Outside one of the bungalows
Pineapple plants in the garden
The garden at the homestay
Jack fruit tree in the garden
Walking around the island
Two cute guard dogs
One of the many jack fruit trees
Free range chickens
Dinner on night one
And coconuts too!
Beautiful pink frangipanis
Relaxing in the hammocks
Throughout our three months of travelling SE Asia, we have stayed in many varying types of accommodations, including hotels, guesthouses, and hostels, and now more recently we stayed in a 'homestay' for a few nights. I had read about this type of accommodation in the Lonely Planet guide book, which named the area around Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta as a good place to find a homestay. Well, certainly we found it easy to find a homestay to stay at, because on our first day in Vinh Long we were approached by a woman promoting her family's homestay on An Binh island, directly across the river from Vinh Long.
There are maybe 4 or 5 homestays on this island, each of them offering similar accommodation, usually with meals included. We ended up staying at the homestay for three nights, and today I thought I would write about our experience of staying there.
The room that we stayed in was very basic, with two double beds with mosquito netting, a table and chairs and a fan to cool the room. There was no bathroom attached to the room, only shared bathrooms, which worked just fine for us. The only negative about the room was that the walls were not all closed in and there were no proper windows, so mosquitos could come in. The rooms are also quite close together, with no sound proofing. There are also separate bungalows that you can stay in, which seemed to be more private, and maybe a little quieter.
The garden surrounding the homestay is very pretty, filled with mango trees, pineapple plants, hibiscus flowers, and a wonderful smelling jasmine tree. On the front verandha there are hammocks that you can lie back and relax in. The whole setting of the homestay is very relaxed and homey.
The ladies who worked at the homestay all loved Charlotte, and would often come by to pick her up and play with her. Charlotte loved this of course, and we were happy to have someone else to entertain her 😉
There were plenty of free bicycles to use at the homestay, but we preferred to walk around the island with Charlotte in her stroller. The main concrete paths on the island made it easy for us to use her stroller. We loved just walking around the island, checking out the free range chickens with their new baby chicks, and spotting all the different fruit trees abundant with fruit.
Each morning we had breakfast at the homestay, which was eggs, a fresh baguette, homemade strawberry jam, and fresh fruit. Lunch was not included at our homestay, so we would walk up to the ferry port after Charlotte's morning nap to have lunch there. There were a couple of small lunchtime restaurants located next to the port.
Dinner was a big affair at the homestay, and each evening we would sit in our assigned seats and wait to see what was served that night. On our first night, as all the other nights, dinner was a three course meal. The first course (pictured above) was fried spring rolls, plus fried fish and fresh lettuce and herbs, which we were shown how to roll up our own rice paper rolls with. Then the next course was rice with chicken, and soup; followed by fresh fruit for dessert. We thouroughly enjoyed all of our meals at the homestay.
Overall we really enjoyed our stay on the island, however we were disappointed by the fact that the price quoted to us before we arrived and the price we were charged at the end ended up being more. That kind of soured the end of our stay a bit, because our hosts were not honest with us from the start. Thankfully though, we were able to settle the situation without too much hassle. (For this reason I will not name the homestay which we stayed at).
I hope you enjoyed reading about our Vietnamese homestay experience :)
We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City today, and we are excited to do some sightseeing tomorrow, and share more pictures and blogs with you.