Tourists nowadays, both domestic and international, are willing to spend more money so that their trips are personalized and contain more authentic experiences with the locals. Following this trend, there has been a demand for Vietnamese homestay. However, the reality of Vietnamese homestay can be quite different from what most visitors thought it would be.
What to Expect about Homestays in Vietnam
- Booking a homestay has never been easier. You can browse many options on OTAs, such as Airbnb, Agoda, or Booking, etc., and the payment options are also flexible.
- Homestays are cheap and accessible. Whenever your budget is running low or in case you are traveling off-the-beaten-path where brand-name hotels are nowhere to be found, homestays are the most economical and viable option.
- More and more homestays in Vietnam are updating their quality. It is easy to come across a homestay that has a unique concept, whether it is an interesting interior design or a breathtaking view in the background. You can always expect something new at a homestay. You can also request other amenities such as toiletries or cooking utensils.
- There are multiple lodging options. You can choose to share a place with a host or other travelers, or you can find a whole place for yourself for extra comfort and privacy.
Many homestays also welcome pets
- Homestay is an ideal option if you’re traveling with pets or in large groups.
- Homestays in Vietnam also offers other services, such as local tours, selling local products, or even volunteer opportunities.
Homestays across Vietnam
Living in a homestay in less crowded regions like the Mekong Delta and Northwest is more worthwhile than in big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Below are the places that many tourists usually choose to explore and the corresponding features of their homestays.
Homestays in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is one of the most potential areas for development in Vietnamese homestay. New services are introduced and upgraded occasionally to ensure that tourists always get a refreshing experience when visiting this region.
Homestay can easily be found in most provinces of the Mekong Delta, such as Can Tho, An Giang, Tien Giang, and Hau Giang.
Design: Idyllic. Walls and furniture are made from wood or bamboo, roofs are made from coconut leaves, and lush gardens surround the house. So, in general, they share the same characteristics as local houses, except for the toilet. And we think you don’t really want to experience the “real local” toilet of the Mekong Delta (it can be a fish pond, that’s why)
Amenities: Due to the significant tropical climate features, make sure to check whether your homestays offer ACs, hot water, etc, to make the lodging experience more enjoyable.
Services/Activities: Opportunities to cook the regional dishes, harvest fresh fruits in luxuriant gardens, and catch fish and snails just like a genuine farmer. And must-try activities of the land of rivers like visiting floating markets, listening to Southern amateur music, and going on paddle boats. In the evening, get a mosquito net to cover your bed and bring insect repellent for your travel.
Homestays in Vietnam’s Central Coast
Favorite destinations for many tourists, especially in summer vacation. Cities in the Central Coast are the ideal place to immerse in nature with picturesque beaches and mountains, as well as to learn about Vietnamese history and culture. Homestay has recently become a plus that attracts more visitors to this region.
Design: Unlike the ones in the Mekong Delta, only a small number of homestay in the Central Coast is built in the same architecture as rural Vietnamese houses. Most of them are well-decorated to deliver the best quality. The interior is delicately displayed to create a cozy atmosphere or a modern vibe depending on the taste of the owner, and several places also have some green spaces or small yards. Again, the comfortability and convenience can come at the expense of not living the real local lifestyle.
A homestay in Phan Thiet that features the local signatures as well as innovative architectures
Activities: Many hosts in Hoi An, for example, would enthusiastically introduce you to the local customs and treat you like new members of their families. They would show you some of their daily activities, such as catching fish, going to local markets, cooking local food, and celebrating Vietnamese Tet (if you come around late January or February). Another instance is the homestay service in Ly Son Island, Quang Ngai, where you can visit vocational villages, including Rau Que Vegetable Village, Rush Mat Waveny Village, etc.
Homestays in Vietnam’s Central Highlands (Da Lat)
Arguably, homestays in Da Lat are the most popular form of accommodation thanks to their affordable costs. Simultaneously, more and more high-end homestays have popped up with interesting concepts and luxurious amenities. Due to the stunning background, most homestays in the area build their location to incorporate the natural atmosphere as much as possible.
