travel sustainably south east asia

7 Ways To Travel Sustainably In South East Asia

Most people who travel to South East Asia do so out of interest and respect – but how can you take that one step further and travel sustainably in South East Asia? These travel tips will fill you in on you how you can make more of a difference when you visit this beautiful country.

Countries such as Laos and Cambodia are only recently becoming a more popular destination, but with more visitors can come problems. It has low population density, diverse ethnic lifestyles and traditions and perhaps the richest, most extensive network of ecosystems of South East Asia. So, it needs to be carefully protected.

Large-scale tourism development can damage ecosystems, pollute environments and exploit local communities. We’re not saying don’t travel here – far from it! There’s plenty of ways you can make a difference. Here’s how to travel sustainably inSE Asia.

How to Travel Sustainably in South East Asia

1.  Travel Lighter

Before you fly, we recommend taking a look at your suitcase and thinking about ways to avoid packing unnecessary things. Lightweight luggage means that the airplane consumes less fuel – this is highly important in lowering carbon dioxide emissions.

2. Embrace Local Food and Handicrafts

Keep in mind two phrases beginning with L: “less is more” and “local”! Think food, design and handmade products. They’re more eco-friendly and there’s usually a heart-warming story behind the products.

It’s not about how much money you spend – it’s about where you spend it.

sustainable travel tips

3. Travel At Off-Peak Seasons

Think outside the box – would you be able to travel outside the peak season? Overtourism of certain places is destroying beaches and putting a strain on local communities. If you can’t resist visiting popular destinations, visit them at off-peak times. The money you spend then will help businesses that can struggle outside peak season.

You might think you can’t visit South East Asia during monsoon season, but the weather can actually be quite nice.

4. Choose Your Transport Wisely

If just one million people replaced an 8km car trip with a bike ride once a week, global CO2 emissions would be reduced by nearly 100, 000 tonnes a year! Fly only if you really need to. Public transport, bicycles and walking are ‘greener’ modes of transport and great ways to meet locals and discover a new region.

travel sustainably south east asia

Book your Transport around SE Asia with Bookaway here

5. Respect Local People

Learn a few words of the local language and make sure you know what’s considered polite and what’s not in terms of eating, greeting and local values. Remember that you are visiting someone else’s home. Most places are Buddhist countries and you should respect the culture here. This includes covering up when visiting temples and taking off your shoes before entering homes or even some cafes.

travel sustainably south east asia

6. Cut Down on Plastic Use

When travelling to South East Asia, we suggest you bring reusable water bottles and eating utensils. Overtourism can lead to large piles of rubbish and plastic everywhere, so don’t contribute to any unnecessary waste.

Forget about the single-use plastic bottles and fill your own water filter bottle with clean water straight from the tap. It’s clean, refreshing – and by using your own bottle, it will help keep your carbon footprint down.

7. Try To Book Eco-Friendly Accommodation

Whether it’s for a weekend getaway or a week-long stay, make sure your accommodation has green habits. You should also hang towels that can be used more than once, turn lights and air conditioning off when you go out.

Ultimately, make sure that what you do on your trip its not exploitative of people, nature, or resources and you’ll find that following sustainable travel tips is easier than you think.

travel sustainably south east asia

Ultimately, make sure that what you do on your trip its not exploitative of people, nature, or resources and you’ll find that following sustainable travel tips is easier than you think.

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Sarah Clayton-Lea
Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

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