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Healing for body and soul at 4 ‘Tourism Cares’ hotels committed to sustainable leisure

Healing for body and soul at 4 ‘Tourism Cares’ hotels committed to sustainable leisure

Thailand currently has nine certified Tourism Cares hotels, five of which use the CF-Hotels platform to reduce their carbon footprint.

Tourism Cares is a US-based non-profit organisation that promotes sustainability in the travel and tourism industry. Its network covers over 160 tourism partners in various sectors worldwide, ranging from hotels, restaurants, and tour operators to museums and learning centres.

A Tourism Cares stamp also expands the market reach of hotels as they are featured in the platform’s “Meaningful Travel Map” (, which is used by travellers and tour operators to search for sustainable destinations and services.

Here are four members of the CF-Hotels platform that have won recognition from “Tourism Cares” for their commitment to the environment. Check out how these hotels have successfully integrated sustainability with luxury hospitality.

PRY1: Playground in the forest

Interwoven seamlessly with nature, PRY1 – derived from the Thai term “praiwan” for forest – nestles in the lush embrace of Khao Yai National Park some 200 kilometres northeast of Bangkok.

The resort, covering an area of 100 rai (almost 40 acres) first opened in 1995 under its previous name, the Khao Yai Grand View Resort. Now, however, it has been renovated and relaunched as a modern, sophisticated eco-resort at one with the surrounding wilderness.

Offering an ideal haven for ecologically responsible travellers and those seeking outdoor adventures, PRY1 is also a perfect example of carbon-free tourism. For the active visitors, the property offers a running track through the forest as well as a 50-meter outdoor swimming pool. For relaxation, guests can curl up with a book in the cozy library surrounded by nature.

Sustainable Design: The resort aims to keep emissions to a minimum via the clever design of its buildings, activities, and management style. Its VAYA Kitchen restaurant, for example, sources all its ingredients from either the on-site vegetable garden or from surrounding communities.

Everything used is seasonal, including the bamboo shoots that sprout naturally in Noen Hom subdistrict at the beginning of the rainy season. Guests can join a bamboo-shoot-hunting activity in the nearby community.

The resort has been successful in reducing single-use plastic by providing only refillable glass bottles in rooms.

Electricity is generated using solar panels, with plenty of EV chargers available for electric cars.

Food waste is recycled as compost for the garden, while the resort conducts frequent campaigns to plant trees to expand green spaces.

Don’t Miss: Nature lovers can enjoy a range of outdoor activities like camping, running, cycling and swimming. Or guests can opt for a relaxing afternoon at the “Bulbul in the Woods” library, where they can read about wildlife, nature, art and design, or join art and craft workshops on making natural dye from seasonal flowers or dolls from pinecones.

Adventurous visitors can embark on a guided nature trail and record their discoveries in the “Nature Playground” booklet.

Location: Prachinburi-Khao Yai Road, Muang district, Prachinburi

Away Chiang Mai Thapae: Balancing mind and soul

This small boutique hotel in the heart of Chiang Mai defines itself as a “vegan retreat”. Located just a short walk from the city’s historical Tha Phae Gate, Away Chiang Mai Thapae is surrounded by temples and local communities specializing in handicrafts.

The property blends modern comfort with a Lanna/colonial-style design in blue and white that oozes peace and tranquillity.

In line with its 100% vegan principles, animal products including dairy, and eggs are not served in the hotel. The resort’s aim is not just to be kind to animals, but also to the environment, offering guests healthy and sustainable options.

Sustainable Design: Despite being in the centre of Chiang Mai’s vibrant tourist and business district, much of the property is devoted to greenery.

Its “green team” also encourages each unit of the resort to manage and offer ideas on how the environment can be protected to enhance service standards.

The resort’s sustainability habits start in the back office, where employees receive regular training in how small steps like sourcing seasonal, locally produced goods not only keep the carbon footprint low but also generate income for nearby communities.

Signs have been put up across the resort encouraging people to use water wisely and avoid single-use plastic. There are boxes placed around the property for people to drop their used plastic straws, which are then given to the Green Road enterprise which upcycles them into paving blocks.

Free bicycles are also available for guests to explore Chiang Mai in a zero-carbon way.

