Joining a home-stay tour in Hoi An

Published: 01/10/2008 05:00



VietNamNet BridgeOver the last few years, home-stay tours have become popular in the ancient town of Hoi An. “Home-stay” means that foreign travelers will stay with local people in their homes, and participate in their daily activities.

Foreign tourists learn to do Vietnamese cuisine in River Side Home.

Home-stay guests are treated like members of the host family, which means that they have to wake up early in the morning to prepare for the morning tea break or breakfast, which usually includes traditional and simple Vietnamese dishes like steamed glutinous rice or corn, boiled sweet potato, a mi quang bowl (local-style noodles) or a cao lau bowl (a soup made with noodles, pork, and greens). If those dishes do not appeal to the tourists, they can be served with Western dishes instead.

After breakfast, the visitors can work in the garden to get the fresh air of a brand new day, or trek to the local market, or just stroll around the town to observe the morning activities of locals in Hoi An.

Guesthouse Minh A at 2 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street belonging to Pham A is one of the first places to offer home-stay tours in Hoi An. The 100-square-meter ancient house is more than a century old. It is divided into four bedrooms, with 2 beds in each bedroom priced at US$10-15 per night. This guesthouse is a favorite of travelers for it offers them a warm and friendly home-away-from-home.

Two Australian brothers Smith and Nick who were staying at the guesthouse said that they had planned to stay there for two days only, but have stayed for a week now. Nick told the Daily that in the morning they often have breakfast with the family, chatting in their free time. They also go to the market to prepare meals for the day and go fishing or swimming in the nearby sea. When night comes, they walk around the town or go to bar to meet up with foreign and local friends.

For those who prefer to be the countryside rather than in town, a home-stay at River Side Home or Betel Garden is a good choice. Travelers who stay at these well-equipped places will not only have a chance to learn about Vietnamese culture but also to learn Vietnamese cuisine.

The RiverSide Home has a surprisingly modern restroom, and offers guests a small piece of land for growing favorite vegetables. For a long-term stay, a private area will be available for a whole family to live in. For a short-term stay, the rooms are comfortable with bamboo beds and wooden floor, priced at US$10-15 per night.

A Singaporean couple told the Daily that after initially staying at a resort close to the beach, they moved to the River Side Home to enjoy the home-stay service there. The husband, named Michael, said that they like the cozy family atmosphere offered by the place as it introduced them to the hospitality of Hoi An people.

Guests who stay at Betel Garden will learn about the traditional Tet holiday by learning to prepare Tet dishes, decorate the house, boil banh tet (cylindrical glutinous rice cake, filled with green bean paste and fat pork) and celebrate the traditional Tet holiday with the host family.

Ho Phuoc Vinh, director of Le Nguyen Co., the tour provider at Betel Garden, said the room at the site is at 50% occupancy and the rate is increasing.

The city of Hoi An is also making detailed plans to promote those home-stay tours by mapping out the outskirt communes like Cam Thanh, Cam Nam, Cam Chau and Cam An. These areas have rich potential as suitable places for offering more professional home-stay tours.

Owners will invest in their own projects. The houses must follow the traditional standards of Hoi An, with minimum area of house and garden of about 500 square meters. Daily schedules and activities offered there must also detailed and rich in local cultural features.

The investments to develop home-stay tours will be a way for promoting community awareness and allow the locals to benefit more from the program. Besides, it can take the pressure off the town and allow foreign tourists to have a deeper understanding about the people and the land of Hoi An.

(Source: SGT)

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