With visitor numbers to Thailand at an all time high, everyone that travels to the idyllic islands of Phuket and Koh Samui can play their part in helping to make sure they stay as beautiful for generations of travellers to come. Staying in a private villa and applying a few simple ideas will make sure you leave the island surroundings as beguiling as they were when you first arrived.
In recent years, extensive development on islands like Phuket and Koh Samui has put a certain amount of strain on the fragile natural environment and their unique land and marine ecosystems. Is therefore very important for visitors who make the journey to one of Thailand’s charming islands to do their part in preserving nature’s gift for generations to come.
One of the ways eco-conscious travellers can choose to lessen their environmental impact is actually by staying in a private villa. Such properties tend to be kinder to the environment because there are generally fewer guests sharing the resources than in a larger hotel. Villas also tend to attract visitors that appreciate the tranquil charm of the natural environment and many of the modern villas situated on islands like Phuket and Koh Samui also feature environmentally friendly design features, including solar water heaters and energy saving light bulbs. What is more, most private villas are designed to create a natural airflow throughout the property so less energy is needed to keep indoor areas cool.
Below are some more ideas to help you play a part in protecting Thailand’s natural assets.
Take Shorter Showers
For islands with limited resources, wasting water is one of the cardinal sins committed by travellers. Guests in private villas and hotels can easily use less water simply by keeping the time spent in the shower to a minimum and turning off the taps when they are brushing their teeth.
Switch it Off
The sweltering heat of the Thai summer means that it is often tempting for guests to leave the air conditioning on when they go out so they can come back to a cool room later on. Unfortunately, this wastes a tremendous amount of energy so guests should make sure they switch everything off before going out, including air conditioning, television, lights and any other electrical devices. In a private villa, the staff can also be asked to check no switches are accidentally left on.
Use it Again
It may be the most often publicised and easiest way for guests to consider the environment whilst staying in a hotel or private villa, but it works. That is – re-using sheets and towels. Towels left hanging neatly out to dry will not be changed by housekeeping staff and re-using them a few times considerably reduces the amount of laundry the staff have to do each day. This not only saves water, but also reduces the amount of detergents that ultimately drain into the ground.
Watch out for Waste
A large percentage of the holiday makers that flock to Thailand indulge in a spot of retail therapy whilst they are on the islands. One way to cut down on waste whilst you are shopping is to use your own cloth or string bag, rather than getting a plastic or paper carrier bag from every shop you go to. Other ideas to reduce material waste include bringing your own re-fillable water bottle for day trips and using rechargeable batteries for any electric gadgets you carry with you.
Get around the Green Way
Visitors that want to minimise their carbon footprint favour the use of public transport over hiring cars or calling taxis to explore the island. However on Phuket and Samui this is not always an option. For shorter trips, using a bicycle to explore the local area is possible, and a much greener way to enjoy the splendid scenery, as well as to get a little exercise.
by Wayne Hue