From the historic old town to pristine beaches, Hoi An is a city in central Vietnam that will captivate you from the start. If you’re keen on sustainable travel, you’ll be happy to hear about Hoi An’s progress in protecting our planet. With the aid of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Hoi An should become the first eco-city in the country. While still a work in progress, Hoi An gives eco-minded locals and tourists alike hope for a future in Vietnam that is cleaner and greener.
When visiting Hoi An it’s important to support the accommodations, eateries, shops, and experiences that are sustainably minded. Experience some of the most famous Vietnamese classics prepared by local chefs who take full advantage of the abundance of fresh local produce. Or maybe set out on a scenic bike tour that showcases this paradise’s verdant rice paddies and quaint, tiny villages along the riverside. Whatever you do here, you’ll probably never want to leave.
Take a look through our Earth lover’s guide below to plan your next sustainable trip to Hoi An!
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The Hoi An Heart Lodge is conveniently situated in the heart of Old Town. Those looking to be in the middle of it all, while conserving the environment, can stay here. The Hoi An Heart Lodge offers classic amenities like minimalist rooms and eco-friendly furniture. This place shines because of its ability to include sustainability within every aspect of the guest experience. Expect to find recycling bins in every room, energy-efficient windows, and green covering common areas to improve air quality. Make sure to check out their blog packed with up-to-date news about sustainability and local events!
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If you’re looking for a green sanctuary committed to sustainability and offering riverside luxury, Silk Sense is the place for you. While you’re dining on a delicious meal, you can take a refreshing dip in their ozone-treated infinity pool. Silk Sense uses fresh ingredients straight from its hydroponic garden. Additionally, it has a no-plastic policy and is working to conserve the environment through their staff-operated Save the Planet Committee. The committee’s chair, Mr. Dat, is tirelessly working to promote sustainable development and positively contribute towards a greener planet inside and outside the hotel walls.
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If you want to get away from it all and relax in a beautiful, quiet area of the city, this mini-retreat is an excellent choice. By including features such as locally sourced sustainable materials for their hotel design and equipment, biodegradable straws in their restaurant, and eco-friendly refillable bathroom toiletries in each room, Hoi An Chic gives you a tailored experience all while protecting the natural environment around them. Take advantage of their free bicycles to get lost in the nooks and crannies of the surrounding countryside. Like other hotels featured above, Hoi An Chic focuses on offering home-cooked meals using fresh ingredients from their Kybimo organic garden and local suppliers.
Experiences around Hoi An
Renting a bike is a great choice if you’re looking for a carbon-neutral way to burn off some tasty street food and get the most out of Hoi An’s natural beauty. You’ll notice how compact everything is, which makes a bike the perfect go-to mode of transportation. You can take one of the many self-guided bike routes, but by joining a reliable tour you can discover hidden gems that you wouldn’t find on your own. If you’re feeling adventurous and want a route that takes you to the more undiscovered parts of the city while giving back to the community, we highly recommend Heaven & Earth Bicycle Tours for an unforgettable experience! They design activities that work directly with disadvantaged communities in the countryside to help them take part in the city’s tourism industry and live more comfortable lives.
After serving as a shelter for villagers and soldiers during the war, this 58-hectare reserve is now a popular tourist spot. Tons of palm trees line its narrow canals. Sip on coconut water under the cool shade as you ride a traditional thung chai with a local fisherman. Get a taste of local fishing or rural life by taking part in one of their cooking classes or gardening activities. I highly recommend Hoi An Kayak Tours to get the best out of your visit to Cam Thanh. Their half-day excursion offers a traditional boat ride and a chance to hone your farming skills at the Cam Thanh’s organic farm, run by village seniors. At the end, enjoy a freshly cooked local meal made with your harvested produce!
One thing you’ll love about this city: the endless options available when it comes to satisfying your taste buds. From street food for $1 to fine dining, Hoi An caters to every taste. Given its unofficial status as a food mecca, there are plenty of opportunities to pick up a few authentic Vietnamese recipes to surprise everyone back home! Green Bamboo, a famous cooking school in the area, starts by giving you a first-hand tour of the bustling outdoor market. After you buy your fresh ingredients for the day, your instructors will walk you through preparing your dish step-by-step until it’s ready for you to enjoy!
Nourish is a must-try during your stay here if you want a hearty plant-based brunch by the river (seriously). The best way to start the day is with their robust Vietnamese coffee and a “meaty” chickpea burger with fresh veggies, signature burger sauce, and of course, a friendly smile. They also serve tasty smoothie bowls and freshly made juices that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Every item on the menu is made in-house, and their ingredients are always 100% fresh and local.
