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Homestay tourism in SE Asia: Our top five picks
If you are thinking of going for a holiday in a Southeast Asian country, why not include a homestay in your plans? Homestays can be relaxing as well as enriching as host families are invariably warm and welcoming, and eager to introduce you to local culture.
Pac Ngoi village homestays, Vietnam
Pac Ngoi village in the Nam Mau commune of Ba Be district has more than 40 houses made of stilts located on the slope of the mountain surrounding Ba Be lake.
Visitors to this part of Northern Vietnam can not only enjoy the beautiful scenery, but they can also stay in one of these houses and get acquainted with the culture of the local Tay community.
All homestay facilities in the village are wooden houses equipped with the necessary amenities. The homeowners also provide food and drink services, bike renting, trekking, and art performances for travellers.
Staying in these houses is an excellent way to experience local culture. In fact, many visitors have been so touched by their homestay experience and the hospitality of their host families that they have returned to the village again and again, bringing their friends and family with them.
According to Bac Can Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Tay ethnic people’s homestays have become a highlight in the province’s ecotourism, so much so the model has been extended to neighbouring provinces.
For more details go to: Pac Ngoi Village homestays (http://vietnamtourism.gov.vn/english/index.php/items/13206)
Meas Family Homestay, Cambodia
Situated in the countryside south of Phnom Penh, this homestay offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Visitors can relax in a hammock beneath the shade of a grass-thatched canopy, sample Khmer cuisine and even learn how to cook local dishes in the outdoor kitchen.
Trips can be organised to view the local pagoda, school and silk weaving village. Visitors interested in volunteering can teach English, help with the harvesting and other activities.
For more details go to: Mea’s Family homestay
Mekong River homestay, Laos
This homestay on the banks of the Mekong river is off-the-beaten track and allows visitors to experience life with the locals. The villagers here go to great lengths to make visitors feel instantly at home. On arrival, they are greeted by the village children and welcomed by the village chief, followed by a traditional baci ceremony in the evening.
The ceremony is accompanied by prayers, drinking of Lao whiskey and the tying of wrist bracelets. It usually ends with a local karaoke session.
Visitors can kick back and let loose by taking a stroll through the village, observing the traditional methods of growing crops, paying a visit to the local temple and playing a game of petanque or football with the village kids. During term-time, they may wish to visit a village school which will undoubtedly be an eye-opener.
Sungai Sireh, Selangor, Malaysia
Sungai Sireh is located along the coastal trunk road leading from Klang to Tanjung Karang.
Sitting smack in the middle of lush paddy fields, Sungai Sireh forms a serene backdrop to the activities of kampung life. Visitors can watch rice being harvested the traditional way, play congkak (a board game) or go kite-flying and participate in local musical performances and dances. They may also wish to spend their evening in the kampung exploring a firefly colony.
Go to: Sungai Sireh homestay
Baan Mae Kampong Homestay, Chiang Mai
Baan Mae Kampong is a picturesque mountain village, an hour’s drive from Chiang Mai. Located at 1,300m above sea level, it is surrounded by misty mountains and a heavily forested interior.
Visitors are welcomed to the village with traditional Lanna music and a meal consisting of traditional Northern Thai food. They can enjoy walks through the community forests where tea and coffee are cultivated, explore the village as well as visit the famous Sankampaeng hot springs. Those looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity may want to try ziplining through the trees that surround Mae Kampong.
The Baan Mae Kampong homestay programme benefits the villagers as well as the revenue earned is used to fund local projects to help preserve the community.
Go to : Baan Mae Kampong homestay
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