MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME

The beach city of Vung Tau is experiencing a boom in homestay services, helping guests dig deeper into local culture and lifestyles

By LE CHAM on December 11,2018 10:07 AM

MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME

An eco area in Dao Ngoc Zone – Marina, Ba Ria – Vung Tau | PHOTOS HOAI AN

While some ways from luxury, homestays give guests a taste of local lifestyles and a greater understanding of local culture.

Homestays are now “hot” in destinations in Vietnam’s northern mountainous region, the central region, the central highlands, and the Mekong Delta. They have also diversified the tourism products and accommodation choices available in the famed beach city of Vung Tau in the country’s south.

The biggest thrill in homestays is becoming involved in the daily routine of local residents. This may be a trip out to sea for fishing or perhaps spending hours creating souvenirs resembling those made by local artisans. Guests can also try their hand at drying shrimp or fish under sunlight, all of which help guests gain a better sense of the authentic Vung Tau.

For years, Vung Tau has been a destination of beautiful beaches and has welcomed guests with the warmest of hospitality. The city certainly is a leading destination in the country, offering guests coastal views and a host of popular sites, such as the famed areas of Bai Truoc, Bai Sau, Bai Dau and Bai Dua. While it has previously embraced many luxurious hotels and resorts, today local homestays fulfill the accommodation needs of the local tourism sector.

Visitors enjoy the homestay on Go Gang Island, Ba Ria – Vung Tau

Visitors enjoy the homestay on Go Gang Island, Ba Ria – Vung Tau

The four and five-star hotels and resorts in the city treat guests like kings and queens, with comfortable rooms, well-catered restaurants, and spas, gyms, and swimming pools. Homestays, meanwhile, embrace guests and welcome them as family members, entertaining them with community activities. Guests can go fishing or prepare and then dine on the fruits of their labor. This turns tourism from “watching” to “touching”, and help guests gain a “feel” of where they are. Local dishes were once hard to find, and tourists to the city rarely had the chance to enjoy them. At homestays, though, guests can find out more about the local cuisine, learning how food is caught, harvested, and prepared, and at the same time can learn recipes and take part in the cooking. Such dishes are not just food but also culture, and a “product” guests themselves have worked on.

For those travelling alone, the hosts of the homestay will accompany them on local trips. Homestay guests in Vung Tau can make themselves at home and need not act like a stranger among local people. They can learn a great deal from them, especially about religion. It’s important, of course, to always be respectful of the cultural differences of those sharing the same house.

Vung Tau’s homestays are not only a destination but a source of sweet memories. They are home to your experience in going fishing, watching daily routines, and learning to cook food the local way. Vung Tau will remain in your mind once you’ve smelled something like “banh khot”, or sweet and yummy Vung Tau squid. The beautiful beach city will remain longer and longer in your soul, leaving an impression from when rising in the morning to watch fishing boats return home to sunsets under a line of coconut trees.

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