Author: By Ecolodge team
The rise of eco-conscious accommodation has been both a blessing and a curse for the travel industry. While it’s undoubtedly a good thing for hotels and resorts to be more aware and preventative of their ecological footprint, many accommodations are claiming to be ecolodges in a bid to attract eco-minded tourists. So, what is a true ecolodge? What are the aspects that make an ecolodge, and how can you tell if you’re staying at one?
Asia Ecolodge have two properties that are the exact definitions of an ecolodge. Mai Chau Ecolodge and Can Tho Ecolodge occupy two nature-filled areas of Vietnam, merging seamlessly with the environment and treasuring our country’s green assets and welcoming people above all else. Find out more about Mai Chau Ecolodge here and Can Tho Ecolodge here!
Exactly What is an Ecolodge?
Many so-called ‘ecolodges’ assume that the definition of these types of accommodation is loose and adaptable. In reality, ecolodges are defined by the following 11-point system that separates legitimate ecolodges from the pretenders. Ecolodges need to subscribe to at least 5 principles to be considered genuine.
(We’ve added a tick for all of the principles that apply to our ecolodges at Asia Ecolodge)
1. Be surrounded by nature
Our ecolodges are located respectively in the valley of Mai Chau and the outskirts of Can Tho. Both regions are famed for their abundant nature and we’ve planted our ecolodges right in the middle of them!
2. Operate in the interests of the local community
We are in total harmony with the communities around our two ecolodges. We support nearby independent businesses through local-led tours, by buying locally from farmers and fishermen and by providing charitable relief for neighbouring schools and communities. We also employ inhabitants of impoverished communities in an effort to improve local economies.
3. Run cultural tours that impart local tradition
Our long list of tours is designed and run in co-ordination with local customs. Each of our tours are led by a tour guide from the surrounding area and our workshops, which teach practical skills, are run by local women with extensive experience in the fields of embroidery, cooking, woodwork, noodle making or basket weaving.
4. Help to conserve natural resources of the local area
What makes an ecolodge is a property protecting its surrounding areas, and it’s undeniable that the surrounding areas of our properties at Mai Chau and Can Tho are truly looked after by us. We replant trees that we utilise for wood and feed all wastewater safely back to the rice paddies and forests that require it. We even give guests the chance to grow their own tree on part of our lodge!
5. Source water sustainably and endeavour to reduce water wastage
When we were designing our ecolodges, we found untapped springs that would be perfect water sources and ensured that tapping them would have no negative effects on the environment. That makes all our water super fresh and as natural as can be! We have small treatment facilities on site to make sure that all water is cleaned of all chemicals and detergents before releasing it back into nature.
6. Safely handle and properly recycle solid waste
At present, recycling facilities around Vietnam, including at Mai Chau and Can Tho are minimal. We’re working hard to establish a way in which we can recycle, and we hope to have such a solution in the coming years. For now, we reduce solid waste as much as possible; we’ve replaced plastic water bottles with glass, single-use straws with long-lasting bamboo ones and plastic bathroom dispensers with ceramic.
7. Acquire a portion of energy through natural means
Our grounds are fitted with solar panels that absorb sunrays in two of the sunniest areas of Vietnam. The energy we collect during the day is manifested at night in the lights that add another layer of beauty to two of Vietnam’s best ecolodges! Part of the energy we use for cooking also comes in the form of natural biomass acquired from coconut husks.
8. Keep the impact on surrounding nature during construction to a minimum
The last thing we want to do as an ecolodge is to disturb the environment we call home. Our efforts during construction were centred on using natural resources but ensuring that there was a ready supply of, and if necessary, replacement for each material. Mai Chau Ecolodge is built into a natural hill in the commune of Na Phon, while Can Tho Ecolodge takes up residence between an undisturbed jungle and the Ba Lang River.
9. Blend into the surrounding landscape through construction and greenery
We are very proud of the way that we have amalgamated both of our ecolodges into the surrounding scenery of the regions in which we operate. The stilt house buildings that accommodate guests at Mai Chau Ecolodge are styled after the traditional ethnic stilt houses of the valley, while Can Tho Ecolodge features traditional rustic cottages made from locally sourced materials. The gardens of both ecolodges are carefully curated to mirror the unbridled nature of the green world beyond their walls.
10. Build with traditional materials where available
Almost everything you find at our ecolodges comes from the jungles, rivers, and villages around us. Our rooms are symphonies of natural materials – palm timber, palm leaves, coconut shells, mangrove wood, tamanu wood, jackfruit wood, stone – that bring our guests closer to the nature that enchants them. All of these materials have been the building blocks of ethnic and rural architecture in Vietnam for centuries; we’re just continuing the tradition!
11. Co-operate with local communities during planning and construction
Of all of the defining characteristics of an ecolodge, this one is probably amongst the most important. We have always made sure that local people benefit from our operations in Mai Chau and Can Tho. The committees we have been a part of have been very useful in establishing a connection with the locals and ensuring that they receive proper reward for the leasing of their land to us.
What is an Ecolodge? Come and see for yourself at two of the top-rated ecolodges in Vietnam! We make sure everything at Mai Chau Ecolodge and Can Tho Ecolodge is not only for the benefit of our wonderful guests, but also for the environment and for our neighbours. Come and experience the true definition of an ecolodge with Asia Ecolodge! Click here to learn more about Mai Chau Ecolodge and here for more on Can Tho Ecolodge. Thanks for reading!