Hoi An: When Tourism Meets Conservation and Opportunities for Internship in Vietnam

Posted by SE Vietnam - Student Exchange Vietnam

A kayak service agency has launched tours through Hoi An’s waterways that will give both locals and foreigners the chance to help clean up these waterways while exploring the city. 

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River clean-up kayayking tour attracts many local and foreign tourists. Photo source: Hoian Kayak Tours

A creative tourism idea that incorporates participation in conservation of Hoi An has stirred up praise and enthusiastic enrollment from local and international tourists, kayaking and clean-up tours along the rivers of Hoi AN. Mr. Vo Tan Tan, operator of Hoi An Kayak Tours, stated the clean-up tours will take place every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings and will cover the Thu Bon River, the Nipa palm forest in Cam Thanh Commune, and the Hoai River. The purpose of the clean up tour, besides removing garbage (plastic bags and bottles) to return the river’s ecosystem to a clean and sustainable state, is also to raise awareness among local’s homes and businesses located along the river bank to limit their habit of disposing trash into the environment. Tourists will pay USD $10  each to join the kayak clean up tour and kayakers will collect garbage as they enjoy the beauty of nature on their journey from the Thuan Tinh sandbank near Cua Dai Bridge and go down to the Thu Bon River and small canals of the Nipa palm forest in Cam Thanh Commune before arriving at Hoi An City.

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Standing up paddle surfing (SUP) tours of the Nipa Palm Forest. Three years ago, Cam Thanh Commune had begun offering the opportunity to join afforestation efforts alongside tours of its nipa palm forest. Photo source: Hoian Kayak Tours.

Hoi An has great potential as a destination for sustainability internship in Vietnam involving community development and social work due to its special location and cultural significance. Hoi An Ancient town is located in Viet Nam’s central Quang Nam Province, on the north bank near the mouth of the Thu Bon River, and is a well preserved example of a South East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign (primarily Chinese and Japanese, with a bit of European influences), that have combined to produce this unique heritage site. However, Hoi An area faces natural hazards such as floods, typhoons, saline intrusion and coastal erosion which can often lead to power cuts, crop destruction putting the lives of communities at risk. Here, students can learn by observing and contributing to solving major challenges to the conservation and development of Hoi An that continue to arise as the local community struggles to deal with climate change, water management, food security and safety as well as preserving the city’s old houses and intangible cultural spaces.

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Hoi An is a UNESCO heritage, located in Viet Nam’s central Quang Nam Province, on the north bank near the mouth of the Thu Bon River the town comprises a well-preserved complex of 1,107 timber frame buildings, with brick or wooden walls, which include architectural monuments, commercial and domestic vernacular structures. Photo source:

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Hoi An Ancient Town- a great destination for sustainability internship in Vietnam. Photo source: Wikipedia

Hoi An is also home to the Nipa palm forest – a 140 acres forest planted in the 18th century that has sheltered and nurtured generations of Cam Thanh Commune residents through wars and natural disasters. However, poor planning and development have resulted in the destruction of half of the forest between 1975 and the late 1990s. Today, efforts are being made by the local government to preserve and reforest the area including a reforestation project, introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which replanted 30 acres of Nipa palm in Cửa Đại estuary. Here, international students will be offered abundant opportunities to join planning and reforestation efforts for the Nipa palm forest.

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Bay Mau Nipa Palm Forest – an ideal location for sustainability internship in Vietnam. Photo source:

Lastly, Cham Island, eight nautical miles off the coast of Hoi An, with its crystal clear beaches, diving, snorkeling, and seafood is a popular tourist destination, an island marine park. Its economy is based on its natural resources such as fisheries, agriculture and tourism, all of which are severely affected by disasters and climate change impacts. However, the island has been going through significant degradation due to excess tourism, overfishing, climate change and extreme weather for many years. Cham Island is a perfect location to learn about the challenge of sustainable development in the area that seek to preserve the environment while also maintaining income generation opportunities for the local residents.

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Cham Island- an ideal location for sustainability internship in Vietnam. Photo source:


Source: Vietnamnet News,

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