When a sustainable tourism blogger travels with Green Pearls…
Petra Haubner is Hollightly: a green lifestyle blog and a style bible for sustainability fans. Petra traveled around the world in 180 sustainable days and Green Pearls showed her some of its unique eco-friendly hotels, such as the Zeavola in Koh Phi Phi in Thailand. Here she writes about her impressions:
Zeavola loves the sea: an Eco-Resort with the look and feel of a traditional Thai village.
We board one of the traditional long boats at the pier and off we go, the little boat doing twerky jumps every time we hit a wave in the crystal clear waters. The only other means of transport so quintessentially Thai that we have used during our journey has probably been the Tuk Tuk. After an hour’s crossing we pull up at a white beach where the Zeavola stretches out into the lush, green surroundings right before our eyes. There is no pier so we jump into the water and wade the few steps to shore while a porter shoulders our bags. Check-in doesn’t take place in an air-conditioned hotel lobby but in a market place surrounded by nature. The village square with a characteristic Thai theatre and covered seats is the focal point of the hotel. We are greeted with cocktails and a warm smile. Small teakwood houses are nestled into the hills in groups of five, in between there is only jungle.
The resort is tucked away along a quiet stretch of beach on Koh Phi Phi island in the Andaman Sea. The movie „The Beach“ was filmed here and we imagine Leonardo Di Caprio walking along our beach… Brusque rock formations stick out of the water like huge stones as far as the eye can see. It looks like thousands of years ago nature scattered these rocks randomly across the sea. One of these large rock formations is the island of Koh Phi Phi where the Zeavola was built. A hotel that looks more like a Thai village than a traditional beach hotel. And that’s the idea. The Zeavola wants to provide an insight into Thai life. The hotel is built and arranged like a typical Thai village allowing authentic encounters with Thai traditions. This is also reflected in the hotel restaurant menus. The eateries are all outdoors and open. A light breeze blows from the ocean while we sit there by candlelight and look our over the sea. Life in Thailand is mostly spent outside. The living room is outside and so is the kitchen. People visit each other and love to walk through their lives barefoot. This way of life is cultivated at the hotel too.
At the entrance of every Thai house there is a wooden bowl with a flower floating inside and a ladle. The staff show us how to wash our feet before entering a house in Thailand. The tepid, warm water runs down my feet and frees them from the sand before I step onto the teak floors inside.
Our room, a garden suite, boasts a four-poster bed, an open bathroom, an outdoor shower and sun loungers. We find mosquito spray and ceramic bathroom jars next to the charming vintage sink and faucets.
The large glass windows in our Thai house seem to be a metaphor for the open outdoor life of the locals. The windows are there for guest’s convenience, traditionally rooms are open in Thailand. The Zeavola wants to live in harmony with nature. We sit in our „living room“ and observe the animals that play around us. The Hotel struggles, like all hotels here, with mosquitoes and insects. However the owners decided not to fight them with strong chemicals in order to protect nature. This is why we find organic and chemical free bug sprays and wipes everywhere to fight the little critters. Snakes are not removed either as they ensure a balanced eco-system here. Mice don’t even have a chance. More than anything we are drawn in by the sea. Mother nature seems to have dispersed her white talc powder to make the beautiful beaches. The shallow turquoise waters lie in front of us, crystal clear, like a giant bathtub.
Long boats like the „Sea Gypsy“ anchor next to the beach. Every now and then, some fishermen act as taxi drivers and rattle past us with their boats. The only other sound that breaks the silence is the chirping of the birds.