If you are a frequent traveller to remote areas where luxury hotels are not presented, homestays and guesthouses are two common types of lodging when it comes to choices of accommodation.
In Vietnam, homestay services are mostly provided by local people that have a or multiple spare rooms in their house or apartment. Most homestays can be found in the rural areas, for example, small communities in the mountains in the North of Vietnam, where not a lot of travellers go yet. The tourists will stay with the local people and will be provided with local meals by the owners most of the time. The interaction between the host family and guests is what defines and differentiates homestay to other types of accommodation.
Homestay Kho Muong – Pu Luong
Guesthouses differ from homestays in a way that the accommodation is in a private house, without a local family living there. Meals are only provided upon request and you may share rooms with other travellers.
Homestay and guesthouse have increased significantly in Vietnam in both quality and quantity. At some places in Vietnam such as Sapa, within a 10km radius from town, there are more than 1,000 homestays, providing income for the locals instead of cultivation, breeding in the past. Moreover, in the community-based tourism town Sin Suoi Ho, Lai Chau, homestay has appeared for about three years but has contributed to change the appearance of the village with clean houses, particular to plant many bonsai, fresh flowers. In big cities, homestays are less common but few homestays are highly appreciated by foreign guests because of the owner enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and delicious Vietnamese meals.
Prepare dinner with the host family
Delicious local dishes
Staying at a homestay is the best way to experience the life of local people, understand their culture and custom. Especially Vietnam is a multi-ethnic country with friendly and outgoing people, which is a favourable condition for guests to understand the culture among ethnic groups throughout Vietnam. Sharing meals with the host family offers you the chance to not only savour local dishes, and if your timing is right, you could even share a local holiday with them, such as Tet, Mid-autumn festival, etc. You also have chances to share your stories and see the country through local eyes. However, some homestays in Vietnam offer rooms for guests but are lacking the interaction between the host family and visitors, which should not be called homestay. In Vietnam, instead of paying at least 30$ for a hotel room, you only need to spend about 5$ a night at a homestay. Not only it saves your money, you are also supporting the local community, thus helping to develop sustainable tourism.
Join the host in their daily activities
Depending on your conditions or hobbies, you can choose the favoured type of accommodation when travelling. Don’t cross homestay from your list because you might miss out the best chance to experience deep-insight the country you are visiting.