Moving from one place to another when traveling can be exhausting. When you jump from one crowded hostel to another, it’s normal to miss home-cooked meals and the feeling of being home. The Family Homestay in Ba Vi, Vietnam will be your home away from home when you visit. The service is impeccable and the grounds are gorgeously set so you’re surrounded by sprawling, green land and mountains; however, the most notable part of the whole experience is the adorable local couple that runs the Family Homestay. You will feel as if you have found a slice of home while staying with them because their genuine smiles are infectious and the most welcoming I have ever seen. For 450,000 VND (20 USD) for one night, you can stay in a quadruple room with friends.
The hosts welcome you with open arms
The couple that runs Family Homestay literally hug you as you enter the accommodation. While they speak no English, aside from “hello” and “See you again!,” that does not stop them from getting to know you. With a hand-written translation sheet in hand, the hosts point to the Vietnamese question or statement, all of which have the English translation next to them. The hosts want to know where their guests have you traveled from to arrive at the Family Homestay, where their guests are from, and if their guests can speak Vietnamese.
Not only do the hosts want to get to know their guests, but they are also proud of their establishment and their home, Ba Vi. Their pride is evident as they both chant “Ba Vi, Ba Vi, Ba VI” and point to the three peaks of the Ba Vi Mountain Range in the near distance. The hosts’ grins are at their largest when speaking of Ba Vi.
The hosts provide excellent service
Despite the heat and humidity in Ba Vi, you can expect a cool respite upon arriving at the Family Homestay. Plenty of water and fresh fruit in the communal dining room are much needed treats. These welcoming touches make a great first impression of what will become a lovely, relaxing stay.
The hosts will show you around the grounds and the accommodation. Upon entering the room, the hosts will make the beds with new linens and give you toiletries, including shampoo, body wash, toothpaste and a toothbrush! Mosquito netting is provided for every bed and the hosts will offer to help you hang them correctly before going to sleep.
Using the translation sheet, the hosts inform their guests that dinner is served at 7pm. You can expect dinner to be served precisely on time. Dinner options include chicken, beef, fish and vegetarian. If you order the fish, it will likely be the freshest fish you’ve ever eaten as it is most likely caught by the hosts that day. If you are from the United States, you may be a bit skeptical at first because the fish is prepared with all its bones, its head and its eyeballs. This is very uncommon in the U.S. but know that the fish is amazing. You should have expected this since everything else at the Family Homestay will be superb.
The hosts will ensure that the meal is to your liking using the translation sheet and asking: “Did you enjoy your meal?” It will be such a friendly experience to sit down at the table with the hosts, as opposed to a formal restaurant serviced by waiters and waitresses. After dinner, tea is served and enjoyed with the hosts.
The service at Family Homestay is something to write home about. The hosts go above and beyond; the male host will even offer to drive you into town five minutes down the road, free of charge, if you want to buy some cold beers to enjoy that evening.
More than just an accommodation, the view is spectacular!
The Family Homestay is not located within the national park but it might as well be. It sits directly on the edge of the park and is a ten minute motorbike ride from the park entrance. The accommodation grounds are small, which gives the homestay an intimate feel. Due to the small space, all the rooms have a spectacular view of the Ba Vi Mountain Range, the main attraction within the Ba Vi National Park.
You will enjoy the relaxation Family Homestay offers; the serene surroundings, national park view and the fresh air are the icing on top of the whole experience. Roosters will wake you up in the morning, beckoning you to emerge from the straw huts to see the morning light illuminate the mountain range.
The accommodation is minimal but comfortable
The rooms are made of bamboo rods and straw, creating almost cabin-like huts. Two double beds and two portable fans set at the base of each bed will be the only things you’d find in the quadruple room. However, these would be all that are necessary as not a lot of time is spent in the room. In the summer, I imagine the rooms would be stifling hot with no proper air conditioning; however, in the middle of October, the temperature should be comfortable at night.
There are two buildings of guest rooms, with each room sharing a wall. A patio with small tables and hammocks stretches the width of the buildings. You’d enjoy relaxing in the hammock and looking out at the stars before heading to bed. Stars aren’t visible in Hanoi so this could be a special treat for you.
Don't expect luxury
If you are expecting a plush mattress and jacuzzi bathtub, the Family Homestay is not for you. A mosquito net (provided in the room) is completely necessary. Before bed, you may come face-to-face with creepy crawly things, such as spiders. So, if you are not a fan of being a part of nature, the Family Homestay is not right for you.
However, if you really want to see how locals in Vietnam live, stay at the Family Homestay. If you want to feel like you’ve found a temporary home with the hosts, this is the place for you. If you’re craving a fresh home-cooked meal, the Family Homestay is calling your name.
I would return to the Family Homestay in a heartbeat!
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