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Top 10 eco-friendly hotels and resorts in Vietnam for 2020
Find out our top picks of eco-friendly accommodation and how you can reduce your impact on the environment.
Whether you're a seasoned eco-traveller or want to try eco-friendly accommodation for the first time, there are plenty of options to choose from when booking a holiday in Vietnam.
From luxurious beach stays to jungle hideaways, it's common to see a number of initiatives being implemented at properties, including wastewater management, recycling and food waste systems, growing of organic produce, use of solar power, conservation programs, plastic bans and support for local communities.
You can get involved by staying in eco-friendly accommodation and participating in eco-friendly activities during your stay in Vietnam.
Eco-friendly accommodation in northern Vietnam
A refuge for the soul, Mai Chau Ecolodge focuses on sustainable accommodation and cultural traditions in lush surroundings.
- Environmental protection, culture preservation, closeness to nature and responsible tourism are the four core values of Mai Chau Ecolodge.
- Initiatives are in place to reduce water consumption and energy usage as well as to effectively manage waste.
- Food and beverages are bought from local businesses.
- Guests are encouraged to join clean-up days in the valley and to support the local communities.
Waking up to panoramic mountain views is a great way to start your day at this refreshing and authentic property.
- Clean mountain water without any added chemicals is used for the infinity pool. The water is reused to flood the rice fields below, so there is no waste.
- All staff are trained in environmental management with systems in place for recycling and waste management.
- Vegetables from the garden and local products are used in the restaurant.
- Guests can join an upcycling nature hunt to find items that can be used at the retreat.
Enjoy an authentic experience in the Sa Pa region at a property that has a strong focus on social responsibility.
- Around 100 people from local villages are employed with insurance, training opportunities, living quarters, a garden and cooking facilities provided for staff.
- Recyclable materials are distributed in the local communities, including food waste to local farmers and boxes and cans for household use.
- Plastic consumption is kept to a minimum and a system is in place for sustainable purchases from local suppliers.
- Wastewater is treated through a newly created wetland before it enters the rice fields.
- Topas Ecolodge runs events with proceeds going back into the community and is a major sponsor of the local school.
Eco-friendly accommodation in Central Vietnam
Head off the beaten track and experience the lifestyle of the locals while staying in a stilted bungalow.
- All food and supplies are sourced from local communities to reduce carbon emissions and packaging.
- Profits are put back into health, environmental and educational initiatives for the community.
- Guests are asked to pay a fee that goes directly to tourism development for the village.
- Indigenous villagers are employed at the property and as guides for tourists.
With a sea-salt infinity pool, a spa and river-view suites, this is a gorgeous place to enjoy the ancient town of Hoi An.
- The resort is involved in the sustainable tourism development program with the local tourism association and is creating a plastic-free environment.
- There is an on-site garden that provides fresh organic produce for meals and essential items are bought from local communities.
- Energy consumption is reduced using a solar power system when possible and guests are encouraged to consider their electronic use.
- A Save the Planet committee devotes its time to raising awareness on environmental protection and sustainable development.
Eco-friendly accommodation in southern Vietnam
At Nha Trang's only beachside resort, you can treat yourself to a luxury stay nestled between the ocean and the mountains.
- This property established the benchmark for awareness of the environment and communities in Vietnam with hosts actively working to improve the lives of local residents.
- Close to 100,000 plastic bottles are avoided each year by using reusable glass bottles.
- Solar thermal panels have been installed to produce hotel water for kitchens and guest rooms. No air conditioning is used in public spaces.
- Charity trips are run throughout the year to support orphanages, ethnic groups and local communities where children are taught about environmental responsibility.
Discover the beauty of Phu Quoc Island at this spacious beachside resort with long-term sustainability goals.
- To limit energy consumption, bungalows do not have air conditioning or TVs and hot water is generated by solar energy.
- Water is pumped and treated from freshwater wells and low-water-use toilets are in every room.
- To reduce packaging and transportation emissions, food is bought daily from local suppliers and all waste is recycled or composted.
- The resort has been involved in reef rehabilitation and tree-planting projects.
- To protect the reef, the resort discourages locals from fishing in the area.
- Building materials are locally sourced and building work is carried out with minimal impact to the earth.
Escape the mainland and appreciate the sounds and sights of nature while staying in a beachside or tropical garden bungalow.
