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ECO living in Thailand?

Travel Forums Asia ECO living in Thailand?

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1. Posted by Kicka (Budding Member 17 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hi, my husband, I and our 10 month baby are considering moving to Thailand. Great food, beaches, smiling people and beautiful temples all sounds good to us. We are "modern hippies" - I'm a photographer and my husband a healer. What area in Thailand would be good for us to look for land at? Or island? Don't like things too touristy, more into the holistic fireld with building a sustainable Eco house and opening a spiritual retreat. Any ideas?


2. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3580 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Why don't you do a little research on Koh Chang? Beautiful place, tourists but not overrun. A guy has a very imformative website about everything you need to know about KC. Take a look and e-mail him if you have questions. Good Luck in your quest.

3. Posted by danalasta (Respected Member 519 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


My response is in respect of (your quote):

Don't like things too touristy, more into the holistic fireld with building a sustainable Eco house and opening a spiritual retreat. Any ideas?

I have a couple of friends (Thai) who are into what your are looking at...Maybe you can get in touch with them directly regarding your plans, advice...

One is Dtaw and his wife Cathy (American )who were involved in community practicing engaged-Buddhism in rural central Thailand ( Asom Wongsanit) before going on their own..

They are into conservation awareness, ecology/spiritual awareness programs, organic farming...both are university grads,...Cathy was an English Advisor/Instructor in the Humanities Faculty of Chiang Mai University for 7 years and taught previously at Sundai in Tokyo, Japan and the University of Houston in Houston, Texas.

the other husband & wife team (related to Dtaw) is somphoon and oraphin...they are also into eco lodges and conservation...

Send me a PM if you want to know more....



4. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 465 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

All things ecological in Thailand are in a mess!

you will find almost everywhere falls short of your expectations, if they don't you are deceiving yourself.
Many business people here have cottoned onto the name of eco-tourism and the word is bandied about all over the place, but if put under any scrutiny it just doesn't happen. the pristine beaches here are being eroded by reckless and rampant development at a rate of knots....
If you are a campaigner be very careful of your approach, you have to work with people in Thailand, not tell them what to has the opposite effect. You need to do a lot of research into the whole field of conservation and ecology.

HOWEVER...the building of an eco-house may well prove a good example to simply is not considered by the majority of developers here....they don't even know what it is!

All down the coasts of Thailand mangroves have been ripped out to give way for tourist development such as resorts, and to make way for acres of prawn farms…an ecologists’ nightmare. Most of the arguments for doing this are totally spurious. Some even have the seal of approval of royalty, but I’m sure they are unaware of the truth of what they are backing!

As for Koh Chang!!!!!!!
Here is my view of that sorry island…..

Koh Chang…a paradise lost…

This is a quick overview of the state of Koh Chang, the second largest island in Thailand. Now with the sudden unpopularity of the west coast (i.e. Phuket) there is an ever increasing number of western tourists heading for this is my polemic on why this is not so good....

I've been to Koh Chang many times over the past three years, largely because it's near to Sri Racha where I live, and every time a friend comes to stay this is the most convenient "paradise island” to take them to... My brother even got married there in March 2005.
So why can I not recommend this slice of bounty advert?

(Deep breath)

Koh Chang is a dull, badly developed, overpriced pit of a place and it's going down hill at a rate of knots......

Why? The land for development was all bought up by bigwig friends of the "great and powerful" and now anyone who wants to set up a business there has to pay through the nose for it. All the hotels are overpriced especially when you compare with Phuket and Samui.

Almost all the west coast is now covered with these awful self-contained resorts, which are for the most part badly designed and ill finished. Frequently you can find your room is on a building site. Health and safety is simply not addressed - some of the pool designs look positively lethal.

If you're coming from Europe or the States you'll find that the cost of living and rooms is cheap but not compared to elsewhere in Thailand. You'll love the sunsets and the white sand, you won't wonder where all the sewage is going and what happened to the mangroves or the fishing industry that gets smaller catches every year, or the fishing villages being turned into souvenir arcades-cum-hotels.

The centre of Koh Chang is a national park , but unlike all of Thailand's other National Parks, apart from the odd waterfall, no-one is allowed inside, you can get a guide who will take you in but strictly speaking that's against the law. There is virtually no effort made to set up a good system of eco-tourism in the park as you might find in Australia.

There is only one road around KC and it doesn't go all the way round, it's a horse-shoe affair. There is a motorbike track that connects the two ends but it's not for the faint of heart! The main road is barely more than single track (asphalted) but cannot cope with the ever increasing load of traffic pouring onto the island.

KC is the second biggest island in Thailand and walking around it in a day is not an option, KC is also very mountainous and the roads are very windy and hilly and as the resorts are all a long way from any shops etc so really it’s essential to hire a motorbike or car. As I said above, these are about 50% to 100 % more than on the mainland. The baht taxi service is very patchy and any where you want to go is further than you want to walk.

The main town, if you could call it that is White Sands a long strip of hotels ,resorts and motley bars about 3 km long. If you arrive on foot a baht taxi will take you from the ferry to Whitesands and drop you there. (So long as he has a full load at the ferry or he'll want you to foot the extra money before he sets off.) You will then have to find somewhere to stay this is impossible on foot and with luggage so book in advance at least for the first night. Then get some wheels. Car/Jeep and motorbike hire are about 50% to 100% more than on the mainland so it’s not a bad idea to hire in Pattaya or somewhere and drive there.

