When you go on vacation, you don’t want to look forward to living out of a suitcase especially if you are staying in one place for more than a couple of days. The thought of having to get ready to go out, just to get coffee and breakfast is a disruption to many persons daily routine. Wouldn’t it be better to just roll out of bed in the morning and find a hot cup of coffee and breakfast waiting for you, while you’re still in your PJ’s or bath robe?
The way to do this is to arrange a Home Stay in the city you are visiting. There are many different types of accommodations calling themselves home stays, but a true home stay is one in which you stay in an actual home with the family that lives there.
I had one such experience with Xuan Binh Ngo of Ho Chi Mihn City, Vietnam. She has a 5 bedroom home located half way between the airport and the city center (what was once called
Saigon) in the Binh Thanh District. The rooms were twice the size of a hotel room as were the bathrooms, which included a huge Jacuzzi, and by huge I mean that I can sit in and I am 6’4″ tall! There is also room for your partner. The bed was a comfortable king sized bed which can easily accommodate 2 large sized westerners. There is also a small office area, with ample lighting from large bay windows just above the desk area, adjoining the bedroom separated by a bookshelf divider. This is where I am writing this article from. Most hotels would classify these conditions as a 3-5 star stay. I would classify it much higher, with the added benefit of it being much cheaper!
One of several features of staying in someone’s home instead of a hotel is eating with the host family. The food is fresh and home cooked. It is also cooked in the traditional Vietnamese style. If eating traditional Vietnamese food is not to your liking, she can recommend and even take you to one of several restaurants that serve a more western style menu.
The families will sometimes arrange tours for you, or take you themselves. In the case of staying with Binh, there was the added advantage of her speaking English fluently and being acutely aware of the local culture. Having a native speaker with you has the advantage when trying to haggle for items in the local markets as there are 2 different prices, one for locals and one for tourists.
Most hotels which offer the same type of room as a home stay are usually on busy streets; hence if you are located in the front of the hotel on a lower floor, the noise from the streets below will be a constant irritant. Most homes are located in one of Saigon’s numerous allies. It may seem strange to us to go down a long alley and come to a home, or even to see a small café tucked into the back of an alley, but there is a whole other world living back there, the real Saigon.
Binh’s home stay rooms are available for short weekends to longer stay up to a month or more. To reserve a room, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give her a call at +84908996996