Take nothing but memories.
If you’re passionate about encouraging and being involved with animal care and animal welfare even while you’re on vacation, check out these options where you can get up close with animals in their natural environment.
It’s heartwarming to see that, at this camp, the elephants and their caretakers interact with each other like friends.
You’ll love walking these giants – or letting them walk you – along the forest trek of dense green. Help to care and bathe the elephants in the river, and command them through specialist mahout training courses, accompanied by a resident veterinarian or biologist.
Where does the “resort” part come in? Back at your lodging place, luxurious suites, gourmet dining and even a bespoke spa experience await.
NEXT: Rescue Paws, Hua Hin, Thailand →
What started as a non-profit, simple feeding program less than five years ago is now a full-fledged animal relief organisation to rescue the many street dogs in Thailand.
As a volunteer, you’ll get to help out in the clinic, go on feeding runs around the city, and of course, enjoy your time with your new furry friends.
And when you’re not volunteering, explore the surrounding beaches in Hua Hin for a good dose of sun, sand and sea.
NEXT: El Nido Resort, Miniloc Island, Philippines →
Ever heard of Miniloc Island? We didn’t think so. A well-kept secret even from the Filipino city-dwellers, this idyllic coastal village in the Phillipines is home to the rustic chic El Nido Resorts, which observes sustainable practices that include water and energy conservation, waste treatment, and conservation of marine life.
So while you’re snorkeling or simply enjoying the sea breeze on your balcony, you can rest assured the beauty of all that nature to take in is unharmed.
NEXT: Peraya Homestay & Camping, Borneo, Malaysia →
Over this 3D2N homestay adventure, your journey involves trekking through the virgin rainforests of Borneo, seeing orang utans, caving, rafting (with your self-made raft!) and more.
And if ethical living begins with awareness, what better way to do it than to learn from the natives themselves? Visit the native Bidayuh tribe to learn about their generations-old traditions and culture.
NEXT: Keemala Hotel, Phuket, Thailand →
A hip hideaway in the lush forests of Phuket, the luxurious treehouse-style pool villas at Keemala Hotel are designed to blend right in, and truly be one with nature. Streams and waterfalls running through it seamlessly weave the hotel into its surroundings.
Of course, it’s not all style without function. Each villa comes with its own waste management system, an effort to conserve the beautiful environment in which it’s built.
NEXT: Journey Within Conservation Tour, Cambodia →
Get to know Cambodia’s most beautiful sights with tour operator Journeys Within, city by city. One minute, you’re in the big city of Phnom Penh; the next, you’re ziplining through a forest, or cruising along the Mekong River.
Wildlife visits to organisations dedicated to conservation and humane treatment of animals are included throughout the itinerary – think an elephant sanctuary and even a chance to spot the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins – along with explorations of the natural habitat.
NEXT: Fivelements Bali Retreat, Bali, Indonesia →
Can life in Bali get any more relaxing than lounging by the beach? Apparently so – the folks behind Fivelements would know.
Guided by the Balinese philosophy and tradition to facilitate positive change in the world, this authentic wellness retreat aims to create a net positive impact – to you and you to the environment around it.
Signature retreats include Cuisine for Life, a raw food culintary retreat and the Tri Kaya Parisudha for detoxification and transformation.
NEXT: Danum Rainforest Lodge, Sabah, Malaysia →
East Malaysia is undoubtedly one of the best locations to animal-watch in Southeast Asia. Here at the Danum Rainforest National Park, spot resident orang utans and proboscis monkeys and even rare Sumatran rhinoceros, mousedeer and more.
Stay at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge which is nestled alongside the Danum River. The river flows through the Danum Valley Conservation Area with 43,800 hectares of pristine and undisturbed tropical flora and fauna. Wow.
NEXT: Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Resort, Chiang Rai, Thailand →
By Pinky Chng, May 2017 / Updated November 2019