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Ecotourism In Pattaya

Before embarking on Ecotourism opportunities in Pattaya, it would be helpful to explore what Ecotourism in Thailand is and what it is not…

Ecotourism has been defined as responsible travel to unspoiled or fragile and usually protected places where local people are now trying to reduce the environmental impact of tourism.

The eco-guides will try to educate the tourist as well as use the profits from the tours to help local eco-conservation efforts and empower local communities to do the same. The point is that in this way, future generations may experience these areas as relatively untouched and free of the various kinds of trash that our species usually brings.

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), founded in 1990, defines ecotourism using 7 key criteria and recommends that travelers use these same criteria when booking an ecotour:

  1. Touring involves traveling to a natural destination, versus a theme park for example.
  2. The tour is organized in such a way as to minimize the impact of the tour on the environment.
  3. Touring builds environmental awareness either directly, or indirectly through its management.
  4. The tourism company provides direct economic benefits for the preservation and conservation of the toured environment.
  5. The tour provides empowerment as well as economic benefits for people living on or near the land.
  6. The tour operator and customers respect the culture of the local environment.
  7. The tour supports democratic movements and human rights.

Now with that said, most of these concepts can be easily misunderstood and in practice turned into a marketing tool – as well as a bad practice by the most unscrupulous tour operators. There really isn’t much that can be done about it as there are no international laws or enforceable redress for ecotourism abuse. Also, there is no easy way to prevent travel agents from labeling their business as green or environmentally friendly, other than common decency and truthful advertising.

But in the case of Pattaya (and Thailand in general) these labels are rarely abused. For example, there are two eco-tours that stand out in Pattaya. These are the underwater and semi-submarine tours off the fragile coastal coral reefs of Ko Sak and Ko Lan. These tours are environmentally friendly in the sense that the operators of these boats take care not to disturb the coral or wildlife and the environmental impact is much less than if the same number of divers ( such as passengers) visit these reefs every day.

The two recommended tour operators to visit these reefs are:

Submarine Pirom located at 311/7, Mu 10, Pattaya Tai Road. To get to the boarding platform, you will take the Laem Bali Hai Pier ferry to the floating station in Ko Sak. This submarine has a diving depth of more than 30 meters, where once you get further down, you can see the coral reefs from a fish’s eye view. Tickets are 2,000 baht per adult and 1,500 baht per child. The secondary departs on time, every hour on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. During the week the schedule is 10:30 a.m., 11:20 a.m. and then at 1:00 p.m. For more information, you can call +66(0)38 415 234 or visit their website.

Semi-submersible Pattaya Pakarang located as above, with local administrative office at 125 Soi 4, Beach Road, North Pattaya. This tour takes you underwater to Ko Sak and Ko Lan reefs and tickets are 1,800 baht for adults and 900 baht for children. This tour includes lunch. For more information call +66(0)38 411 001 in Pattaya or if you are in Bangkok call 02 503 3791.

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