* This Disclosure & Disclaimer was last updated May 2022
Vietnam Coracle is free and independent: free to all readers and independent from any outside control. But this website is also how I earn my living. The purpose of this page is to disclose to you, the reader, how I earn revenue from my website, and if/how that might affect you or influence the content I produce. This page is also about making it clear to what extent I am liable for the content of this website and the advertising it carries. Ultimately, the following statements reveal the process by which Vietnam Coracle remains free and independent while also generating my personal income. (Please read both the Disclosure and Disclaimer statements as they are closely related.)
Free & Independent:
Vietnam Coracle is a free, independent, online travel resource for Vietnam. For the initial 10 years – from 2012 to 2022 – I was the sole content creator for the entire website. Since May, 2022, there are several contributing writers who also produce content for the site. Vietnam Coracle is a deeply personal view of Vietnam. As a result, all the ideas, views, opinions, advice, recommendations, and reviews on this site are my own or the contributing writers’. I never receive direct payment for anything I write. I pay my own way and my independence is paramount to the work I produce. (Read more on my About Page)
As the website has grown, running Vietnam Coracle has become a full-time occupation for me, and an expensive one too. Therefore, it is necessary for me to monetize this website in order to keep it going. But I want to do this in a way that does not undermine the credibility of my site or abuse the trust I’ve built with my readers or compromise my independence. Therefore, I have introduced personally selected, content-based advertising on my website in order to help fund the work I do. This means the advertising banners you see on Vietnam Coracle are not random, impersonal messages from irrelevant businesses served up by Google Ads or similar ad-generating algorithms. Rather, my advertising banners are all related to the independent travel advice that I provide in my content, offering relevant services associated with my guides and reviews, such as motorbike rental and tours, travel agents, transportation companies, food and drink establishments, hotels and hospitality, or businesses aimed at the expatriate community. I achieve this by personally selecting each and every advertiser on my site: I only approve advertisers that I feel my readers will be interested in or benefit from, or preferably that I have personal experience of. I earn money from these advertisements by selling space on my site for the display of banners. I feel that this is an excellent and honest way to monetize my site without compromising its independence, and without misleading my readers.
My content is not influenced by the advertising I carry on my website. On the contrary, advertisers want to put their banners next to my content because it is relevant to their product or service. I am not, shall not, and will not be under any obligation to write favourably about any of my advertisers’ products or services. This is clearly stated in the Advertising Contract that all advertisers must agree to before placing their banners on my website. If I write positively or negatively about any of the products or services that are advertised on my site, it is a reflection of my own personal experience or use of their product or service, and not because they are my clients.
While I do my very best to ensure that all services and products I advertise for on this site offer reliable and excellent quality, I cannot guarantee that this will be the case. In order to make sure that only the best services and products are advertised on Vietnam Coracle, I encourage my readers to share their own experience – be it positive or negative – of anything that I advertise for. (Read more about advertising on Vietnam Coracle on this page.)
Another way in which I monetize Vietnam Coracle is by using certain affiliate programs. Just like advertising, I only use affiliate programs that are relevant to my content, useful to my readers, and that I have personal experience of and regularly use myself. I currently use three different affiliate programs: Agoda (for booking hotels), Baolau (for booking transportation), and Amazon (for purchasing books). In each of these cases, if you book a hotel or transportation or buy a book through my website, I make a small commission from either Agoda, Baolau or Amazon. In all cases, I clearly state that this is the case. Indeed, using any of these affiliate links is one way for readers to actively support Vietnam Coracle. As with advertising, I am not paid in any way, or under any obligation, to promote or write positively about any of the companies whose affiliate programs I use.
In the case of Agoda, I have used it to book hotels in Vietnam and abroad for many years. It’s quick, easy, efficient, and often (especially when booking high-end hotels) cheaper than the rack rates. I feel that being able to book hotels directly from my site is a convenient and valuable addition for my readers.
In the case of Baolau, I have used it to book my transportation in Vietnam and abroad for several years and I have always been happy with their service. It’s easy to use, well organized, and has great customer service. Again, I feel that being able to book transportation – planes, trains, buses, boats – directly through my website is a convenient and valuable addition for my readers.
In the case of Amazon, I have used it to purchase books and e-books on my Kindle for a long time. I currently only use the Amazon Associates affiliate program on one of my pages: my Vietnam Reading List & Book Reviews, featuring independent reviews of over 50 books about Vietnam. Once again, I feel it’s particularly convenient for readers to be able to buy books directly from the page on which I have reviewed them. (Amazon requires that I make this exact disclosure statement: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
From dorm beds for a couple of dollars a night to luxury beach retreats for a couple of hundred dollars a night, I review all standards of accommodation on Vietnam Coracle. All my accommodation reviews are 100% independently researched and financed: I never receive freebies or payment of any sort in exchange for positive reviews or listings. There are no exceptions to this. (Read more about my Hotel Reviews Category.)
There is no sponsored content on Vietnam Coracle whatsoever. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either misinformed or deliberately misleading you for purposes known only to themselves. No one tells me what to write about or how to write about it. All my guides and reviews are independently researched and financed. I never receive freebies of any sort in exchange for positive reviews or listings. I only write about places I’ve personally visited or products I personally use.
