Viet Nam News
By Phương Hà
Đà Lạt, for long a popular hill station in Việt Nam, has added economical homestay arrangements to its long list of attractions.
Over the last two years, homestay options have increased considerably, opening up a welcome option for budget travellers who also wish to experience local life up close.
Located on a small slope on Hùng Vương Street, the Đà Lạt Otel Homestay boasts a unique design comprising rows of colourful tube-shaped apartments. Its location allows guests to enjoy great views of the valley below.
Bùi Sơn Lâm, business manager of Đà Lạt Otel Homestay, said most apartments are full, especially at weekends, booked well in advance.
"Most of the guests are backpackers who find the accommodation so convenient that they keep coming back," he said.
Another homestay facility is the Circle Hostel, built on a a 300sq.m plot in District 3. The hostel has ten apartments with a diameter of 2.2m and height of 1.2m. Opening the curtains in their rooms, guests can gaze at the evergreen pine tree forest stretching out into the distance.
Most of the homestay accommodations in the city have unique designs or styles and eye-catching colours. Phạm Thị Hồng Vân, manager of Homestay Légume, said her establishment used a minimalist tyle by reducing interior decorations as much as possible.
Accordingly, each room for two contains just bare necessities like beds, shelves and a fully-equipped bathroom. Other things commonly found in hotels, like TV, make-up desk are all excluded.
Explaining the style, Vân said they were targeting adventurous youth who prefer a functional atmosphere. In addition, the airy space outside has been used to plant vegetables and flowers that guests can harvest themselves and use along with the host. A vast “playground” in the centre is a space for young guests to buy and cook their own food, creating a family atmosphere.
At the upper end, there are homestays built like luxurious resorts and those that use temporary houses and old villas creatively designed to create a long-lasting impression on the guests.
Trương Văn Hòa, a manager of a homestay in District 7, said nearly all his customers are young people, including students who usually visit Đà Lạt during the weekend. The duration of their stay is usually short, from two to three days.
Homestay pricing ranges from VNĐ100,000 to VNĐ300,000 (US$4-13) per day, which is far more competitive than hotels.
“I stayed in three different homestay places in the city for three nights, just for different experiences,” said 28-year-old Huỳnh Tuấn Phương of Biên Hòa City.
“Each of them had different designs and different locations, which were interesting and impressive.
“At pretty affordable prices, we could be close to nature and be part of daily activities of locals, like cooking or taking care of the vegetables with the hosts. It was an enjoyable experience.” — VNS