Thailand, a country known for both its cultural and natural splendors, is keenly aware of the effects of tourism. Upwards of 34 million people visit the country from abroad every year. With that yearly influx of people comes a need to ensure that the natural and cultural wonders that Thailand is known for are protected.
Tourism, as great as it can be for local businesses and communities, comes with a price. Well-meaning travelers can sometimes bring unintended harm to the places that they visit: from the destruction of a natural wonder to the intrusion on the lives of the locals.
The need to protect natural and cultural splendors is more important now than ever before. There’s nothing quite as tragic as visiting a spot you’ve heard about, only to discover that too many years of overtourism has stripped it of its magic and beauty.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) developed the 7 Greens initiative in 2011 with the goal to promote sustainable tourism throughout the country.
These guidelines are helping to create carefully managed tourism attractions that allow tourists to continue to see for years to come, the unrivalled beauty and unique cultures that Thailand has to offer. They are built around the idea that if we travel with sustainability in mind, these places won’t succumb to overtourism.
Bueng Kan, Thailand’s newest province, is an excellent example of the kind of destinations that TAT hopes to conserve and protect by promoting the 7 Greens. Located in the northeastern part of Thailand, 466 miles (751 kilometers) away from Bangkok, Bueng Kan is a haven of immersive cultural experiences and staggering natural beauty.
Hin Sam Wan (Three Whale Rock)
Hin Sam Wan, which means Three Whale Rock, is a 75 million-year-old rock formation jutting majestically out of the mountains. It earned its name because from the right perspective, it looks like a family of whales.
Reachable by an extensive network of trails, a hike to these impressive stone leviathans makes for a breathtakingly memorable, not to mention eco-friendly way for visitors to explore the amazing views and surrounding forests.
From the vantage point atop these “whales”, you can see the beaches of the Mekong, the mountains in Pakkading district of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Phu Wua Forest.
It’s very easy to dedicate an entire day to the Three Whale Rock. Visitors can choose from nine different routes to hike. O