This island in Thailand is the perfect example of ecotourism done right
One of the biggest issues in the travel world right now is over tourism. Places like Venice have had to enforce some fairly strict rules because of crowding—Maya Beach in Thailand even had to close due to pollution. We all still want to travel and see beautiful places though, so what’s the solution? Ask Koh Mak in Thailand: they’ve found a way to make ecotourism work for everyone.
Koh Mak is a small island in the North-Eastern part of the Gulf of Thailand, just off the West coast of Cambodia. It’s only 16 square kilometres, but every inch of it is paradise, which is why, as the tourism boom started happening in Thailand, and more people than ever started sailing its beautiful islands, Koh Mak decided to do something different. The community and council in this region made a pledge to follow ecotourism principles and only develop the island in a sustainable manner, working with nature, not against it.
What does this mean exactly? It means that instead of jet-skis and hordes of boats crowding the beach, all-hours beach nightclubs that end up with plastic cups strewn along the sand and mass-tourism experiences, there is only cycling paths, dive shops for those wanting to explore the reef, and ecologically friendly traveller experiences on offer.
Protecting the ecosystem and beauty of their island is paramount in everything Koh Mak does. They’re always striving for ways to reduce their environmental impact and everyone lends a hand. Whether it’s farming and harvesting locally grown food and other agricultural products, organising beach clean ups, having locally owned stores instead of big franchises on every corner, or even limiting the number of tourists who can visit each day.
People aren’t missing out by not having bars, gas-guzzling water sport equipment and huge resorts, there’s still plenty to do! You can visit a Buddhist temple, tree fishing villages, restaurants, diving schools that take you to their Marine Park, hire kayaks and go on plenty of hikes. It’s the perfect spot for anyone who wants real island life—that is, peace and tranquility. Travellers are still heading to the shores of Koh Mak, which proves an eco-friendly approach to tourism doesn’t mean people will pass it over for a more built up location.
Koh Mak is a truly unspoiled destination, and the locals are pushing to develop systems and tourist activities that not only reduce their carbon footprint, but actually begin to reverse it! When you lay eyes on the gorgeous marine life, stretches of white sand beaches or the 10,000 palm trees, you’ll see why they’re so passionate about ecotourism.