5 Ecofriendly Beach Destinations

Easter is behind us, this means that if you haven’t finalized your summer travel plan yet, you’ll end up with two alternatives:

  • Get the leftovers, that is: not exactly the destination/room/experience that you were planning
  • or be prepared to spend a lot of $ to get the destination/room/experience you want.

Spending a lot of money and getting the leftovers is also a possibility, but we’re trying to keep things positive here. The gist of it is: it’s time to plan summer vacations!

Whether you are a jetsetter or a backpacker, if you plan to have an eco-friendly vacation, on Wajay you’ll find the ideal destination. Here are a few suggestions based on travel types, fashionable, active, with kids, splurge and budget , to help you planning your perfect earth friendly beach escape.

Glitz and glam: Grand Hotel Cannes

Since the Belle Epoque, when it was the favorite summer destinations of aristocrats from Europe and beyond, Cannes has been the summer playground of the rich and famous. At the center of all the action, on the famous Croisette, the palm-lined boulevard that runs along the shore, the Grand Hotel Cannes offers the perfect balance of old-time glamour and modern sustainable luxury. Not only the hotel offers organic and/or locally produced food, ecolabel or natural cleaning products and participates in a carbon offset program, but it also supports several humanitarian charities and actively promotes the welfare, diversity and development of its employees. Knowing this can only enhance the pleasure of drinking a glass of organic wine on the hotel’s private beach or enjoying a sustainably produced meal in the Michelin-starred restaurant.

Active: Tranquilseas Ecoresort

If vacation means indulging in your favorite sports and activities in every waking hour of the day, then head to the Tranquilseas Ecolodge, where the only quiet thing around you is the sea. A Green Star certified PADI center, this ecoresort offers a variety of excursions aimed at appreciating the beauty of the ocean and of this Honduran island. Scuba diving in one of the largest coral reefs in the world is the main attraction, but yoga, deep-water fishing, golf, ziplining and numerous excursions keep guests busy between dives.

With Kids: Puri Dajuma

Beach and kids is always a winning combination, especially if your destination has specific facilities for them as does Puri Dajuma. Throughout the beautifully landscaped grounds of this eco-resort in West Bali, guests can enjoy 2 infinity pools, 20 km of pristine beaches, waterslides, 3 kid pools, for swimming and several relax areas. To restore energies between adventures, 3 restaurants and 4 bars, serving international cuisine as well as vegetarian menus, can satisfy every taste.

The hotel has a babysitting service and it offers several kid-friendly excursions like the visit to the Pulukan Ecotourism State Plantation to learn all the secrets of rubber trees, and to a local turtle conservation program run by the WWF.

Splurge: Bawah Island

If you plan to vacation like an eco-queen, Bawah is the place to choose. Indeed, this award-winning private archipelago epitomizes the definition of ecoluxury, as far as beach destinations go.

6 Virgin islands, 3 crystal-clear lagoons, 13 powder white beaches, 150m high primary forest, that’s what Bawah Island resort offers to the lucky 70 explorers who can afford the min. $1,780 a night (min. 3 nights) on this unique resort. The price includes full round-trip (including flight) transfers from Singapore, daily meals (breakfast, lunch and a-la-carte dinner), full unpacking service, soft drinks, wellness center and surface water sports.

The resort offers a variety of accommodations: from the romantic Garden Suites, immersed in the lush tropical greenery, to the cabins over the water, ideal to enjoy the unadulterated energy of sun & sea around the clock.

Budget: Tinos Ecolodge

Located on the namesake island, one of the lesser known, and therefore still peaceful, Cyclades isles, Tinos Ecolodge offers a full immersion in authentic Mediterranean lifestyle. Two stone houses, off-the-grid and built according to local traditions and sustainable architecture principles, on a promontory facing the sun rising on Mykonos the Aegean, accompanied by the soundtrack of the bells, goats, birds, cicadas and bees. Those are real priceless eco-luxuries and you don’t need a big budget to enjoy them!

We hope that this post helped you to find ideas and inspiration for your next green vacation, if you need more download Wayaj and you’ll discover many more breathtaking sustainable beach resorts from all around the world!

