Have you ever considered what an Eco-Friendly Thailand could do for your conscience and at the same time allow you to have a much happier and greener adventure in the Thai Kingdom?
The most common tip we can get from any seasoned traveller (myself included) would be to simply lighten the load. This can easily be achieved by packing lighter not only for the trip there but also for the trip back home. Though you may want to create space for souvenirs, you certainly don't want to be lugging large bags around wherever you go.
The more weight you carry around on trains, planes and automobiles, the more greenhouse gases you will leave behind. So why not make a list of all your essentials and pack smart. Unless you are a famous celebrity, ditch the fifty costume changes and take only versatile, lightweight clothes. You can always purchase any extras when you get to your destination.
If you're leaving your home empty while you're away, get unplugged. You can always have a family member, friend or neighbour checking in. The number one obvious power saver would be your geyser so make sure it's turned off. That goes for the oven too. Also make sure that all electronics are turned off at the wall as this will cut down on wasted energy usages.
For most of us being a long distance traveller, a plane ride is inevitable but once you've arrived, you can reduce your carbon footprint by choosing earth-friendly transport options. Other than travelling by bicycle in Thailand, a journey by road transport with more than one person will greatly reduce carbon admissions. It's not impossible to plan an entire holiday around biking, walking or using public transport. If you must rent a car, rather go for a hybrid or smaller model over a gas-guzzler.
Besides being the quickest, flying directly to Thailand is also your greenest route. A significant proportion of a plane's carbon emission comes from the takeoff and landing, so when it comes to multi-stop journeys even if it's cheaper now you have a noble excuse to just say no to long layovers.
Sadly, the same "spoil yourself" logic doesn't apply to choosing your seats. Business-class spots take up more space on the plane and so reduce the number of people who can fit on each flight. An economy class may not be the most comfy but it's the eco-friendliest way to fly.
When it comes to eating and drinking, wherever you are, favour locally sourced and grown foods as much as possible rather than items that have been flown in from thousands of miles away. This way you'll enrich your Thailand travel experience by browsing the local farmer's markets anyway.
Similarly, don't order endangered fish even if it has been plucked from a nearby sea. Also, support the locals when shopping for souvenirs but take extra care that whatever you're buying isn't made from at-risk animals or plants. That way you'll keep your conscience clear and save yourself a battle with any grumpy custom's officials in the bargain.
When searching for accommodation in Thailand favour establishments that have demonstrated a commitment to the planet. These days most hotels and resorts encourage their visitors to reuse things like towels but who goes the extra mile? Do they grow their own food or at least source locally? Do they recycle?
There are several accredited bodies for green hotels including greenglobe.com and environmentalfriendlyhotels.com On whose websites you can search for members by country. Making it even easier, the hotel-booking platform GreenHotelWorld allows users to search for hotels based on their green practices and compensates the carbon emissions of all stays booked through them with donations going to the climate organisation myclimate.org at no extra cost to you.
Just because things are included in your rate doesn't mean you have to abuse them. Don't let a Thailand holiday spring break from your normal routine be a holiday away from your principals. At the hotel, why not follow some simple practices to minimise your energy use such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth and keeping your showers short. And don't forget to turn off the TV, lights and air-conditioning when you leave your room.
Some of you may have heard the expression - Take only photos and leave only footprints. Do be respectful of any place you visit and don't litter, ever. Find a dustbin or carry your junk with you until you can dispose of it responsibly, particularly when visiting natural attractions in Thailand. There's nothing worse than rusted coke cans and old chip packets to ruin a splendid scene. Same goes for heritage sites. Don't break off chunks of ancient temple ruins to think that it's okay to sneak back home.
Now I'm not suggesting that you use leaves instead of loo paper (though, if you're up for it, feel free). But the constant evolution of Apps and Smartphones has given travellers several ways to carry their required documents in digital formats rather than waste paper. So check online and carry your boarding passes and hotel information on your phone.
If you can afford to travel, chances are you can spend a bit extra. And by that I mean - Compensate for all that CO2 you'll be sending into the sky. Planting native, broad-leaf trees is a great way to offset this since they absorb dioxide. If this is too much, then you can always donate to a carbon-offset charity. Simply look one up in your area. All you have to do is click and pay and perhaps you'll sleep a little better at night.
Just remember that whenever we travel we pollute. Period. The emission of gases from motorised transport methods is a huge factor in global warming and the damage wrought by mass tourism, particularly in ecologically sensitive areas is a growing concern. Yet most of us will travel anyway. Still, you don't have to holiday in a hut or cycle across continents to reduce your environmental footprint. Just a little could make a big difference.
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Your host Grahame (Yep! that's me) from Luxury Thailand Travel says he'd really appreciate your kind support. Simply take your next tour by selecting any one of the many excursions listed on the left side of this page. Here's wishing you a safe trip and a happy and exciting holiday.
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