On your next trip to Thailand, consider booking a stay at a hotel which supports responsible tourism. In our round-up we’ve highlighted 40 (shown here in alphabetical location order), but there are many more located across Thailand. Whether it’s through sustainability, eco-friendly policies or helping the local community, these hotels all support responsible tourism. Wherever you choose to stay, you can check online to see if the hotel has a responsible or sustainable tourism policy in place. And while a number of the hotels on our list are well-established ‘big name hotels’, there is much to be said for staying at family-run guest houses and small hotels where your money directly supports local people.
1) Akyra Thonglor Bangkok
Akyra Thonglor is part of the The Akaryn Hotel Group who were one of the first hotel groups in Thailand to remove single-use plastics from their properties. They also partner with Pure Blue Foundation to support marine conservation in Thailand.
2) Anantara Riverside
The Anantara group of hotels is committed to sustainable tourism. In Bangkok, guests staying at this elegant resort on the banks of the Chao Phraya River can join a number of excursions to discover more about the local communities who help make Bangkok such a fascinating city to visit.
3) Bangkok Treehouse
This green hotel and organic restaurant offers a unique stay in Bang Krachao which is known as the ‘green lung of Bangkok’. Enjoy the best of both worlds as you relax amidst the natural surroundings, but are still only a short journey away from downtown. The Bangkok Treehouse is built with bamboo and recycled metal and hires local people who live within walking or cycling distance.
4) Banyan Tree Bangkok
The Banyan Tree hotel group supports a range of responsible tourism initiatives through their Banyan Tree Global Foundation. Staying at this luxury hotel in Bangkok not only ensures a memorable stay, but also helps make a positive impact.
5) Faasai Resort & Spa
Located off the main tourist trail in lovely Chanthaburi, Faasai Resort & Spa is an outstanding example of an eco-resort which preserves the environment and works closely with the local community.
6) Akyra Manor Chiang Mai
A boutique luxury hotel in Chiang Mai’s trendy Nimmanhaemin area, Akyra Manor is another supporter of the Pure Blue Foundation that helps marine conservation in Thailand. The hotel has also signed up to the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge.
7) Anantara Chiang Mai Resort
With its gorgeous location overlooking the Ping River, Anantara Chiang Mai operates a number of green policies including minimising water and energy consumption. They also work with local artisans to highlight the cultural heritage of Chiang Mai.
8) Chai Lai Orchid
Visitors are assured of an unforgettable stay in the Chiang Mai countryside at the delightful Chai Lai Orchid. Enjoy ethical elephant experiences, eat locally sourced food and learn more about Chiang Mai from the local team that Chai Lai Orchid employ. Chai Lai also donates back to the community through Daughters Rising, an anti-trafficking organisation that helps at-risk women and girls.
9) Rabean Pasak Chiangmai Treehouse Resort
This family-owned treehouse resort is located in a small village around 90-minutes away from downtown Chiang Mai. Surrounded by teakwood forest, the resort is a labour of love by the owner, Khun Lee, a retired architect who originally built this as a family home from home, but opened it to the public in 2012.
10) U Chiang Mai
Situated in the heart of Chiang Mai’s Old Town, U Chiang Mai supports local charities including Baan Kingkaew Orphanage and Wild Flower Home for young single mothers. Te hotels ‘U Make a Difference’ program means that for every night a guest stays at the hotel, money goes directly to the charities.
11) 137 Pillars House
The historic 137 Pillars House hotel in Chiang Mai has partnered with the Elephant Nature Park, an elephant sanctuary founded by Lek Chailert, a prominent figure supporting ethical elephant experiences in Thailand.
12) Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort
In association with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF), this award winning resort in Chiang Rai province supports the wellbeing of Thailand’s captive and wild elephants. Working closely with scientists and mahouts, Anantara Golden Triangle strives to protect elephants now and for future generations.
13) Phu Chaisai Mountain Resort
If you want to unwind amidst beautiful natural surroundings, look no further than Phu Chaisai Mountain Resort. Comfortable bamboo rooms are located in a gorgeous mountain setting with the resort using a number of eco-friendly initiatives. Water is supplied from its own reservoirs, the on-site farms and orchards are organic and the resort also supports local growers and suppliers to provide meat in addition to seasonal fruit and vegetables.
14) Aleenta Hua Hin
Situated in Pranburi to the south of Hua Hin, Aleenta has a good reputation for its sustainability approach. The resort has lowered its carbon footprint by using local producers and suppliers. Paper is produced locally and also recycled and passed to local schools for educational purposes. Aleenta also replants and maintains indigenous plants and encourages the younger generation to get involved in their various eco-friendly projects.
