Meaningful travel offers an opportunity to explore a country while positively impacting local communities, the environment, and cultural heritage. It promotes sustainable practices, cultural exchange, and responsible engagement beyond traditional tourism.
There are a few ways to engage in meaningful travel. Research and choose reputable organisations that offer any one of these in your travel destination: volunteering opportunities that focus on community development, education, conservation, and wildlife protection; eco-tourism which focuses on eco-friendly and sustainable practices and minimisation of ecological footprint; cultural immersion to gain a deeper understanding of the local traditions, customs and ways of life; community-based tourism that empower marginalised communities; and conservation and wildlife experiences that prioritise animal welfare and conservation.
To get you started, here are seven hotels in Malaysia where you can create lasting memories while positively impacting the people and places you encounter.
1. The St. Regis Langkawi
At The St. Regis Langkawi, you can embark on an educational journey into the mangrove forests that have become increasingly threatened by coastal development. You will also get to plant mangrove seeds using the gear and equipment provided and be recognised for your efforts with a certification of participation and a memento.
2. The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa
At The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa, you can help to repurpose old linens into usable items such as a coaster, napkin and more inspired by Malaysian Batik design. Not only can you help reduce negative environmental impacts caused by textile waste, you can also appreciate the cultural value of Malaysian Batik. You can then keep the handicrafts as a souvenir or donate them to a charity organisation.
3. Miri Marriott Resort & Spa
At Miri Marriott Resort & Spa, you can join a Piasau Nature Reserve tour to discover the biodiversity of Sarawak’s wildlife. You will also get the opportunity to see the oriental pied hornbills, which are becoming endangered, under the guidance of a park ranger. You can also learn about the hornbill conservation programme and help plant various native species at the nature reserve.
4. The Westin Desaru Coast Resort
At The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, you can join a local conservationist on an interactive and educational tour of the mangrove forest, and observe the unique plant and animal species that thrive in these ecosystems. You will also get to plant mangrove saplings to help repopulate the mangrove forest that is rapidly degrading due to land reclamation. The best part is visiting the nearby Tanjung Surat and Linting villages that the forest helps sustain.
5. Gaya Island Resort
At Gaya Island Resort, you can learn about endangered sea turtles and coral reefs at its marine centre. It also has a wildlife centre that advocates the preservation of the proboscis monkey, nature and wildlife conservation and educational nature trails.
6. Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Simply by staying at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, you are already contributing RM20 to Conservation Contribution. Borneo Eco Tours and Sukau Rainforest Lodge will also contribute RM8 and RM4 respectively to Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies Society, a non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering rural communities in Sabah.
7. The Reef Dive Resort
The Reef Dive Resort is a PADI 5-star dive resort with a focus on sustainable diving and eco-tourism. It is where you can be a part of its Turtle Hatchery by being “adoptive parents” for a nest and be updated with pictures and videos of your nest after the turtles hatched. You can also participate in the Night Beach Walk to observe nesting turtles up close under the supervision of the Turtle Patrol Team.
BONUS: electric vehicle charging points
To facilitate green travel and make travel more sustainable between Singapore and Malaysia, these hotels in Malaysia are now equipped with electric vehicle (EV) charging points: Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur, The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown, W Kuala Lumpur, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur and Sheraton Petaling Jaya.
EV charging points are also available at these hotels in Singapore: The St. Regis Singapore, JW Marriott South Beach Singapore, Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena, W Sentosa and The Westin Singapore.
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