Homestay has been something of a buzzword in the South-East Asian tourist industry the past few years. For travellers looking for new ways to engage with local culture, a homestay can provide so much more to their guests than hostels or hotels. Here are some reasons why to choose a homestay. If you’re sold on a homestay and just looking for the best homestays in Hue, skip further down the article.
Why choose a Homestay When Travelling?
Engage with Local People
Homestays are run by people that aren’t necessarily affiliated or professionally trained in hospitality. Hosts often work in other industries and have specific interests outside of travelling. You could be staying with artists, government officials or business men. Their recommendations and view on their city will differ from the tourist narrative and you’ll have a unique insight into where you’re staying.
A Different Perspective on Vietnamese Life
It’s hard to get a real insight for life at home in the country you’re travelling if you’re staying in hotels. Homestays are often made up of different varieties of family units or even friends! This leads to candid moments that will be interesting to the anthropological traveller. You’ll see how people eat together, how rooms are used and feel the atmosphere of household life.
A location Away from the Tourist Area
For the most part, homestays are modifications of buildings that function as homes for a family. They’re generally located outside of tourist spots and in residential areas. While your homestay might not be conveniently placed among all the tourist attractions or places to interest, you’re going to be in a real Vietnamese neighbourhood where the tourist industry hasn’t dictated the growth of the local community. With Vietnamese streets being so lively, you’re certain to find some local eateries and shops near to where you will be staying.
Eat with the Family
As mentioned before in the Cafe Nha article, it’s hard to get homemade food in restaurants. If your homestay proes food for guests, then you’ll have the rare opportunity for a home-cooked meal! Eating with your hosts will be an opportunity to learn local table etiquette and dining habits.
What is a homestay?
With the rise in popularity of homestays in South-East Asia, it’s worth noting that there isn’t any standardization of the word. A lot of small guesthouses and hostels use the term ‘homestay’ even though their accommodation doesn’t provide the experiences you expect them to. It’s best to read reviews and be frank when contacting the homestay about what you’re looking for. Similarly, couchsurfing is a database of people offering free accommodation and similar experiences to a homestay.
Best Homestays in Hue, Vietnam
We’ve found some fantastic homestays during our time living in Hue. We encourage you to look through this list and see what fits your needs.
Lagom Home: Artistic Community Homestay
riverside, clean, great hosts
Sitting on the Huong River’s edge is the elegant Lagom home. This spacious homestay is run by friends Tram and Beo who have a keen interest in local arts and sustainable living. Lagom home is on the peaceful Trinh Cong Son street opposite the northern-side of the Huong river. Plenty of restaurants nearby but the bigger attractions such as the citadel are a walk away.
The building is new and beautifully decorated. It’s best to book in advance as rooms here are limited (one private room and a small dormitory). Not a place to meet travellers but as Lagom homestay doubles up as a cafe, it’s a great chance to meet local people.
Bikes and motorbikes can be arranged for rent. For an additional fee, The hosts are happy to show you how to cook or cook Vietnamese meals. Breakfast is free every morning. The hosts frequently hold a community crafts session which guests are welcome to participate in for a small fee.
Le Robinet Homestay: Great Location
Close to Citadel, helpful staff, good value
Le Robinet is a recently new homestay that opened in early 2018. It is run by Linh who has taken over her family-in-laws house and turned it into a hip place for independent travellers to stay. Being a fellow non-native Hue enthusiast, Linh is admirable in her determination to find the city’s best spots for food and entertainment.
Le Robinet Homestay is situated down a small road within a stone’s throw of Hue’s Purple Forbidden City. This is one of Hue’s better locations as you really get a feel here for old Hue. While the citadel is flocked by tourists during the daytime, the citadel’s serenity is more distinct after dark.
The homestay composes of three buildings. Despite guestrooms being in the newest part, The oldest building, which dates back to the 1940s, is still accessible to look around. The spacious patio out-front has tables and chairs scattered around for a few evening beverages. The family room on the top floor is accompanied by a pleasant balcony with furniture.
Le Robinet has 5 rooms at very affordable prices ranging from dormitories, a family room, double bed and twin bed rooms. There is also self-serving kitchen for travellers who want to cook at home. Bike rental and motorbikes available.
Bamboo Homestay Hue
Friendly owners, Off the Beaten Track
Bamboo homestay is run by jolly newly-weds Trang and Hung. They recently took over the premises and after a refurbishment of all the rooms, are open for business. Thuy is exceptionally welcoming and more than happy to help visitors on their trip to Hue.
Although simplistic in decoration and minimal in design, Bamboo Homestay has a range of room options for all types of travellers. The bamboo furniture in the homestay was inspired by Japanese furnishings but all was made locally by nearby manufacturers. The concept of Bamboo homestay is to reinvent the purpose of a local cornerstone raw material into a contemporary, yet sustainable use. A large proportion of the furniture is made from bamboo!
Although it’s not popular location for tourists, Bamboo Homestay is within reach of some Hue’s lesser-travelled places of interest such as; the Nam Giao Esplanade, the Phan Boi Chau memorial house and Tu Dam Pagoda. The nearby streets Phan Chu Trinh and Phan Dinh Phung run adjacently along the An Cuu river and make for a nice evening stroll. Le Loi street also includes a variety of museums and art galleries as well as riverside park. While I was initially put-off by Bamboo Homestay’s location, it makes for a good place for people who want to avoid the tourists crowds and want a real experience of urban Hue
Dien Bien Phu street receives a large amount of traffic but the windows and doors are double-glazed so noise pollution in the rooms is limited. There is a kitchen where guests can cook themselves or the hosts will cook for an additional fee. Breakfast is free and vegan options available. Bamboo Homestay offer motorbike and bicycle rental as well as a bus-ticket booking service.
Khanh’s Home: Homestay and Art Gallery
Artistic, new rooms, out of the city
Khanh’s Homestay was initially an art gallery where Khanh and his father would display their work. Due to it’s out of town location, Khanh’s family decided to extend their family compound for tourists wanting to get out of the city and head somewhere more relaxed.
The homestay is made of two recently furbished en-suite bedrooms. Breakfast is optional and guests are free to browse the gallery through the day. the trees between the houses bear an assortment of tropical fruits and flowers. This isn’t a boutique hotel but it’s worth remembering that Khanh’s Home primarily functions as residence to Khanh’s family.
Khanh’s Home is on Minh Mang street. It’s a short driving distance from a number of tombs as well as graffiti wall and the abandoned waterpark. Probably more suited to the intrepid traveller and people willing to travel by motorbike or bicycle on the city outskirts.
Other Homestays of Interest
Homestays come and homestays go. I imagine this list will have to be repeatedly updated. Here’s a few more to check out if you don’t strike luck with any of the above.
Quynh Hostel-Beautiful house down an alleyway in the heart of Hue tourist area. The building itself is still being decorated at the time of writing but host Hoan is incredibly entertaining and loves to hang out with his guests. Once the homestay is complete, Hoan will have his work on show at the homestay. Only dormitories here but prices that can’t be beaten.
Citadel Homestay-Exactly what is says on the tin. Based on the north-east side of the Imperial City, Citadel Homestay is new and refurbished. Nice balcony, cool living room and a kitchen for guests to cook in. Owner Anh Tuyet doesn’t speak much English but can speak French. Mrs Tuyet can cook up a storm in the kitchen on demand. Breakfast is free too!
What do you prefer? Hotels or homestays? Have you stayed in any great homestays in Hue? Have you stayed in any of the homestays listed? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section at the bottom of the page!
All photos in this article by Ana Fortuna