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Guide to Thailand: A Journey with a Good Conscience

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Get tips and ideas on how to travel more responsibly in Thailand - and at the same time bring many unique and fantastic experiences home in your luggage.
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Guide to Thailand: A Journey with a Good Conscience is written by Circle line Lemas.

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Meaningful experiences in Thailand

Now that Thailand from May 1, 2022 has abolished all travel restrictions, many will once again turn their gaze and compass towards the Land of Smiles. And Thailand is so ready to welcome with big smiles and open arms.

Thailand has a lot to offer. As one of Asia's most popular destinations Thailand is full of experiences where you can get really close to the unspoiled, and at the same time give your holiday greater value.

You may already know about the beautiful temples and white sandy beaches, but Thailand has many unique experiences that make your trip very special and that you will only find here.

Here are experiences where you can meet friendly people, learn about the Thai culture and support local communities, nature conservation and animal rights while you get a memorable adventure home in your suitcase.

Here you will therefore find a guide to Thailand on how to travel with a clear conscience.

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A guide to responsible tourism in Thailand

Did you know that responsible og sustainable tourism is high on the agenda in Thailand? The Thai tourism authorities have chosen to introduce a new travel alternative in collaboration with Socialgiver, a non-profit organization, and the initiative Big Trees Foundation in support of nature conservation throughout Thailand.

Socialgiver and Big Trees Foundation go hand in hand. When you book hotels, restaurants, attractions and more through Socialgiver half of the amount goes to the Big Trees Foundation project.

The purpose of the Big Trees Foundation is to preserve public green spaces in Thailand. The project's work includes a tree's life cycle from cultivation to replanting, educating local people and creating meaningful jobs for nature conservation.  

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Discover Thai culture up close

Elephants and humans have lived close together in Thailand for centuries, and experiences with elephants is a way to immerse oneself in Thai culture. For example, you can learn more about how elephant drivers - called mahouts - see elephants as part of their own family.

In many places in the country you will find parks and reserves where the elephants live freely. Here you can get really close to the big gentle giants, and volunteer as to look after the animals.

When choosing such an experience on your trip, make sure that you support a place that stands for the welfare of the animals and for the animal keepers. And at the same time you get a unique and ethically sound memory with you home.

You can also gain a great understanding of local Thai life if you decide to travel locally. You can immerse yourself by participating in activities such as local food courses, Volunteering, by learning Thai or going all-in and staying with the locals, who are world-famous for their welcoming hospitality.

Do not hesitate to try the small local restaurants, get local massages and buy local crafts to take home from shops that may not be on Tripadvisor. In this way, you help locally and make the journey sustainable in a very concrete way.

Another kind of experience that definitely brings you closer to the Thai culture is wellness travel. This almost transformative experience helps to breathe new life into your connection to the world around you.

In Thailand, wellness is not meant as a trend; it is instead a tradition that brings you beyond the spa experience and closer to the culture and the country.

Combine a holiday in the Land of Smiles with sustainable tourism - read another guide to Thailand here

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A guide to hidden gems you must not miss in Thailand

You should not rush through Thailand to reach from one tourist attraction to another. Enjoy the many benefits of traveling a little alternatively. If you have not tried traveling through Thailand on wheels or rails this is definitely something you should try.

When you have to leave anyway Bangkok down south towards Cha-am, Surat Thani, Hua Hin or the many other amazing archipelagos, why not take the train or bus? In particular the bus, boat and train connections from Bangkok to Cha-am, Hua Hin, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan og Koh Tao have fun stops on the way as the route is long.

It makes the whole experience much more valuable as you have a greater chance of meeting exciting new people on the route. In this way, you can enjoy the benefits of discovering new hidden gems on the route, and at the same time see a different side of Thailand and Thai culture.

Take the opportunity to visit otherwise overlooked cities along the way. Visit e.g. Chumphon heading south - unexpected experiences like these often end up being the highlight of the trip.

Read more about the alternative routes to the South Islands in this guide to Thailand here

When you are in Thailand anyway

Besides those many ideas from our guides for what to experience in Thailand, there are also many ways in which you as a tourist can make a positive impression.

If you have already made up your mind that you are going to dive in Thailand, why not combine it with one of the many voluntary green initiatives? It can, for example, be to collect rubbish underneath havets surface or at the beach before departure to the diving boat.

You may have also discovered that Thailand is filled with cute dogs and cats running free around the streets. Most often, it is non-profit animal organizations that ensure that the homeless animals receive food, water and vaccines so that they can have a safe home in the future.

One of the more well known organizations is Soy Dog, headquartered at Phuket. Here you can help such organizations run around by either donating financially or by contributing in practice with walks and love for the many dogs and cats that live on the streets.

One last thing that can definitely be a fun and educational experience in Thailand is to help restore nature. The jungle is being cultivated again by the locals and volunteers, and you and your travel companions can get green fingers and create more green Thailand.

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Guide to Thailand - travel with care

While there are many ways to travel responsibly, these examples are some of the most obvious when you travel to Thailand and would like to have a meaningful holiday.

You can find more information about activities through the Thai tourism authorities.

Read more about Thailand's "Meaningful Travel" concept here

The article is written in collaboration with Visit Thailand. All positions are, as usual, the editorial staff's own.

About the author

Circle line Lemas

The suitcase is often packed and ready as soon as the winter period hits. The destination goes primarily to warm and cultural Thailand, as it has done for the past 5 years.

Her passion for experiences, travel and cultures started almost 10 years ago when she traveled to the United States as an exchange student.
Since then, the suitcase has been filled with memories such as road trips in the USA, backpacking trips in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico, as well as lots of short trips to Berlin, Hamburg, London and Malmö, among others.

When she does not have the opportunity to travel, Cirkeline enjoys exploring beautiful natural areas and collecting further on her travel book collection, which is constantly growing.

After completing education in Service, Hospitality and Tourism Management, the dream is to be able to travel with the family around the Southeast Asian countries for a longer period.

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