How Thailand travelers can use less plastic, set a good example, and make a difference

How Thailand travelers can use less plastic, set a good example, and make a difference

Your holiday is a chance to unwind. It’s a time for yourself, where you can relax, recharge, and explore a new culture. But as a traveler, you realize the world is much bigger than you. Travel unlocks an opportunity to make a difference in a world beyond your borders. And when it comes to plastic, the world needs more eco-conscious travelers. Plastic destroys the fertility of soils and suffocates the oceans, and Thailand is now waking up to this fact.

In June of this year, a pilot whale was found in Southern Thailand with around 80 plastic bags (weighing more than 17 pounds) in its stomach. The animal died. And this sparked a movement in the Land of Smiles to reduce plastic waste—though it’s just the beginning. And as a traveler here, you can be part of the solution. Here’s how.

Pass on the popular plastic straw

Plastic straw

Plastic straws are a hit in Thailand. Locals use them for water, soda, juice, and even beer; and convenient store clerks are quick to toss a couple in your plastic bag alongside your drink. While it’s easy to proclaim you should “just say no” to straws, we recognize there’s a certain fun appeal to them. So is there a middle ground? Can you have your straw and reduce your plastic footprint, too?

At Flight of the Gibbon, we’ve recently banned all plastic straws and replaced them with reusable bamboo straws. Of course, we aren’t the only option. You can purchase reusable straws before your trip at many online retailers.

Drink from 1 baht water machines

water machine Thailand

Traveler's diarrhea is a risk for many Thailand visitors. And avoiding the local water supply is one way to protect yourself. Unfortunately, that leaves many visitors here to rely on their hotel or local convenience stores for plastic bottled water. Is there another option? It can be easy to overlook, but if you keep your eyes peeled around town, or even villages, you may notice a better, cheaper, and eco-friendly alternative right in front of you: one baht water machines. Put in a one baht coin, and you can get anywhere from 1-1.5 liters in your reusable bottle.

Pack store bought goods in your pockets, daybag, or in your hand

Say no to plastic bag

In your home country, you may be accustomed to skipping plastic bags at stores, but it can be easy to fall out of habit on holiday. If you’re not being conscious, eager clerks will be quick to bag your items in plastic. So just remember. When you’re at a convenient store in Thailand, say no to the plastic bag and stuff goodies in your pockets, daybag, or simply carry them in hand.

Choose tour operators, activities, and hotels that are environmentally conscious

eco tourism

When it comes to ethical tourism, Thailand visitors are responsible for the impact they create. Your choice is a vote. So when you choose a tour operator, hotel or activity, know that your money is going to support the actions of that business or attraction; and not all are concerned about the environment. For this reason, we recommend you do some research beforehand. Look to see if your potential hotel or attraction have policies that support the environment, donate to charity, or have been publicly recognized for their eco-conscious activities. You may be able to find this information online, or you can also email the potential vendor directly.

At Flight of the Gibbon, we realize our business is nothing without the blessings mother nature has bestowed upon us. The virgin rainforests our courses are located in, the endangered species that call our Chiang Mai course home, and the gorgeous natural scenery of Mae Kampong are what makes our business possible. We rely on mother nature—and we don’t take that fact lightly. Not only have we banned plastic straws from all our operations, but we’ve done the same with plastic bottles, swapping them for reusable glass bottles instead. And to ensure we are supporting the environment, a significant portion of our profits go to ecotourism, Thailand charities, and environmental conservation and education.

Flight of the Gibbon has a variety of Conservation projects that we are working on right now! You will be surprised how busy our conservation team is! read more

To learn more about Flight of the Gibbons environmental practices and activities, we encourage you to get in touch. We’re an open book. So feel free to reach out via email or give us a call at +66 53 010 660.