After working in the postal service business for almost a decade, Le Cong Hau, a resident of Cam Thanh town, Hoi An, decided to quit his job and return home to open a homestay.
He renovated his humble home close to a coconut forest, creating modern rooms and a swimming pool, and called it Lake Scene.
Hau’s simple farmhouse has become a favourite destination for tourists, especially visitors from overseas.
“Tourists like the view of the coconut forest and fishing in relaxation at this homestay. Foreign guests, in particular, are very interested in learning about Hoi An culture,” Hau explains.
The homestay model first appeared in Hoi An less than 10 years ago, but it has quickly become a popular type of accommodation in the ancient town. Offering many unique cultural values, dreamy landscapes and delicious cuisine, Hoi An has become a lucrative location for the homestay model.
By 2017, Hoi An had 256 homestays in operation with a total of around 1,000 rooms, most commonly found in districts such as Cam Chau and Cam Thanh.
Since guests stay with locals, they have the opportunity to experience the cultural activities, festivals and everyday life of the Quang Nam countryside. A typical day at a homestay starts in the morning when guests are taken to Hoi An market, established hundreds of years ago, to purchase local delicacies and fresh ingredients to make traditional dishes like banh xeo or Quang noodle.
In the afternoon, guests can go fishing or cast fishnets in the ocean, harvesting seafood with the locals, take a leisurely bike ride around the Old Quarter or help the locals work in their rice and vegetable fields.
With so many experiences on offer, the price of the services may be higher than in some hotels, yet homestays have become the accommodation of choice for many tourists visiting Hoi An.
The homestay model has thrived not only in Hoi An but also in Quang Nam’s mountainous area. Bho Hoong Cultural Village in Dong Giang district is one such example.
The village was built in 2013, thanks to a campaign organized by the World Labour Organisation “Boosting Tourism in Mainland Regions.”
The homestay accommodation consists of houses built in a style typical of the Co Tu people. Many of the villagers learned English in order to become guides and many Co Tu traditions have been restored.
From a small, isolated hamlet, Bho Hoong has made a name for itself in Quang Nam’s tourism sector, and the unique village has grown in popularity with foreign visitors.
Staying with the Co Tu people, participating in their Buffalo Festival, dancing, weaving tapestry, and enjoying the special local cuisine is an amazing experience for visitors.
Guides from Bho Hoong village can lead guests through lush green forests where they can submerge themselves in cool streams or explore the unique fauna and flora. At night, a gong party is organized by a bonfire. These experiences promise to leave visitors with great memories.
Compared to staying in a hotel or resort and visiting a fixed set of destinations, staying at a homestay can help tourists discover new lands, new cultures and new people. Coming into direct contact with locals can make a trip more authentic and memorable.
For these reasons, the homestay model has been springing up in many central provinces. From cave exploration in Quang Binh, visiting the Ancient Capital in Hue, to staying in Danang or Hoi An, homestays are available to help tourists get the most out of every destination.
The advent of the homestay model has created a new, attractive product for tourists to have more exciting experiences, and a new, stable source of income for locals.