It is amazing what an extra 500 metres up the road can make. From touristy commercial village down low to an authentic homestay in the next village up. Dat and his family are wonderful. This is a homestay and not a hotel, matrass on the ground quite comfy and basic accommodation, that is after all why we came. though Dats home is beautiful, large wooden with flushing toilets and hot showers. Food was healthy and plentiful.His english is good and he is a wonderful man with a lovely wife and kids. The village is so non tourist, you couldnt buy a hot coffee there if you wanted one, and to spend the time and not have advertising shoved in your face at every turn is wonderful.There are a couple of tiny shops where you can get a cold drink or even an outdoor haircut (we did) or buy some cheap gumboots for the locals. The scenery and the walks are stunning. The walks are very easy and breathtakingly beautiful. The lives of most of the people that live in the village and especially in the hills of the village is devastating. They are so poor,Their inside wood cooking fireplaces were awful, filled the home with smoke from green branches, too poor for windows,.Most have no table, no chairs, just a low wooden bench, no matrasses, no running water, no fridge of course etc etc though most do have a little tv. We came with 3 adults and we brought over 150 kilos of clothes and shoes and toys and toiletries to give away. if you visit, if you can bring or even buy in hanoi a handful of anything, some balls or colouring books or skipping ropes hair clips,the kids in the village have nothing. They dont have toys or books or much to stimulate their minds.We used vacuum bags to compress soft toys and clothes, it is little effort and helps. Even just staying with dat helps this village as he buys the drinks etc from the local shops so it supports their business. Gassifyers can be bought or ordered from the next village for $15, you might want to talk to dat about donating one, there is a waiting list of people who desperately need one. They burn clean and they burn the rice husks and the corn cobs that are otherwise thrown away, they come with a little motor and as many of these families have lots of kids,10 people living in the same dark dirt floor windowless home, these reduce nearly all the smoke. We bought 20 and when we come back next year we intend to buy a few more, Even if you can buy just one. Anyway, that is how we travel, even if that is not your thing the scenery is spectacular, we went in May and the weather was brilliant, not too hot and you could walk for hours and only once in the evening it felt a little cool. It does get cold there at certain times of the year. This home stay has been one of the best experiences of my life and i can't wait to return. If you want to connect with the locals, play with the local kids, enjoy stunning walks,and see how this hilltribe lives this place is the place to be.If you didnt already know how lucky you are to have whatever life you have you will learn this here too. I can't recommend this place highly enough and i can't wait to come back again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Heavenly Homestay, which offers you the chance to stay in the middle of a rural village in Northern Vietnam, surrounded by beautiful fields and interesting local culture.We organise all aspects of your stay here, providing fresh, local food (including cooking lessons if you wish!) and guided tours of the local area, as well as further afield. You can also, like past visitors, choose to get involved with the local community, including teaching English to children from the village, and even farming with locals! ... more less