If you crave local comfort food with a vegetarian twist at a reasonable price, this is the place to go. A family-run restaurant tucked away near the main road, this cozy eatery serves Pho, sautéed noodles, white rose, as well as vegan cao lau. The interior is spacious; dotted with potted plants and huge bookshelves, giving the place a quaint yet natural feel. Minh Hien also offers vegetarian cooking classes for those interested in making their favorite Vietnamese meal!
Mùa, meaning seasons in Vietnamese, has a fine-dining meets farm-to-table concept that makes it an irreplaceable cornerstone in the Hoi An food scene. If you’re a foodie looking for a culinary experience you won’t forget you can’t miss this place. As part of the farm-to-table concept, Mùa’s head chef Tru adjusts his menu based on seasonal produce from the local farmers he knows personally. From start to finish, Mùa’s culinary journey will be one of the highlights of your trip.
Reaching Out was founded to create fair trade Vietnamese handmade jewelry, crafts, and other household items. As many people with disabilities (PWD) had difficulty finding meaningful work, Reaching Out committed itself to helping them integrate into society. Unlike other craft shops in Hoi An, your tourism dollar makes a difference whenever you buy something from this altruistic shop. Everything they make goes towards job training and other opportunities for their artisans to live to their full potential.
Vietnam is home to 53 ethnic minority groups, but they are rarely represented in the larger cities. That’s where Villagecraft Planet steps in. It’s a social enterprise in Hoi An that works with Hmong, Red Dzao, and Black Thai artisans to produce eco-friendly clothes and accessories made with all-natural dyes. Villagecraft Planets business model empowers ethnic groups to escape poverty by spreading their crafts worldwide, all while preserving their cultural heritage.
With over 200 tailor shops in the city, Hoi An is a must-visit if you want to purchase high-quality garments at an affordable price. BeBe Tailor definitely goes the extra mile to make sure you leave with a great product. In fact, BeBe is so dedicated to quality and uniqueness that a whopping 70% of the fabrics they offer are unique to their stores in Hoi An! Instead of buying from unethical fabric mills, BeBe Tailor builds personal relationships with international suppliers to ensure they receive top-notch fabrics exclusive to their brand and directly from the source.
They also make every garment in their on-site production facility. Located in their flagship store, the facility helps to promote transparency about their staff’s working conditions. Watch your design come to life first-hand, and walk out knowing that your garment is ethically handmade! Everything is customized based on your measurements, desired cuts, and any other details you may need.
Sustainability in Hoi An
Hoi An is one of Vietnam’s most popular destinations. You’ll surely fall in love the moment you step foot there, but what’s really significant is how this UNESCO World Heritage Site and those who live there support their environment while sharing their culture and traditions with the world.
With biking tours in the countryside, plant-based restaurants, carbon-neutral hotels, eco-friendly activities, and increasing amounts of sustainably minded locals, Hoi An has a lot to offer Earth lovers who visit. The Vietnamese government has stated their goal of turning the city into a green destination by 2030 by introducing a proper recycling network to reduce plastic waste and promote greener practices. Through these government initiatives, non-profits, and green businesses, Hoi An will continue to develop more sustainable practices. This idyllic paradise could become one of Vietnam’s beacons for sustainability for years to come.
ecomadic is a sustainable tourism brand that empowers travelers to make more conscious decisions. By curating a marketplace to easily find and identify responsible businesses to support, and providing educational publications through our online green travel magazine, ecomadic is committed to helping empower travelers make responsible choices throughout their journeys.
Want to learn more?
Hoi An to be Viet Nam’s first eco-town with UNIDO’s assistance – United Nations Industrial Development Organization
Hoi An Heart Lodge – Hoi An Heart Lodge Website
Silk Sense Hoi An River Resort – Silk Sense Resort Website
Hoi An Chic Hotel – Hoi An Chic Website
Heaven and Earth Bicycle – Heaven and Earth Bicycle Website
Cam Thanh Coconut Village – asianwaytravel.com
Hoi An’s Rural Life and Cooking at Organic Farm – Hoi An Kayak Tours
Chef Van – Green Bamboo Cooking School
Nourish Eatery – Nourish Eatery Website
Minh Hien Vegetarian, Hoi An, Vietnam – Facebook
Mùa Restaurant – Mùa Restaurant Website
Reaching Out – Reaching Out Store Website
Villagecraft Planet – Villagecraft Planet Website
BeBe Tailor – BeBe Tailor Website
Indigenous Peoples in Vietnam – IWGIA
Hoi An planned to be a green destination by 2023 – Hanoi Times