Jetwing Vil Uyana - Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
September 9, 2012
Sigiriya is home to one of the Sri Lanka’s many UNESCO World Heritage sites. And while I was set on scaling the Sigiriya Rock Fortress (see pictures here), believe it or not, what I was really more excited about was spending time at Jetwing Vil Uyana, only 5 km away from the fortress, and talking to their resident naturalist about the hotel’s green practices.
Jetwing Vil Uyana is a man-made wetland with lakes and reed beds, developed on abandoned agricultural land and forest to form a private nature reserve. More than a luxury development, the hotel is a model that’s setting a new standard for hoteliers around the world, not just in architecture, interior design, amenities or service, but something that I know is really important: sustainability.
While eco-tourism / sustainable tourism / responsible tourism is a highly debatable issue, in the same way the issue of conscious consumption can cause conflicting feelings, right now, I feel that it’s really difficult, if not downright impossible to completely cease luxury tourism and consumption. While there are many evils there, it also brings a lot of good that is necessary for the economy and the bigger picture of how the world works.
I got the privilege of meeting Jetwing Vil Uyana’s resident naturalist, Chaminda Jayasekhara, while I was in Sigiriya, and apart from the now familiar use of a key-card system, energy-saving bulbs, waste segragation and towel or linen change only upon request, here are some of the more interesting green practices that he shared with me:
My First Recommended To-Do in Luang Prabang:
Slow down, Stay Another Day
August 9, 2012 - Luang Prabang, Laos
When traveling, it’s so easy for tourists to cram “all” possible activities in a matter of 2-3 days. The perhaps not all-too-mainstream Stay Another Day Exhibit on the second floor of Kopnoi in Luang Prabang is one of those things that I recommend travelers to visit and learn from on their first day in Luang Prabang.
Wholesome Adventures in Vang Vieng
August 4-5, Vang Vieng, Laos
I booked a ticket to Vang Vieng, going only on the word of others that it was a worthwhile stop, without doing my research. After booking, THEN I researched, and was horrified to read that Vang Vieng has become a hedonistic retreat for people looking to get smashed or high.
Does The Earth Still Have A Chance?
Reading my Twitter and Facebook feeds, and the news about the millions of people affected by the month’s worth of rain that poured down on the Philippines this past week or so has left me feeling rather helpless while traveling here in Luang Prabang, Laos.
It has been making me think about what I can do from this part of the world, or what I can do when I get back home. At the same time, it has channeled the cynic in me and made me think: Does the Earth still have a chance?
Rethinking Personal Consumption
Lusting after that sleek and sexy new laptop? Absolutely need that hot new phone so you can use all those fancy apps? Is your lower-specced camera hampering you from putting out work of great value?