A Green Escape: 9 Stunning Eco-Friendly Retreats In Asia
Being sustainable doesn’t mean going back to basics. Get up close and personal with nature and take a trip – without the guilt – to these eco-friendly luxury hotels from across Asia.
OFF THE COAST OF BINTAN, INDONESIA
Sustainability is at the forefront of Cempedak Island, and not merely an afterthought. Nestled in an idyllic tropical paradise, the villas are constructed from locally sourced sustainable materials such as bamboo, petrified wood and local alang alang grass to maintain in the natural and unspoilt beauty of the island. What’s more, rainwater is Each villa also comes equipped with its own plunge pool. Local staff are also trained and employed by the resort, which hosts a range of activities such as wildlife treks (critically endangered Sunda Pangolins and Oriental Pied Hornbills have been spotted on the island), as well snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of Cempedak bay. You can also visit their sister resort – The Nikoi here.
PRICE: SGD 600 per night.
Surrounded by serene lakes and snow-capped peaks, the Banyan Tree Ringha seems worlds away from Shanghai’s skyscrapers and the bustle of Beijing. Located in a village over 10,000 feet above sea level in remote Yunnan province, the resort is composed of authentic Tibetan farmhouses. You can expect warm Tibetan hospitality, enjoy dinner with local families in a cozy ger, as well as bike rides through the countryside. Banyan Tree Ringha supports local infrastructure such as schools, clinics and organizes clean-ups, as well as helps in reforestation efforts. The hotel is also a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, a list of properties that share the organisation’s commitment to sustainable practices, as well as protecting natural and cultural heritage.
Rooms start at SGD 330 per night.
BAA ATOLL, MALDIVES
Experience barefoot luxury at Soneva Fushi, an award-winning resort hidden among the lush foliage within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. While you’re there, relax catch a film under the stars at their open-air Cinema Paradiso or count Saturn’s rings in their high-tech Observatory. Water activities include snorkelling with manta rays, stand-up paddling, and even freediving for the adventurous. Soneva is working towards becoming carbon-negative and has implemented robust sustainability measures. In particular, they have banned imported mineral water and bottle their own still and sparkling drinking water in reusable glass bottles.
Named after the Asiatic wild dog, Dhole’s Den is an eco-friendly lodge located on the edge of the Bandipur National Park. The lodges have been designed to minimize negative environmental impacts and generate as small a carbon-footprint as possible. For instance, the lodges are almost entirely powered by wind turbines and solar cells. The resort also has an impressive waste management system in place –
waste water is treated in reed beds and used to cultivate their vegetable gardens, while food waste is turned into bio-gas. Each lodge features panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and landscape. While you’re there, do visit the Bandipur National Park, where you can get up close and personal with tigers, mouse deer, antelopes and even panthers.
Prices start at INR 8000 per night.
RAJA AMPAT, INDONESIA
Operated by a passionate group of conservationists and divers, Misool is both a conservation centre and private island resort. Relax in your villa just above the pristine crystal clear waters at this secluded tropical retreat, or dive with green turtles and manta rays at this world class dive site. Through their partnership with the Misool Foundation, the resort hopes to safeguard the biodiversity of the reefs, while empowering local communities. To that end, the foundation also set up the Misool Marine Reserve, an area nearly twice the size of Singapore, which an active shark-finning zone. What’s more, the resort is built entirely out of reclaimed tropical hardwoods from the island.
Perched on stilts near the water’s edge, Sukau Rainforest Lodge skillfully blends into the lush greenery of the surrounding rainforest. You’ll witness unusual species like proboscis monkeys and orangutans while holidaying in Borneo’s pristine wilderness. Built by local artisans, the complex was built to exist in harmony with nature, and allow animals to thrive undisturbed. Sukau has implemented strict environmental policies. For instance, rainwater is harvested and chlorinated for guest use. The lodge is also equipped with septic tanks, ensuring that no waste is discharged into the river. Sukau also works on sustainable tourism projects with the local community to promote conservation, such as reforestation and beekeeping, which mitigates human-wildlife conflict on farms (elephants tend to avoid areas where bees are prevalent), and provides ancillary income to farmers.
KOGGALA LAKE, SRI LANKA
Tri is Sri Lanka’s first sustainable luxury design hotel situated around an island headland flanking Koggala Lake. Ideal for a relaxing stay, Tri offers a sanctuary built in harmony with nature. The hotel is powered by solar panels and is almost entirely built with sustainable materials such as recycled wood and local granite. At Tri, you can enjoy Sri Lankan fusion cuisine that features organic produce from their edible gardens, sign up for a yoga session or indulge in a cleansing Ayurvedic treatment at their spa. The hotel has also established a mangrove planting and shoreline protection programme to tackle lakeshore erosion.
Experience luxury ‘glamping’ in safari tents built on a floating pontoon on the tranquil wasters of the Taitai river at the 4 Rivers Floating Lodge in Cambodia. Take a dip at the Taitai Waterfall or trek through one Asia’s largest mangrove forests in the Cardamom Mountains, where you will encounter indigenous clouded leopards or even the rare Malaysian sun bear. The region has been recognised as one of the 35 international bio-diversity hotspots. As firm believers in sustainable tourism, the resort is built from sustainable materials such as recycled plastic, while furniture is built from local hyacinth plants. The resort also has an effective water and waste
iTree is an eco-resort situated in the scenic foothills of Huizhou province in China. The resort consists of restored traditional village houses that are surrounded by picturesque bamboo and rice fields. Each guesthouse is built with energy-saving features and environmentally-friendly materials like bamboo. iTree also allows visitors to adopt and plant trees to reduce the carbon footprint on their stay.
Prices start at RMB 788 per night.
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