13 Haunted Places to Visit for Halloween

This year bring together your passion for travel and upgrade your Halloween experience to something more realistic than plastic puppets and spooky paraphernalia by visiting one of these haunted cities and locations from around the world. From serial murder scenes and plague infested halls to vicious landlords and pagan sacrifices, these are 13 of the most spectral (or spectacular?) places to visit to get real for Halloween.

 

1) Adulterous ghost: Brissac Castle, Loire France 

Haunted Castle Brissac Loire

Ph: Daniel Jolivet

The Loire region is renowned for its eye-candy castles, but only one of them is haunted. The resident specter of Brissac Castle is an elegant lady in a green dress. The Green Lady is reputed to be the ghost of Charlotte De Breze, the illegitimate daughter of King Charles VII, who was killed by her husband in a fit of rage when he discovered her with her lover. 

Where to stay: Since we’re going for castles, get a room at the Best Western Plus Villa Saint Antoine Hotel & Spa  in nearby Clisson to enjoy the view of the town’s beautiful medieval castle. No ghost sightings have been reported here, but you never know … after all it’s Halloween!

2) Creepy toys: Island of Dolls, Xochimilco Mexico City, Mexico

Creepiest places: Island of the Dolls

Ph: Esparta Palma

If creepy toys is your thing, then head to the Isla de las Munecas, just South of Mexico City. Local lore tells the story of a little girl who drowned in the Xochimilco river. Her body was discovered by the caretaker of the island, who a few days later found a doll floating in the same river. Interpreting it as a sign, he put the doll on a tree so the spirit of the girl could find it, and just to be on the safe side he added more dolls to keep her spirit happy. Even if there have not been any ghost sightings, the Island of Dolls is considered one of the most unsettling places in the world and, being in Mexico, you can also count on an extended spook fest as Halloween is followed by the Dias de los Muertos. 

What to do: The island of Dolls is within the Xochimilco Urban Eco-Reserve, the last part of Mexico City to preserve the ancient system of canals and farms built by the Aztecs. At this UNESCO heritage site it’s possible to explore the canals and discover the chinampas, the ancient agricultural system made by island plots of farmland between the canals.

3) Domestic Murderers: New York City, NY, USA

Haunted house in New York City: Jumel Morris HousePh: Courtney Hault

With all the humanity that passed through this city, by the laws of probability, it’s inevitable that some tormented souls have carried out their nefarious deeds along these streets and then remained to haunt them. The most infamous haunted spots in New York City are the Kreischer Mansion on Staten Island, and the Morris-Jumel House, now a museum, in Washington Heights. 

Kreischer Mansion is surrounded by all kinds of spooky stories from the wailing lady, supposedly the ghost of Mrs Kreischer lamenting the suicide of her husband, to the spirit of a German cook murdered in the house and the souls of kids locked in the closet for punishment. The Morris Jumel building is the oldest house in the city and it is reputed to host at least 5 specters: Stephen Jumel, the first owner of the house who died in mysterious circumstances, his wife who was accused to be the murderess, a serving girl, a British soldier from the Revolutionary War, and Aaron Burr, once vice-president of the United States and killer of Alexander Hamilton in a duel, who became the second husband of Eliza Bowen Jumel. 

Where to stay: Located next to Central Park, 1 Hotel Central Park almost looks like a park annex with its facade covered in green ivy. Relax in comfort, surrounded by living green plants and thoughtful touches of nature like reclaimed wood, hemp mattress and organic cotton sheets.

4) Illustrious ghosts: White House –  Washington, DC, USA

Haunted White HousePh: Kidtruant

Without going into the creepy reality show that is currently going on in the most famous building of the US, the White House is said to be haunted by several distinguished ghosts. Sightings include: Abigail Adams, wife of the second US president, who loves to carry the laundry basket towards the East Room; David Burns, the owner of the land on which the US capital has been built; presidents Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Harry Truman are also all still fretting about some important unfinished national business. 

Where to stay: The Embassy Row Hotel is not only situated in the coolest neighborhood of the US capitol but is also eco-friendly.

