By Sherise Tan
With a growing desire to gain more worldly experiences, holiday-makers these days are travelling more consciously to eco-friendly destinations. Some of the best eco-getaways in Asia are hidden spots still unmarred by commercial tourism. Although these getaways may take longer to get to, the reward of getting to stay in a secluded, sustainable resort is priceless.
Here are some of the top eco-getaways in Asia that you should visit:
- 4 Rivers Floating Lodge, Cambodia
Located at the foot of the Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia, 4 Rivers is an environmentally-friendly floating resort situated on the Tatai River. Open since 2009, the resort is serious about its sustainability–it uses composite materials made of wood and recycled plastic for its floors, has a sustainable waste management system, and uses solar panels to power the resort at night.
The resort has projects to clean up the Tatai River and waterfall and has made it a point to preserve the biodiversity of the Koh Kong region. Spend your days exploring the surrounding mountains and rainforest, named as one of the top 35 international biodiversity hotspots, or just relax in the ecolodge’s 45-square-metre floating tents for that luxurious glamping experience.
2. Bawah Reserve, Indonesia
Bawah Reserve is a remote luxury eco-getaway situated on Bawah Island in the idyllic Anambas Islands archipelago, three hours from Singapore. The eco-resort is part of the Bawah Anambas Foundation, which was created to channel funds back to the preservation of the land, sea, and local community on the island. The foundation works on conservation projects such as coral reef preservation and educating the local community about eco-awareness.
Guests can enjoy luxury accommodation standards in this all-inclusive secluded island resort, with activities and daily spa treatments throughout their stay. They can satiate their appetites with gourmet meals prepared by the in-house chef using farm-to-table produce from the resort’s own permaculture garden.
3. Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia
Situated against the backdrop of the Mongolian Gobi Altai mountains, the Three Camel Lodge features high-end traditional Mongolian ‘gers’ or tents in the heart of the Mongolian desert. Not only are the tents furnished by local artisans, but the ecolodge is committed to sustainability through the use of solar energy, recycling of water and waste, and giving back to the community.
In addition, they have formed a partnership with the Bulgan Sum Township and Gobi-Gurvansaikhan National Park authorities to help with wildlife monitoring and the fight against animal poaching. Here, you can explore the vast Gobi desert, discover Mongolian wildlife, and return to a night of stargazing from the comfort of your bed.
4. The Mudhouse, Sri Lanka
Hidden away on the outskirts of the Anamaduwa District and untouched by mass development and tourism, The Mudhouse brings a piece of tranquil, rural Sri Lanka lifestyle to its guests. With largely open traditional mud huts, the lodge has no electricity, no Wi-Fi, and is made for simple pleasures.
Food is made from produce from their own organic farm. The lodge aims to hire more locals to maintain the lodge through traditional, labour-intensive tasks, thus reducing its carbon footprint. Guests can go birdwatching at the nearby Anawilundawa wetland sanctuary, laze on a hammock, enjoy local Sri Lankan food, and read in the evening by the light of kerosene lamps.
5. Zhiwa Ling Hotel, Bhutan
Set amidst monasteries and temples in the Paro Valley, this ecolodge combines the spiritual heritage of Bhutan and the warm hospitality of the local Bhutanese. Take meditation classes from Buddhist monks while overlooking the view of Tiger’s Nest, one of the most sacred spots in Bhutan.
Amble around the 10-acre property and enjoy tea, yoga, or a massage in the secluded hillside. The ecolodge has its own composting, waste management system, and recycling programme, and its Bhutanese staff regularly lead community projects such as tree planting or cleanups.
6. Misool, Indonesia
Started by two divers, the Misool resort is located in a former shark-finning camp in the Raja Ampat archipelago. Since then, the resort has created the Misool Marine Reserve spanning 300,000 acres, which resulted in a 250 percent biomass increase over six years.
The resort’s foundation also works with the local government to develop community projects like helping local fishermen breed and raise giant clams. At the resort, guests can relax in rustic overwater bungalows, dive or snorkel with baby black tip reef sharks, or enjoy a traditional Indonesian Jamu massage.
With the World Tourism Organization predicting that international tourism will climb to 1.8 billion by the year 2030, the reasons for eco-tourism are more urgent than ever. Not only does sustainable tourism help to protect the environment, but it benefits the local people with employment and income while allowing travellers to truly appreciate the beautiful surroundings. When it comes to booking your next travel experience, why not make it an eco-friendly one?