Homestays Part 3

Lunch Anyone?

In the past couple of years I have noted the presence of
increasing numbers of young men that take pride in their looks and have no
issue with public thoughts of how people will react to their effeminate
mannerisms. The Vietnam version of lady boys are visible in most tourist areas as bar hosts/hostesses
and such. I asked one young gay man that I know about this phenomenon, and his
reply that being and or looking gay is fashionable. Huh?? The lady boys here
dress like women and wear make up and will interact as women but a person can
easily see in most cases that they are men. They seem to be generally accepted
by society and nobody gives them surprised glances. The phenomenon is not only
held to tourist areas though, but nightly am unused football stadiums and
amusement areas throughout the south and central (not sure about the north)
there are stages set up and every evening lady boys will belt out Karaoke songs
to families and conduct bingo like games and other amusements. I have not seen
a single person look as if there is anything unusual about this. I have long
since become used to these people and even enjoy their flattery or interaction
antics…… There is a dark side though. At night a lone male walking the streets

Gals or Guys?

of Saigon may encounter a couple on a motorcycle
that are there to relieve you of your wallet.
After all, a man does really not want to hit a lady now do they?


The next day found us on a highway outside Can Tho trying to
find a homestay that had positive reviews on the Trip Advisor website. Our
drive eventually took us to a snake and frog restaurant/Karaoke Hotel (use your
imagination on that one) where we were to be met by a fellow to pick us up. A
young man met us and we headed to a well used canal boat over a busy highway


and then down a muddy road under construction down to a muddy canal side where
we boarded. A fifteen minute chug down the canal found us at the homestay
mooring aside a long rattan and bamboo structure that had perhaps 8 or so rooms
with a small balcony overlooking the canal. If it were not for the garbage bags
floating underneath it would have made for a nice sight. My first impression
again was noise…. It was quiet now, but at 5 am all of the un-mufflered boats
would be cruising by.

The hosts had a house across a road and another series of
stand alone huts in the back. I have to admit that what they were trying to
accomplish was a nice concept, but unfortunately, the location just was not
ideal. We left back towards Saigon and after a
nap in a hammock, arrived in Vinh Long where the nicest of the homestays we
have inspected is located. To visit the homestay we catch a boat in nice
condition and travel down a section of the Mekong
before turning into picturesque canals. We arrive at a boat launch and find
ourselves in an isolated area with a nice home that has added a number of rooms
in the back. The family has you help prepare the evening meal and it is enjoyed
by all. It is the best place I have seen to date and could only be more ideal
if they had small stand alone private huts. The area is quiet but there is

homestay from the boat

still the unavoidable chugging of the occasional boat out front. I have found a
place I can easily recommend to anybody wanting to try a Mekong
homestay. Our trip back to Saigon was
uneventful and I returnef for the convenience to the same unsatisfactory hotel
I stayed a few nights before. I checked into my room to find no towel, soap,
and the bedding had not been changed….. Egad!! This last night was enough.. I
will never stay there again.


My final thoughts on a Mekong Homestay:

There are homestays that are small quality places that would

A nice concept

be perfect for a romantic or peaceful stay and others that look like sleep
would be the last thing that will happen. Generally, If you book with a private
tour company and specify that you want a quiet place, you will most likely get
a homestay such as the one we stay in Vinh Long. If you join a group tour
available through one of the many smaller roadside tour companies, you can
expect something more along the lines of the others we saw.

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Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

10 thoughts on “Homestays Part 3

  1. Owed,
    Currently I am traveling with my wife and 19 month old son through the Mekong delta. We are hoping to do a nice home stay in the Vinh Long area. As you can understand we are concerned about cleanliness and safety for our boy. Therefore I was wondering if you could recommend the home stay you are referring to here for us? And if so could you provide some information on name, location, contact details and how we would be able to get there or make a reservation? Can you also tell me when you stayed there? Thanks for your help.
    Ryes, frank

  2. Hi Owee, my boyfriend and I are heading to Vietnam on Dec. 29th. starting in Saigon and heading up to Hanoi in 20 days, stopping along the way. We would like to do a tour of the Mekong Delta that includes a homestay. What tour company would you recommend? Also, is there an ideal rough itinerary you can recommend for such a limited amount of time?

  3. What type of bathroom facilities do homestays have? I’ve had a couple of mishaps with squat type toilets. So, I avoid those like the plague. When looking for lodgings, cleanliness and a comfortable bed is important to me.

  4. Hi I will be around Hoi An area for Tet 2012 and wondering if you could recomend places to stay and where to visit during that period? I am in the process of working ou a schedule for the period between Jan15th -Feb4th, working my way up from HCMC to Hanoi and Sapa. I’m concerned about travel plans being disrupted and wondering what you might recommend?

  5. What is the name of the homestay in Vinh Long? Your blog would be a lot more helpful if you would name the places and give contact info.

    1. The reason I do not give specific information is I do not want to seen as a taughter selling somebodies homestay and not anothers. I think you might find that any of the reputable tour companies that offer a vinh long homestay would use the place I mention, including this link
      If you enter your correct email, I will Try to be “helpful” I received delivery failure

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