5) Suicide hotspot: Aokigahara Sea of Trees, Japan

Aokigahara Suicide forestPh: Luxuz

Resting on western slope of Japan’s most iconic mountain is the one of the world’s most popular spot for hara-kiri. The Aokigahara Forest, a.k.a. the Sea of Trees, is second only to the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco for number of suicides. In 2003, 105 bodies were discovered in the forest, but in recent years the Japanese government has not been releasing figures in order not to advertise the phenomenon. In local folklore, the forest has always been home to the ghosts of the dead, who now are joined by the tormented souls who are looking for the peace that they couldn’t find in life.  

Before you leave the forest stop by to admire the renowned Ice Cave, where giant icicles can reach up to 3 m (10ft) height.  

Where to stay: the Solar Cafe & Farm is not just a place to stay but also a place to learn about innovative sustainable design and farming.

6) Witches Sabbah and Labyrinth – Blå Jungfrun Island

Stone Labyrinth

Ph.: Mingusrude – Wikimedia

For centuries the local folklore has considered this small Baltic island as the location of witch covens, and recent archeological discoveries have confirmed that it had been the site of pagan rituals thousands of years ago. Also known as Blåkulla (The Blue Maiden), the island is renowned for its ancient stone labyrinth. But don’t even think to take one of those rocks as souvenir! It is considered bad luck to remove the water polished stones from the island and every year the local authorities receive many stones back in the mail with accounts of the tragic deeds they brought on their senders.    

Where to stay: Island hop to nearby Visby to spend the night. This marine town has its own eerie site at the St. Nicholas church ruins. Stay at the Clements Hotel to experience some authentic earth-friendly Scandinavian hospitality.

7) Far West Ghost Town – Bannack, MT, USA 

Bannack, MT haunted Far West townph: TJFlexz

No list of spooky destinations can be complete without a Far West ghost town. Bannack (Montana), founded after the discovery of a major gold mine, reached its heydays in 1864, when it was briefly the state’s capital. The Meade Hotel was at the center of the city’s social life and it has kept some of its guests up to this day. Sightings of an old lady on the second floor and other unexplained phenomena have been reported at the hotel. The ghost of a young girl in a blue dress who drowned in a nearby pond, has also been spotted in the neighborhood.

Where to stay: Montana’s historic Boulder Hot Springs Inn and Spa rests in the midst of southwest Montana’s spectacular beauty of snow-capped mountains and lush valleys. The Inn & Spa sits on almost 300 acres of pristine meadows, wetlands and forest. At the hotel, guests can also enjoy mineral-laden, pure geothermal waters, which are used in the indoor plunges, the outdoor swimming pool, the natural mineral steam rooms, and they also to heat the entire building! 

8) Environmental disaster – Centralia, PA

Centralia, burning townPh: Kelly Michaels

Some towns are abandoned because of the lack of business, while others are abandoned because of environmental disasters. To learn a lesson on out-of-control land exploitation, just travel to Centralia in Pennsylvania, the town that has inspired the cult horror movie “Silent Hill”.  As a result of a coal mine fire the town’s soil has been smoldering, and emitting toxic gases, since 1962. The location is a real Hell on Earth, visit for some Halloween thrills, just don’t linger… 

Where to Stay: Head over to Harrisburgh, a city so well attended by ghosts that has its own Paranormal Society, and enjoy the hospitality of the recently renovated and ecofriendly Homewood Suites by Hilton.

9) Vampires & Murdered Nobility – London 

Ph: Laura Rees

Lord Horace Walpole is considered the inventor of the gothic and horror genres with his novel “The Tower of Otranto” (1746), since then, London has been a favorite destination of ghosthunters, as well as the backdrop of several real horror stories from Jack the Ripper to Stephen Port and his 58 victims.  Two locations in particular are the most renowned spots for creepy goosebumps. The Tower of London, where the spirits of Edward V and his younger sibling Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, reputed to have been killed there by their uncle regent, and the romantically decadent Gothic Highgate Cemetery, where rumors of a vampire and other ghoulish figures sightings, have been circulating for over 100 years. 

Where to stay: Take refuge from gothic ghosts that most certainly will not follow you at the QBic Hotel, an eclectic eco hotel in hip East London. 

