28 February 2021
Tourism has long been the lifeblood of this compelling country with its vibrant mix of sun-kissed beaches, floating markets, UNESCO-protected ruins, rainforests and remote hill tribes. This is a place where the deeper you dig into local life and communities, the more you’ll get out of your holiday – both in terms of personal enjoyment and the satisfaction you’ll feel knowing that you are sustaining local initiatives and livelihoods. Getting under the skin of Thailand through its people, its activities, its culture and its food is one of the most rewarding holidays you’ll ever have.
Community-minded Resorts in Thailand
The first-ever Banyan Tree resort with its exceptional DoublePool Villas and destination spa is firmly rooted in supporting local communities through employment, education, support for artisan cooperatives and connecting its guests with local culture and heritage. To take just one example, on the second Tuesday of every month, guests can take part in the meaningful ritual of alms-giving and receive the blessings of local monks.
Styled like a traditional fishing village, the family-friendly, eco-friendly Rosewood Phuket includes walking tours showcasing its efforts to conserve its local surroundings and communities. Its social responsibility initiatives include partnerships with local farmers and other businesses.
COMO Point Yami, a super-stylish resort above Phang Nga Bay – the iconic shooting location for The Man with the Golden Gun – may be best known as a sensational wellness retreat but it also encourages guests to support local projects through visits to the likes of the nearby Gibbon Rehabilitation Project.
Pimalai Resort & Spa was the first five-star hotel on colourful, chilled-out Koh Lanta and has a timeless appeal, with no jet-skis or speedboats – just the waves along the half-mile stretch of shore and elephants wandering down with their mahouts for a bath. Its eco efforts are outstanding – both in and of themselves and in that staff go into the community to raise locals' awareness of the need to conserve their island in all its glory.
Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort, a sublime property with a blissful spa, immerses you in its locale through Thai kickboxing, Thai cooking classes and sorties to meet and support the local community through everything from craft shopping to 4x4 jungle excursions and Buddhist temple tours.
Six Senses Samui is a rustic-luxe resort that even has its own astrologist and traditional Thai healer. Where sustainability is concerned, the standout is Our Farm on the Hill, an initiative to minimise its environmental footprint by converting waste into valuable by-products – and sharing these efforts with the local community and government as an example of what can be achieved. Other community engagement practices include beach cleaning, tree planting and school cleaning.
Banyan Tree Samui is a resort of all pool-villas that has won awards for its sustainability efforts, which include the Seedlings programme to nurture young people at risk of social exclusion through vocational and life skills, mentorship and scholarships. Guests can also see in action and even take part in such initiatives as coral rejuvenation, community cleaning and tree planting.
Good to Know
Your Travel Counsellor can book you a holiday at any of the above, and in addition to the resort offerings can propose additional tours and other excursions to help you to make the very most of your time in Thailand.