Sustainable travel is all the rage these days, no wonder eco-friendly hotels have been popping up everywhere. Here are some of the best eco-friendly hotels to stay in South East Asia!
Eco-friendly tourism is a bit of an oxymoron. Tourism accounts for about 8% of the world’s carbon emissions and it’s set to rise at a rate of 3% annually. That’s why airlines have introduced carbon offset programmes to offset your flight’s carbon footprint.
Hotels have also joined the fight against climate change with sustainable practices. To play your part as an eco-conscious traveller, here are 8 eco-friendly hotels in Southeast Asia you could stay in during your next getaway!
1) Sekeping Serendah, Malaysia
Why is it eco-friendly: Sekeping Serendah is a nature retreat that prides itself on integrating architecture with surrounding nature. There’s no air-conditioning and you have to bring your own toiletries and food (unless you want to order meals from the caretaker). It’s also smack in the middle of a 5-acre rainforest.
What to expect: Sekeping Serendah’s minimalist zen design puts zero-distraction as its highest priority; most of its furniture is see-through, while its construction is made of stone and wood so that it blends perfectly with the surrounding nature. There are two pools within the Sekeping Serendah compound, and several paved jungle trails for you to feel adventurous on. When it’s time to head back, there are barbecue facilities in each room for you to feast and unwind.
Where is it: Located an hour’s drive away from Kuala Lumpur, Sekeping Serendah isn’t the easiest place to find in Selangor, and that’s why they’ve provided GPS coordinates (N3.368050, E101.631150) and even a cute hand-drawn map to make sure you don’t get lost!
Price per night: Rooms start from RM300 (~S$100).
2) Nihi Sumba, Indonesia
Why is it eco-friendly: Nihi Sumba is a luxurious hotel that prides itself for being the pinnacle of sustainable luxury by providing food made with local produce, and a portion of its profits go back to the community. Nihi Sumba has its own humanitarian foundation called the Sumba Foundation. This foundation has contributed to more than 70 humanitarian projects in Sumba which are centered around clean water, education and health; the most notable of which is seeing malaria rates go down by almost 70 percent.
What to expect: Nihi Sumba has many accolades; it’s been awarded Best Hotel in the World twice by Travel + Leisure in 2016 and 2017. It’s really the complete package – not only do you get exceptional service and well-maintained facilities, you also get a range of island activities such as surfing, horseback riding, and fishing!
Where is it: Sumba Island is about 400km away from Bali. It’s quite remote, so the only feasible way to get in is through daily flights from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport to Sumba Island’s Tambolaka Airport.
Price per night: Not gonna lie, this is pretty expensive – rooms start from US$845 (~S$1,153) during the off-peak season and you have to stay for at least 3 nights. However, nearly everything else including food, non-alcoholic drinks, and activities are free.
3) The Yard Hostel, Thailand
Why is it eco-friendly: A lot of reasons, actually! Where do we start? The Yard Hostel uses upcycled shipping containers for its rooms, while its toilets save water by up to 35%. The Yard Hostel’s air conditioning uses up to 40% less energy and it uses recycled paper for insulation against the scorching Bangkok heat. They also haven’t forgotten about the little details – their homemade yoghurt and jam are zero-plastic, and they offer guests reusable bottles to borrow during their stay. Talk about being thoughtful!
What to expect: This is a hostel after all, so you won’t be getting much in the way of typical luxuries. However, The Yard Hostel gets glowing reviews from guests, citing impeccable facilities, cool ambience, and exceptional service from staff and owners.
Where is it: Located just 500m from Ari BTS station, you can find also nice restaurants, cool cafes, street food vendors, and a local market in the Ari neighbourhood.
4) Lodges Ekologica on Portibi Farms, Indonesia
Why is it eco-friendly: Lodges Ekologica on Portibi Farms is a farm that comes with accommodation, not the other way round. As such, local produce and meats are literally a few steps away, eliminating the need for carbon-generating transport. Meanwhile, electricity is provided through solar power too! Lodges Ekologica on Portibi Farms also reduces water water by reusing greywater, while collecting rainwater for outdoor water use.
What to expect: Nature is the richest in providing you luxury and it reflects through the food and surroundings. Take part in green activities such as gardening, vegetable picking, and even tree-planting. If you’re feeling super adventurous, go for a hike by the nearby waterfall!