10) Damned by the Gods, Asirgarh Fort

Asirgarh Haunted fortPh: Kirk Kittel

This Mughal style fort was built in the 15th century by a local lord, on its grounds can also be found an earlier mosque and an older temple dedicated to Shiva. According to local legends, this temple is haunted by the spirit of Ashwatthama, a character of the epic Mahābhārata, who was cursed by Lord Krishna for his ambition to immortality. Locals claim that Ashwathama is seen at night around the Asirgarh Fort. Occasionally, he’s so bold to ask for turmeric and oil to stop the blood of his forehead, but beware whoever has met him has lost mental stability.  

Where to stay. Well, the fort is off the tourism beaten path, so there are neither fancy hotels nor yoga ashrams open to tourists in the region. Best solution to visit the area that has several other attractions (tiger natural reserves, historic temples and shrines) is to stay at the http://www.hoteltajholiday.in/. 

11) Sleeping with ghosts – Montecristo Homestead, NSW, Australia

Ph: Andrew Matthews

Australia’s most haunted house boasts among its sightings: a pregnant caretaker pushed over a balcony and another shot dead, a baby thrown down the stairs, a stable boy tragically burnt to death while he slept, and a mentally ill man killing his mother. The mansion is currently a B&B, with ghost museum and ghost tours, so its guests can enjoy the most sleepless night of their lives in company of specters. http://www.montecristo.com.au/ 

12) The restless Pharaoh: Farafra, Egypt 

Farafra haunted desert

Ph: Stttijn

Another Halloween classic, another continent. Legends say that the ghost of the pharaoh Akhenaten wanders the Farafra Desert (also known as the White Desert) of Egypt, his sightings have been reported by both of tourists and natives. Legend says that Akhenaten abolished the Egyptian gods when he became Pharaoh, angering the religious followers and priests of Egypt; when he died the priests cursed him to walk in the desert until the end of time as punishment. 

What to do: See the White Desert! Little known among Egyptian attractions but impressive natural beauty 

In Javanese its name means “a thousand doors“, and several headless specters seem to enjoy its airy halls together with the spirit of a Dutchwoman who committed suicide. Te former headquarters of the Dutch East Indies Railway Company is located in the center of Semarang (Central Java) and was built at the beginning of the 20th century. During World War 2 it was occupied by the Japanese forces who used the basement as a prison. Several executions took place on the grounds of this complex at the time. Since 2009 the Indonesian government has started a program to renovate the buildings and erase its creepy reputation.

Where to stay: The Oak Tree Emerald Semarang Hotel is a pleasant green oasis on the hills of Semarang and far enough from the Thousand Doors to guarantee a peaceful night.

Lawang Sewu haunted buildingPh: Everyone Sinks Starco via Flickr

 

 

 

6 Eco-Friendly Weekend Ideas To Welcome Fall and Beat the End of Summer Blues 

Eco-Friendly Fall Weekend trips

Good bye long days, warm weather, light clothes and the great outdoors. All around the Northern hemisphere schools are reopening, thus marking the unofficial end of the summer. This change of season can be saddening, if not traumatic (yes, we know a few beach animals!), for some, that’s why we put together a few ideas for short eco-friendly trips and activities to beat the end of summer blues. 

 Fruit Picking season 

Cranberry Harvest
Cranberry bog during harvest time

Sugars are always great mood boosters, and they can be healthy too if they are natural and one has to work to get them. During the months of September and October, apple picking is a major tradition across the US. From pick your own to full scale apple festivals, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate this popular fruit in all its varieties. The AppleJack Festival is an excellent excuse to visit Nebraska City between September 15 and 17, 2017, but if that’s too far or your taste buds do not appreciate apples there are plenty of alternatives: from cranberry to pumpkins, chestnuts and mushrooms, this season has a lot to offer.  PickYourOwn.org, offers plenty of info on fruit and vegetable harvest and related events.  

Where to stay: Lied Lodge

Lied Lodge: green Hotel in Nebraska City
Ph: Lied Lodge

Originally designed by the Arbor Day Foundation to serve as a space for environmentalists to gather and discuss trees, conservation, and earth stewardship, today the Lied Lodge and Arbor Day farm offer their unique experience to the public, while maintaining the same sustainable business philosophy. The property grounds cover 260 acres and they feature vineyards with weekend wine tastings, woods trails with a spectacular 50-foot tall tree-house and a greenhouse where thousands of saplings are carefully tendered to be ready to ship out for Arbor Day.

