Southern Thailand adventure vacation

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Southern Thailand adventure vacation

Environment

The Bangkok Tree House is a truly environmentally responsible lodge/hotel in central Bangkok. The Tree House has an A-Z list of responsible policies including the employment of locals who live within walking distance and the purchase of herbal soaps, shampoos and food products from local sellers. All organic and kitchen waste is composted which reduces waste going to landfill and creates compost for the on-site vegetable gardens – some of these vegetable gardens are located on the roof of the Tree House which helps keep rooms cool without the need for air-conditioning: the Tree House does not use air-conditioners in public spaces.

All food, cleaning products and bathroom amenities are organic. Only low-energy light bulbs are used and 100% of the energy used for outdoor and restaurant lighting is generated from wind and solar power. The Tree House does not serve or sell plastic bottled water, they serve house-distilled water in a glass flask free of charge. All rainwater is collected and used to water plants, flowers and vegetable gardens. The Tree House is aiming for a zero waste policy and for every booking made they remove 1kg of rubbish from the Chao Phraya River.

The return to life of neglected villages.

Klong Kone mangrove forest was once destroyed, harming the plentiful mangrove area, coastal ecosystem and marine animals. As fishing could not serve the local community sufficiently any longer, the youth turned to other occupations.

In 1991, villagers started to reforest the area to restore livelihoods and prosperity; however, many problems occurred during the first three years. There was a lack of knowledge of tree selection, tree-planting skills, and missing collaborative spirit from some villages. Nevertheless, H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn viewed mangrove reforestation as a serious issue and went to Klong Klone five times between 1997 and 2004 to plant mangroves.

Currently, Klong Klone mangrove area is revitalized. There are people living along the coast in numbers, local fishing can serve villagers sufficiently, migrants have come back to earn a living in their hometown and families stay together. There are many self-sufficient occupations for villagers. Some gather to provide occupational classes based on their skills such as fishing, catering, Kra-tang or shell farm huts in the sea, boat trip services, cork trees planting, and Don Hoi Lod sightseeing. Others have an eco-tourism service for both day tourists and overnight accommodation at Kra-tang.

Nowadays, Klog Klone mangrove forest is an important eco-tourism spot in Samut Songkram combining mangrove conservation, sustainable livelihoods and a renewed sense of community.

Community

Our local agents only employ local guides and drivers to accompany our clients, which we feel is an important way of keeping money in the country but also in offering our clients a ‘real’ experience of Thailand. All food in the lodges and hotels is sourced locally, helping the local rural communities wherever possible.

Our local agents support many humanitarian causes, such as the Binh Luc Orphanage Nutrition Program and Operation Smile missions, as well as an annual ‘Blue Dragon’ Children’s Charity Summer Camp and assistance for victims of typhoons and floods. In addition they have a ‘Porter Incentive Scheme’ in place on their Mount Fansipan Vietnam route, financially incentivising porters to collect rubbish both to keep the area tidy and to educate locals and tourists about the importance of removing litter.

Our local agents have introduced a Green Office Policy to reduce their impact on the environment. This is mainly through reducing the amount of materials used in the office and recycling any materials that are used. It also includes training staff on keeping energy consumption to a minimum. They work with local suppliers to promote more sustainable ways of getting from A to B including walking or cycling, rather than being in a vehicle. They work alongside hotels to encourage environmental awareness training and wherever possible select hotels that already have environmental policies in place.

The Koh Ra Ecolodge has also started a community-based tourism program with the local Sea Gypsy (or Moken) community. They have trained several interested members as guides and together conduct tours on traditional lifestyles and medicinal plants. A community fund from this endeavour uses a portion of the proceeds for community projects benefiting the entire community.

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