- All buildings are made from sustainable, non-toxic materials and solar panels provide energy for hot water.
- Non-organic materials are collected and sent to a recycling centre on the mainland.
- To help restore the number of fish in the area, the resort bay is closed off and fishing is banned on the island.
- Guests are restricted to certain parts of the island so there is minimal disturbance to wildlife habitats.
- Regular beach- and mangrove-cleaning sessions are held to eliminate pollution and preserve the ecosystem.
With a private pool in your luxury villa and a dedicated Guest Experience Maker at your service, this is one place you'll never want to leave.
- To eliminate around 10,000 plastic bottles a month, guests are supplied remineralised water from an on-site reverse osmosis plant in glass bottles.
- Solar energy panels provide heating for water and pathway lights and other energy-efficient measures.
- Earth Lab is a dedicated space where you can learn more about sustainability initiatives, including water treatment and gardening.
- The resort is involved in projects including providing clean drinking water to communities, endangered monkey conservation and coral reef restoration.
Welcoming guests who are passionate about nature conservation, this lodge is situated on the edge of a UNESCO-recognised biosphere reserve.
- Energy-efficiency initiatives throughout the lodge include solar heaters, wind energy and natural lighting.
- Fresh produce is grown onsite using the biodynamic method, meaning no chemicals are used in the planting process.
- Community development programs have been set up to provide income for locals and to reduce the exploitation of natural materials.
- This lodge spreads awareness of wildlife and environment protection to eliminate hunting and tree cutting in the national park.
Why we chose these accommodation options
- They have a clear mission to reduce their impact on the environment.
- Each property has a range of initiatives in place and has carefully considered its daily operations to be as sustainable as possible.
- Many are working with the local community to build awareness of important issues and are improving the lives of local residents through employment, sourcing supplies, tourism training and access to clean drinking water.
What to know before you go to Vietnam
- Tap water is not safe to drink in Vietnam. Bottled water is readily available but you can limit your use by carrying your own reusable drink bottle and refilling it at your hotel or in restaurants if they have a water station. Be careful asking to have your bottle refilled at a restaurant or bar unless you can see that the water is coming from a filter.
- There are no plastic bans in place yet. You will see plastic products everywhere from bottles, utensils and coffee cups. Consider carrying your own reusable items and a small packet of biodegradable detergent to use in your hotel room.
- Tourists in Vietnam are often tempted with civet cat coffee or snake wine. However, both are the result of animal cruelty. Civets are force-fed coffee beans and held in small enclosures. Rare and endangered snakes are drowned in alcohol to produce the wine. By not purchasing these products, you are decreasing the demand.
- Look for tour operators that are committed to offering sustainable tours, ethical business practices and support local communities. Community-based tourism is one way to have a more authentic experience and ensures that your dollars are being put towards community development.
- According to the Worldwide Air Quality Index, Vietnam is ranked in the top 20 countries for worst air pollution. Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are the most affected cities. You may want to consider staying outside of these cities where you can find eco-friendly tours such as trekking or cycling adventures that don't use fuels or consume energy to reduce your impact on the environment during your stay.
Things to avoid when booking eco-accommodation in Vietnam
When looking for eco-friendly accommodation, do your research to understand the initiatives it has in place and whether it has sufficient sustainability goals set.
Some places may state they are eco-friendly, but without any evidence to back this up, they may not be the real deal. If there only seems to be some mention of a couple of goals in place, we wouldn't consider that reason enough to include the place on our list.
These are some of the things you should avoid when booking eco-friendly accommodation:
- No proper wastewater management system. Pumping black water into the sea or onto rice fields is a health risk.
- Use of single-use plastics. These contribute to the waste problem since they cannot be recycled.
- Daily washing of sheets and towels. This increases energy and water consumption.
- Not utilising local suppliers. Deliveries from far away lead to more carbon emissions, products may not be organic and there will be more packaging to dispose of.
- No energy-saving measures. Energy consumption is higher without solar energy, energy-efficient light bulbs and a limit on AC and electronic use.
- No community support or conservation programs. Having a wider view beyond the property leads to a more sustainable future. Providing income, education and jobs to locals improves their quality of life. Additionally, conservation programs protect native flora and fauna so it can flourish.
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