Thailand’s a winning destination
Intrepid is delighted to announce that we have won the Maritime, Nature & Heritage category of the Thailand Green Excellence Awards 2013. We proudly received the award from the Thai Princess, HRH Princess Ubolratana Mahidol.
The judges were seeking a company that offered the best of Thailand to its travellers, in a sustainable way. With Thailand being so rich in natural wonders and cultural heritage, we know the sustainable way is the only way. It’s actually the third time we’ve been successful in these awards, and as Thailand is where it all began for Intrepid, 25 years ago, we think it’s rather fitting to receive this award at the beginning of our quarter century birthday year!
So what did the judges like about Intrepid?
- Our wonderful local tour leaders who help travellers to experience the best that Thailand has to offer.
- More than 70 different itineraries that include experiences such as trekking in northern Thailand’s highlands, exploring the rainforest and waterfalls at Khao Sok National Park, sailing around the islands in the Andaman sea, visiting the ancient temples at Ayuthaya and Sukhotai, kayaking on the famous River Kwai, learning to cook authentic Thai dishes in Chiang Mai, and much more.
- The variety of accommodation Intrepid uses including small, locally-owned hotels and guesthouses, traditional accommodation such as bamboo huts, raft-houses and teak houses, and on some of our Thailand tours, rural homestays with local families.
- The great use of public transport to minimise our environmental impact and to encourage local interaction, from trains, songthaews, buses, saamlaws, longtail boats to tuk-tuks.
- We travel in small groups, with an average of 10 passengers on each tour, helping make many of these very ‘local’ experiences possible.
- That we eat what local people eat, where local people eat – dining at street stalls, night markets, family-run restaurants, and in the homes of local families, supporting small businesses and giving travellers an authentic taste of their destination.
- Our special ‘Say No to Plastic’ cloth shoulder bags given to every traveller. The bags are produced by a women’s cooperative, Tae Moh Hai (‘Our Friends Hands’) who live in the small village of Baan Sawaii, in north-eastern Thailand. Since 2006, Intrepid has ordered more than 50,000 bags, providing invaluable income for poor farming families, and the income has also contributed to the planting of more than 4,000 trees.
- Our traveller education on responsible travel, including matters such as respectful dress, local customs, where to refill water bottles and the welfare of animals involved with tourism.
- Our philanthropic support for communities including AU$35,000 raised to date for Baan Unrak (‘House of Happiness’) Children’s Village, near Kanchanaburi ; and AU$45,000 for Friends of the Asian Elephant, a non-government organisation that aims to protect and conserve the welfare of elephants.
- Intrepid’s carbon neutral trips, achieved through emissions reduction measures and the offsetting of the balance with investments in internationally accredited renewable energy projects.
- Our proactiveness on child protection in the region, taking steps to reduce child exploitation in the tourism sector by training our tour leaders, educating travellers, advocating and raising funds to support the work of specialist NGOs in this field.
- Our support for Baan Hua Tung, a community-based tourism project in Chiang Dao, northern Thailand where the villagers have established community forests. Intrepid travellers stay in the homes of the villagers, and learn about the sustainable way they manage their resources, and this brings valuable income to the community.
- The benefits we bring to the country, much of it via small businesses; the direct employment of over 70 Thai Nationals, contributions to the protection of heritage, children, nature and wildlife and showcasing the very best that Thailand has to offer to travellers from all around the world.
Travel to Thailand with Intrepid and while you’re having an amazing time, you’ll know that you are bringing positive benefits to the country! Aaah – now which Thailand tour or two to choose?
Thailand photos: Bangkok by Jorg Freishlag; Intrepid group leader by Anne Muston; Thai elephant by Ken Harris; Carl Needham, along with other category winners, receives the Thailand Green Excellence Award from HRH Princess Ubolratana Mahidol.