Grape harvest festivals 

 

Grape Harvest
Ph: Photo by Thomas Schaefer on Unsplash

Pick, stomp, taste. The end of summer is THE season for wine-making and that’s why we are dedicating a separate section to it. Since the times of Bacchanalia, there are plenty of celebrations for this special harvest throughout the world. Wherever there are vineyards, there are events and festivals. Some vineyards let you pick and stomp the grapes like in old times, most wineries have special events besides the usual tour and tastings. In the US, two regions are particularly renowned for the vineyards: the Finger Lakes in New York and Napa Valley in California, check out those links for all the events and addresses: 

Remember moderation is the key to enjoyment! 

Where to stay: Skyler Hotel (Finger Lakes)

Skyler Hotel, LEED certified hotel in Syracuse (NY)
ph: Skyler Hotel

Syracuse’s first LEED Platinum the Skyler Hotel is a unique combination of industrial minimalism and soothing organic touches. Retro and metro mingle in their original guest rooms that are as eclectic as they are comfortable. From the moment you digitally check in, until you reluctantly say goodbye, you’ll know you’re somewhere specially designed to nurture your spirit while protecting the planet.

Where to stay: Riverpointe Napa Valley Resort

green hotel in Napa Valley: Riverpointe resort
ph: Riverpointe Napa Valley Resort

A small village of colorful, quaint and quiet cottages, the River Pointe Napa Valley Resort is the ideal base to make the most of the region. Located near downtown Napa and by the Silverado Trail, you can go town or country, the choice is yours. The amenities on the premises include swimming pool and hot tubs, bbq and picnic areas; while the area offers many attractions like the Old Faithful Geyser, biplane and balloon tours of Wine Country and the Castello di Amorosa, a full-scale replica of a medieval Italian castle.  

Balloon rides 

ph: Adirondack Balloon Festival

If the end of summer gets you down, a balloon ride can definitely bring up your spirit again. On the East Coast, the Adirondack Balloon Festival (Sept. 21-24) in Glen Falls (NY) will fly up to 100 balloons, including some special shapes to wow the crowds. The craft fair, the activities for kids, several musical performances and a special breakfast in the hangar will easily fill the weekend for the whole family!  

Where to stay: Gideon Putnam

Eco-friendly resort in saratoga Springs: Gideon Putnam
ph: Gideon Putnam

 

After the thrills of the balloon race there is nothing better than to relax in the hot spring waters of nearby Roosevelt Baths & Spa in Saratoga Springs. The guests of the elegant Gideon Putnam hotel can take advantage of several wellness packages at these historic baths that feature naturally effervescent mineral waters. To enjoy all the colors of fall, take a stroll in Saratoga Spa State Park which is just outside the hotel!  

Take a train ride 

Napa Valley Wine train
ph: Winetrain

The changing color of nature are the season’s hottest ticket and one of the most eco-friendly way to enjoy the show is from the train. In the last few years Amtrak has been deploying the vintage dome car on the Downeaster line between Boston and Brunswick, Maine. Thanks to its glass dome on the top of the car, passengers can ride and see in all directions around the train.  On the West Coast of the US it is possible to tour the Napa Valley vineyards by train. Guests will board the Wine Train’s beautifully renovated 1915 Pullman railcars and enjoy fine dining while transported to Napa’s top wineries for an evening of wine tasting, culinary delights and live musical entertainment.   

Immerse yourself in art 

Storm King Art Center
ph: Storm King Art Center

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” said Picasso. Leave negative thoughts behind and let art transport you to new horizons of creativity and cultural discourse. One of the best places to visit in this season is the Storm King Art Center in the Hudson Valley. Every weekend this open-air art gallery offers yoga classes to start the day, beekeeper tours to learn about the art of honeymaking and events for the whole family. The Agrisculpture workshop is one of the most popular events. Led by Agrisculpture founder Amy Lewis Sweetman, participants use natural and recycled materials found on the grounds to create their own installation. This year the workshop will be inspired David Smith’s outdoor sculptures currently on display on the center’s grounds.    

