This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Responsible tourism: Vietnam adventure vacation
Our local agents in Vietnam try their utmost to try and reduce their impact on the environment. They ensure all vehicles are maintained for utmost fuel efficiency and guides are required to turn off vehicles when idling to minimise unnecessary emissions. They create travel itineraries that allow the most energy efficient routes. Where possible, eco-friendly modes of transport (walking tours, cycling, trains, etc) are opted for. They work with their preferred restaurants to offer locally grown and sustainable food items and choose restaurants that support the ban on serving endangered species, for example, shark fin soup.
Our local agents administration offices aim to minimise energy use by setting air-conditioning times and minimum temperatures, turning off lights, computer screens, UPS and printers when not in use. They also aim to reduce the amount of paper used in their offices by doing double sided printing, recycling and streamlining of operation procedures.
Our agents work with their preferred hotel partners to encourage guests to be mindful of the environment by choosing to re-use towels and linen, turn off air-conditioning/lights when not in the room. Also to eliminate unnecessary plastic waste by providing re-fillable purified water containers instead of individual plastic bottles.
The guest bungalows at Topas Eco Lodge are built responsibly: the granite stones were rough cut on site by local masons and all wood used is fully certified. The restaurant and lounge buildings are actually old Tay houses which were purchased from the relevant villages, taken down and re-located to the lodge with all staff involved in the procedure employed from the vicinity. This not only provides income to the villages and local people but also allows guests to experience a genuine Vietnamese home. It also avoided the need to cut down any further trees from the surrounding countryside and in fact the lodge management planted many trees in the surrounding area.
All bungalows are supplied with locally sourced spring water which is cleaned by a traditional method. Waste water is filtered and cleaned and all kitchen and other waste is recycled wherever possible: kitchen waste feeds the animals, plastic bottles and cans are donated to villagers who make use of them around the home. All fresh food is purchased locally for freshness and to provide an extra income. The lodge avoids providing unnecessary electrical appliances such as TVís to avoid an overuse of electricity which is taken from the local Lao Cai substation and can struggle to cope with demand at busy times of year.
Our local agents are Vietnam owned, managed and run, have been operating in Vietnam for 20 years and have an excellent reputation. Fair salaries are paid to all employees and regular training is provided to support future career development. Only local guides who are aware of local customs and cultures are employed which not only keeps the funds paid to staff within the local community but also helps avoid any potential cultural clashes between visitors and locals. Guides are required to turn off vehicles when idling to minimise unnecessary emissions and where possible, eco-friendly modes of transport are opted for.
This vacation stays in the Topas Eco Lodge just outside the hill-tribe village of Sapa. The lodge is designed with responsible principles and practices in mind. The lodge is 85% staffed by people from the local villages including the Tay, Red Dao and Black Hmong communities. Very few of these people are trained in the hospitality industry or speak much English so the lodge management provide training in both aspects.
Laundry is done by a local family in Sapa which provides them with a necessary income and all guests are encouraged to re-use towels and bedding.