How to Keep Your Trip to Ho Chi Minh City Sustainable

Do your part to help Ho Chi Minh City's drive towards becoming a more sustainable city
Do your part to help Ho Chi Minh City's drive towards becoming a more sustainable city | © John Michaels / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Pavan Shamdasani
4 August 2020

Waste has always been an issue in Vietnam, but it’s only recently that the government has started to step in with serious measures. While it’ll still be decades before the practices are widespread, we can all do our part by supporting Ho Chi Minh’s many sustainability-focussed ventures. Here is a handy guide to get you started.

Food and drink

L’Herbanyste

Shop, Spa, Swimming Pool
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The first port of call for those looking for an eco-friendly stay, L’Herbanyste is a lush villa set in Thao Dien’s expat enclave and converted into the best of environmental everything: vegetarian café, eco-retail store from local artisans, holistic treatment room with Vietnamese skincare, design studio and workshop, plus a cosy pool to while away your days. Surrounded by the lush green of District 2, it’s an easy start on your sustainable journey.

Organik House

Shop
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Organik House has only been around for a couple years, but it’s established itself as arguably the city’s best sustainable restaurant. Set down an alley in hip Da Kao, it serves up vegan-only food sourced locally, with dishes that are affordable, ecological and delicious. It’s also branched out into homeware too, with a range of biodegradable products to bring back with you.

Talk Barista Saigon

Coffee Shop, Cafe, Vietnamese
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Vietnam’s coffee obsession often leads to short cuts, many a shop serving up slop riddled with flavourings. For a cleaner, eco-focused cup, head to Talk Barista, a proudly organic coffee shop that serves rare beans from famed sustainable coffee farm Son Pacamara. It also offers a number of talks for would-be baristas and coffee shop owners, highlighting the importance of fair-trade beans.

Below Whisky Den

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Vietnamese
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Need something to take the edge off after a hard day of being sustainable? Hidden speakeasy Below keeps that environmentalism going strong, with an entire menu dedicated to sustainable cocktails: fruit and herbs are recycled into various original concoctions, garnishes whipped up using various leftover peels and every drink is served in reused soda cans.

Shopping

Ginkgo

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Possibly the most popular sustainable fashion brand in Vietnam, Ginkgo has stores all across the city, blending organic fabrics and irreverent country-centric designs for pieces that appeal to both locals and visitors. Its T-shirts and traditionally inspired dresses might be the most sought-after, but we’re equally big fans of its recycled accessories, including handbags, stationery cases, notepads and mugs.

Metiseko

Shop
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Metiseko prides itself on being Vietnam’s premier high-end sustainable fashion brand, founded by two French designers and with a strong focus on ensuring all their pieces are made in Vietnam. Using organic cotton, Vietnamese silk and other locally sourced fabrics, they trace each step of the supply chain to ensure a fully ecological approach, offering a full range that stretches from clothes to accessories and soft furnishings for the home.

Super Vision

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Super Vision taps heavily into the millennial market, selling streetwear that’s focused on sustainability. It labels its goods as for the bicycling market – but really, the clothes are classic normcore, monochrome basics that stretch from T-shirts to sweaters and shorts to denim jeans. The brand pays close attention to where fabrics are sourced as well as the entire supply chain, ensuring you look fresh and feel good.

Anupa Eco Boutique

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Handbags and shoes are two all-important accessories in every women’s wardrobe. But the mass production and high use of leather can strain the environment. Anupa is focused on high-quality accessories and takes great care in sourcing the entire production cycle, from sustainable leather through to ethnical production methods, as well as selling an impressive range of local artisan jewellery and silk pieces.

Living

Zero Waste Saigon

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Zero Waste Saigon was one of the first to truly tackle the waste problem in the city, opening its doors in 2017 and soon enough, expanding from a charity to a registered nonprofit business. It now offers training programs, consults with companies, teaches in schools and hawks a huge variety of zero-waste products on its online shop. Whether you’re looking to get deep into the sustainability world or just pick up some reusable straws, Zero Waste can help.

Lai Day

Store
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Vietnam’s recycling policy is questionable to say the least, so take no chances and opt for refillable products. Lai Day prides itself on being a refill station, with three separate stores at major hotspots around Saigon, offering everything from bath products and toiletries to sunscreen, hand sanitiser, perfumes and other on-the-go items. It also has a healthy selection of recycled and eco-friendly homeware items, meaning you can sustainably kit your entire house in one store.

Green Lady / Lintimate

These companies sell fully reusable menstrual products. Both Green Lady and Lintimate sell cups that are fully recyclable and pads that are reusable, alongside underwear, gels and other products that aid comfort. For people on every level of the economic ladder, they’re helping the sustainability cause.

An Lam Retreats Saigon River

Eco Hotel
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The carbon footprints of regular hops around Southeast Asia aren’t in-keeping with a sustainability minded approach. For your next break, head 20-minutes up the river to Am Lam, an eco-focused resort set among Saigon’s abundant nature. Sustainability is high on the agenda here, with everything from the furnishings to the food ecologically minded – and while it’s not cheap, with rooms starting at £158, it’s worth it for your peace of mind.

These recommendations were updated on August 4, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.