Design: Homestays in the Central Highlands, especially in Da Lat, bear the owners’ strong characteristics, boasting many unique concepts. Most of the homestays here place a strong emphasis on creating a captivating background for Instagram-worthy moments.
Homestays in Da Lat can double as a coffee shop or restaurant
Amenities: The Central Highlands are pretty humid during the day, while the temperature can drop significantly at night. Make sure that your homestay has sufficient blankets and hot water.
Activities: While most people would regard the Central Highlands as a leisure destination, the area surprisingly also offers adventurous activities. Some hosts might offer hiking/trekking tours to famous hills and waterfalls or a visit to the local ethnic villages.
Homestays in Northwest Vietnam
Northwest Vietnam is a mountainous area with rugged terrain. Except for a small number of provinces that have been concentrating on developing tourism for many years, the other areas are still unable to satisfy visitors’ needs, especially in peak seasons.
The opposite design between an ordinary style homestay…
and one that follows the modern trend
Design: idyllic yet cozy vibe, perfectly fitting with the magnificent landscape. Those who honestly depict the life of the Vietnamese minorities living in this region may not be comfortable, like there can be rats, insects, and stink.
Amenities: The Northwest is among the lesser-developed areas in Vietnam, so the furniture in the homestays can be pretty basic, with not-so-comfortable beddings and no hot water.
Many homestays carry creative concepts that look amazing in photos
Activities: Apart from experiencing a day with your host families, there are few activities to try out, although you might receive some suggestions from the owners. They can introduce you to the gardens where you can handpick plums or trek and hike the splendid terrace rice fields. But at the end of the day, you might realize that this land’s most precious gift is the peaceful atmosphere and the true feeling of escaping from the hurried life in modern cities.
Some Tips for Staying at Homestays in Vietnam
A Vietnamese saying goes “Nhap gia tuy tuc”, which essentially means “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. You can follow the tips below to make both the hosts and yourself feel comfortable and make your trip more appealing:
1. Learn Chopsticks Etiquette: chopsticks appear in almost all Vietnamese meals and using them is the best way to enjoy your dishes.
Vietnamese homestays sometimes offer local family meals as well
2. Learn about Vietnam Do’s and Don’ts
3. Do not drink tap water: Water should be boiled before drinking. Water bottles are also available in many convenience stores in urban areas, or use a kettle to boil water before drinking. To be environmentally conscious, bring your own bottle to refill.
4. Bring your flip-flop: Most hotels provide one or two pairs, but you may not find them in homestays.
5. Do not forget about the bug spray: the humid weather in Vietnam is an ideal environment for many insects, so without bug spray, it might be unpleasant to sleep at night.
6. Stay connected with Mobile Data: Most homestay houses provide free WiFi, but they might be in rural areas with an unstable connection when you travel around. It is quite easy to buy SIM Cards in Vietnam and to register for mobile data service in case you want to keep in touch with your friends and family.
7. Prepare to deal with the heat: some rooms in Vietnamese homestays might not have air conditioners, and the temperature may change unexpectedly at night. During the daytime, it can be hot and humid. But when the night comes, it can be so chilly that you do not want to leave your blanket (if your room is designed to let the wind blow in). Most rooms do come with a ceiling fan.
Furniture in a countryside homestay is pretty standard
8. If you want to have a true local lifestyle in a homestay, especially in the Mekong Delta region, hygiene can be a problem. Toilets or bathrooms may not be up to what you consider clean and clear, so bring your own toiletries!
Summary of Vietnamese Homestay
Vietnamese homestay still has many areas for improvement. Right now, not many of them can deliver both high-quality service and genuine experience at the same time. However, if you can cope with some minor obstacles in living standards, you will soon realize that there are full of peaceful moments and unique knowledge about local life.