Babel Guesthouse - Eco & Vegan Friendly
- Your sustainable choice in Siem Reap –
As ethical and sustainable travelers - and consumers - we always try to make the most conscious choices possible, especially in a world where everything goes fast. One of the things we value is mindful traveling, as it allows you to absorb every aspect of new cultures and beautiful places, in a more deep and meaningful way. During our 2 week stay in Siem Reap, we found so many ethical options, in terms of food and accommodation, but we must say that we were surprised when we found Babel Guesthouse and got to know their mission and values.
Why did we automatically felt connected? Well, they not only opened the first eco and refillable shop station in Cambodia, but are also pioneers in responsible tourism within the country! As advocates of a greener planet, we will tell you all about this wonderful project and show you why you should always choose consciously.
How it all started
Located in the relaxing side of Siem Reap, Babel Guesthouse was founded in 2008 by a group of travelers from several countries in Europe and the local staff. Three years later, Katrine and Simen, the most inspiring couple we met, joined the team and took over 50% of the ownership of Babel and since then they have promoted their passion for responsible tourism and giving back to the communities in Cambodia. Their mission is to benefit the local communities in Siem Reap, using responsible tourism as a tool to educate and support the local people as much as possible. They only hire local staff, drivers and guides, give appropriate training, provide fair salaries and good working conditions, as well as support their individual path in education.
As this wasn’t already reason enough to give back to the community, Katrine and Simen brought the sustainable approach to another level by starting the Babel Educational Program, aiming to empower their local staff, as they believe that education is the key to everything, and we strongly believe the same.
Babel’s ethical commitment
Babel’s commitment with responsible tourism and ecological impact on the planet goes far beyond from applying some simple measures. They are making every effort possible to support local communities in Cambodia and also reduce the negative impact of plastic consumption, which made us so happy, as we see so many organisations and hotels that have the means to do more for the planet and simply stay still.
This wonderful guesthouse implemented so many environmental and social initiatives in Siem Reap, simple actions that we all can make, such as:
Replacing plastic straws with reusable bamboo straws in the restaurant, saving more than 13.000 plastic straws every year
Offering free water for refill to all guests, helping to reduce 4,6 million plastic bottles per month, that would end up in Cambodian countryside
Replacing all plastic bags with biodegradable bags from Cleanbodia organisation
Choosing biodegradable take away boxes and cutlery
Replacing all plastic-wrapped soap bars in the rooms, with refillable dispensers
Recycle plastic bags from guests to Rehash Trash, a project that makes products from used plastic bags and empowers the lives of mothers and their families
Minimizing the carbon footprint by striving to source everything from room decorations to food and drinks locally
Using Bio Diesel on their generators
Providing regular training to their staff, teaching them the ways to reduce the negative impact of litter in Cambodia
Babel has also its own restaurant on site, serving a combination of traditional khmer dishes and western cuisine, using only local sourced and fresh products. We must say that their vegan smoothie bowls are a must try and we were happy that they were working on a fully vegan menu already, another huge reason why we fell in live with the project.
It is so good to see and feel their passion about ethical choices, learn all about the sustainable projects implemented and others supported by Babel, like educational programs, sports activities, health care campaigns and donations to plant trees in Cambodia.
Babel eco-shop and refillable station
One of the big projects implemented by Babel, comes across as one of the biggest ecological actions in Cambodia – the first eco-shop bulk store and refillable station in the country. In a time when single plastic use is killing millions of species in our oceans and polluting green areas all around the world, it is vital to understand that options exist, and we applaud them for this initiative in providing ecological options for travelers and locals, to make conscious choices and contribute to the sustainability of the earth.
In their refillable station you can find pretty much everything, to cover your daily needs such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, mosquito repellent, laundry detergent and even coconut oil. All you have to do is to bring your refillable containers and get as much as you need from each item. Other things you might want to get are the bamboo straws and cutlery, a great way to ban single-use plastic while traveling.
One of the things that brings ultimate joy to our lives is to find and connect with like-minded travelers and people that are willing to do everything in their power to contribute to the sustainability of our planet, and guarantee a greener world for the future generations to come. We are proud to be part of Babel’s Guesthouse family and to share their beautiful values and mission with the world.
Don’t forget, when planning your trips, look for accommodations that have an ethical policy and have environmental commitments, and while in Siem Reap, choose green, choose Babel.
*A special thanks to Katrine and Simen and all the lovely staff and family of Babel Guesthouse, you are a huge source of inspiration