Anurak Community Lodge in Surat Thani province, southern Thailand, has won the 2019 SKÅL Asian Area Award – Environment Category, with the unanimous vote of judges at the 48th SKAL Asia Congress held in Bangalore, India in June and presented to the eco-lodge on 9 July 2019.
The award was presented in Bangkok by Andrew Wood, President of SKAL International, Bangkok, to Willem Niemeijer, the CEO of YAANA Ventures, which conceived, built and runs the Anurak Community Lodge.
Opened in 2016, the lodge acts a secluded nature hideaway and activities base for the nearby Khao Sok National Park. Set in six hectares of tropical gardens on the boundary of the park, Anurak offers 20 eco-friendly rooms across 12 well-appointed bungalows and two safari-style tents.
Guests engage in responsible minimal-impact tourism activities such as hiking, river kayaking, cycling, rafting, jungle cooking and exploring nearby Chiew Larn lake. The lodge offers a range of 3-4 day packages for visitors.
Anurak is currently working to replace an old oil palm plantation that would have once been lowland evergreen forest with indigenous flora. Located within the lodge’s boundaries, guests are invited to participate in the reforestation initiative. At the lodge, single-use plastics such as bags, bottles and straws are banned. It has a recycling station, composting zone, and uses its grey water from the laundry on its vegetable and herb garden.
“Willem and his team represent the very best of the tourism industry in Southeast Asia. They are passionate, trustworthy, both global and local — and entrepreneurs,” said Mr. Wood.
“It is with great pride that we have watched them build a dynamic organisation that champions the triple bottom line – people, planet, profit – while preserving local culture and protecting the natural environment. Anurak Community Lodge is a great example of that commitment.”