We recently shared our guide to travel in Northern Vietnam and now we are back to talk about responsible tourism.
Travelling responsibly in Vietnam has never been easier with more and more companies and organisations thinking, not just about profit, but sustainability and conservation too. The tourism industry has one of the biggest roles to play in development if they wish to keep the local culture and natural wonders of Vietnam alive for future visitors and this message is filtering through to companies large and small.
With our roots in Vietnam, sustainable tourism here has been a major focus of our growth and we are proud to connect with organisations across the country in providing responsible travel activities to travellers. Read on to find out how you, the traveller, can do your part.
Here are 6+ Tips for Responsible Travel in Vietnam
Responsible thinking in Vietnam
Responsible travel is as much a mindset as it is a way to behave. We always recommend that before you travel anywhere, to do your research on the history, culture and traditions of the country. For Vietnam, you can educate yourself on the Vietnam War and the 54 diverse ethnic groups living across the country. You can also arrive with an understanding of the conservative culture that is finding its way through increasing modernity.
Responsible behaviour in Vietnam
Following on from the last point, it is important to be aware that while Vietnam is a modern country, it has conservative roots that will affect how locals, especially of older generations, will react to you. Simply considering what you wear, even in the heat of summer, and being respectful and friendly with local people, will go a long way.
Responsible spending in Vietnam
Spending your money with local businesses is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to travel in Vietnam! Vietnamese street food and family-run restaurants offer the most delicious and authentic local cuisine, at incredibly cheap prices and the money goes directly in local pockets.
Use this guide to help you find local delicacies.
Responsible places in Vietnam
Our favourite piece of responsible travel advice is to go off the beaten track. The highlights of Halong Bay, Hoi An and even well-trodden Sapa, are more than worth the hype but make time for smaller, lesser-known destinations and you’ll be rewarded. Head into the countryside, through Vietnam’s many beautiful National Parks, and seek out homestays and local trekking guides. This guide to Northern Vietnam can help you find places to visit from Hanoi.
Just like spending locally, spreading your business around the country will help more people benefit from tourism.
Responsible accommodation in Vietnam
Forego turn-down service and infinity pools for a night in a local home; homestays are one of the most memorable experiences you can have in Vietnam. Homestays have become so prolific that the standard and quality of the rooms and facilities on offer are improving every year. Stay with a local family in places like Sapa, Mai Chau and the Mekong Delta, sleep in comfort and dine on delicious home-cooked food, family-style.
Responsible Wildlife Interactions in Vietnam
Vietnam does not have the best reputation when it comes to animal welfare but there are a number of inspiring organisations hoping to change this.
Animals Asia has an ambitious project to end bear bile farming and have a bear sanctuary in the hills of Tam Dao, North of Hanoi. The Rescue Centre is open to the public on specific open days, which keep human interaction to a natural minimum and you can find the dates here. Read more about their work here.
Why not also add these social enterprises to your to-visit list in and make a small contribution to community development:
- KOTO, Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
- Streets, Hoi An & Ho Chi Minh City
- Donkey Bakery, Hanoi
- White Thai Textiles, all over Mai Chau
- Red Dao and Black Hmong, all over Sapa
- Zo Paper, Hanoi
- To He, Hanoi
- Reaching out, Hoi An
As with all our destinations across Asia, we also encourage you to:
- Dress appropriately, especially in temples and religious sites.
- Throw away your rubbish in designated bins and recycling areas, even if you see locals doing the opposite.
- Not visit orphanages or similar institutions; this is not a good use of your time or theirs. Here are some alternatives.
- Not engage in public displays of affection.
- Not give money to people begging. If you want to help, seek out a local homeless charity of similar community organisation.