Been There, Done That:
I never write about somewhere I haven’t been to myself; something I haven’t tried myself, eaten myself; or somewhere I haven’t stayed myself. If it’s on Vietnam Coracle then, by definition, I have been there, done it, eaten it, or used it myself.
Accuracy & Updates:
I do my best to keep all my content current and up to date. But things change quickly in developing Vietnam: hotels open and close, roads are re-laid, street vendors move, prices rise. All information I publish on this site is accurate at the time of writing, but some things are bound to have changed by the time you read them. Readers can look at the top of each post to check when it was first published/last updated in order to gauge the accuracy of the information. In addition, I encourage readers to comment at the bottom of posts or email me if they know of any changes that may impact the content of my articles and guides. To find out more about accuracy, updates and commenting please read my Updates & Accuracy Page.
Opinions & Views:
Vietnam Coracle is personal: I share my own experiences, opinions and advice on this website. The views and opinions expressed in my posts are my own and, just like anyone’s personal opinions, they are subject to change in the future. Perhaps a cafe which seemed cool to me one year, will seem conformist the next year; or maybe a road trip along the coast that seemed spectacular one year will seem mundane the next; maybe I wrote a glowing review of a local barbecue restaurant one year, but the next year I’ve become a vegetarian. Anything can happen. I have the right to change my mind: the opinions on this website are not set in stone. I, like everyone else, am a work in progress; in a constant state of becoming. I change. My values, ideas and opinions change. Thus, some views I’ve expressed in past articles, guides or reviews may not necessarily be representative of my opinions in the present. Please bear this in mind when reading the content on Vietnam Coracle. (You can read more about me on my About Page).
I allow and actively encourage comments on my posts and pages. I personally monitor all comments on my site, so please keep your comments on-topic or, if it’s not something that everyone needs to read, email me instead. I will not approve any comments that I consider rude, vulgar, offensive, irrelevant, or unhelpful. I am not responsible for the views and opinions of any of the comments on my site other than those made by myself in response to others. Please read more about comments on this page.
A large section of this website focuses on motorbike road trips through Vietnam. I encourage readers to take the opportunity to ride a motorbike in Vietnam because I consider this by far the best way to explore and enjoy the country: in my opinion, this is one of the greatest travel experiences you can have anywhere in the world today. In my motorbike guides I encourage careful riding and adherence to road rules. But riding a motorbike in Vietnam does have its dangers. The traffic rules and general riding culture in Vietnam are likely to be very different from your home country, and therefore pose a threat to your safety. Legally you are only required to wear a helmet and have a local driving license. But other safety equipment is currently not legally required, and therefore technically optional. For example, you are not legally required to wear proper riding footwear, or riding gloves, or elbow and knee pads. However, if you choose to ride with this safety gear it will undoubtedly increase your protection enormously.
I am not responsible for how you ride a motorbike in Vietnam or what safety equipment you choose to wear. I would hope and expect that anyone who chooses to pursue a self-drive motorbike road trip through Vietnam based on the information on this website does so with care, respect and due diligence. If you have an accident, it is highly unlikely your travel insurance will cover you; if you get into trouble with traffic police, it is highly unlikely you’ll have any legal basis on which to negotiate. If you have a minor collision and are not wearing sufficient safety gear, it is highly unlikely your body will be protected on impact. I encourage and promote motorbike road trips in Vietnam on this website, but I am not responsible for the manner in which you ride, the legality of your riding a motorbike in Vietnam, or any negative consequences which may result from your decision to ride a motorbike in Vietnam: you do so at your own risk and knowing the potential dangers involved.
Although I advertise only for services and products that I feel are useful, relevant to my content, and offer good quality services and products to my readers, I cannot guarantee that you will feel the same, and I am not responsible for any negative experience you may have when using them. You can help me keep the advertising on Vietnam Coracle beneficial to readers by sharing your own experiences of them – positive or negative – in an email to me. For example, if you rent a motorbike from one of the companies I advertise, let me know how the service was. (For more about advertising on Vietnam Coracle read this page).
Some of my content is republished on other websites (either with or without my permission and/or knowledge). When this happens, I am no longer responsible for the content as shown on that website, even if its original source is Vietnam Coracle.
As a website offering personal travel advice and recommendations of things to do and see, places to stay and eat, and means of transportation, I expect that many of my readers will, in some form or another, take my advice. This is exactly what Vietnam Coracle is for. However (and I apologize for the severe legal tone of the following statement, but it is a necessary element of a Disclaimer Page), under no circumstances will I be held responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any loss or damage that is caused or alleged to have been caused to you in connection with your use of any advice, goods or services you receive from my website or advertising on my website.
Now, having read these Disclosure and Disclaimer statements, I hope that you will continue to read, enjoy and use the travel advice and resources on Vietnam Coracle to make your time in Vietnam as memorable as possible. If you have any further questions, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading Vietnam Coracle, and thanks for your patience in going through this Disclosure and Disclaimer statement.