Where to stay: Mohonk Mountain House

 

Mohonk Hotel
Ph. credit: Mohonk Hotel

Nestled in the Hudson Valley, only 90 miles north of New York City, this Victorian castle resort is surrounded by 40,000 acres of pristine forest and protected wildlife. To its guests, this eco-friendly National Historic Landmark resort offers farm-to-table cuisine, an award-winning spa and the oldest historic golf course in the US. Nature guided tours, kayaks, canoes, archery and tomahawk throwing are just some of the activities available on the premises. Numerous trails and climbing spots are accessible in the area. 

Paseo Project: party on the Plaza
ph: Paseo Project

 

Those on the opposite corner of the US, should head down to Taos, New Mexico, on September 23rd to catch the Paseo Project celebrations including installations and performance art. For the last 4 years, this project has brought together art and technology, international artists and STEAM youth programs to create immersive artistic experiences. 

 

Where to stay : Earthship Biotecture

 

Earthship rental
ph: Earthship Biotecture

For a radically sustainable hospitality experience, book a few nights at Earthship Biotecture center. These off-the-grid constructions are completely made of recycled materials, and boast to be “the ultimate in green buildings”.  You can experience living in a truly modern sustainable home, equipped with wifi , tv and all modern comforts, in Taos, New Mexico, on the original site where they were first developed by their inventor, the architect Michael Reynolds.

 

Antique hunting 

Antique hunting is a great fall weekend trip
Photo: Andrew Branch on Unsplash.com

Home decorating is always one of the best remedies against the blues, -especially in view of all the time to be spent indoor in the next months, and antique hunting is the fun and sustainable way to do it. Get out of the city and stop by the roadside country stores, browse their knick-knacks, find the perfect deal, take a break to re-energize by eating fresh food from the local farms. If driving around is not an option, head out for the big antiquing events that bring together hundreds of dealers. On the East coast Adamstown, Pennsylvania, boasts the title of Antiques Capital of the USA thanks to the weekend extravaganzas that bring together thousands of dealers three times a year. The Fall event takes place over the last weekend of September (9/28 to 10/1). 

Where to stay:  Artist’s Inn

The Rose Room at green hotel Artist's Inn
ph: Artist’s Inn

Get transported to another time, at the Artist’s Inn, located in the heart of Amish country. Lovingly restored by an artistic urban couple on the run from the city, this eco-friendly hotel offers several types of accommodations, from an entire cottage to a standard room, all decorated in romantic country style.  

 

On the Pacific Coast, the Ventura Flea Market and Swapmeet on September 24th is the perfect occasion to enjoy the oceanside location while hunting for that unique vintage piece of décor your home has been missing. 

Where to stay: … basically anywhere!

Sheraton, sustainable hotel in Ventura, California
Ph: Sheraton / Starwood

In Ventura there are really many choices to stay in a green hotel, for years the city has been actively promoting green initiatives in partnership with local hospitality venues. Top international chains such as Marriott, Sheraton and Crowne Plaza are all implementing sustainable practices at their hotels in Ventura.

 

 

Elephant Day 2017: eco-friendly destinations to help the elephants’ cause

Elephant day 2017 and ecoresorts to meet those amazing animals

Since 2012, August 12th marks World Elephant Day, a reminder to preserve and protect the elephants around the world. As the tiger, the elephant is another animal that has accompanied humans in their legends, stories and daily lives for millennia. Unfortunately, the ivory from their tusks has also been very popular and prized for its beauty and plastic qualities, and in the last decades this trade has greatly affected the elephant population worldwide. Last century there were more than 5 million elephants roaming the Asian and African forests, nowadays their total population is about a tenth of that. In recent years, many countries have outlawed ivory trade, nonetheless, it has continued in the hands of vast and very organized criminal groups.  

Elephant family

Poaching and habitat loss are the main causes of the elephant crisis together with domestication and climate change. Many no-profit organization both in Africa and Asia are dedicated to the protection of this species from extinction. Just two weeks ago, the African Parks organization completed the largest elephant translocation, transporting 500 animals, that is several entire families, for 600km (372 miles) to help re-populate the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in Malawi. You can read the story and see the photos at 500elephants.org. 

