THAILAND | Khao Yai National Park
Thailand’s oldest national park encompasses five vegetative zones. From the several hundred wild elephants here, you’ll run into bats, sambar, civets, lush flora, and caves and waterfalls. The park has an extensive network of trails, with many waterfalls and a wide variety of wildlife to spot, from elephants to gibbons. The area is a popular weekend escape for Bangkok's residents, and you'll find everything from one of Thailand's few wineries to a contemporary art museum and sculpture garden. Khao Yai is also home to numerous Vegas-style themed resorts, including a Hobbit-style Shire and a recreated Italian village.
MALAYSIA | Cameron and Genting Highlands
Cameron Highlands and the Genting Highlands were both originally hill stations created to get away from the summer heat. They offer low humidity and jungle trail hikes. Cameron Highlands offers visits to butterfly and insect farms, flower markets, a strawberry farm, and a tea plantation. Genting Highlands is a little more commercial, offering simulated free-fall skydiving, a rock-climbing wall, and the Genting Skyway – Southeast Asia’s fastest and longest cable car. Here you can also visit a strawberry farm, a bee and insect farm, and a mushroom farm.
LAOS | Luang Namtha
Green Globe is a company that rigorously investigates the environmental practices of eco-hotels, and one of the best in Laos is the Boat Landing Guest House. Located in Luang Namtha, this hotel features riverside bungalows and connects visitor with trekking, biking, and rafting opportunities in the nearby protected forests. One of the best ways to see the Nam Ha National Protected Area, an ASEAN Heritage Site, is by taking a trip down the wild Nam Tha River. Follow up your adventure in the local villages by sampling foods collected from the forest and watching local woodsmen at work.
THE PHILIPPINES | Donsol and Peleliu
Donsol, Philippines is a must-see destination for any diving enthusiast. This small Philippine town is a booming metropolis for ecotourism, as local groups strive to protect the region’s whale shark population. You can reach many dive sites within a two-hour boat ride of Donsol. This is also a great place to see manta rays while scuba diving. Another great ecotourism destination in the Philippines is Peleliu, which is located in the east part of the Philippines. Peleliu is the best place to see spinner dolphins and stingless jellyfish. Take a kayak tour between Koror and Peleliu to get an up-close look at the jellyfish.
VIETNAM | Phu Quoc National Park
Phu Quoc is the largest island of a 14-island archipelago, off the coast of Vietnam. It is a very mountainous and densely-forested island and is 48 kilometres/30 miles in length. Phu Quoc features some of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam, which have at one time been voted to be “The Cleanest and Most Beautiful Beaches in the World,” by ABC News in 2008. The seafood is reputedly considered the best in Vietnam. You can explore the island on a tour. Walking trails are limited but there are walks with clearly defined paths. There are 23 orchid species, and over 200 animal and 100 bird species. Rare species include lorises, the long-tailed macaque, silver langur, otter, and hornbill.
CAMBODIA | Koh Kong
Cambodia is one of the most popular ecotourism destinations in Southeast Asia. Many tour operators in the area purchase carbon offsets, use regionally-sourced materials, and work closely with neighboring communities to give travelers an authentic experience and boost the local economy. For many years, villages like Koh Kong had very little contact with the outside world. But thanks to new roads, political stability, and new Western-run accommodations, visitors can now explore the region’s largest tracts of virgin rain forest, untouched sand beaches and clear waters, and dozens of threatened species, including the endangered Asian elephants and tigers.