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ECO TOURISM


Natural assets


With more than 100 national and marine parks plus UNESCO-listed areas, Thailand has plenty of natural bounty to explore


T


there are so many ways to delve deeper into the eco- experience and travel responsibly in Thailand.


RESPONSIBLE CHOICES Wanderlust Travel Media runs The Thailand Green Excellence Awards. Last year’s champs included Soneva Kiri, the Sarojin, Andaman Discoveries and the Soi Dog Foundation.


thailandgreenawards.com ACCOMMODATION


For hotels with sustainable practises look for the royal family-backed Green Leaf accreditation scheme. greenleafthai.org


ECO-CHIC ACCOMMODATION THE KOH YAO YAI VILLAGE: Eco-friendly and community-minded, this resort has a rustic spa that uses natural products. kohyaoyaivillage.com ELEPHANT HILLS: Glamping on a floating platform on scenic Cheow Larn Lake and an elephant camp in Khao Sak National Park. elephant-hills.com SONEVA KIRI, KOK KOOD: Rustic-style luxury with a 'slow life' philosophy and a self- sustaining eco-villa. soneva.com SIX SENSES KOH YAO NOI: Eco-management combines with luxury and a mangrove nature trail. sixsenses.com


HOMESTAYS AUDLEY TRAVEL: Features Lisu Lodge near Chiang Mai, and Lanjia Lodge run by tribal members, and also arranges family stays and penpals for children. audleytravel.com TRAVEL INDOCHINA: Includes a minority-run lodge. travelindochina.co.uk KO YAO NOI HOMESTAYS: Homestays here have given the fishing community a new income and cut eco-damaging fishing. koh-yao-noi-eco-tourism-club.com LAMAI HOMESTAY: A TAT award-winner in rural Isan, this benefits the surrounding community. thailandhomestay.com


13 ELEPHANTS


Elephant tourism helps pay for the upkeep of animals once used for logging. Visitors can wash, feed and interact with them. ELEPHANT CAMPS: Include National Elephant Institute, Lampang, near Chiang Mai; Maesa Elephant Camp (maesaelephantcamp.com), near Chiang Mai and Elephant Hills (elephant-hills.com). Or suggest the Anantara Golden Triangle resort (anantara.com) or Four Seasons Tented Camp (fourseasons.com).


ROYAL PROJECTS


Where opium crops once grew in the north, now Royal Projects support tea, rose, rice and spice cultivation. Visitors can hike here.


CYCLING


Cultural sites Ayutthaya and Sukhothai are great for cycling day trips and holidays bookable via Spice Roads (spiceroads.com) and Bike & Travel (cyclingthailand.com).


Kuoni recommends Six Senses for its innovative approach to sustainable tourism, regular eco-reviews and community involvement


DAGMAR MARROCCO, COMMERCIAL & PRODUCT MANAGER


 TOP TIPS


The Hall of Opium museum near Chiang Rai explains how the region has turned away from poppy cultivation towards other crops.


Discourage photos with elephants in cities, the animals are kept in poor conditions. Also encourage elephant interactions rather than riding experiences.


Half-day cycle excursions in Bangkok commonly take place in the leafy suburbs and a pottery- producing river island.


See tourismthailand.org for more green holiday suggestions.


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