5 Responsible Travelling Tips (The Island Way)

by Liyana Salleh

We are all in dire need of our vitamin sea. The sun, sand and sea are just calling to us after months of being locked indoors. While we all want to enjoy our island time, it is our responsibility as much as it is others’, to care for the environment that we are in. Read on to know how you can be a responsible traveller on the island.

1. Bring Your Own Bottles and Reusable Bags

When packing for your getaway, remember to bring your own reusable bottle, bag, cutleries and straw. This is so you can reduce the amount of waste you will create when you are on your getaway. Not only will this help to keep the environment clean, you will also be able to help keep the wildlife safe. Plastic pollution is one of the biggest threats to marine wildlife. Disposable materials are a convenience but carrying a few extra things that you would definitely need is a great way to ensure that you will always have access to it, save money and ensure its cleanliness.

A map of eco-friendly businesses you can support when you visit the Perhentian Islands by the Perhentian Marine Research Station.

2. What Comes With You, Goes With You

As the famous saying goes, ‘Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints’. While having your fun island hopping, remember to bring back all your stuff including (and especially) your trash, back with you. Nobody is going to magically take care of your trash on the island, even if you have neatly wrapped them, ready for collection. You are responsible for your own belongings and that includes your trash. 

What came with you should leave with you.

3. Treat Wildlife Kindly

It is amazing to be in the presence of wildlife in the wilderness. IT sure makes for a wonderful shot for the ‘gram! However, do be mindful of the way you interact with wildlife. A good rule of thumb is, don’t. Leave the wildlife alone and admire them from afar. For example, when snorkelling, don’t step on corals to rest. This will cause them to break and eventually kill them. If you encounter a turtle, don’t drag it up or try to touch it for a selfie. If you don’t like it when a stranger touches you, trust that turtles don’t too.

It is an offence to disturb turtles under the Fisheries Act 1985. Photo: Perhentian Turtle Project

Other than that, avoid feeding wildlife to lure them closer. This includes fish feeding from a jetty, for example. This is bad because by feeding them, these fish will forgo their natural diet which will cause a disruption in the symbiotic relationship between wildlife and its environment. When there is a disruption in nature, negative consequences surely follow.

4. Support Local Businesses

While you are on the island, support local business by choosing to stay in guest houses run by the locals, frequenting local eateries and even buying your souvenirs from local vendors. Most of the locals on islands that are tourist destinations rely heavily on tourism as their main source of income. Spend your money mindfully and ensure that you too, contribute to the growth of the local economy.

5. Go On Eco Activities

Another great way to enjoy your island getaway is to add eco-activities in your to-do list. These activities will give you a new insight and perspective on how you may enjoy the beautiful nature you are part of. It is also a great way to learn more about conservation initiatives on the island where you are at. You can opt to go on eco snorkel tours instead of your regular snorkel tours like the one Fuze Ecoter has in the Perhentian Islands.

Other than that, you can even choose to volunteer with a conservation project. This way, you get to enjoy the island while doing some good! Check out the Perhentian Turtle Project over at the Perhentian Islands. By volunteering with them, you will get to learn more about sea turtles and their threats and do first-hand conservation work with the team.

Observe and collect data on turtles behaviour with the Perhentian Turtle Project.

Next time you’re preparing for your island getaway, be sure to keep these things in mind. Most importantly, have fun!

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