June 13, 2024

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A Traveller’s Guide to Responsible Tourism in Vietnam

A captivating land steeped in history and stunning natural beauty, Vietnam beckons travellers from all corners of the globe – including South West England. But beyond the scenery and vibrant cities lies a deep respect for tradition and a strong connection to the environment. As a responsible traveller, understanding how to minimise your footprint and maximise positive impacts is key to an enriching experience when you embark on a trip to Vietnam.

Below are a series of tips for travelling responsibly in Vietnam:

Embrace Local Culture

Vietnam boasts a unique and vibrant culture, but it’s important that you know how to be respectful of it as you travel. When visiting temples or pagodas, you should dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees. Opt for lightweight, breathable clothing that respects the climate and religious sites.

Hiring local guides is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the culture and ensure your money supports the community. They can share their knowledge and historical insights you might miss on your own. Learning a few phrases such as being able to say please (Xin vui lòng – pronounced “sin vee long”) and thank you (Cảm ơn – pronounced “ca mon”) before you arrive will also go a long way in showing your appreciation for Vietnamese hospitality.

Citadel, Imperial Royal Palace, Forbidden city in Hue, Vietnam

Support Sustainable Practices

Vietnam prioritises environmental protection, so it’s important that you know how you can contribute towards this on your trip.

Many hotels and resorts in Vietnam now offer eco-friendly options, so choose accommodation with responsible waste management practices and energy conservation efforts. When it comes to transport, you can utilise bicycles, local buses or trains to minimise your carbon footprint. Travelling in this way will also give you the opportunity to mingle with more locals and get a deeper understanding of their way of life.

Protect Wildlife and Ecosystems

Close up view of beautiful flamingos near green plants in Da Lat, Vietnam

Vietnam is a biodiversity hotspot, but some wildlife encounters could be exploitative of animals. That’s why it’s vital that you distance yourself from any activities which could contribute to their pain or suffering.

Refrain from activities such as elephant rides, shows with performing animals or anything that seems unnatural or cruel. When visiting national parks or natural wonders, stick to designated trails to minimise your impact on the ecosystem, and opt for tours with a local guide who can ensure you don’t disturb any habitats or wildlife.

Respect Local Communities

Haggling is a part of Vietnamese culture in markets but be respectful and fair in your negotiations so that you maintain respect for the locals and their communities. Support local businesses by avoiding large chain stores and instead support smaller shops and family-run businesses.

While not mandatory, tipping is a way to show appreciation for good service in restaurants or with porters. By doing so, you are supporting locals in Vietnam and contributing to a better way of life for them and their families.