As Vietnam’s tourism industry continues to grow with every passing year, it is more important than ever for travelers to think about their impact on the country. This means being aware of how tourism can affect the environment as well as the local communities and their culture. Travelers can make a conscious effort to 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.
Snake wines are often advertised as exotic souvenirs to travelers
When it comes to enjoying wildlife such as elephants, tigers, or any other exotic animals in Vietnam, it is best to view and enjoy them in their natural habitat when possible. We encourage you to avoid any animal tourism experience that puts animals in danger, including any trained animal show and the purchasing of souvenir products made out of animal parts. Souvenirs such as sea turtle shells, bird feathers, seashells, and corals might seem harmless at first glance, but you must be mindful of how these items were acquired. Snake wines and other types of reptile wines fall into the same category of animal souvenirs 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 from their natural habitat and any cruelty towards captive animals trained for entertainment purposes.
For more ethical souvenir ideas, check out our recommendations for Shopping Souvenirs in Vietnam here
When it comes to ethical travel in Vietnam and animal tourism, here are a few tips to avoid leaving a harmful footprint:
At Yok Don National Park, where elephants roam freely, guests can observe the elephants in their natural habitat
A busy morning at a local market in Sapa
When allowed to experience the lifestyle and culture of Vietnam's local ethnic minorities, we wholeheartedly recommend that you take advantage of it. Participating in an ethnic traditional homestay is an easy way to enrich your experience. When it comes to ethical travel in Vietnam and the local communities, engaging in ethnic activities (trekking, cooking lessons, etc.), whether it is 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 it yourself), you contribute to the improvement of the ethnic community. You will also have the opportunity to learn about the unique local culture and have a truly authentic experience.
A local homestay in Cao Bang
Fortunately, many reputable ecotourism tour providers are dedicated to a sustainable and ethical enriching business practice in Vietnam. These companies set up programs that involve the local ethnic minorities to offer authentic experiences to travelers as well as a way to boost the economic potential of the local communities in Vietnam. Be sure to do your research on the company before booking a tour by checking reviews by other travelers and looking at their social media.
Ethical Travel Tips
Regardless of your destination in Vietnam, it is essential to be aware of your impact on the environment and local communities. By understanding the negative impacts that traveling can have, you will be able to make a conscious decision 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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