So, you want to try your first experience at an Ecolodge? Welcome to the future of travel! Ecolodges are soaring in popularity thanks to their green-minded approach to the environment and their sustainable, responsible attitude to helping the local communities around them. Asia Ecolodge is the owner of two of the best ecolodges in Vietnam – Mai Chau Ecolodge and Can Tho Ecolodge – and we’re here to provide you with 5 travel tips for staying at an Ecolodge!
You can learn more about Mai Chau Ecolodge here and Can Tho Ecolodge here
1. Help to Conserve Energy and Water
Chances are, if you’ve opted to stay at an ecolodge, you’ll be the type to conserve energy wherever possible, regardless of where you’re staying. The days when hotels and resorts could leave air-con and lights on 24/7 are slowly drawing to an end, given that the uptick in responsible travel has made tourists more aware of their accommodations’ actions.
There are many ways to conserve energy in an Ecolodge:
Be sparing with the air-conditioning - Many ecolodges, including ours, have both an air-con unit and a ceiling fan in the room. We always encourage use of the fan over the air-con, but of course we realise that air-con is necessary in some stifling situations.
Keep showers short – Conserving water is constantly one of the top tips for green travel. Keeping showers to under 10 minutes and ensuring that you turn off the tap while cleaning your teeth are the best ways to do this, but remember that all wastewater at our ecolodges is returned to the environment after organic cleaning anyway!
Turn off the lights – This is a fairly basic tip but not one always followed. Some ecolodges use key-cards to ensure that no electricity runs in the room while guests are out.
2. Travel by Bicycle
This ecolodge travel tip is as much for your wellbeing as it is for the environment! Ecolodges like to take travel back to basics where possible, and this might mean free use of bicycles instead of polluting cars and private taxis.
Using bicycles not only helps the air quality of the place that you’re staying, but it also helps you to travel like a local in a way that is beneficial for both your body and mind. Half of the point of an ecolodge is to get you immersed in local culture as much as possible; seeing the surrounding landscape on two wheels is a fantastic way to go about doing this.
3. Soak in the Local Culture
Culture is strong and unique in many of the places where ecolodges can be found. Whether it’s the ethnic culture of Mai Chau or the rustic farming culture of Can Tho, there are thousands of years of history in these lands. Our job is to help you see as much of this culture as possible, which ecolodges do through these ways:
Talk to the staff – Ecolodge staff are usually from the surrounding area and understand their homes better than anyone. They can share a great deal about their culture with those willing to learn, including their traditions, food and places to visit that may be known only to locals!
Watch the nightly dance performances – At Mai Chau Ecolodge, 90% of our staff are from ethnic minority groups around our valley home. Every night they hold a free performance of traditional dances, complete with a backing of ethnic music on beautiful rural instruments.
Eat local food at the restaurant – They say a best way to discover a new culture is through its cuisine. An absolutely essential travel tip for staying at an ecolodge is to check out their restaurant, which usually has a menu of local delicacies sourced from farmers, fishermen and vegetable and fruit growers throughout the region.
4. Try Something New
You can let your imagination run wild at an ecolodge. These types of accommodation like to build their activities around things that you may not have even thought about before, let alone tried.
These can be local-led workshops such as those based around cooking, embroidery, woodwork, calligraphy… the list is pretty much endless! Proper ecolodges will ensure that the locals who lead them are experienced in their craft and are paid properly for the new experiences they provide for their guests.
Activities also include ones centred on wellbeing and relaxation. Some ecolodges provide free yoga classes, meditation classes and a spa service, while others have a gym and a swimming pool. Make use of everything and indulge in something you’ve never considered!
5. Take a Tour with a Local Guide
As we’ve mentioned, speaking with the locals is the key to getting the most out of your stay at an ecolodge. Traditionally, the tours that ecolodges run are headed by local staff who know the area like the back of their hand.
Tours operated by ecolodges typically tread the line between nature and culture. The following are some of the kinds of tours you can expect; one of the best travel tips for ecolodges that we can offer is to try as many as possible!
River or lake cruise tours
Many of these tours will have a green message behind it and a reminder to stay eco-friendly. Farming tours and cycling tours are great for families, while couples might enjoy a romantic trekking or cruise tour through jaw-dropping scenery.
We hope this ecolodge travel guide has given you a better idea of what to expect from an ecolodge! We at Asia Ecolodge believe that staying in eco-minded accommodation is the real future of travel; we’d love to see you at one of our responsible accommodations in Vietnam. If you’re interested in staying with the best, please click here
to learn more about Mai Chau Ecolodge and here
for more on Can Tho Ecolodge. Thanks for reading!