Whenever I travel, I prefer to stay at homestays over hotels anytime. Hotels are basically the same everywhere but every homestay is unique. Hostels come a close second for its affordability and ability to meet fellow travelers.
Let me show you the 3 homestay and hostels I stayed in during my Vietnam trip.
Vietnam Homestay: Hanoi Family Homestay
I found Hanoi Family Homestay online. The combination of “Family” and “Homestay” is a combination I cannot resist. Located within Hanoi Old Quarter, Hanoi Family Homestay is not the easiest to find. The small blue signboard that proudly reads “Hanoi Family Homestay” is lost in a sea of lights. It was by chance and help from Google Maps that I managed to find it at all.
Located within Hanoi Old Quarter, Hanoi Family Homestay is not the easiest to find. The small blue signboard that proudly reads “VietFamilyHomestay.com” is lost in the sea of lights. The combination of Google Map and my sharp eyes helped me find the place.
Hanoi Family Homestay is managed by Huong (Perfume), her husband and her two children – Phuong Anh (Anna) and Duc Anh (Monkey).
I have pre-booked Room 102 before the trip with Perfume (because it has two single beds) at US$15 per night. But when I arrived, Perfume told me that the attached toilet for the room I booked was flooded. They will not be able to get someone to fix the toilet since it was the weekends. I didn’t get to actually stay in Hanoi Family Homestay. Perfume made arrangements for me to stay at a sister hotel a few streets down the road.
The first floor is the living and dining area. The stairs to the right side leads to the rooms upstairs. There is a square wooden table where breakfast and dinner is served if you want to join them. Behind the dining table is the “check-in counter” where you can also change money and book tours. The space below the stairs is where Perfume prepares the meals.
You are invited to join them for breakfast and dinner with no additional charges. Breakfast is a simple meal of chicken/beef pho with a hot drink and a banana. Dinner is a simple meal of Vietnamese dishes cooked in traditional countryside style.
Besides the hospital nature of this homestay, another part of its attractiveness lies in its strategic location. Opposite the homestay is a bamboo craft shop. You can watch from your bedroom windows and craftsmen build ladders, water pipes, furnitures and torches from bamboo. Next door is a small shop where you can try Vietnamese bia hoi (keg beer) and local foods. “Bia” is French for “beer” and “Hoi” is French for “fresh”, so “bai hoi” is also known as “Vietnamese fresh beer”. The Hoan Kiem Lake (Sword Lake), the cultural heart of Hanoi, is just 10 minutes away. You can visit the water puppet theatre, Dong Xuan market and Ma May Ancient House.
Hanoi Family Homestay was awarded Certificate of Exellence by TripAdvisor for years 2015 and 2016. Hanoi Family Homestay has truly made me feel that “you are not just a tourist, you are a family friend”.
You can make booking for Hanoi Family Homestay here.
Hanoi Family Homestay
Address: 19 Hang Vai, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Telephone: 84-09 1239 1281
Vietnam Hostel: Landmark Hostel
There are not many homestays in Hoi An, so I booked a hostel instead. I booked Landmark Hostel from Hostelworld for its proximity to Hoi An Ancient Town and Thu Bon River.
Hostelworld shows that Landmark Hostel has a swimming pool, which is definitely a luxury for hostels. Behind the pool is Landmark Hostel & Bar where you can have meals and drinks. It costs US$6.50 per night in the 4-bed female dormitory, inclusive of breakfast.
The dormitories are located in the building at the back, linked by a small bridge. The female-dormitory I booked is on the ground floor. They don’t have the double or triple bunks beds like other dormitories, the beds are all single beds. The beds have clean sheets and the room is spacious with lots of room for luggages. There is a locker for each bed for valuables. The bathroom is very spacious and clean.
Breakfast is included in the price, you have 8 breakfast breakfast choices and 8 choices of drinks. What I have here is fried eggs with bread and lemon juice.
Address: 32 Thoại Ngọc Hầu, Phường Cẩm Phổ, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Telephone: +84 235 3924 838
You can make booking for Landmark Hostel at Hostelworld.com.
Vietnam Hostel: The Like Hostel & Cafe
I booked The Like Hostel & Cafe from Hostelworld for its proximity to the tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh, yet it’s not too noisy.
Located in a small alley in Ho Chi Minh district 1, The Like Hostel & Cafe is a quiet haven for weary travelers. The “check-in counter” is located at the entrance, the friendly staff greets you warmly. This is where you can book tours or join their free walking tour.
The ground floor is the common area where you can socialise with other travelers. There are many book piled in front of the “check-in counter” which you can borrow to read. There is even a counter where you can order freshly-made fruit juices.
The dormitory rooms are located on the upper floors, but there is no lift. Those with heavy luggages may find it difficult to lug their heavy luggage up the winding staircase.
The walls of The Like Hostel & Bar are decorated with beautiful paintings of Vietnam. The spiral staircase may not be the most efficient, but it does add to the nostalgic charm of the place.
The female-dormitory I booked is a little squeezy with double-bunker beds on both sides. Each bed gets a cabinet with space big enough to put in a backpack. The bedsheet, pillow case and blanket are clean and each bed has its own reading light and USB points. There is even a small balcony where you can enjoy some quiet time or have a smoke. A bed in this 8-bed female dormitory costs US$9.50 per person per night, inclusive of breakfast.
Buffet-style breakfast is included in the price and it is held every morning at the rooftop garden. There are fresh fruits, eggs, vermicelli, fried rice and cut baguette. There is also freshly-brewed coffee and tea. The rooftop garden is a good place to chill and hangout during the day.
The Like Hostel & Cafe
Address: 150/37 Nguyễn Trãi, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Telephone: +84 28 7305 6767
You can make booking for The Like Hostel & Cafe at Hostelworld.com.”