Viet Nam News
SƠN LA — Entering ‘Mama’s homestay’ founded by Lê Hồng Thái, many tourists are wowed by the lovely wooden houses on a hill and their cheerful young owner.
Thái, 27, from the northern province of Hưng Yên, said the homestay model brought him more stable income than the administrative work he had done before.
He dreams to set up a series of homestays.
A graduate from the Academy of Journalism and Communication, Thái has worked up and down the country. On a trip to Mộc Châu District, in northern Sơn La Province, Thái had an idea to plant clean vegetables here.
“My parents opposed me violently as they thought that I should do administrative work after graduating from university, not work as a farmer,” he told Tuổi trẻ newspaper.
After researching, Thái decided to set up homestay instead of agricultural work.
He persuaded his parents and bought a 2,000-sq.m piece of land near the Bản Áng pine forest, which attracted a lot of tourists.
“At that time very few homestays were here. Moreover, expenses to set up a homestay are less than a hotel, and young people like being in nature,” said Thái.
To set up the homestay, Thái researched models from Thailand and then built houses under the tree shade.
Thái’s first customers visited at the end of last year.
Thái himself clean the rooms, cooks meals and welcomes the customers, though he has hired some employees.
Now, Thái’s income is about VNĐ180 million (US$8,000) a month.
Thái is not the only example of young entrepreneurs in Mộc Châu District.
After studying planting strawberries in Đà Lạt City, the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng, Vũ Văn Lực in 2015 decided to plant the tree in Mộc Châu District.
Together with several friends, he founded a model of clean agriculture combining with tourism and named it ‘Chimi’.
Lực, 28, said that he realised that strawberries suit the climate in Mộc Châu District.
Starting with a 1,000-sq.m garden, now Lực and his friends have a 5,000-sq.m garden.
Đào Trọng Hùng, 26, co-founder of Chimi, said clean agriculture combined with tourism was attractive for tourists.
“Strawberry is a new plant here, so most tourists hope to see the plant,” said Hùng.
Hùng said that the best advantage of the area was that the Bản Áng pine forest was a famous tourist site in the district.
Tourists visiting the forest also go to Chimi.
Lực, Hùng and their group opened the strawberry garden, which also has many flowers, for tourists to visit free of charge.
More jobs for youth
Hùng said the biggest problem was to persuade their parents their work was a prudent move.
“Six months after founding the model, I invited my parents to Mộc Châu District. Seeing my good work, my parents do not oppose it anymore,” said Hùng.
“The weather here is wonderful, and I can meet many people, I find my life happier,” he said.
At present, with a 5,000-square-metre piece of land, Hùng’s group has 30 employees. In harvest season, nearly 50 workers are employed.
They also process different goods from strawberries. They intend to expand the model to other districts in Sơn La and other provinces. — VNS