Northern Vietnam in depth tour

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Northern Vietnam in depth tour

Environment

We put a lot of thought in working with local providers that care for our planet and its people. We promote excursions that foster a more sustainable tourism and try to maintain small-group sizes as much as as possible to limit negative environmental impacts in accordance to the carrying capacity of the visited site.

Waste & Energy:
We are giving our best to keep the extra unneeded waste to a minimum in all our tours through our “bring it in, bring it out” policy for litter and rubbish such as food packaging and recycling wherever possible.

In our UK office, we do not produce a glossy brochure, but concentrate on a comprehensive website, and provide as much information to our travellers as possible electronically, reducing the use of paper and inks. Our local partner offices in Vietnam use only 2-side printing and pass the codes of good environmental practices (for example the codes for the label ATR – Agir pour un Tourisme Responsable) on to guides, suppliers and partners. Whenever motorized forms can be avoided, we recommend the use of bicycles or walking to our guests. Some of the tours in your trip will be by bicycle, a very common mode of transport in Vietnam.

Wildlife:
Our partners in Vietnam have started to promote some Wildlife conservation projects into their program, such as WAR (Wild Life At Risk) center in Cu Chi near Ho Chi Minh city, Cat Tien National Park, Cuc Phuong National Park and Con Dao National Park (Sea Turtles laying eggs). We don't support excursions or tours where wild animals are abused (snake farm, crocodile farm in the Mekong Delta). For your trekking, we make sure our local tour guides receive training in how to leave a lower impact on all nature trips and actively promote nature conservation practices such as reducing noise, disturbance, not feeding animals, not bringing any rubbish, etc.

Responsible accommodation:
Whenever possible we promote that our guests stay at ecolodges or hotels that support sustainability and community. For your time in Sapa for example, you can choose to support the environment and stay at the Topas Ecolodges, a project of 25 mountain bungalows built as rustic chalet-style houses from local white granite. Even though it is further outside of Sapa, it is a showcase for sustainable tourism in remote areas. They keep electricity use to a bare minimum, running mostly on solar power and hydropower. All waste from the kitchen and restaurant is sorted and separated. Food leftovers are given to local farmers to feed their livestock, empty water bottles, cans and boxes are given to the local people to reuse in their households. Wastewater is treated and purified by organic filtering in septic tanks before being emitted to the surrounding soil. They are also replanting the local area with indigenous trees and shrubs to protect local biodiversity and participate in external environmental activities such as Clean up The World campaigns.

Building:
We promote accommodation and excursions that respect and preserve cultural heritage. For example by going on a cycling tour to the unique The Garden House outside Hue, you will discover and help preserve and traditional wooden architecture and gardens in the Fengshui principles.

Community

This tour will truly benefit the local communities. We make sure we work with local guides whenever possible. We encourage treks that will benefit the local minority ethnic groups as much as possible, just as much as their warm wisdom will benefit you.

We value local experiences, therefore we include home meals, local markets, local shops and food stops, cooking classes, or handicraft workshops with locals in your tour and many hands-on experiences.

For example in Hoi An, you will explore and help local life on your cooking class, including the discovery of the local market, the cooking school’s vegetable gardens and the Vietnamese art of plate carving. You will also visit and encourage the organic garden and farm of the Tra Que village.

On your trip you can live special experiences which will help keep local wisdoms and traditions alive, encouraging local artisan and culture. You can experience live vietnamese cultural shows with mesmerizing live music played from traditional instruments. In order to preserve cultural heritage, we don't recommend guests to buy antiques or rare objects from ancestors or ethnic villages.

By staying at the Topas Ecolodge, you will help give back to the local community. The Ecolodges work closely with the local people: They employ 60 locals, provide them with education and training, the share water from the reservoir with local farmers during rice planting season, they ensure all recyclable materials are distributed locally, and almost all their food is bought locally.

Our local partner also promotes a project called LAK Tented Camp in central highland (Buon Ma Thuot City, Daklak province) which will mostly employ local M'Nong ethnic to work in restaurants, housekeeping, gardening, or as tour guides… These are untrained people and can soon have access to constant training. We believe by supporting these structures we will provide more job opportunities and bring a positive social impact.

In times of natural disasters (flood, storm) our local partner companies often provide clothes, money or rice to help the communities in difficulties. They also provide volunteering & charity possibilities for you, for example you can organise some games or hands-on lessons to make crafts with a local school, or you can choose to spend a day or more participating in daily tasks or renovation work at a charity or organisation (prepare the meals, repair facilities, repaint the house, plant trees to make the environment better).

We make sure our guests receive the best local welcome with our welcome letter and through our guides. Our local guides have an annual guide training, and this is one of the topics. For some tours, we teach guests some Vietnamese survival phrases so when they come to visit a local house, they can do the greetings in Vietnamese.

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