VietnamTravel Tips & InfoEthical Travel in Vietnam

Ethical Travel in Vietnam

As Vietnam’s tourism industry continues to grow yearly, it is more important than ever for travelers to consider their impact. This means being aware of how tourism can affect the environment, the local communities, and their culture. Travelers can consciously travel responsibly and mindfully to preserve Vietnam’s beauty for future generations to enjoy. Read on to learn more about how you can practice ethical travel in Vietnam and leave a positive footprint behind.

Vietnam’s Wildlife and Nature

Snake wines are often advertised as exotic souvenirs to travelers

When it comes to enjoying wildlife in Vietnam, it is best to view and enjoy them in their natural habitat when possible. We encourage you to avoid any experience that puts animals in danger, including any trained animal show and purchasing souvenir products made of animal parts. Souvenirs such as sea turtle shells, bird feathers, seashells, and corals might seem harmless initially, but you must be mindful of how these items were acquired. Snake and other reptile wines fall into the same category, as there is no indication of how they were made. The best thing to do is to avoid animal-related products and experiences to not contribute to wildlife poaching and any cruelty towards captive animals.

For more ethical souvenir ideas, check out our recommendations for Shopping Souvenirs in Vietnam here

How to Ethically Take Part in Animal Tourism in Vietnam

  • When considering visiting a particular animal destination, such as a zoo, always look for other travelers’ reviews.
  • Participating in riding an animal such as an elephant is not recommended as they are more than likely being forced to do so by their handler using negative reinforcement. Elephant riding is slowly becoming obsolete in the Central Highlands, and many organizers are looking to drop the activity.
  • Photo opportunities with animals such as tigers are also a bad idea as it will generally involve heavily sedated animals.
  • Avoid animal shows where trained behaviors are exhibited (such as painting elephants), as the preparation for the animals is typically violent.
  • In order to see wild animals in Vietnam ethically, we recommend that you go on a wildlife-watching tour, a guided jungle trek, or visit an animal sanctuary.

Vietnamese People and Culture

Participating in an ethnic traditional homestay is an easy way to enrich your experience. Regarding ethical travel in Vietnam and the local communities, engaging in ethnic activities (trekking, cooking lessons, etc.), whether traditional or not, will directly support the local population. By buying locally crafted souvenirs (or, better yet, participating in a workshop and learning to make them yourself), you contribute to improving the ethnic community. You will also be able to learn about the unique local culture and have a truly authentic experience.

Staying at a homestay is the most practical way to support the local community

Fortunately, many reputable ecotourism tour providers aim towards a sustainable and ethically enriching business practice in Vietnam. These companies set up programs involving local ethnic minorities to offer authentic experiences and boost the economic potential of the local communities. Be sure to do your research on the company by checking reviews and looking at their social media.

Ethical Travel Tips in Vietnam

  • Avoid the purchase of any animal items, especially endangered species.
  • When considering a tour (boat trip, jungle trek, etc.), choose an operator with a responsible tourism policy.
  • Choose lodging that is committed to an eco-friendly mindset.
  • Shopping at local stalls and eating in local restaurants will support their income directly.
  • Avoid single-use plastic, especially in rural communities with inadequate waste disposal.
  • Pack light and take along only what is essential during your travel.

Final Words on Ethical Travel in Vietnam

Regardless of your destination in Vietnam, you must be aware of your impact on the environment and local communities. By understanding the negative impacts of traveling, you can consciously decide to travel ethically. We hope you have found some insights in this short read on traveling ethically in Vietnam.

Read about our Sustainable Tips for your travels in Vietnam.

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