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Top 5 Eco-Friendly Luxury Resorts in Southeast Asia

Being environmentally-minded doesn't mean sacrificing service. Some of the most beautiful, isolated, and exclusive hideaways in Southeast Asia are maintained by luxury resorts.

Editorial Team

August 25, 2017

Vietnam, Cambodia,
Philippines, Maldives

Southeast Asia contains some of the most delicate and vulnerable natural habitats on the planet; keeping them in good shape is the responsibility of everyone who visits. Luckily, there are a few opulent resorts that take care of their unique surroundings without sacrificing luxury.

Affluence and environmentalism rarely seem to go hand in hand, but one doesn’t have to trade on conspicuous consumption to keep their holiday green. Some of the ultra-luxe resorts in South East Asia take great care to ensure that the experiences on offer are both sustainable and exclusive.

Soneva Fushi

ABOVE: Soneva Fushi in the Maldives combines luxury and ecology for a destination with modern amenities and exclusive isolation.

Soneva Fushi delivers the height of luxury while remaining as true as possible to eco-friendly ideals. Labeled an “imaginative hideaway,” this resort is tucked in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, offering laid-back, affluent villa housing that works with the destination’s remarkable natural beauty. In fact, Soneva has a full-time biologist to keep the natural world around Soneva Fushi intact. Soneva Fushi is also engaged in anti-shark fishing campaigns, conservation efforts, and they even their own vegetable garden.

ABOVE: Dining on the beach at Soneva Fushi.

There’s barefoot luxury, and then there’s living out your favorite Robinson Crusoe fantasy but with fine dining. Despite the isolated location, there are still plenty of personalized experiences. Travelers can take part in the resort’s castaway picnic on an off-grid island or sip champagne on safari cruise while the dolphins play in the setting sun. Other Soneva locations offer similarly exclusive, nature-based experiences.

Six Senses Con Dao Resort

ABOVE: Known around the world for its environmentally-friendly practices, Six Senses is the premier brand for sustainable luxury.

Six Senses Resorts, perhaps more than any other eco-friendly chain, are esteemed for the commitment they environmental responsibility. But, the natural wonder and wildlife of Con Dao standout.

Besides their usual waste disposal and environmental tactics, Six Senses Con Dao is important in protecting a small population of dugongs – perhaps only a dozen left. The national park and Six Senses Con Dao cooperate to help protect the sea grass for the rare Dugong populations. Sea turtles also call this resort haven home.

ABOVE: A sea turtle shuffles to the sea on Con Dao.

This inspired vision of sand-swept beaches on an island archipelago surrounded by pearl blue sea makes for an eco-friendly, luxury getaway at Six Senses Con Dao. Adopting the charm of a classic fishing village, this five-star resort immerses its guests in a traditional, yet luxurious, Vietnamese experience.

Song Saa Private Islands Resort

ABOVE: Song Saa Foundation works to protect the delicate ecology of the region and gives back to the local community in the form of medical care and renewable energy.

Song Saa first began as an ecological mission and still strives to achieve environmental harmony to this day through various projects, including ocean habitat protection, education programs for local communities, and land-based waste management.

The Song Saa Resort is partnered with the Song Saa Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to protect the habitats of the Koh Rong Archipelago. Funded primarily by donations and grants, they save sea turtles, provide medical care to locals, and are pioneering renewable energy solutions.

ABOVE: Outdoor massage hut on Koh Bon.

The Song Saa Private Island Resort compliments this environmental mission effectively, making for intimate accommodation tucked into a private corner of the world. The personal villas boast vast ocean views and elegant comforts, and the outdoor massage on Koh Bon is not to be missed.

4 Rivers Floating Lodge


ABOVE: The floating hotels of 4 Rivers Floating Lodge are a glamping experience in the heart of the Cambodian wilderness.

Amidst the serene Tatai River, Cambodia’s 4 Rivers Floating Lodge is found in the Peam Krasaop Wildlife Sanctuary and is a model of sustainable tourism. Aside from being designed in such a manner as to cause minimal damage to the surrounding ecology, 4 Rivers Floating Lodge uses biodegradable plastics and environmentally friendly toiletries.

In short, it’s guilt-free glamping.

ABOVE: The Taitai waterfall is just one of the natural destination experiences found at 4 Rivers Floating Lodge.

Accessible by car, plane, or boat, 4 Rivers Floating Lodge gives visitors access to the lush Kravanh Mountains and the Cardamom Mountains. The waters of the Tatai river, filled with aquatic flora and fauna, provide no end of activities. This boutique resort’s goal is to create an impact on its visitors and leave none on the environment. Boats tour waterfalls and fishing villages within the mangroves, and guests can relax knowing that their stay in one of these floating tents is sustainable.

Pangulasian Island El Nido Resort

ABOVE: Part of the El Nido Resorts family, Pangulasian was designed to use both canopy and beach in an eco-friendly design.

In Bacuit Bay, the Pangulasian Island El Nido Resort is one of the newest in the El Nido Resort line. This resort is an eco-luxury experience amid panoramic stretches of white sand cradled by crystal blue waters and palm tree jungles.

Each of the villas was designed with strict eco-ethics in mind, while maximizing guest enjoyment of the surrounding natural beauty. The pool villa allows visitors to enjoy a private, outdoor pool and the canopy villa sits atop stilts 15 to 18 meters high in the forest. From education to conservation, Pangulasian is setting a new standard for El Nido Resorts – a pretty high bar at the start.

On this “Island of the Sun,” whether guests are marveling over the marine sanctuary or settling into a sunset cruise, the Philippines’ Pangulasian Island is a first-rate choice for any eco-conscious traveler.