5 Sustainability Lessons from Bhutan

Bhutan, a relatively small country with a population of around 750,000 people, nestled deep in the Himalayans, between China and India, is now the only carbon negative country in the world. The 72% forest coverage and low production of CO2 has transformed Bhutan into a “carbon sink”, absorbing over 6 millions tons of carbon annually while only producing 1.5 million tons.

However, this is not accidental; Bhutan has a number of policies and national programs in place to protect the country’s environment, society, culture and traditions.


  1. High value, low impact tourism

Kingdom of Bhutan’s travel policy is “high value travel, low impact/ volume tourism” to keep its exclusivity and ensure travellers are getting an enriching experience there while avoiding mass tourism that might negatively impact the environment and society.

The country requires a visa ($40 per day), and tourists must pay the “Minimum Daily Package” that can only be arranged through an officially approved travel tour or agent. The package costs around $250 per day during high season, and $200 per day during low season and includes majority of things you would need such as accommodation, food, tour guide, camping and trekking equipment, as well as a $65 daily sustainable development fee. This model allows Bhutan to ensure there is a limited number of tourists in the country at a time.

2. Focus on population happiness rather than economic growth

Political decisions in Bhutan are mainly based on their Gross National Happiness growth index rather than Gross Domestic Product  growth index, placing more importance on wellbeing of the population and environment rather than economic growth at the expense of the environment.

3. Nature preservation

72% of the country is still forested and a ban is put in place to ensure forested areas will not drop lower than 60%. A ban has also been put on export logging and the government has started to provide rural farmers with free electricity to lessen their dependence on wood stoves for cooking.

Bhutan also set a Guinness World Record in 2015 by planting almost 50,000 trees in just 1 hour and in 2016 tens of thousands of people turned up to plant 108,000 trees to celebrate the birth of the prince (talk about a great birthday gift!).

5. Ambitious plans to continously improve

The country is determined to further minimise their environmental impact and has put ambitious plans in place for that. By 2030, Bhutan plans to reach zero net greenhouse gas emissions and zero waste, change all cars to electric cars, and have 100% organic food by 2020.

Watch this inspirational TED talk by Bhutan’s Primer Minister Tshering Tobgay about the country’s mission and commitment to the environment.

10 Simple Ways You Can Make Your Travels More Sustainable

Travel is such an enriching experience for most of us and it has never been easier for people to travel and discover destinations around the world. However with such an increase in tourism it’s more important than ever that we pay attention to sustainable tourism and making our travels more eco-friendly. Here are 10 simple tips:

sustainable travel tips

  1. Research local sustainable issues

Different destinations deal with different environmental issues. Research beforehand what are the key ones to help you be extra aware of them during your travels as well as seeing if there is any small thing you can do to help.

  1. Eat locally grown produce

Small owned restaurants that focus on locally grown produce in season are not only great for supporting local businesses but are also a great way to experience the culture and taste delicious food.

  1. Buy locally made souvenirs from local crafters

Avoid the mass marketed knick-knacks that are mostly imported from abroad and rarely actually come in use for anyone. Instead, if you want to bring something back for friends or family, focus on local crafts that help tell a story.

Never buy wildlife products as this will only just help boost this black market.

  1. Focus on sustainable transport where possible

Where possible, try to rent a bike, walk or take public transport rather than renting a car or taxis.

  1. Book sustainable accommodation

There is an increase number of stylish and affordable eco-friendly hotels and hostels around the world, as well as apartment or room rental websites which makes it so much easier to live sustainably while abroad.

  1. Don’t leave towels on the floor

If staying in a hotel, remember to hang the towels after shower as that’s the universal sign that you would like to reuse them rather than have them washed daily.

  1. Bring a refillable water bottle and skip straws

When travelling you might be tempted to buy plastic bottles of water, bring a refillable water bottle and skip straws offered in restaurant or bars.

  1. Avoid taking paper tourist info

Instead of taking too many paper maps, brochures or other tourist info pamphlets, download apps on your phone with all the necessary info such as offline maps.

  1. If shopping, bring your own reusable bag or backpack

Bring a reusable bag or backpack when shopping to avoid having to take plastic bags from sellers. Any trash you might accumulate while out, hold onto it till you find somewhere to recycle.

  1. Research your tour operators

If you are hiring any tour operators, make sure their practices are environmentally friendly and they help make a positive difference to the people, the wildlife and the environment.


Top 13 Travel Destinations for this Fall

best destinations to visit this fall

Fall is one of the best times to travel as the temperatures are pleasant in many parts of the world and the prices much more affordable, especially in Europe that can be extremely pricey in summer. Whether you’re looking for a city break, an outdoor adventure, or a foodie trip, here’s our round-up of best destinations to visit this fall:

  1. Paris, France

Fall is the best time to visit Paris. The temperatures are pleasant for travelling around, most of the tourists are gone, the leaves are changing colour, and there is just something in the air giving Paris that melancholic feel.

  1. Lake District, UK

Almost 5 hours by car or about 3 hours and a half by train from London, you will find one of UK’s most beautiful natural areas, the Lake District. Enjoy peaceful walks, cosy lunches in traditional pubs, and relaxing days at some of the best spa’s in UK.

  1. Vermont, USA

Vermont is one of the best places to enjoy fall colours. There is an abundance of outdoor activities making it perfect for family trips and with Halloween and Thanksgiving just around the corner it’s the perfect time to visit the area.

