One day in ... Bangkok! Green travel tips & green travel flops
WOMB is exploring! Change happens only outside of your comfort zone, so we decided to temporarily leave our comfy Hong Kong (OK, not so comfy now, with typhoons and monsoons, but you get the big picture, right?) and see how other places can inspire us. Once again, we bring a healthy dose of self-judgement as travellers as well as few green tips. This time: Bangkok!
Traveling (WOMB’s green score: 3/5)
The flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok isn’t too long, and both cities provide good options for public transportation to and from the airport - no need to cruise in cabs!
Bangkok’s metro system works pretty well too, and the trains run form 6 am. till midnight, so taking public transportation instead of a taxi wishing the city itself is fairly easy. Even though the streets are polluted with dust from cars and other vehicles, it isn’t impossible to walk around either. Wouldn’t be the most pleasant walk, but you can sure minimize the carbon footprint there!
Eating (WOMB’s green score: 4/5)
Simply ask for vegan options! Thai cuisine is famous for its seafood-based broths and pastes, however these are easy to omit if only you ask for it. We were asked several times if eggs were okay in the meal, and when we told them no, they simply made a dish without eggs. Easy-peasy and pain-free! Veganism seems also to be a rising movement in Thailand, and with places like Broccoli Revolution, you get vegan food, good vibes and handy zero-waste accessories (like reusable straws!) for very little money!
One thing you have to be mindful of is the take-away packaging. It is tempting to but the delicious fruits in the streets or yummy corn-cobs, but then the seller wraps them in plastic. So remember to bring your own container or a roll-bag! (We didn’t bring the roll-bag, but couldn’t resist the temptation of grilled bananas… And hence the minus in our green-score!)
We encountered several water-fountains around the city (at least in the Northern part of Bangkok where we stayed), so it is fairly easy to refill your water bottle and there’s no need to buy water in plastic bottles! Also, remember that Thailand has the most delicious coconuts, so do indulge in this amazing mix of nutrients and electrolytes, and buy fresh coconuts instead of bottled coconut water. Do bring your own straw though!
Shopping (WOMB’s green score: 2/5)
With very limited time, we did not get the chance to explore shopping possibilities much, and we do feel this paragraph is slightly incomplete. Yet, even in short period of time, we still encountered a few second-hand shops in Thong Lor. They did not only sell clothes but had all sorts of items.
Refill Station is an important one to mention too! It’s the first bulk store in Thailand, where "you can buy daily products without causing unnecessary waste and enjoy various environmental-friendly stuffs”. Refill Station also hosts a variety workshops, talks, and documentary movies. What’s not to like? (Sadly, we did not have time to go there, and being on-the-go, we had to buy some travel-items from convenience stores. Yup, well deserved minus on the green score!)
The items that caused most problems were medicinal products or essential cosmetics like balms, band-aid, bug sprays, etc. Any recommendations where and how to get these Zero Waste?
If we had more time, we’d have explored Folkcharm! You can see their “cotton journey” on the website. Spoiler: their yarns are 100% natural chemical free Thai cotton! Pretty cool, ey?
Verdict: plenty of opportunities to shop and explore - we wish we had more time!
Waste (WOMB’s green score: 3/5)
There are recycling bins in Bangkok! Once again, we have not checked whether the system is working and the segregated litter is being recycled properly. Hoping for the best, of course.
Bangkok sees a rise of zero waste movement (like Zero Waste Thailand), and many places are banning the straw and raising awareness around verse of single-use plastics. For grocery shopping, one can go to markets and bring own bags or boxes to avoid plastic packaging.
Verdict: once again, awareness is key, and as long as you’re mindful of your consumption habits, your waste will automatically decrease.
What we learned: time is our worst enemy! If only we had more time to explore and to go to places that sell in bulk or provide more environmentally-friendly solutions, this trip would have been much greener. Nothing is an excuse for forgetting our roll-bag though, and we humbly accept WOMB’s overall green score of 12/20.
Additional (and addictional) links for IG-addicts!