Vietnam hill tribes holiday, tailor made
Description of Vietnam hill tribes holiday, tailor made
Journey off the beaten track into the beautiful region of the Tonkinese Alps where authentic local markets and Red Dzao hill tribe villages can be discovered throughout the province.
A few long drives and nights in simple accommodation are rewarded with stunning views and a chance to experience an undiscovered side to Vietnam that typical tourists rarely get to see.
Meeting hill tribe villagers, on their level, is a real privilege and certain to make an impact on responsible travellers. Many of the hill tribes that you'll visit can only be reached on foot.
Although you don't need to be super fit you do need to know that trekking in hot and humid conditions can be quite hard going, especially for anyone with respiratory issues such as asthma. Put in some practise before you go and don't forget a good pair of walking boots.
PlanetThis itinerary is designed to reveal the quieter hidden side to Vietnam and focuses on accommodation, excursions and transport that promote Responsible Tourism wherever possible.
It is not always possible to use environmentally friendly or ethically minded accommodation in Vietnam as it is still a relatively new concept here. However, of particular note is the Topas Ecolodge where you will stay during your time in Sapa. This property is run on an environmentally sensitive basis, generates its own electricity and hot water, the bungalows are made from local materials, and much of the produce used in the meals cooked at the lodge is grown on the premises. It also employs and trains local people from the local minority tribes in order to help provide additional incomes to their communities.
Plastic water bottles – used by locals and visitors alike – are a massive problem to dispose of, especially in these rural areas, so we recommend that our clients purchase a water bottle with in-built water filter, and are working with a company called Pure Hydration to offer a 10% discount on their products as an incentive for our clients to support the reduction of plastic water bottle usage.
Using a car is unavoidable if you want to reach some of these more remote areas of the country, but once in each location carbon emissions are limited by using bicycles to explore or spending the days trekking between villages. The train journey between Bac Ha and Hanoi also eliminates the need for a vehicle on this leg of the journey.
PeopleYour time in the small rural communities, particularly the homestays in the Ha Giang region, helps to bring in much needed currency and encourages the preservation of traditional skills and practices that may otherwise be forgotten. Another benefit you will bring by travelling in this region is by eating at the local restaurants along the way you get to try the local cuisine as well as supporting small local businesses.
Locally run NGO’s and charities will be thrilled with your visit and you will be supporting them in the vital work they do with Vietnam's vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society. They often receive little or no help from the government so your visit/donation is much appreciated and needed to sustain their ongoing good work. One example of this as KOTO restaurant in Hanoi which we recommend after your visit to the Temple of Literature. This NGO rescues vulnerable street children and trains them in the hospitality industry giving them a respectable future career as opposed to a life on the streets
During your time in Sapa we suggest a bite to eat at the Baguette et Chocolate, this café is part of the Baguette & Chocolat Hotel which runs a training scheme supporting disadvantaged teenagers and educates and trains them in the hotel and catering industry. By eating at the café you not only get to taste some great cakes and tarts but you are contributing to the future success of these young people and enable the charity to continue running. The charity has trained almost 2,000 young people from Sapa surrounding area since it was set up in 1995, helping them gain jobs in the industry all over Vietnam.
There are so many wonderful textiles, crafts and home wares to buy in this region and by buying from carefully selected organizations that we can recommend you can help support local communities and their skills. For example, Craftlink, a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to assist small Vietnamese producers develop their businesses and find market opportunities. Many of the poorer and more marginalized people of Vietnam, such as the hill tribe minorities and street children, are being left behind by the economic miracle that is sweeping Vietnam. We also recommend the Indigo Store in Sapa, this shop provides and retail outlet for the local ethnic minority people to sell their textiles and embroidery. Indigo Store orders its stock directly from the villagers who are paid fairly for their work and encourages the conveyance of the traditional skill to the next generation therefore preserving textile skills for the future.
The most important responsibility of tourism is to experience the real attributes of a country and contribute to the local economy.