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5 Southeast Asian Cities That Awarded For Being Green

  • - Indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste and polluted rivers
  • - Chaotic traffic and occupied pavements
  • - Air pollution
  • - A lack of green space

There are trails that are easy to see in a typical Southeast Asian city.

Realizing the costs of urbanization, ASEAN countries are working hard on developing livable and sustainable cities. Together, local people with the local governments have managed to build a cleaner environment to improve the quality of their lives. “Green”, “Clean”, “Fresh”, “More parks”, “Walkability”, and “Cultural and historic preservation” are key elements for a green city that the locals think of. 

Here are 5 cities that awarded for being green by the South-East Asian Tourism Organisation. The certificates were given to cities on a competitive basis, using ASEAN Key Indicators for Clean Air, Clean Land, and Clean Water. Scroll down to see what green cities look like in Southeast Asia and get some ideas about where we want to visit next. 

1. Da Lat, Vietnam

Last year, “Le Petit Paris” of Vietnam celebrated its 125th anniversary. The valley is surrounded by rolling hills, pine forests, lakes, flower gardens, fruit and vegetable farms, boutique villas, and lovely cafes that make it different from the rest of the country. No wonder why this city is always considered as one of the most romantic destinations in Vietnam.

There is a project to build Da Lat into a Smart City from now to 2025. Apart from spacious streets that make the traffic easy, Smart Tourism apps have been applied in all of the tourism businesses. It helps to connect tourists with locals, restaurants, accommodations, destinations, as well as other facilities in the city with just a tap of a finger. 

Da Lat is surrounding by mist in the early morning. The temperature in this town is pleasant all year round

Da Lat is surrounding by mist in the early morning. The temperature in this town is pleasant all year round

Colonial villas are iconic images of the city

Colonial villas are iconic images of the city

Da Lat has abundant lakes and waterfalls. The tempo of life here is very relaxing

Da Lat has abundant lakes and waterfalls. The tempo of life here is very relaxing

Hydrangea field - a favorite place for younge people coming to have a photo

Hydrangea field - a favorite place for younge people coming to have a photo

2. Luang Prabang, Laos

At the heart of the lush mountainous region, Luang Prabang is exceptional for the blending of rich traditional architecture with well-preserved colonial buildings. 

Although the city of UNESCO World Heritage is a hub for visitors from all around the world, responsible tourism is easy to notice in town. Most hotels keep water at the areas which are accessible for tourists to refill; restaurants promote No Plastic Campaign seriously by using bamboo straws. In cafes, dried cloth napkins are folded nicely in a basket next to the wash basin for wiping hands instead of tissue paper. Organizations are working hard for sustainable art and culture by teaching local women weaving. This helps villagers to earn income while preserving the ethnic traditional handicraft. 

Luang Prabang is one of the most charming cities in Asia

Luang Prabang is one of the most charming cities in Asia

It's surrounded by rivers... (Photo: the scenic Nam Ou River)

It's surrounded by rivers... (Photo: the scenic Nam Ou River)

... and mountains. (Photo: View from the top of Phu Ya Ka mountain )

... and mountains. (Photo: View from the top of Phu Ya Ka mountain )

Royal Palace Museum is one of the main attractions in Luang Prabang

Royal Palace Museum is one of the main attractions in Luang Prabang

Read more: 60 hours in Luang Prabang - A suggestion from our most-wanted travel expert

3. Kep City, Cambodia

Kep, the smallest province in Cambodia, is a fresh cool air compared to other coastal areas in Southeast Asia. Visitors love to sail to idyllic Koh Tonsay island that is as quiet as the rest of the town, bike on the easy road circling around the jungle in Kep National Park, or visit abandoned old French colonial villas - mostly destroyed after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime.

The town’s quietness, privacy, pristine nature, and rich history make it very potential for eco-tourism. With 8 other cities, Kep was selected as a case study in the Sustainable City Strategic Plan 2018 - 2030 of Cambodia. A plan for a marine national park is working on between local authorities and private sector in order to protect coral and marine life while creating stable income for fishing families. 

A fishing village with traditional wooden boats

A fishing village with traditional wooden boats

A tuk-tuk is on a dirt road. The life in Kep still keeps quiet and private

A tuk-tuk is on a dirt road. The life in Kep still keeps quiet and private

One in more than hundred of abandon colonial villas

One in more than hundred of abandon colonial villas

Sustainable travel is a way of preserving cultures and biodiversity in this town

Sustainable travel is a way of preserving cultures and biodiversity in this town.

4. Nan, Thailand

The charming little town of Nan in North Thailand had been awarded as ASEAN’s No.1 Clean Tourist City in 2018. That is the result of an effective effort by Nan’s government and local people in recycling and reducing the amount of non-degradable waste to keep the environment green and clean. 

The town is home to hill-tribe villages, many old temples, traditional teak wooden houses, numerous waterfalls, 8 national parks, and a diverse culture which is influenced by Burma, Laos, and China. A perfect place for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle to embrace a slower pace of life. 

View from Wat Phra That Khao Noi - a remarkable landmark in Nan

View from Wat Phra That Khao Noi - a remarkable landmark in Nan

A pleasant journey up to the hill

A pleasant journey up to the hill

Tent camping site on Doi Samer Dao at Sri Nan Nation Park: a great place to witness the Milky Way

Tent camping site on Doi Samer Dao at Sri Nan Nation Park: a great place to witness the Milky Way

Looking for a lovely place that is similar to Nan? Here is Pai - an enchanting town of Thailand

5. Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

Nay Pyi Taw is a very new city. The construction only began in 2002 on a greenfield site, about 200 miles north of the old capital, Yangon. 25 major constructions companies were hired to build government and military capital. Uppatasanti Pagoda is one of the most impressive landmarks in Nay Pyi Taw. It’s 325ft tall, nearly a same-sized replica of Shwedagon Pagoda, and was completed in 2009. 

Nay Pyi Taw has been set in the pilot stage of a 10-years “Green-Land Program” that is to transform the military capital into a green city. In which, the government committed to reserve 15-20% of total urban area for open space, green, and public area and promote green behaviors in the residential community. 

Scenic view of the new city Nay Pyi Taw

Scenic view of the new city Nay Pyi Taw 

A closer look to the golden Uppatasanti Pagoda

A closer look to the golden Uppatasanti Pagoda 

Want to learn more about Myanmar? You can read 10 first things to do in Myanmar in 10 days for first time visitors

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