How tourism impacts elephant life 

 

Tourism has both a positive and a negative impact on elephants. Elephants are frequently captured and trained to entertain local tourists or shipped to circuses, so please keep away from those vacation experiences!

Tourism can have a positive impact on the elephants by visiting them in a safe and healthy environment. By taking the time in our trip to visit elephant sanctuaries, we are financially helping these institutions that research solutions to this species endangerment and create or defend the natural habitats of these animals. There are several parks and lodges in Africa and Asia that are working towards saving these wild animals and encouraging them to stay in the wilderness. In Asia, the Elephant Nature Park not only provides a great environment for the elephants but they encourage travelers to care for them. Visitors can bathe or watch the elephants taking their bath, they can feed and take jungle walk with elephants.  By giving the visitors the opportunity to interact closely with the animals, their objective is to enhance the empathy towards their cause.  

Here are some places where you can stay in an environmentally responsible way while getting to know the elephants. 

Places to Stay  

Chai Lai Orchid  

Chai Lai elephant eco-lodge

Bamboo rafting, getting to know the local tribe, swimming in the waterfall and meeting the elephants, what more can we ask from a wildlife vacation? To stay in an eco-lodge of course! Yes, it is all possible at the Chai Lai Orchid. Located outside Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, this eco lodge offers several tours to explore the surrounding hills in an environmentally responsible way. The rooms are spacious and decorated in simple yet elegant local style.  100% of proceeds from your stay benefit Daughters Rising, a no-profit organization which serves at-risk ethnic minority and refugee women. The eco-lodge offers also tribe homestays at the Chai Lai Sisters elephant rescue on nearby Karen Hill.

Find it on Wayaj app!

KIPLING CAmp

 

Bath with elephants at Camp Kipling

Kipling Camp is the perfect destination for those who wish to relax in idyllic surroundings and explore the remote forests and villages of central India. Established in 1982 by a family of conservationists on the edge of Kanha National Park, it is one of the finest wildlife camps in India. At Kipling Camp, guests can choose among comfortable two-to four-room cottages, each with its own verandah offering views of the Camp and the surrounding forest. One of the main attractions of the camp is Tara,  the heroine of Mark Shand’s epic tale ‘Travels on my Elephant’ has made Kipling Camp her home since 1989. After one of the daily safaris into Kanha National Park, guests can relax at the Camp in a hammock, have a massage, bird watch, take a nature walk, or photograph the wildlife coming to drink at the waterhole. There is also the unique experience of bathing Tara in the river, and exploring local villages with their traditional architecture and colorful markets. At night the Camp hosts film shows and tribal dances, the most adventurous can catch a glimpse of a Mottled Wood Owl or a Giant Flying Squirrel in the forest around the Camp. 

Find it on Wayaj app!

Sanctuary Baine’s Camp 

Sanctuary baines Camp, eco-resort near elephant reserve

The Sanctuary Baine’s Camp is an intimate safari camp on an island of the Okavango delta in Northern Botswana. The nearby Moremi Game Reserve ranks among the best African reserves and it boasts one of the most unique and diverse ecosystems on the continent. Part of the structures of this eco-friendly lodge are build using cans recycled by the local community. In their 5 luxurious suites, the guests can enjoy sophisticated African hospitality with four poster “sky beds”, open air “star baths” and dining on the deck with a view on the hippos of the delta. 

Green Travel Gear: 12 essential items 

Choosing sustainable hotels and transportation are important factors to travel in an environmentally friendly way, however, the choices made when packing have also consequences on the environment. Here are a few essential items to bring along to make sure your travel will leave the smallest carbon foot-print as possible. 

Let’s start from the suitcase, an essential companion especially for all those trips that last more than a weekend. The international brand Samsonite has added the Eco-Nu line to include sustainably produced luggage. All fabrics, including the lining, are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Sizes include carry-on, 19″, 20″, 25″. Sturdy and yet lightweight, this eco-friendly case has many compartments and can be expanded if needed, while the 360-spinner wheels make it easy to move around.   

