There's more to a tropical holiday in Thailand than luxury hotels and long party nights. These five eco-friendly resorts provide a more down-to-earth getaway, without skimping on the comfort factor. From floating villas on a jungle river to secluded beachside retreats, whatever style holiday you have in mind, there's an eco-friendly option in Thailand to satisfy your desires.
Anatara Golden Triangle
Walk with giants
The highlight of this luxury, all-inclusive resort, nestled in the jungle on the border of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, is its own elephant village, where elephants rescued from the streets live alongside their mahout families. Guests can interact with the elephants in several unique ways, from mahout training courses to learning about elephant behaviour from resident experts. You can also accompany the elephants on their daily walk through the jungle, where you’ll learn about their intriguing biology.
Aleenta Phuket Resort & Spa
Back to nature
Named the Best Small Hotel and Best Sustainable Hotel in Thailand at the International Hotel Awards in 2013, Aleenta Phuket Resort & Spa places an emphasis on sustainable development within the local community. Eco-friendly initiatives include waste-water management, beach clean-ups, sourcing local products and adopting the concept of slow food. The hotel also has its own turtle foundation to support local turtle repopulation and rehabilitation. Guests can even take a two-day turtle release mini break.
Zeavola Resort, Phi Phi Island
Want luxury accommodation with a side of adventure? Zeavola combines luxe stays with dive adventures that also offer an opportunity to give back. The resort was the recipient of the World’s Best Sustainable Boutique Hotel award in 2014 and has been accredited as a Green Fin resort by the Phuket Marine Biological Centre. Green initiatives include coral regeneration, a monkey rehabilitation program and supporting the community by cooking meals for a local school.
River Kwai Jungle Rafts
Down by the river
Simplicity, tranquillity and community support is at the heart of this idyllic and reasonably-priced resort, which floats on wooden rafts (made from local bamboo) on the jungle-lined River Kwai in Kanchanaburi. Guests can experience rafting, kayaking, visits to the adjoining Mon (a minority group from Myanmar) village and morning elephant meet-and-greets on the riverbank. There is no electricity at this resort; cooking is by gas, and the rooms are lit with kerosene lamps at night.
The Tongsai Bay, Koh Samui
Clean and green
Built around existing trees, boulders and other topographical quirks, this secluded resort located on a private bay has furthered its commitment to sustainable tourism by using no chemicals or pesticides throughout the property – rooms are green-cleaned with non-toxic ingredients like baking soda and vinegar, plastic wrap is banned, food scraps are sent to an animal shelter and there’s an organic garden. In keeping with the hotel’s passion for tranquillity, no motorised water sports are available.
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