If you are planning to travel to South East Asia and want to be conscious about your environmental impact during your trip, this article is for you. It is written specifically about visiting the wonderful island of Bali but most of the tips are applicable to many other destinations too, so hopefully, you will find them helpful.
List of Tips To Make Your Stay In Bali Eco-Friendly
Be Conscious About Flying & Compensate Your Carbon Footprint
The first tip is about your journey to the holiday destination you are going to visit. It is common knowledge nowadays that flying has a massive negative impact on the environment but of course, you still want to explore this beautiful planet when you have the chance. So there are a couple of things you can do to minimize the impact you are having when flying. First of all, try to spend as much time as possible at your holiday destination.
In my case, I decided to travel for a few months at a time, which for me justified taking a long-haul flight more than if it was only for a few days or a couple of weeks. If your commitments only allow you to take a few days off, it may be more eco-friendly and less stressful for you to visit a more local place by train than flying across half the planet. If you do decide to fly, make sure to compensate your carbon footprint by supporting organisations such as myclimate.org.
Join (Beach) Cleanups
It is no secret that tourism is leading to a lot of plastic pollution on various holiday destinations worldwide. In many beach destinations such as here in Bali, there are organisations organising regular beach cleanups that can be joined by anyone. Beach cleanups are a great and fun way to meet fellow earth friends and to make a difference when visiting a country.
One organisation organising beach cleanups is trashhero.org. You may find many more. If there are no organisations in the area you visit, you can always just pick up plastic and trash on your own and be a role-model to others :).
There are many ways to avoid waste and plastic pollution as a tourist. One great example of this is refillmybottle.com. This site shows you various locations in the destination you visit where you can refill your reusable water bottle with filtered drinking water. If you plan ahead a bit, this can help you avoid to buy many plastic bottles which you will only use once.
Whenever there was no “refill my bottle” location nearby and I was in need of water, I simply asked at a restaurant or cafe whether they would refill my bottle for me. The answer was yes 100% and I even told them about the initiative of refill my bottle and encouraged the persons I spoke to sign up as a location. In many cases, the people were very curious to find out more as everyone (at least here in Bali) is very concerned about plastic pollution. Another tip is to ask the Airbnb or homestay host whether there is a water dispenser that you can use to refill your reusable.
You will also find that there are countless fruit stands with fresh and unwrapped fruit and vegetables. Stock up in these places rather than in supermarkets where fruit and veggies are often wrapped in plastic.
Adopt A Plant-Based Diet And Avoid Entertainment Activities Involving Animals
Bali is a paradise for vegans and vegetarians, there are countless vegan or vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants and it is super easy to avoid meat on your plate. Adopting a plant-based or vegetarian idea is a great idea as the conditions in which animals are kept and slaughtered on this island are often horrific. Staying in Bali for a while, I was, unfortunately, unable to avoid witnessing animal cruelty. Be sure to do your part to not contribute to such treatment by avoiding animal-derived products in your diet.
Another thing to remember is that you should never participate in any entertainment activities that are connected to the mistreatment of animals. Avoid visiting Bali Zoo which is known for its inhumane practices and does not attend cockfight events which are extremely cruel. Other activities to avoid in any holiday destination is the petting of wild animals and riding elephants and other wild animals.
In Bali, there is also a famous type of coffee called Luwak Coffee. Luwak coffee is produced by animals (civets) eating and digesting coffee berries. These animals are kept in horrific conditions so you should boycott visiting Luwak farms and consuming this type of coffee.
Be Mindful Of Your Energy Consumption
It may be tempting in hot destinations such as Bali to constantly leave the AC running. Try to minimize the use as much as possible and turn it off or to a low mode before sleeping. Also, remember to always turn it off when you leave the room.
Don’t Waste Food
This tip is a no-brainer. In my case, it is important to remind myself of this as portions here are often much too big for me. What I try to do is an order from the kid’s menu (not kidding) if I am not too hungry as the portion size is usually perfect for me :D. This is also a great tip for saving money haha. Another thing you can always do is to take your food home with you. The restaurants usually provide boxes but if you are a truly planned-through person you may carry your own sustainable takeaway box with you.
If you are looking to get a souvenir, make sure you purchase goods only from ethical and sustainable sources. You may also find a treasure at one of the many weekend flea-markets. In my opinion, the best thing is always to keep photographs as the only souvenirs :).
Please be sure to leave additional tips in the comment section to help fellow travelers.