island workers, providing extra education and English training, which in turn effects over 2,000 people in the community.

While your’e there:
When not enjoying the sea, you can visit and support the island’s hospital, school or nearby towns with local staff from the hotel. The resort regularly gives to these establishments.

Best local/social activity:
Visit the sleepy Lanta Old Town to visit the Jumbo Hammock shop, a social enterprise selling cheerful, colorful handmade hammocks that support the once nomadic Mlabri Tribe.

 

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