14 tips for an eco-friendly and responsible stay in Chiang Mai

We collected a few tips to transform a holiday in Chiang Mai into a sustainable and eco-friendly stay!


1. Be careful with TripAdvisor

This is applicable to every activity in every part of the world.

Very often you find advertised activities that look eco-friendly and amazing. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Be careful and read a few relevant reviews. You will find out the real nature of the activity, its pros and cons, and if it is worth it or not. Of course, not all the reviews are objective or pertinent… then it is up to you to evaluate their accuracy. Just to give you an example: the Chiang Mai Monkey Centre is advertised as a fun activity with monkeys, but if you check the overall reviews, you will find out that these animals are treated in a cruel and inhuman way. It’s so sad…

tripadvisor chiangmai naturebels


2. Help homeless animals

South East Asia is full of dogs, cats and chickens. There are organizations or local people who take care of them. They are not too skinny, but you can see that they don’t eat enough. During the warmest hours of the day, they just lay on the ground without energies. To help them, it would be nice to bring them some left-overs or buy them some food. It is a little gesture, but with great value!

tired cat naturebels


3. Don’t ride elephants

Many companies realized that riding elephants is a “cruel” activity. Poor animals! If you are looking for an experience with elephants, go to a sanctuary. There, you will interact with happy elephants, you will feed them, wash them and walk them to the river for a funny bath. It’s is more ethical, a more touching experience for yourself, and they will not suffer at all.


4. Choose a cooking class in an organic farm

We went to the Smile Organic Farm Cooking School. It is at approximately 45 minutes from Chiang Mai, and it is located in a green countryside. They pick you up at your hotel. First, you stop at a local market then, once at the farm, you dress like a real farmer and your team-leaders will show you all the herbs, vegetables and fruits growing in their garden. Afterwards, you can choose 5 dishes you would like to cook, you will cook them and, last but not least, you will enjoy your chef-d’oeuvre! A very nice and recommended experience!

cooking class naturebels ingredients curry naturebels


5. Have one complete meal per day

When it is so hot, you actually don’t feel like eating a lot. If you eat fruit in the morning, a natural and organic snack for lunch and then you have a high-energy meal in the evening, your body will be restored and you will feel more lively. This is a good way to safeguard yourself and your body, the environment (low food consumption) and… your wallet!


6. DIY activities

There are hundreds of tour agencies organizing all the same activities for an extremely high price. They maybe offer you transportation to/from the activity, but still, they make up their margin and earn easy money. Try to arrange the activities by yourself, it can be challenging but it is worth it to try. Again, your wallet will be happy! In addition to that, you can select new and eco-sustainable experiences (planting a tree, biking, etc.), or volunteering (in sanctuaries, etc.), or give priority to non-mass tourism’s activities.


7. Buy at local markets

Thailand is full of 7eleven shops which, in turn, are full of imported products. The result is that the Thai economy and culture is suffering and feeling chocked. Buy at local markets in order to support this country, to discover traditional products and authentic tastes.

local market chiang mai naturebels

local food naturebels

While waiting for your food, you can also have a bit of fun 🙂

fun at the market naturebels


8. Carefully check bottled water

Tap water is not drinkable, so you inevitably have to buy bottled water. Check carefully the ingredients, as some waters’ taste is as you would be drinking directly from a swimming pool! They are rich in fluorine and chlorine, which are very bad for your health! Carefully select the most natural water, possibly local…


9. Avoid glass bottles

Recycling is not really popular in this part of the world, therefore all the garbage is collected and somehow eliminated. Glass, when not recycled, has a degradation time of 4000 years! When possible, it is better to avoid glass bottles…


10. Discourage globalization

When you see imported products in local shops, don’t buy them. Give priority to homemade goods! If you don’t do so, Thailand will lose its authenticity, its culture and culinary traditions. This would be such a shame!

american products naturebels


11. Eat vegetarian or vegan

It is not advisable to eat meat in developing countries. The main reason is that those poor animals live on the road, and very often eat and drink from the garbage or in a dump. That means that, in a way, you will “eat” what they eat.

In addition to that, you cannot always understand what kind of meat is on the BBQ: it has weird shapes and colours…

weird meat naturebels

The environmental impact of meat production in the world is scary, you can read here some facts.

If you eat cooked vegetables, you are safe!


12. Walk… instead of grabbing a tuk-tuk

If you can walk, just do it! You will discover much more in every corner, and you will assist at wonderful scenes that you would have missed when going by tuk-tuk or by car. It is healthier, you help the environment and you develop your sense of direction. If necessary, use the offline app maps.me, so you don’t get lost. Bring your mask…


13. Tuk-tuk strategy

If you need to go outside the city centre, it is better if you walk. A tuk-tuk will try to charge you more because it has to drive away from the centre and the main attractions. On the contrary, when you are outside and you need to go back to the centre, a tuk-tuk will be cheaper as it has anyway to go back in that direction. Keep it in mind!


14. DIY laundry

Asia is full of women doing the laundry for you, it takes 24 hours but you get back your clothes scented and ironed. These ladies charge you a fee per kilo of washed clothes.

You can also find public laundries with several washing machines and you do the laundry by yourself. Very often, in these places, there is a free WIFI connection and some comfortable seats, where you can work while you wait.

laundry naturebels

Save time and money, safeguard the environment, yourself and the others. Even if you find yourself in a mass destination, you can still make the difference and give a good example to everyone!