Tired of the hustle and bustle of the city and all its tourist attractions? Big Tree Backpackers Hostel and Bistro exudes Vietnamese charm, as it is in a small and quiet fishing village called Bai Xep. It is run by Australians and staffed by locals. The hostel is located right on the beach. Take a step out of the establishment and you will feel the soft sand in between your toes and the warm sunlight shining on you. Here, you can shy away from commercialised shops and attractions in tourist areas. Instead, you will be able to bask in the friendliness and day-to-day lives of the villagers. The view is fantastic, especially the sunrise, and when you sleep, you can hear the waves crashing onto the shore. What’s there not to love about this place?
Warm Australian and Vietnamese hospitality
It is the people that shall give you the deepest impression at Big Tree Backpackers Hostel. Officially opened in November 2014, the journey to Bai Xep village can be tricky but hardly impossible. You would have to take a plane or bus to Quy Nhon city, then take a bus, taxi or motorcycle all the way into Bai Xep Village. The journey takes about 2 hours from the Quy Nhon Airport into the village.
The village is not very well known in Quy Nhon, so you might have to ask for directions along the way. This contributes to its quietness and lack of tourists and touts, perfect if you want to escape from the bustle of the city. Upon your arrival at the hostel, you would be welcomed warmly and made to feel like a part of a big family. This is a place that makes you feel at home. The local villagers are friendly and curious too. They would often chill on the front porch to use the free Wi-Fi, and if you are nice to them, they will let you visit their homes and tell you all about their lives as fishermen.
Chilled Bar and Bistro
You can expect a laid-back atmosphere at the hostel and its surrounding environment. Imagine kicking back your tourist shoes and relax. You can take a siesta anytime of the day, in the hammocks, near the edge of the sea, and hear the waves crashing on the shore or feel the wind sweeping across your face. The hostel resembles a tropical hut, not unlike a kampong (Indonesian and Malaysian word for village). Its roof is covered with dried palm tree leaves, its floor and bar top is of a grey concrete that gives a raw and cafe style vibe.
Right beside the hostel rooms is the bar, where beers like the Saigon Beer are always in ample supply, as the boss and manager loves to drink. The bar plays chill music all day long. In the evening, the music changes to something more upbeat and club-like, signifying the start of a party. Sometimes, there will be bonfire parties and every guest will be welcome to join in the fun and merry making. This is what makes Big Tree Backpackers different from the other hostels in Vietnam - everyone feels like part of a big family.
The bistro and bar is in one place, so you can order your beers and cocktails alongside Vietnamese or Western food. Remember, the owners are Australian and the staff is local. There is, therefore, a myriad of dishes available, which will suit your taste. Wake up in the hostel and order a Vietnamese breakfast of sandwich (sausages, tomato sauce, onion, egg, cabbage) and orange juice, and lounge on the comfortable wooden chairs outside the bar on the sand, watching the sun glimmer on the sparkling sea.
Clean and comfortable rooms
When you are feeling a little tired from all that partying and beautiful scenery, retreat to your clean and comfortable bed in the hostel dorm room. It costs from 174,500 VND (8 USD) a night for a bed, and there are three dorm rooms - one female only and two mixed gender. There are overhead light and power socket for each bed, so there is no need to wait or fight for power to charge your devices, unlike most other hostels. You can also look forward to a good night sleep with the comfortable beds! The toilets and showers are furnished with a rustic feel, typical of Australian designs.
Activities in the small fishing village
There are many activities that you can enjoy, even in this small fishing village. Mainly, it would be chilling and tanning on the beach, but you can also take a ride in a round Vietnamese fishing boat, known as basket boat that is unique to Vietnam. It looks like a basket made of weaved material, which fishermen use to go out to the sea and fish.
Other activities in this laid-back town includes visiting the market, swimming, playing beach volleyball, football, cricket, and bodyboarding. The local kids from the village will come everyday to play on the beach, and you can join them for the time of your life. Hiking uphill to a swimming hole and waterfall or just hiking along the road away from the village is fun too, for the explorer in you. Ask the friendly boss or manager who is usually at the hostel for fun places to explore, and if he is not too busy, he might even offer to bring you around (He did in my case)!
Discover Vietnam with Big Tree Backpackers Hostel
If you ever come to Central Vietnam, and you want to find a place to chill or think about life’s great mysteries, do visit Big Tree Backpackers Hostel in Bai Xep Village. You will be wowed by the genuine hospitality of its people there and have a wonderful relaxing time, with unforgettable memories of Vietnam. There’s plenty to do and enjoy even if you are on a tight budget!
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