Homestay in the land of coconuts
Homestay travel has recently developed in Ben Tre. Homestay brings travellers experiences of the normal life of the locals, chances to explore the culture… during their holiday in Vietnam. Therefore, it is very popular in travellers’ community.
Homestay in Ben Tre
The first impression of travellers when coming Ms. Mai’s house is a beautiful fence made of flowers. The house stays at the bottom of a coconut tree, surrounded by a garden of many kinds of fruits such as: mango, grapefruit, jackfruit,… Especially, there are some rooms made of leaves, staying next to Ham Luong river’s bank, bringring comfort to guests.
To get to the center of the house, guests have to pass through a long hall. The kitchen is designed as an old kitchen of sourthern people. Ms. Mai tell that: “Travellers can cook dishes of our countries with me in this kitchen. For example: fried fish, shrimps fried with coconut, fried gourami,… I also guide them to make “banh xeo”, “banh tet”, “banh canh”,…” When arriving here, guests have chances to become a real “Sourthern farmer” with housework such as plant vegetables, catch fish,… At night, they can talk with members in the family. At Tet, they can join in traditional activities such as: receiving money for a new year, making “banh tet”, “banh chung”, …
Ms. Giulia, a traveller from Germany talk about the time she homestayed in Ms. Hoang Lan’s house (Chau Thanh, Ben Tre) during Vietnam tour package: “We were guided to make spring rolls, some traditional dishes. The next day, we had an interesting trip to visit the local market, cycle to explore the normal life of the locals, visit trade villages, gardens of fruits such as: rambutan, durian, mangosteen, cacoa,…
Mr. Gomes who has lived in the suburb of Ben Tre city said that: “It is very awesome for coming here. I can cycle to watch surrounding landscape with lines of coconut trees, catch fire-flies at night, paddle a boat,…” Mr. Jacobs (USA) talked about his unforgettable experience in Dua Xanh (My Thanh An, Ben Tre city) that: “It is really awesome. I went to a market, see fields of rice, coconut trees full of fruits, paddle a boat across narrow rivers, study to make traditional dishes, learn about the life of the locals, listen to the beautiful songs. The best thing is that I can drive a boat with engine in the afternoon to watch children playing, people working, and simply watch the sunset on the river.”
Homestay Nam Hien (Cho Lach town), homestay Mai Thanh Van (Long Thoi), Jardindu Mekong homestay, Dai Loc (Son Dinh), Nam Vu, Tam Loc (Vinh Binh), homestay Mai Thanh Van (Long Thoi, Cho Lach),… are the choice of many foreign travellers. The feature of homestay in Ben Tre is that the owners are very friendly. It may be the thing that make Vietnam tour packages become attractive.
Develop the strength of homestay travel
In Ben Tre area, there are nearly 20 sites of homestay, especially in Chau Thanh district, Ben Tre city, Cho Lach, Mo Cay Bac. This number is increasing day by day. The service is more professional, too. Many homestays is equipped with all conveniences. For example: homestay Nam Hien, homestay Mai Thanh Van, Jardindu Mekong homestay, Tam Loc, Nam Vu, Dai Loc,… they are house designed with all conveniences, and specific gardens of southern people, fresh air, and far away from the city.
In spite of strong development, homestay in Ben Tre has yet to develop all its potential. Most of the homestays are away from each other, depending on the capital of the owners. Therefore, the quality of service is not equal between homestays. Mr. Tran Duy Phuong, Vice president of Ben Tre Culture, Sports, and Tourism Department said: “ To help homestays attract more travellers, enhance the quality of service, we need a strong union between government and travel agencies, and families. The policies for loans need to be made more preferential. Besides, the towns which are suitable for this kind of business need to care about environmental problems, combine developing potential of travel with protecting enviroment, and keeping cultural background.”
Ben Tre is very potential of homestay travel, but not yet to be made advantages of. It is time for Ben Tre to have more policies to develop this pattern of travel.