Eco-tourism has long been associated with off the beaten track destinations with often rough conditions and infrastructure, which has led to this sort of travel being most popular with more adventurous travellers in the past.
In today’s Vietnam however, this is a thing of the past. While there are still plenty of remote and off the beaten track destinations to visit, the increase in demand for a more comfortable style of eco-travel has led to the development of some fantastic resorts, organizations and initiatives intended to provide travellers with a way to experience the glory of untouched Vietnamese nature without sacrificing anything in terms of comfort and luxury.
In the country’s remote north, Ha Giang Province is renowned as a destination with few tourist crowds and plenty of authentic and unique cultural experiences with the many ethnic minorities living here. While the province’s reputation for remoteness may have intimidated travellers who prefer to travel in comfort in the past, an excellent luxury ecolodge now exists nestled amidst the famous rice fields of Hoang Su Phi, in charming Panhou Village.
The lodge itself is equipped with highly comfortable rooms in three sizes (single, double or triple), all with air conditioning, private bathrooms and a balcony. The rooms are set in bungalows scattered across the property and surrounded by the most peaceful and serene gardens you can imagine, maintained in the local Tay style and replete with trees, plants and ponds. The restaurant and bar is set to stunning views of the surroundings, and during the day one can watch the local gardeners and farmers going about their day. The lodge is powered by solar panels on the roof, and the staff are all locals from the various tribes who live here, thus ensuring both environmental and social sustainability. The lodge also organizes many different treks, as well as porter services for those that require it. After a long day of hiking you can enjoy traditional healing and delicious organic health-food from the restaurant.
Moving southwest, though staying in the North, there is the province of Mai Chau, a great spot famed for its rice fields and deeply authentic feel. Here, Mai Chau Ecolodge takes the “Eco” part of its name to the next level. Virtually every aspect of the lodge is designed to present you with as authentic an experience as possible, all while leaving a practically non-existent ecological footprint due to its use of solar power and natural hot springs for hot water.
The lodge’s 21 bungalows are arranged in the style of a traditional village, all of which are equipped with luxurious and comfortable rooms in one of five styles.
Finally, moving back north again to Sapa, Topas Ecoldge is one of the most well known luxury eco projects in the whole country. While the lodge is equipped with all kinds of modern comforts and luxuries, it is designed specifically for travellers who wish to unwind and disconnect from life’s daily stresses, and thus, Wi-Fi is intentionally restricted to the lobby, sparing you the demands of real life intruding on your time of peace and relaxation amidst this glorious scenery.
In conclusion, eco-tourism, especially in Vietnam, is no longer a form of travel reserved for the brave, adventurous or young. People of all travel styles and ages can now enjoy this type of travel without having to fear sacrificing anything in terms of comfort.