Eco backpack from recycled PET

Not just for hiking, a good backpack is also a must on any trip. It is the best way to carry safely all the items that might be needed along the road or at the destination without encumbering movement and pace. The stylish  EcoGear Ocean Recycled PET Backpack is ideal for light packing, but for something larger or more technical the go-to brand is definitely Patagonia with its great range of backpacks specifically designed for gender and sport.  

To pack or not to pack? After we have our bags figured out, it’s time to think about what to put in them. Clothes are always a crucial dilemma when preparing for a trip. Apart from keeping in mind travel plans and climate conditions at the destination, one doesn’t want to be caught unprepared by events, for example what if you get invited to a local wedding reception? Or to go sailing with the locals? The best solution to be ready for all occasions and yet travel reasonably light is to put in your suitcase well-made, comfortable garments that can be easily styled according to the function and occasion. Nau’s travel collection offers some great easy-to-wear pieces made with organic and/or recycled fibers, this way nothing will be able to catch you off-guard in terms of fashion! 

Nau ecofriendly travel apparel
Sustainable sneakers for travel

No matter how you travel, wearing the right pair of shoes definitely makes a difference during any trip, well …. anytime really. Go for a bold style statement while traveling in comfort with the colorful sneakers by Inkkas. Not only are they are crafted respecting the environment by Peruvian artisans, but also for each pair of shoes purchased one tree is planted.  

For more technical hiking or mountain shoes look no further than La Sportiva, available at all major hiking gear retailers. Since 1928, these Italian shoemakers have been crafting exceptional quality boots, while respecting the environment of their original location in the Alps. They have now extended this philosophy throughout their supply chain with the eco-sustainable certification ISO 14001. 

Eco hiking boots by La Sportiva
GoToob eco-friendly travel tubes for food and toiletries

Carrying full size toiletries bottles is not always the best solution when traveling. On the other hand, the travel size option is not very environmentally friendly and not suitable for trips longer than a handful of days. To stash your favorite eco-friendly shampoo, conditioner or any liquid, creamy concoction, Go Toob offers travel bottles in several colors and sizes. Food-safe (FDA approved), and 100% BPA and PC-free. They are reusable and even have an area to write what’s inside, this way there is no risk of confusing shampoo and lotion or baby food and face mask!  

Looking for some cool shades that are ecofriendly and won’t break the bank? Zeal Optics and Blue Planet Eyewear are two brands that manufacture their products using plant derived materials rather than plastic. Zeal Optics specializes in polarized sunglasses designed mainly for the sporty/surfer types. Blue Planet Eyewear offers more trendy shapes, also available for children, and with every purchase they donate a pair of glasses to someone in need through their Visualize Change program. 

Blue Planet eco fashion shades
LifeStraw eco water battle with filter

Wherever you go, a water bottle should always be in your bag, and in this category there really is a plethora of options. LifeStraw bottles stand out because not only are they BPA free and incorporate a water filter that eliminates almost 100% of waterborne bacteria, but for each bottle purchased, LifeStraw provides a child in a developing country safe drinking water for an entire year.  

Another item that is always handy to have when traveling is a personal towel. And when it comes to eco-friendly towels, thanks to Nomadix it doesn’t need to be a boring monochromatic business. Their top of the line reversible towels are available in a variety of colorful patterns and prints. They can be used for yoga (they are slip resistant), at the beach or as a picnic blanket. All Nomadix towels are made from 100% recycled materials. 

Anker portable solar recharger

While on the go, the last thing we want is to have our devices run out of battery power, after all sharing our adventures is now an integral part of the experience. To make sure that this doesn’t happen, a solar recharger is just the nifty gadget to bring along. The Anker 21W Dual USB Solar Charger is one of the most popular choices on Amazon. It can charge two devices simultaneously and it is weather resistant. Since weather conditions and battery status might not coincide, get it with a portable power bank that will always be ready to juice up your phone when needed. 

Didn’t all this talking about travel gear, put you in the mood for more green travel? Check out the latest offers and destinations on Wayaj app on the App Store and Google Play, and book your next earth-friendly adventure!