For every famous site, there are usually lesser-known (but harder to access) options in the same country! For example, there are other Angkor-era ruins in Cambodia beyond the Angkor Wat complex, like Bantaey Chhmar. Visiting these ruins in a respectful way (as shared by Sharon above) also encourages nearby communities to take good care of the ruins, and in some cases, it even attracts funding for preservation and restoration, and creates demand for local community-based tourism initiatives.
Best posts made by Yanqin Lin
RE: How to appreciate but continue to protect tangible cultural heritage on our travels?
RE: What is a "better traveller"?
I think being a Better Traveller is to be aware of all the little things you can do to create positive impact -- even just by your choice of restaurant or where to shop -- wherever you go. I think many of us have seen the dodgy impact of tourism and are leery of being that person who's making a place worse for the locals (littering! damaging monuments with selfie sticks!). I'd like to be that person that 1) minimise any negative impact, and 2) actually contribute something socially positive to my host community.
I think it's also a journey that never ends - it's a trip you take for life! No one is going to be the perfect traveller overnight - the important thing is not to stop trying!
RE: What's the most eco-friendly (or least damaging?) way to travel?
I like using this website https://shameplane.com/ -- it allows you to factor in your daily habits, like whether you own a car, are a vegetarian etc, to determine what your "allowance" is for air travel. It's a slightly more holistic view on how our habits contribute to carbon emissions - what we eat, how we shop, and how we travel. We may not like the results, but it's a fun and necessary exercise to sober up to the idea of whether we "need" that getaway to Bali. Personally, it has made me rethink how badly I need to travel, and encouraged me to avoid destinations that involve domestic flight transfers. I think everyone can make little choices like that will amount to something in the long run.
RE: As a Singaporean, are there less touristy spots in SG to bring an overseas friend to?
I love bringing people to Bukit Brown cemetery, which is fascinating even for Singaporeans. It's a great place to explore Singapore's green side, as well as the history of Chinese immigrants, all from looking at really ornate and beautiful graves! A group of passionate citizen historians - called All Things Bukit Brown - conduct free walks a few times a month, and they're are great champions for preservation that deserve more support. Check them out.
For a more chilled out experience, try a pottery class at a "dragon kiln" - it's in a sleepy part of western Singapore, and it's a totally different side to the glitzy, cosmopolitan image of Singapore most tourists have. Go read this story for more ideas: https://travel.ourbetterworld.org/story/weekend-of-good/weekend-good-singapore
RE: Travel spots for young kids
I think Green Acres Orchard in Penang is quite lovely for a short stay! It's a short flight from Singapore, the lodge has a pool and lots of green space to roam, and Penang itself has lots to keep people of all ages entertained, whether you are a foodie, durian-lover, just wanna chill in a nice boutique hotel, etc. Check out this story for more about Green Acres, and this story has loads of info about what to see and do in Penang. Another option could be Telunas Beach Resort, which is just couple of ferry rides away, so no need to fly with a baby! They have a great sustainability and empowerment ethos.
RE: Beach clean-up activity + eco-lodge in Bali?
Beach clean-ups are a big thing in Bali! Try following groups like Trash Hero Canggu or One Island One Voice on social media to see when their next clean-up is, or for news of any events happening during your trip.
I've also been exploring going back to North Bali for a trip, and came across Pemutaran, a town on the north coast that is home of one of the most successful Bio Rock programmes in the world - planting rocks underwater to let coral regenerate. It was a brainchild of the local community, which also organises beach clean-ups on a regular basis. I'll definitely check it out if I ever make a trip there and report back!
RE: Activities during hols
Maybe a sustainable farming experience? That way, you can have a bit of fun while learning about how to do things in a more sustainable way (and maybe score some yummy produce along the way). Green Acres Orchard in Penang is a great getaway if you are in Malaysia or plan to travel there. In Singapore, Bollywood Veggies and Citizen Farm have activities for the public that could be fun, whether it's farming and composting, or even cheese-making!
If you are more into history and culture, look out for workshops that teach local crafts like weaving and painting, like Greenroutes' Warli art day trip in India, or Torajamelo's homestays in Indonesia.
Check out websites like Local Alike, which helpfully provide a platform to check out and book tours directly, and which also explain the kind of impact you can make by taking part in these tours.