It is easy to travel cheap and sustainable when you visit places like Thailand: the culture, people and places you can get to know here are just so connected to traveling in a different way, that you’ll always find an option for you. So if you want to discover some really nice spots to be a sustainable tourist in Thailand, just keep reading!
This is probably one of the most underrated regions of the country, and because of that, Isaan is the perfect place to go sustainable and get to know how Thai people really live in an everyday basis. The area doesn’t have that many attractions, since it’s pretty undeveloped. Two destinations that are worth the visit are the Khmer Ruins and Khao Yai National Park. One of the main activities here is farming and the best place you can stay in is a family-run guesthouse, where locals can show you around and immerse you into their routines.
2. Koh Kret Island
Located in northern Bangkok, you can visit Koh Kret Island in 45 minutes (by motorcycle- local drivers are the most popular option) and you can visit small temples and support local artisans and sellers who will offer you the most delicious fresh fruits and veggies in the weekend markets. You can rent a bike and wander around its rural atmosphere if you just want to do it by your own. One of the biggest influences here is the Mon people, who have been living here for centuries.
Read more: Thailand Tour Guide
This province wasn’t recognised as such until 1933 by the Bangkok government, so you can guess it's a region that has its (kind of) separate and special culture, which is incredible to discover by yourself if you travel to Nan. The Saturday Night Market is the place to find the most typical food, mainly made out of pork and chicken. You’ll find here distinctive flavours like the “makhwaen”, a herb that only grows in Nan and that is used to prepare many traditional snacks and dishes. What better way to get to know a culture than through its food?!
4. Tonsai Beach
Of course, I have to mention some beach in Thailand. And this one is not a backpacker hotspot by any means. It’s a paradise with blue waters where you can practise many nature sports (with no environmental impact at all), such as diving, snorkeling, kayaking and rock-climbing, this last one being really popular in the area. This is a great spot for just relaxing and getting to know the locals lifestyle at your own pace. The vibes are really chilled here, you can find quite some small family-run shops where you can support local economy.
5. Pang Ung
If you absolutely want to unplug from stress and routine, you have to visit Pang Ung, four hours away from Chiang Mai. It’s an area that’s kind of hidden in the Mae Hon Song Province and this is the reason why the environment is so calm, surrounded by an amazing hilly landscape. It’s not very visited by tourists and one of the best activities you can do here is getting up early to witness the sunrise. You won’t be disappointed! Camping by the lake will let you enjoy all of its natural beauty, which won’t seem real to you!
Read more: Best tips to travel Thailand on a budget
As you may know, apart from doing some sustainable tourism in Thailand around all the beautiful towns and small cities I've mentioned, the country is very well known for their elephants sanctuaries, which do an amazing job at taking care of the ones that have been mistreated or harmed in a space that is actually natural for the elephants. Sanctuaries can be visited and if you’re spending a longer staying at the country, you can even volunteer. Some of many that you can find in Thailand are the KS Elephant Sanctuary and the Lampang Elephant Conservation Center, which is a leader in research and medical care for these lovely creatures.
Traveling Southeast Asia in general allows you to travel sustainably, you just have to dig a bit into the average touristy route so you can get to know every place in a different (and eco-friendly) way! There are always options travelers, so let us know yours in the comment section so we can learn altogether!