Disposable plastic water bottles: We’ve all seen them washed up on beaches, bobbing in the oceans, bays, and rivers of Southeast Asia. They aren’t pretty and the problem isn’t going to fix itself. The tap water in Southeast Asia isn’t safe to drink without being treated so what’s a traveler to do? Can you travel Asia plastic free? Or at least, without buying a single bottle of water? Yes, we say yes!
If you’re heading for Cambodia, the answer is easy as Refill not Landfill has established free water refill stations in Siem Reap and is expanding to other parts of Cambodia as well as Vietnam and Laos. Some of our favorite Seam Reap hotels are refill stations including the gorgeous Shinta Mani Shack and very eco-conscious Jaya House River Park (check out our review of Jaya House here). We give all Fleewinter clients traveling to Cambodia a free stainless steel water bottle upon arrival so they can take advantage of this great way to avoid buying disposable plastic water bottles.
While we’ve always encouraged travelers to Asia to bring along a reusable water bottle, it’s hard to guarantee that refilling it can be done without resorting to buying disposable plastic bottles. Hotels in Borneo and Malaysia such as Gaya Island Resort, Sukau Rainforest Lodge, and Seven Terraces provide pitchers or glass bottles of drinking water in guest rooms which are refilled regularly and on request so you can fill your own water bottle easily. Unfortunately, not every hotel has caught on.
Which is why we’re so excited about finding a way to truly travel Asia plastic free. Fleewinter, the boutique travel company we work with, has teamed up with Water To Go. These water bottles are designed to filter 99.9% of contaminants and have a carbon filter to remove unpleasant tastes so you can fill the bottle from any tap, stream, lake, or freshwater source you come across. You’ll have safe drinking water in hand no matter where you go.
The filters are fully recyclable and the bottles themselves won’t disintegrate so although there is plastic involved, it’s nothing like the single-use bottles that line the shelves of convenience stores and coastlines. If you buy through our link, you can save 15% by using our discount code of PLASTICFLEETRAVELS and we’ll donate another 15% to FRANK Water, a safe water and sanitation charity working in India and Nepal.
What’s more, if you book a holiday of one week or more in July 2018 (no need to travel in July but you must book soon), we’ll give every traveler over the age of 12 a Water To Go bottle as part of Plastic Free July. Learn more here.
Solving the plastic problem is no easy feat but traveling Asia without buying bottled water is.