15) Khao Lak Merlin
A serial winner at the Responsible Thailand Awards, Khao Lak Merlin is at the forefront of conservation in the Phang Nga area. With a diverse and innovative range of sustainability projects, Khao Lak Merlin is also notable for their support of the local community.
16) The Sarojin
Working with the community in Khao Lak, The Sarojin ensures the economic benefits of tourism filters through to the local economy. Through The Sarojin Khao Lak Community Fund, the hotel contributes directly to a range of good causes in the Khao Lak area. An active sustainable tourism committee at the resort also helps ensure best practises are maintained.
17) Anurak Community Lodge
The stunning Khao Sok National Park is the location for Anurak Community Lodge, an eco-resort ideal for nature lovers and eco-conscious travellers. Anurak Community Lodge is part of the local community and wherever possible employs local people and supports businesses in the Khao Sok area.
18) Elephant Hills
Elephant Hills resort has been described as, “a model for how a luxury travel experience can also educate and conserve.” Not just a stunning resort to stay, Elephant Hills encourages ethical elephant experiences. Elephant Hills also puts an emphasis on recycling in addition to cooperating with the local community by sourcing staff locally and improving education in the area with their Elephant Hills Children’s Project.
19) Soneva Kiri
Over on Thailand’s east coast, the luxurious Soneva Kiri enjoys an enviable location on the idyllic island of Ko Kood. The resort is a fine example of luxury combined with eco-friendly design. Through the Soneva Foundation a 2% environmental levy is raised on all stays with the proceeds invested in a wide range of projects to benefit the environment and local economy.
20) Pimalai Resort & Spa
The Pimalai Resort & Spa works with local schools on a number of initiatives to encourage the next generation to preserve the environment. Pimalai is also a leading light in the Little Scientist House project which encourages children to get involved in fun educational activities.
21) Banyan Tree Samui
The environmental policies implemented by the Banyan Tree resort are having a positive impact on Ko Samui. Perhaps the most striking evidence of this was seen in 2020 when a green sea turtle chose a quiet stretch of beach in front of the resort as a nesting site. The island resort has initiated a coral rejuvenation project and has raised awareness of climate change through tree-planting events. Banyan Tree Samui also lives up to its ethos of ’embracing the environment, empowering people’ and plays an active role in supporting young people from the local communities via mentorships and scholarships.
22) Meliá Koh Samui
Meliá supports sustainable tourism and their efforts have been recognised with certification from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. The hotel has signed the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge and is committed to reducing plastic waste, supporting local culture and communities, and promoting sustainable travel in Thailand. In 2020, Meliá met their targets to ensure that 70% of their energy supply is environmentally friendly.
23) Six Senses Samui
Six Senses Samui supports a number of responsible tourism initiatives covering waste management, recycling and commitment to the local community. Whether it’s organising beach clean-ups, helping schools or through their popular Farm on the Hill project, Six Senses Samui is a good example of a responsible hotel.
24) Tongsai Bay
The Tongsai Bay Green Project is a multifaceted approach to cut down on waste, protect the environment and raise awareness of the importance of eco-friendly initiatives on the popular tourist island of Ko Samui.
Ko Yao Noi
25) Six Senses Yao Noi
Six Senses Yao Noi has helped many thousands of local people via the resort’s donations of medical equipment to public hospitals in Phuket and Phang Nga. Funds are also donated to local schools and, wherever possible, Six Senses favours farmers, fishermen and suppliers who live nearby.
26) The Hideout
The Hideout is another hotel on Ko Yao Noi with an excellent record for responsible tourism. The resort only sources local products and all food and bath amenities are made from scratch. With a zero-waste policy they do not sell bottled drinks or use plastic straws and there is an emphasis on Reusing, recycling and upcycling. The Hideout’s ‘Farm to Table’ initiative means that more than 90% of ingredients and materials are grown at and harvested from organic local farms on Ko Yao.
27) Treehouse Villas
In keeping with the natural theme of the resort, Treehouse Villas preserves and protects the flora and fauna of Ko Yao Noi including the magnificent hornbills who call the island home. An on-going program maintains the jungle habitat which is complemented by regular tree planting initiatives. In another lovely touch, all wedding couples are encouraged to plant a coconut palm to commemorate their wedding day.
28) Koh Jum Beach Villas
Koh Jum Beach Villas won the Responsible Thailand 2020 award in the eco-hotel category. The resort earned plaudits for their sustainability philosophy and their attention to detail in tackling a broad range of environmental issues. They have also won praise for the way they get guests involved in their initiatives. The accommodation on Ko Jum was built using natural materials with each villa designed to make use of natural ventilation. Low-energy lighting is in place and a wind turbine helps to generate part of the resort’s energy requirements.
