Eco-tourism in Vietnam: how to be a responsible traveller
Vietnam is quickly becoming a must-visit destination in South East Asia. And it’s no wonder, with oodles of culture, delicious cuisine and incredible natural wonders to behold. There are endless guides filled with tips on the best things to see and do, which can feel a little overwhelming at first.
Having said this, more and more people are considering the consequences of their actions when travelling. We can travel sustainably as individuals, however, a lot of the responsibility also sits with the country’s authorities. Here’s a breakdown of how to travel consciously through Vietnam, as well as the effort the country is putting into promoting sustainability.
How sustainable is Vietnam?
At COP27, Vietnamese authorities expressed commitment to reach net-zero emissions as soon as they can. The result was that the world’s wealthiest nations pledged $15.7 billion in funding to aid the country’s move away from coal dependence.
There has also been financial support from the Asian Development Bank for clean energy projects, covering awareness of electric transport and more. This will simultaneously seek to tackle the country’s motorbike dependence in a bid to reduce emissions and investigate other alternatives. On a more local level, there’s been more recognition of environmental groups with an eco focus, including everything from electric motorbike startups to pre-loved fashion concepts.
How to be a responsible traveller?
While the efforts of the country itself are commendable, it’s important to remember that the decisions you make as a tourist can be more impactful than you might think. Eco-tourism centres around exploring a country while being aware of the social and environmental impacts you may have on local areas and the wider country.
To begin with, you should select your tours carefully, as some Vietnam tours will have higher sustainability credentials and local awareness than others. When it comes to viewing natural wanders, be cautious about dropping litter and be sure to stick to designated footpaths. You may even decide to choose alternative sites that receive less footfall, as some destinations become overcrowded with tourists.
You could also stay in eco-friendly accommodation and travel in a way that avoids flying where possible. Remember to be socially responsible too, by not being ignorant to local cultures and taking the time to understand your surroundings while remaining respectful.
What are the best eco-tourism experiences in Vietnam?
When it comes to choosing eco-tourism experiences in Vietnam, you’re spoilt for choice. You could travel by boat along the Ngô Đồng River in Ninh Bình, which is a Unesco World Heritage site you can enjoy from the water. Other boating experiences include the Ba Bể Lake, which is stowed away between the mountainous landscape in northeast Hanoi.
Otherwise, biking and hiking in destinations such as Mai Châu Town, Cát Tiên National Park and Sa Pa can be a great shout.