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Our Host’s oldest daughter.

If you want to experience the culture of a place you have to interact with the locals on a different level. One of the best ways we have found to interact with the locals is to live with them. This is possible by staying in what is called a homestay. A homestay is a room or rooms usually private with your own bathroom in a larger house. You are actually staying as a guest in someones home. Much like a hotel they offer you amenities and facilities that make you comfortable, but they offer something more.

Our Host Family

A look into their lives and culture. We have stayed in several homestays and it has given us a unique perspective. We spent 2 1/2 weeks recently in a homestay in a very touristy city. The differences in how we were treated when we first arrived as opposed to when we left were very different. We were able to get known in the small neighborhood and were met with knowing smiles and genuine waves. They were not the waves and smiles of someone trying to sell us something but the smiles and waves of neighbors.  Our host and her family were amazingly kind and very helpful.

The view from our free beach chairs!

The cooked breakfast of our choosing every morning, they introduced us to resort owners at the beach who let us sit in chairs with umbrellas that we normally would have had to pay for daily. We were given bicycles and told places to go and see off the beaten track. We were taken to the market and learned the local price of things and introduced to vendors and store owners that would take care of us. We sat down for meals with our host and family that were prepared for us as special guests.

Chicken Rice is a traditional Hoi An dish prepared on special occasions.

We were taken a few streets down and introduced to a family that makes lanterns for sale at the market and did not feel the pressure to buy more than we wanted. They shared part of their lives with us, and for a while we lived there. These are experiences that tour companies try to manufacture but cannot. They have to spring from genuine interaction and one way to do that easily is to stay with a local. It may not be the Hilton or the Four Seasons but I can guarantee that the experience will far outweigh any other stays you have had. Traveling for us is all about the connections and experiences and this is one way we have found to magnify both.

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Comments (4)

  • Shirl 4 years ago Reply

    This is my favorite post so far. Thanks, guys!!

  • Peter Tang 4 years ago Reply

    That sounds so cool. Did you find the specific homestay once you were in country or could you do that over the internet from the States?

  • Roger 4 years ago Reply

    They can be found on sites like Homestay.com and even booking.com and Airbnb. We found ours on airbnb. The really cool ones however you cannot find until you are there and many are part of cool small local tours.

  • […] the tourists their wares. It was a genuine greeting and smile that made us feel welcome. We were staying at a home stay and really got to know the local family we were staying with and had several meals with […]

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