29) Pakasai Resort
Pakasai in Ao Nang was one of the first resorts in Krabi to offer eco-friendly accommodation and facilities to guests and the first to be presented with the ASEAN Green Hotel Award in 2014. Pakasai’s housekeeping team only uses 100% eco-friendly products while the resort’s garbage bank has enabled funding for water tanks for local villages.
30) Rayavadee Krabi
Rayavadee works on a number of responsible tourism projects that benefit not just the local environment, but local people too. From beach cleanings to marine life releases and mangrove planting events, Rayavadee plays an active role in the Krabi community. They are also a founding member of the Enlive Foundation which protects the Phra Nang peninsula where the resort is located. The resort supports fair trade products and social enterprises with all of the rice served organic and free-range eggs supplied from Hilltribe Organics. Rayavadee is a founding partner of the Food For Good charity program which provides healthy meals for needy children throughout Thailand with the resort donating 1 Thai Baht for every dish ordered in every restaurant throughout the year.
31) Saii Phi Phi Island Village Resort
To learn more about the Phi Phi Islands and the diversity of marine life here, visit the Marine Discovery Centre at Saii Phi Phi Island Village. This is the first centre of its kind in Thailand and the positive impact of the Marine Discovery Centre was recognised in the Responsible Thailand Awards 2020. Interactive displays in Thai and English explain about the life and habits of the marine creatures found in the waters around the Phi Phi Islands. The facility is not only of benefit to the hotel and its guests, but actively involves the local community too. Saii Phi Phi Island Village was also recognised for the outstanding range of activities on offer for eco-conscious guests.
Zeavola adopts a self-sufficient lifestyle and tier approach to sustainability has been recognised with the World’s Best Sustainable Boutique Hotel Award. Amongst the changes made at Zeavola include the installation of their own drinking water bottling plant and the introduction of ‘Refill My Bottle’ water stations throughout the resort.
33) Aleenta Phuket
Along with its sister properties in Bangkok, Chiang Mia and Hua Hin, Aleenta Phuket is part of the Akaryn Hotel Group which has eliminated single-use plastics from all of their properties in Thailand. As a long-term partner of the Pure Blue Foundation, Aleenta Phuket helps protect Thailand’s marine life.
Amanpuri adheres to recommendations made by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to protect the environment and respect local culture and heritage. Prioritising employment of local people and support of local suppliers, Amanpuri also offers sustainable, organic food for guests and staff in addition to providing the healthcare of employees and local communities.
35) Banyan Tree Phuket
One of Phuket’s most luxurious resorts, Banyan Tree has been a leading light for responsible tourism on Phuket. The hotel plants hundreds of trees each year and strives to reduce its carbon emissions. They have helped disadvantaged children with education costs and come to the aid of local fishermen. And through the Banyan Tree Global Foundation, the resort supports an array of responsible tourism initiatives.
36) Como Point Yamu
Wherever possible, Como Point Yamu sources locally to support producers and entrepreneurs on Phuket. Water and energy consumption is made more eco-friendly through the use of energy saving fixtures and special glass is used to reduce the amount of heat transmitted into the building.
An animal welfare policy is just one of the numerous responsible tourism initiatives at Keemala. When visiting Phuket, guests are encouraged to visit and engage in activities that do not use animals for entertainment and the resort does not sell tickets for venues where there are elephant rides or shows with tigers and dolphins. Instead, Keemala suggests alternatives so visitors can enjoy ethical animal tourism and cultural experiences.
38) Mangosteen Ayurveda & Wellness Retreat
Mangosteen Ayurveda & Wellness Retreat is one of the most environmentally friendly resorts on Phuket. Water is carefully managed via two wells and a wastewater recycling system. The swimming pool is salt water treated with no other chemical used and energy efficient lighting is in place throughout the resort.
39) Paresa Resort
Paresa Resort has signed up to the Phuket Pledge, an agreement to reduce, reuse and recycle single-use plastic on the island with the aim to eradicate it in all resorts and hotels. Paresa has built a composting site where organic waste is deposited and subsequently used for compost. As part of their work with the Phuket community, Paresa supports the Good Shepherd, a Phuket-based charity which helps a range of community projects.
40) Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa Merlin Beach
The Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa Merlin Beach has excellent green credentials. The hotel employs full-time conservation experts and also works with the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This has led to the opening of the Merlin Butterfly Sanctuary which is home to over 30 species of butterfly. In addition, the hotel also works with the IUCN and Sea Bees Diving to protect the reef ecosystem in front of the hotel and is involved in the Mangroves for the Future Project.
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