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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for List of "Responsible Travel" things to do – Be a responsible tourist
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Joanna James Joanna James
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List of "Responsible Travel" things to do – Be a responsible tourist

Responsible travel is something we, as tourists, should all aim to do when visiting a new country. It's imperative as it protects the environment and society that we visit.

1

The Bodhi Dog and Rescue Shelter

Visit the Bodhi Dog and Rescue Shelter and give the sweet residents here some TLC. This organization rescues stray cats and dogs from the streets around Phuket and provides them with a safe home. If you're looking for some unique things to do during your stay, here's one that's for the books. Remember to dress appropriately before visiting the shelter as its located at within the premises of the Pahlok Buddhist Temple.

2

The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project

The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project began in 1992 with the aim of rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing the wild animals back to their natural habitat in the Thailand Forest. The observatory deck, which is open every day from 9 am to 3 pm is a great place to watch these primates – and remember, it's not a zoo, so you can't ask to touch them or pose for a picture! The project also aims to educate and teach its visitors about the gibbons and the threats they face in the wild due to poaching, encroachment of land and deforestation. If you're staying in Phuket, luxury villas in Thailand are easily found, with properties like Kata Rocks, located on the beachfront, you can ask the front desk about arranging a vehicle to take you here.

3

Elephants

Elephants are one of the most exploited animals in Thailand and it'll just break your heart when you see them lugging around naïve tourists who are strapped to the elephant's back on giant metal howdahs. When visiting Thailand, remember that elephant rides are cruel and can cause fatal injury to the elephant's spine! Rides are sad, just one of the many ways these gentle giants are illtreated and abused. People steal babies from the wild and train and force them to perform in circuses and animal shows, all for a simple buck. When visiting Thailand, remember to do your research properly. A number of "orphanages" and "sanctuaries" are fake and simply adopt that name to attract tourists, but they are anything far from it. The Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai is one of the good ones that take care of all the ex-working elephants that were forced to be a slave for the greedy hands of tourism.

4

Boycott Tiger Temple

This notorious temple has been thankfully shut down after evidence of torture, drugs and cruelty were brought to light and to mainstream media. But there have been rumours of the Tiger Temple opening again. Alas, what devastating news! The Tiger Temple, run by Buddhist monks were accused (and proven) to have drugged and heavily sedated these majestic creatures so tourists can pet them like a domestic cat and take pictures of them like a stuffed toy. The temple was also known to have preserved baby tigers in jars and placed in the freezer to be used for Chinese medicine. After a raid, the temple was shut down. However, if by any chance you get to pet a wild animal, remember that the animal is undoubtedly drugged or sedated, as no WILD animal will want to be petted by a human.

5

Waste not, want not

Did you know Thailand has some of the most polluted beaches? Tourists flock to these once-pristine shores and wade in the once-transparent waters, only to leave behind plastics and bottles and heavily litter the beach. This, in turn, ruins the environment and the marine life, as a majority of the trash makes it way back into the sea, killing and strangling all sea creatures. When you're at the beach, clean up after yourself and it won't hurt to pick up some thrash lying around either!