  1. Marrakech, Morocco

Weather starts cooling down from the scorching heat of August while still getting some warmth and sun making Marrakech very pleasant to visit. Enjoy shopping, luxurious spa days, or take a trip to the desert.

  1. Hanoi, Vietnam

Autumn and Spring are two best seasons to visit Vietnam. Hotels, transport, and restaurants are very affordable, and there is a plethora of things to do. Depending where you’re flying from it can be a struggle finding direct flights so you might want to make it into a longer trip and visit a few different places in Vietnam while you’re there.

  1. Kyoto, Japan

A short bullet train trip from Tokyo, catch the beautiful colours of fall in Kyoto and escape the crowds usually found during spring and summer. There is no shortage of attractions and things to do in Kyoto with plenty of temples, shrines, gardens, markets and Michelin starred restaurants.

  1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Although a stunning destination all-year round, April through November is one of the best times to visit the Great Barrier Reef before the heat and humidity of December kicks in.

  1. Vancouver, Canada

Often ranked as one of the best cities to live in the world, September through November, when the tourist crowds are gone, is the perfect time to visit this wonderful city and find out why so many people fall in love with it.

  1. Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei has made a reputation in recent years as a foodie destination. The city is clean, safe, modern with great transport links making it easy to get around from one foodie place to another. Night markets are one of the best in Taipei, and a must visit if you’re there.

  1. Swiss Alps, Switzerland

Great for family trips and not only, the Swiss Alps are great for outdoor walks while admiring the leaves changing colour.

  1. Himalaya, Nepal

For outdoor adventure, best time to trek the Himalayans is during fall however this is also when the bulk of tourists visit the region so expect to be sharing that amazing scenery with quite a few others.

  1. Douro Valley, Portugal

Fall is probably the best time to visit Douro Valley as the weather starts cooling down making it perfect for wine tasting and vineyards tours, cycling, restaurants hopping and spa days.

  1. Piedmont, Italy

Piedmont is Italy’s truffle region, famous for the very expensive white truffle. October through December is harvest season for these wonderful delicacies and also when the area is the busiest with tourists however the food in the region is so good, with an abundance of Michelin starred restaurants, that you wouldn’t want to miss it.

Top 10 European Green Cities to Visit

olso green city

amsterdam green city

  1. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is not only a picture-perfect city with its wonderful canals and houses, but has also always been at the forefront of green living. The city is famous for how bike friendly it is with great infrastructure built around allowing people to get anywhere by bicycle. The city is also one of the best at conserving water and has an array of eco-friendly hotels and hostels. copenhagen green city

2. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen consistently ranks as Europe’s greenest city and aims to be the world’s first carbon neutral city by 2025. The majority of its residents use bicycles to commute and public transport is great. Over 71% of the city’s hotel rooms are now certified with the official Green Key guarantee so finding a place to stay while travelling that is eco-friendly is easy.

Copenhagen residents are committed to recycling and reusing and the city is home to the world’s first expired foods supermarket – Wefood, aimed at reducing food waste.

stockholm green city

3. Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm was Europe’s first Green Capital in 2010 and has been continuously ranking high for its environmental friendliness. All trains and city buses run on renewable fuels and the city plans on becoming fully independent from fossils fuels by 2050. 95% of the population lives less than 300 metres from a green-area. Stockholm is committed to keep improving its sustainability and there are a range of projects planned aimed at reducing waste such as re-using wasted heat generated from data centres, supermarkets and stadiums for households in the city.

reykjavik green city

4. Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland is renowned for its natural beauty and consistently ranks as one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world. Its capital, Reykjavik is home to only 122,000 people and aims to be fossil fuel free by 2050. The city uses renewable geothermal and hydroeletric energy to power the buildings in the city and only 0.1% of Iceland’s electricity is generated using fossil fuel.

olso green city     5. Oslo, Norway

After Stockholm and Copenhagen, Oslo is now Europe’s Green Capital 2019 which shows the commitment of the Scandinavia region to sustainability. The city has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world and there are plans to become completely car-free by 2050. The city also has a wide range of eco-friendly hotels and meat-free restaurants that focus on local produce.

6. Bristol, UK

Bristol is UK’s greenest cities due to its good air quality, constant increase in cyclists and is investing greatly in renewable energy and has ambitions to become a European-hub for low carbon footprint industries.

7. Essen, Germany

The German city of Essen went from a coal mining city to Europe’s Green Capital 2017 due to its exemplary practices of protecting the environment and reducing waste. This remarkable change is a great example for other cities that change can be achieved. Essen also has a great mix of history, culture and art, making it a perfect city-break destination.

8. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is one of Europe’s most popular city-break destinations due to its colourful streets, great restaurants, and wide range of cultural activities. It has also been striving to become more green by building more green spaces, improving eco-friendly mobility, promote energy-efficiency and waste-management. The capital also has an extensive network of cycling lanes as well as making it easy for people to walk throughout the city.

Ljubljana green city

9. Ljubljana, Slovenia

The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana is an affordable European destination with great character. It has managed to preserve its green areas and cars are banned from the city centre making it perfect for cycling or walking. Visitors to the city are often impressed by its sheer-beauty and wide range of outdoor activities.

barcelona green city      10. Barcelona, Spain

Spain’s second largest city and one of Europe’s most popular tourism destinations, Barcelona has a wide network of public transport and 50% of all trips are made by foot or bicycle. The city also offers a bike sharing system to make it easier for visitors to travel around. Barcelona also has innovative plans to expand green spaces and continues to invest in energy efficiency, waste management and reducing emissions by banning the driving of vehicles older than 20 years on weekdays.