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How to have an eco-friendly holiday in Southeast Asia
As more Singaporeans become environment-conscious in their daily lives, they would also want to extend their eco-friendliness to their choice of holidays. Southeast Asia is obviously a favourite travel destination for most of us but, unfortunately, the region does not have the best reputation for being eco-friendly but destinations like Cambodia are leading the way.
Cambodia, unlike popular Singaporean travel destinations like Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and China, has made significant efforts to create a more sustainable nation, implementing green initiatives and investing in clean energy.
This makes it a great place for an eco-friendly holiday where you can kayak on the Campot river for just $8/hour, visit local markets and bike around the country.
However, you don’t have to confine your holiday to Cambodia. You can still have an eco-friendly holiday in other countries. These types of holidays also do not have to be costly. Save money and have an environmentally friendly holiday at the same time by following these tips:
1. Go to destinations with low carbon footprints
This means visiting countries that have made conscious efforts to create a sustainable environment. These would be countries which have taken political initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, that have reliable public transportation systems and a plethora of sustainable activities, including biking, hiking and ecotourism.
2. Choose your mode of travel with care
Once you have selected your destination, you should think about your mode of transport. It may surprise you to know that it is more eco-friendly to travel by plane than by ship.
Cruises emit as much particulate matter into the air as 1 million cars per day, and the air quality on a ship can be worse than some of the most polluted cities. The good news is that you may be able to take guilt-free cruises sometime in the future as some cruise-liners are renewing their pledges to cut down on fuel emission and become more energy efficient.
Another thing you can do is to take longer, but less frequent trips. This way, you will be spending less on holidays in a year. Travel off-season if you can as hotel prices will be cheaper then.
Choosing to stay in an Airbnb can also be more sustainable than staying in a hotel. It is also cheaper than staying in a three- to a five-star hotel. If you do decide to stay in a hotel, consider staying in a LEEDS-certified building and look up the green initiatives it has in place.
Alternatively, you can consider eco-lodges, which are less harmful to their surroundings and can cost as little as $20 a night.
Book flights in advance to save money and take advantage of your air miles rewards. Similar to savings on lodging, booking during the low season can also save you money.
3. Plan a ‘green’ itinerary
Eating local, going on hikes, visiting local markets and walking or biking at your destination are all ways to retain a sustainable and respectful relationship with your destination. Also, most of these activities are free or cost very little.
Choosing to eat locally rather than at big chains can also save you money while being environmentally friendly. Not only will you not be paying exorbitant prices, but you can also support local farming by doing so.
Other cost-saving measures
*Bring a water bottle or thermos flask to save money on buying mineral water
*Use a reusable shopping tote instead of having to use and pay for plastic bags
*Instead of buying souvenirs, donate money to sustainable organisations
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