Dream destinations are dime a dozen, but as an avid and intrepid traveller, do they appeal to your conscience as well?
Now what’s conscience got to do with travel, you may wonder? Well, in the age of global warming, depleting natural resources, large carbon footprints and sustainable tourism, don’t you think ‘green’ is the right way to travel?
That brings into focus eco-tourism. It is your way of getting up close and personal with the natural world and choosing places where the commitment and care for natural resources are huge! Beautiful and unspoilt places where you see nature at her best!
By this we don’t mean that you go hot-footing to the nearest jungle or rough it out on some campsite in a desert! You can have all the comforts and be ‘green’ too. All it requires is an effort from your part to protect and preserve the environment of the place you are visiting. And help maintain that ecological biodiversity that’s fast disappearing from this world.
We have chosen for you a few places that will not only satiate your wanderlust but also placate your ‘green’ conscience in the best ways possible. All you need is a spring in your step, lightness in your heart and a thrill for adventure! The rest like rejuvenation and relaxation then come easy!
Iran may be in the news for all the wrong reasons, but one thing that’s going just right for it is its strong focus towards eco-tourism. Yes, despite the conflicts, tourists still flock to Iran. With over 10 national parks and over 40 protected areas, Iran is a virtual ‘green’ paradise! Holiday makers can choose from dozens of destinations that include Golestan, Khosh, Yellagh, Kavir, Lar, Bakhtegan, Bamoo and many more. Just imagine, the Gilan province itself boasts of 565,000 hectares of woods, a green duvet like no other! Those looking for that adrenaline rush can head to the Margoon waterfall and Anzali lagoon just right for adventure eco-seekers. If you are looking at a wonderfully ‘green’ holiday, Iran makes a perfect getaway!
This small state in the southernmost part of India is not called ‘God’s Own Country’ for nothing! Kerala is an absolute delight for eco-tourists! Whatever you are looking for in a perfect holiday, it’s all there in Kerala. From sandy beaches, lush virgin forests, rolling hills, and abundant flora and fauna, Kerala is what the tourist brochures describe as ‘Nature’s playground’. Thenmala is a natural habitat of diverse flora and fauna, the rugged terrain has nature trails dotted with delightful waterfalls and enchanting picnic spots attract naturalists, conservationists and adventure seekers. You could also visit the Periyar Sanctuary, an environmental hotspot noted for its geomorphology, diverse wildlife and beautiful landscape. It is also one of the world’s most fascinating natural wildlife reserves. Another must-visit on your green itinerary would be Thommankuthu, a series of 12 falls surrounded by a number of mysterious caves. The wild beauty of the scenic waterfall and the pristine surroundings attract hordes of tourists. It comes as no surprise then, that Kerala was selected by National Geographic as one of the 50 must-see destinations of a lifetime!
Palau must have become famous thanks to reality show Survivor but there’s more to this island nation than what you saw on television or the internet. Palau has been named one of the Underwater Wonders of the World. An archipelago surrounded by a fringe reef, Palau’s waters are packed with a great diversity of marine life. Palau is also famous for kayaking. You can paddle your way into any one of hundreds of deserted bays and lagoons and experience the beauty of impeccably preserved reefs and coves. On terra firma, visitors can look forward to lounging on some unspoilt beaches or go trekking through dense forests. Another attraction is the Rock Islands. Protected by a fringe reef, the placid waters are a haven for snorkeling, swimming, fishing, kayaking or just relaxing on the white sand beaches. Want to have fun on water or off it? Then, Palau’s the best place to be!
If you’re looking at a picture-perfect holiday that’s also green in every sense, then look no further than the Norwegian Fjord. Nature here is at her unadulterated best and there’s beauty and tranquility everywhere you go! The Norwegian Fjords are home to the world’s largest coral reefs and offer plenty of fishing grounds as well. Besides these, there are snowcapped mountains and cascading waterfalls. There are plenty of activities to look forward to like hiking, biking or scenic boat rides through the towering fjords. Sognefjord offers spectacular sights with cliffs on either side of the water rising over 1000m into the sky vertically. Renowned for its ice-free nature all around the year, Trondheimsfjord is an amazing marine ecosystem with at least 90 species of fish observed in and around these waters. With more such fjords, it sure is untouched paradise waiting out there for you!
Kenya has a rich diversity of wildlife which means no two experiences are the same. Not many people know that apart from the wide savannahs teeming with wildlife, Kenya also boasts of scenic mountains, lakes, rainforests, deserts and beaches, offering many options for eco-tourists. But of course, the charm of the landscape and its incredible natural diversity can be found in over 50 national parks and reserves across the country. But equally fascinating are Kakamega, a rainforest reserve; the Mt. Kenya forest and Arabuko Sokoke, a wonderful habitat for some of the rarest birds. What shall we say, except, enjoy!
As the tagline of Malaysian tourism goes, the place is ‘truly Asia’. Not many though are aware of the fact that Malaysia offers eco-lovers something enticing and different. Did you know that 75 per cent of Malaysia’s land area remain forested, with 60 per cent virgin rainforest that has been unchanged for millions of years? Natural attractions abound in Malaysia and includes amazing and diverse flora and fauna, white sandy beaches, exotic marine aqua life, dense rainforests and the oldest and largest caves in the world. The country also boasts of at least 15,000 species of flowering plants, 286 species of mammals, 150,000 species of invertebrates and 4,000 species of fishes. Eco-adventurers can enjoy a huge range of outdoor activities such as caving, hiking, jungle trekking, white water rafting rock climbing, bird watching, river cruising and much more. Places to choose from include Bako National Park, Gua Kelam caves, Danum Valley, Kota Tinggi Waterfalls, Gunung Mulu National Park, Langkawi mangroves and more. Whether wet, wild or thrilling, Malaysia has something to satiate the green tourist in you!