There is no universal model of education for sustainable development (esd); each country thus has to define its own sustainability and education priorities and actions. However, literature on esd has mostly focused on case studies in western countries; therefore, the consonance when applying esd models of western nations in developing ones needs to be considered. To provide evidence for esd literature with few empirical studies in developing countries, this paper explores geography teachers perspectives on esd in vietnam. This is a qualitative explorative pilot study of eleven geography teachers in january and february 2016. The findings provide empirical evidence of subject-specific understanding with relation to esd. The teachers perception regarding esd in vietnam is different from esd dimensions proposed by unesco when these dimensions do not entirely cover all ideas of the teachers. This is the empirical base to illustrate another interpretation of esd in the situation of vietnam. The results also show that practical experiences of the geography teachers, training programs for student teachers, national curriculum and social perception shape the respondents views on esd. The study demonstrates how much what is called esd fits into the context of vietnam. 2017, 2017 Informa uk limited, trading as taylor & francis group.