How can YOU be a Responsible Traveler?
We have put together the following list with “DO´s and DON´T´s” to make it EASY for you to be a Responsible Tourist while staying with us here at Babel Guesthouse.
CLEAN ROOM? Do you really need your room cleaned every day? Imagine thousands of towels washed unnecessary each day, consuming enormous quantities of water, chemicals and energy that waste these important resources and pollute our environment.
SHOWER LESS! Water shortage is a big problem in Cambodia.
TURN OFF Air conditioners and the lights when you leave the room.
Reduce your plastic waste
BRING YOUR OWN BAG! If you don’t have a tote bag or a backpack, purchase one in our Eco-shop. That way you don’t have to bring unnecessary plastic bags from your shopping back to Babel. Note - our tote bags are specially made to our shop by Friends N Stuff - creating jobs for locals.
BRING YOUR OWN BOTTLE! If you don’t have a refillable water bottle, purchase one in our shop, and be part of our Refill NOT landfill campaign. You can fill this bottle up with water for free here at Babel and bring it with you. When it’s empty, simply fill it up at refill stations all over town. In fact, you can fill it up at Refill stations all over the country, and 5 other counties in South East Asia. Check out the map of Refill Stations HERE!
BRING YOUR OWN CUP AND STRAW! Do you love coffee to go? Smoothies or juices from the street stalls? Ask for it to be served in your own cup. You can find beautiful silicone collapsible cups in our shop. They come in two different sizes. And you can purchase a bamboo straw in our shop, or simply not use straws at all.
BRING YOUR OWN CONTAINER AND CUTLERY SET! Do you love street-food? Ask for it to be served in your own container! If you don’t have any, you can purchase one stainless steel container or a beautiful coconut-bowl in our shop. Also check out our beautiful Travel Cutlery set. The knife, fork and spoon are special made to our shop by Angkor Handicraft Association – creating jobs for locals.
To make it simple, here are the top 5 single use Plastic enemies vs the top 5 reusable friends - easy switches to be found in our shop!
Spend your money wisely
BARGAIN? Bargaining is expected in many cultures. The haggling with a smile and a laugh can be quite fun. But it´s easy to get carried away trying to find the best deal. The money you saved could be enough to pay for an entire family´s meal that night.
Please respect the Tuk Tuk prices for our Tours here at Babel. The prices are set together with the drivers and staff, and they are FAIR. Remember that each and every Tuk Tuk driver has a family to support.
TIP! Tipping is not expected in Cambodia, but very appreciated. Our TIP box in the reception and bar of Babel we open for all staff to share before important holidays like Khmer New Year and The Water festival.
GO LOCAL! Support the local economy. Follow our guide for Responsible Shopping and our guide for Responsible Dining. Or look for the Child Safe Logo. Every place marked with this logo you can visit with a clear conscience.
Other ways YOU can contribute
Depending on what´s important for YOU - is it Education, is it Health Care, is it Environmental issues, is it Wildlife… here is a little list of projects that we strongly believe in. Any amount, big or small, is helpful.
DONATE to Babel Education Program! We have a donation box in the reception area of Babel. You can also donate through our PayPal account on our BLOG. Your donation helps us continue our work with providing free education for all staff and Tuk Tuk drivers at Babel Guesthouse. You support also helps us provide free health care, free sports programs and support to important projects who works against Plastic Pollution. For further questions, come and talk with us, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
DONATE to Angkor Hospital for children (AHC)! We have a donation box in the reception area of Babel. Your donation helps AHC to provide free, quality healthcare to impoverished children in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
DONATE to Fauna in Focus! Your donation helps Cambodia protect endangered species in the country.
DONATE to Plastic Free Cambodia (PFC)! Your donation helps PFC in their important work to reduce the use of single-use plastics in order to create a healthier community and environment in Cambodia.
PLANT A TREE! Information coming soon.
Be aware of following issues in Cambodia
DON´T GIVE MONEY TO BEGGING CHILDREN! Also avoid buying from children! Directly helping them keeps them on the streets and not at school where they should be.
DON´T FALL FOR THE MILK SCAM! This scam is run by beggars in Siem Reap city, especially on pub-street. Instead of asking for money they ask you to buy powdered milk for their child. In the scam, the shop selling the milk is “in” on this, and the milk is sold back to them by the beggar, so both the beggar and the business make money from the tourist. A serious concern is that the babies involved in the scam appear to be drugged to make the situation look bad and generate more sympathy (and a sale) from the tourist. PLEASE don’t support this awful scam – ever!
HOTLINE! If you see a child at risk, follow this link to report it! Number for Siem Reap: (+855) 17 358 758
VOLUNTEERING! If you are thinking about volunteering your time, think about the impacts it will have on the local organization. A skilled volunteer can be of great help for a local organization, especially with staff education & training, organizational development, marketing or other specific skills that are needed. If you are able to stay minimum 3-6 months or more, many organizations will welcome you with open arms. Short term volunteering is unfortunately often doing more harm than good. If you only have a few days to spare and would like to contribute your time, it’s probably more beneficial to think about other alternatives than volunteering.
ORPHANAGES! Many orphanages welcome tourists to come and play with the children for a few hours. It can be an eye opening and a feel-good experience for the tourist, but the effect may be the exact opposite for the children. Remember that these children are vulnerable and need stability in their lives, not a constant flow of strangers visiting. Recent studies shows that three out of four orphans in Cambodia have at least one living parent. United Nations Children’s Fund and most other child protecting organizations agree that children are better off living in families or community settings if possible. Unfortunately many orphanages has been set up in tourist areas to raise funds from well-intended travelers, and many are intentionally kept in bad condition to bring in more donations. That means that good-intentioned tourists and volunteers are often funding a system that is encouraging separating children from their families.