How you can help

Ethical Travel

For many travelling remains the privilege of those with plenty of spare cash, and the impact of holidays on the local environment is sometimes overlooked. We are of the opinion that we can reduce negative impacts and increase the positives! Take a look at the handy tips below:

Shop locally

• Make an effort to shop in independent stores and shops and purchase locally sourced produce wherever possible – you will have a direct positive impact on the local economy and reduce waste and environmental damage caused by importing goods from other regions.
• When out and about apply the above principle to the restaurants you frequent and the food and drink you purchase.
• Take local transport, thus supporting local jobs and reducing your environmental footprint
• Try where possible to not reward friendly behavior with cash
• When visiting heritage sites or protected areas take an experienced local guide with you. You will learn so much more about the environment and contribute to the local economy.

Giving money or gifts

• Giving money away to both children and adults promotes a begging mentality and culture. Avoid giving money to street children or adults, as this promotes begging. It is better, and much more sustainable, to buy something from a street seller such as local handicrafts.
• Try to also avoid giving junk food to people as fresh fruit and vegetables will be a much better choice for their health!

The hard sell

• You will encounter poverty in some areas given the history and economic situation in Vietnam. Street sellers can be a little persistent, so be firm and polite in order to avoid harassment.
• Support the traditional cyclo method of transport, which is having a hard time competing against taxis. It’s a lovely way to get up close and personal with local people
• As with any country, you should agree a price beforehand for taxis, goods and services where there is no fixed price advertised. Try your hand at bartering!

Prostitution

• Don’t buy sexual services, remember that the relationship between tourists and prostitutes is almost always unequal and tends to be exploitative. Be careful of advances made in the street and beware that the sex trade is prominent but illegal in Vietnam

Vietnamese Culture

You will soon learn that the people of Vietnam are a friendly bunch who are always willing to help out a visitor. Do a little research about the country and their way of life before you board the plan and you will find the trip to be much more rewarding!

Cultural tips

• Know your stuff before you travel in order to maximize your experience
• Enrich your trip by learning a few local words and be rewarded by a beaming face when you try your Vietnamese on a local!
• Understand you are a visitor in a foreign land whose cultural practices should be respected at all times.
• Public displays of affection are not common – especially out of the big cities, so keep things discrete.
• Do not touch or tap people on the head, as this is considered disrespectful
• Be careful around graveyards and burial places as they are given utmost respect – don’t show a shrine your back or point at it with your feet.

Appropriate Dress

• Rurals are more conservative than towns, but always be respectful and dress modestly in the style of locals
• It is never allowed to sunbathe or swim without clothes on
• Women should dress in loose clothing that is not low cut in order to not attract attention.
• When visiting places of religious significance do not show bare arms or legs and take off your shows
• The Vietnamese may be inquisitive about your personal life – don’t be offended and use the opportunity to find out more about the locals!
• You may find that locals are fascinated by foreigners and want to stare a lot – don’t feel offended here either, but don’t draw attention to yourself with inappropriate clothing!
• Learning a few words in Vietnamese will open many doors for you, and you will be rewarded for any effort you make with the language.

Photography

• When taking photographs, it is courteous to ask permission
• Traditional members of the population my shy away from camera exposure, please respect this.
• Once again, avoid paying or tipping for having been allowed to take a photo, as this promotes begging.
• If you are asked to post a photo to someone and agree, make sure you oblige!

Personal relations

• In more traditional societies it might not be considered appropriate to mix intimately with a local
• Remember that large parts of Vietnam are still very traditional. What is acceptable in a large western city may not be considered good taste in Vietnam.
• Bear in mind that any relation you do conduct with a local may impact their position in society long after you leave.

Our Environment

Vietnam is a flora and fauna heaven! If you venture outside the city you will find over one hundred areas under special protection that have an environmental significance, such as forests, hills and plains, beaches and islands. It is your duty as a visitor to help us protect these special areas. You can help by:

• Not eating any endangered or wild animals such as bats, monkeys and other rare creatures.
• Being strong in your decline of animal products made from endangered species such as tusks and antlers, turtle shells and skins
• Make sure you are environmentally sensitive in your accommodation by not leaving the light or TV on when necessary, and keeping the air con to a minimum
• Avoid causing damage to coral reefs – look don’t touch!
• Take your rubbish with you and follow the 3 Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle.
• Minimize your impact on the environment by being quiet, respectful and keeping to signposted paths.