Where is it: Lodges Ekologica on Portibi Farms is located two to three hours away from the south of Jakarta by car. Here’s a detailed map to get you there.
Price per night: Rooms start from US$63 (~S$86). This also includes three gourmet meals, afternoon coffee & tea, snacks, and regularly scheduled farm & nature activities.
5) The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa, Malaysia
Why is it eco-friendly: The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa has accrued many accolades for their green practices over the years. Arguably, their claim to fame is using nature itself to purify water; waste water is filtered through aquatic plants, which is then used to water the plants in the compound. The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa also replaced all plastic straws with FDA-approved paper straws and most of their electricity is powered by solar energy!
What to expect: All the usual goodies you’d expect of a hotel is available here – pool, gym, kids centre, sauna, etc. There’s also non-motorised water sports if you’re looking for some fun in the sea!
Where is it: The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa is located south of Kampung Lubok Buaya, which is one of the main towns in Langkawi. It has easy access to the main tourist attractions, such as the Underwater World Aquarium and the nearby island Pulau Rebak Besar.
Price per night: Rooms start from RM434 (~S$144).
6) The Gibbon Experience, Laos
Why is it eco-friendly: The Gibbon Experience isn’t a hotel, it’s actually a conservation project framed as a hotel. This project started in 1996 to combat illegal logging, commercial cropping, and excessive slash-and-burn practices. By paying money to keep this “hotel” going, you’re protecting native wildlife and local communities from destructive capitalistic activities.
What to expect: This is an active holiday; depending on which package you choose, you get to trek, zip down zip-lines or swim in freshwater pools with waterfall views. When you’re all done, you get to sleep in a treehouse at the canopy layer of the forest!
Where is it: The Nam Kan National Park in Laos. The Gibbon Experience is in a remote location but you can arrange for transport to the park.
Price per night: Rooms start from €305.00 (~S$462) for 3 days and 2 nights. The package includes food, accommodation, and tour guides.
7) El Nido Resorts, Phillippines
Why is it eco-friendly: Reusing water seems to be a theme here, and El Nido Resort’s application of it is no different; it has a sewage treatment plant that incorporates reed filters. The treated water is then used for toilet flushing, plant watering as well as its fire hydrants, reducing the need for energy-intensive desalinised water.
To minimise damage to water ecosystems, El Nido Resort chooses not to offer motorised water activities like jet skis. When it comes to food, El Nido Resort also practises sustainability. For instance, after an observable decline in the population of groupers, El Nido Resort stopped offering it on their menu.
What to expect: Everything you could ever ask for in a resort. Nice views, top notch amenities and facilities, impeccable service, and tons of activities to boot!
Where is it: El Nido Resort has four locations across the El Nido and Taytay municipalities in Palawan, Philippines. Pick your favourite!
Price per night: Rooms start from ₱22,500 (~S$602).
8) The Outpost Hotel Sentosa, Singapore
Why is it eco-friendly: The Outpost Hotel prides itself with a less-is-more mantra, especially when it comes to waste. Instead of having bottled water, you get a Hyflux filter tap. Drinks are served to you with a metal straw, while paper menus for room service are embedded into the 55-inch high-definition smart TV. For the ultimate bougie experience, the TOTO washlet greets you by raising its lid when you enter the toilet. Also, no kids are allowed – you have to be above 16 years old to stay here and there’s even an adults-only pool.
Psst! Here’s the full review of The Outpost Hotel Sentosa!
What to expect: One of the five swimming pools in The Outpost Hotel Sentosa, complete with a pool bar, is strictly reserved for adults only. There are also free workshops like flower arrangement and terrarium for you to attend! Plus, The Outpost Hotel Sentosa has the first and only exclusive day club that comes with an infinity pool and panoramic view of the sea, where you can party till late with DJ Kaylova!
Where is it: Located on the island resort Sentosa, The Outpost Hotel is just a 5-minute walk from Beach Station.
Price per night: Rooms start from S$330. Prices could go as high as S$600 during local public holidays, so be sure to book during the off peak seasons if you’re looking to save some money!
Photos of Sekeping Serendah, Nihi Sumba, The Yard Hostel, Lodges Ekologica on Portibi Farms, The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa, The Gibbon Experience, El Nido Resorts all belong to their respective owners.
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