select - eco retreats

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In a world where global warming has made us all more conscious of our carbon footprint and eco-credentials, more and more resorts and retreats are offering adventure or luxury without environmental impact on the surrounding mountains, islands, beaches, and bays.

 

Melbourne

Australia, the world’s hottest and driest continent, has more reason than most to fear global warming , and eco-retreats everywhere are promoting their environmental worthiness through the latest technologies in sustainable building and usage. South of Melbourne on the coast, Venus Bay Eco Retreat’s primary aim is wildlife conservation coupled with impeccable eco-credentials. It takes only five visitors at any one time; lodges feature solar rainwater showers and organic soaps, and you can be supplied with locally sourced fruit, vegetables, antibiotic-free meats, and even certified organic tea and coffee. Similarly, Aquila Eco Lodges allows retreats into the Australian bush with minimal impact; the grounds are even home to several varieties of endangered native orchids. Visitors can also spot kangaroos, wallabies, emus, blue-tongued lizards, and other emblematic Aussie creatures, as well as 200 varieties of birds.
 

WHERE
Venus Bay is in South Gippsland two hours south of Melbourne; Aquila lies two hours to the northwest on the edge of Grampians National Park.
 

WHY
Enjoy the Australian bush and its famous wildlife in self-catering and eco-conscious style.
 

HOW
Qatar Airways has daily flights to Melbourne.
 

 


Vietnam

Who says an eco and social sensibility means sacrificing creature comforts? Topas Ecolodge stands on a hilltop among the spectacular highlands of Sapa in northern Vietnam, and has spacious bungalows of white granite and hardwood. But it also runs on solar energy and has a policy emphasising sustainable tourism and a reduction in its carbon footprint; even the ingredients in its restaurant are grown and cooked by local people.
 

WHERE
The resort is an hour’s drive from Lao Cai in northern Vietnam, 350km from Hanoi.
 

WHY
The ultimate highland getaway, allowing comfort without the eco-guilt.
 

HOW
Qatar Airways has four flights a week to Ho Chi Minh City. Topas Ecolodge is set deep in the spectacular Sapa valley of Northern Vietnam.
 

 


Thailand

Accommodation without frills is what you get at Lisu Lodge – count on thatched roofs, bamboo walls, and a few reminders of your backpacking days. Still, the lodge works closely with surrounding hill tribes to provide eco-sensitive accommodation that benefits local villagers. Take an ox-cart or elephant ride, go white-water rafting, and meet Akha tribespeople dressed in blue and pink. Then there’s cycling along country roads bordered by rice fields, punctuated by leisurely stops at local temples, where serene-faced Buddhas stand in niches. If that’s a little too rustic and energetic, head instead to Club Andaman Beach Resort in Phuket, surrounded by tropical gardens flanking a scintillating sea. The resort is part of the Gold Hotels Alliance, which promotes ecological practices: fun in the sun without the carbon footprint in the sand.
 

WHERE
Lisu Lodge is an hour’s drive from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand; Club Andaman is on the west coast island of Phuket.
 

WHY
Thailand offers a wide range of eco-choices, from chic beach retreats to rustic stays among the villages of the northern hills.
 

HOW
Qatar Airways has twice-daily flights to Bangkok. Lisu Lodge is nestled in a verdant valley in the northern Thailand. 
 

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