There is no airport on KC itself, if you go by plane you'll land at Trat airport which is on the mainland quite near to the ferries to KC. Get a taxi to the ferry - only a few baht. There are several ferries across, the crossing takes 45 to 90 min, depending on which ferry you take. On one ferry I paid 30 e/w for me and my car, on another I paid 360 baht for my car an five people return.

Now you may think I hate the place, well I don't, I just get very disappointed in the direction the powers-that-be have taken KC, it's lack of infrastructure and any forward planning will mean that sooner rather than later this place will become a collection of overpriced resorts and nothing else.

Where to stay? - Klong Prao Beach is probably as good as it gets, there are about 4 resorts there actually with beach frontage, The Paradise is all nicely built new bungalows, Coconut and Royal Coconut are next to that and Klong Prao resort has a long beach front and good pool beside the sea.
However the last time I stayed at Klong Prao Resort in last August (2005) the place was a building site. They didn't tell me until the day I arrived even though I was a regular guest there. If you do book in advance you must ask about this sort of thing because you will very likely not be told by the staff. Building also precedes a hike in prices. I used to pay 1800 baht to stay there. That time I paid 1750, a discount of 50 baht (just over a dollar) because it was the wet season and there was building going on! I was told the new price is 3500 baht and that was what they would still charge whilst the building was continuing.

The problem with Koh Chang is that it is changing and changing rapidly for the worse. Hotels are constantly building and encroaching on the environment. Prices are rising and beach access is getting more and more taken over by private resorts. The days of a hut on the beach for 200 baht are virtually gone. The scuba divers are going further and further a field in search of clear water and fish, and don’t be kidded that so long as the hotel claims to be by the sea that it has a beach! (v. Ramayana - built on a mangrove!!!!!!!!)
Remember that during high season (Nov to April) and with the tsunami still driving many extra visitors over from the west coast, you may find many places fully booked.
PS – I cannot recommend the Ramayana and Boutique resorts!

If you want up to date local info on KC, try this site - -
Good site for info on Koh Chang and sounds like a good place to stay too!

[ Edit: Edited at Jun 20, 2006 9:34 PM by wildfk ]

5. Posted by Laura_B (Respected Member 352 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

This is unfortuately the case in many islands in Thailand, yes the scenery is beautiful, but it's easy to be blind to what is being destroyed at the same time. For instance in Koh Phi Phi Don. I had a fab time there, & it's still stunning, but it's being wrecked by not only the locals but also tourists. If you walk along the coast from Tonsai Bay to Long Beach you will find the piles of rubbish that have been dumped! I also noticed plenty of tourists leaving their rubbish (including fag butts, yes fag butts are rubbish) on the beach. I just don't see what's so difficult about using a bin?

Krabi-another beautiful area, while West Railay beach is kept pristine, just walk around the East Railay beach & you'll find mounds of rubbish dumped. East Railay beach is not suitable for swimming due to mangrove trees, but it could still look beautiful if it was kept tidy.

I would go back time & time again to the islands if Thailand, but it does concern me that they are being ruined very rapidly! I think the only time I saw evidence of concern for the environment was when I went on a snorkelling trip in Krabi. The girl that was running the trip mentioned the importance of being very careful of the coral reef as it was protected. In Phi Phi, it was the case as get as many boats out as possible in one area in one go & to hell with the effects this will have the environment. Snorkeling wasn't as much fun I can tell you.

6. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 465 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Of course it's not just the rubbish you can see. Unsightly rubbish is only the tip of the iceberg, but what happens after you put it in a bin...where does the bin go?

As for the can't blame them for wanting to make money it's the customers (we are the top of the food chaion)and big business who dominate the situation and take the cheapest route every time. what do you think happens to thew sewerage from sall the new hotels and resorts on these islands? what about the hugge quantities of fresh water that hotels consume, in bathing, laundries and swimming pools? where does it come from on an island? What effect does it have on the water table?
Not to put too fine a point on it, next time you use the loo in paradise think about where it's going to go and howit gets there....

7. Posted by Laura_B (Respected Member 352 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

A lot of the hotels are now not changing towels & bed sheets daily, just every other day or when requested. I don't have a problem with this, it's not much if it helps save a little energy & water.

8. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 465 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I think you'll find that is merely to save money...they still use phosphates in the washing powder and drain that into the nearby soil or sea....

9. Posted by suwannaphu (Budding Member 51 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

What about the least touristed region of Thailand : the northeastern region OR Isaan, as the Thais call. Most parts of this region are very little visited, and people there are still having slow pace of lifestyle. However, the richness of cultural and natural attractions are there. The down side is : tourism facilities here are not that advanced like other heavily touristed parts of Thailand. If you go there, you may find that in some places people still stare at "Farang" (foreigner) as a strange lifeform!!! They are not used to seeing the tourists!

Please be noted that if you look forward to staying/living there as those "traditional OR conventional" tourists (who really look for things like in Pattaya, Koh Samui, Bangkok, Koh Chang or Phuket), Isaan is definitely not the place you are looking for.

[ Edit: Edited at Jun 22, 2006 3:26 AM by suwannaphu ]

10. Posted by Laura_B (Respected Member 352 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Quoting wildfk

I think you'll find that is merely to save money...they still use phosphates in the washing powder and drain that into the nearby soil or sea....

I didn't notice anything like that, I think if I did I wouldn't be able to enjoy visiting places in Asia.

It's like food, if you always think about where it's come from, you'd never eat anything!