Don’t Miss: The hotel’s Moreganic Vegan Restaurant, which has been certified by the international Veggie Hotels Network, serves meat and dairy-free versions of Thai, Northern Thai and Italian cuisine.

Beverages, meanwhile, are made following the “water of life” principle and only feature seasonal, chemical-free products.

Studies show that the vegan diet is beneficial to health while also helping to reduce environmental impacts, especially carbon emissions from livestock farming.

Location: Tha Pae Soi 5, Tha Pae Road, Muang district, Chiang Mai

The Legacy River Kwai: Sustainable riverside camping

“We are a learning space for all nature lovers, as we genuinely care about the environment,” says Wanlop Pichpongsa, an executive at the hotel.

“Eco-tourism is now an important segment in global tourism because people are becoming aware of the impact of climate change. At the Legacy River Kwai, our strength lies in truly sustainable practices that our guests can experience first-hand.”

The resort occupies more than 118 acres (300 rai) of land with over 4,600 trees and features a chicken and sheep farm, vegetable garden, camping area, and an elephant sanctuary run by the Somboon Legacy Foundation.

Inspired by the concept of living close to nature, log cabin-style accommodation is embraced by lush green vegetation and tall trees. The highlight is the camping area and its learning spots that dot the Legacy River Kwai grounds.

Sustainable Design: Sustainable and environmentally friendly practices have been integrated into the resort’s operations since the beginning of 2014.

The Legacy River Kwai has also joined the Green Leaf Hotel network, adopting energy-saving measures in line with the network’s doctrine.

In addition to conserving energy, the resort recycles food waste to make compost for its vegetable and herb garden while also raising free-range chickens. It buys locally to generate income for nearby communities and provides lessons in environmental awareness at its learning centres.

Don’t Miss: In addition to carbon-free activities like SUP boarding, rafting and biking, the resort also offers farm tours to give visitors a first-hand experience of 360-degree sustainability practices at the Circular Economy Learning Centre.

The centre is divided into four stations: the “good-natured” chicken station, the vegetable planting station, the leaf station, and the food-waste composting station. Guests can also have a go at turning food waste into chicken feed, making fertilizer from chicken droppings, and using leaves and cut grass as the base for vegetable plots.

When large groups visit, the resort holds a special “community market” where neighbouring communities bring local produce, food and other products to sell.

Location: Dan Makham Tia district, Kanchanaburi

Cross Chiang Mai Riverside: Luxury meets environment and community

Under its “Luxury by Design” concept, the five-star Cross Chiang Mai Riverside boutique hotel offers guests not just luxury but also access to communities along the banks of the Ping River.

Almost 70% of the hotel’s 3-rai plot is covered in green while the remainder is made up of just 29 suites that either open onto the gardens or overlook the river.

Among the natural highlights are century-old tamarind trees that offer cooling shade.

Sustainable Design: The resort’s “green team” ensures that every unit is run sustainably. It works with the hotel’s technicians to ensure energy and resources are used in the most cost-effective, efficient ways, and collaborates with the kitchen staff to minimize food wastage.

All vegetable and fruit scraps become organic fertilizer for the vegetable and herb garden, while surplus food is passed on to the nearby Wat Fah Ham community.

The buildings are designed to maximize the cooling effect of prevailing winds and let in natural light to reduce the use of electricity in rooms and common areas.

Plus, there is always a cool breeze coming from the Ping River. The Oxygen Dining Room is a naturally lit expansive greenhouse that offers panoramic views of the grounds and the river, while the Ozone Roof Bar and Library Bar and Café give guests the chance to chill in natural surroundings.

Solar cells have been installed in nearly 50% of the common area and will soon be expanded to cover guest rooms.

Guests, meanwhile, are encouraged to collect points by reducing the number of times their bedsheets and towels are changed. These points can be redeemed for drinks or discounts on resort products and services.

Each room has insulated water bottles that can be refilled, while there are plenty of bicycles available for guests to venture out and explore nearby communities and shops. 

Don’t Miss: The most popular activity on offer is kayaking down the Ping River under the guidance of national kayakers from the Fah Ham community.

The trips give guests a chance to witness local people’s way of life while also helping to conserve the river habitat by picking up garbage.

Location: Charoenraj Road, Muang district, Chiang Mai

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