Homestay in Sapa and surround areas features one of the highlighted experiences for those who are keen on cultural exchange, learning odd and unique tradition and customs. However, the experience may be as good as you expected if you do not understand properly the way to do it. Here are things you should know to make your homestay a memorable time:
Things you should know before doing homestay
When you start doing trekking, please ask your tour guide or read the books about the ethnic minority who will host you at their home. Different tribes may have different culture and the welcoming methods. You should ask about some taboos or things that make you embarrassing while visiting the house. In general, in Sapa the homestay condition are quite basic, please expect sleeping with mattress, pillow and mosquito net. If you are on diet or doing special dining request, it should be informed in advance.
When you are staying at their home
Very often, you are welcomed by friendly host who will show you the place you will sleep and the toilet.
Taking notes of the restricted area which is for praying, storing their personal clothes.
A proper attitude with smiles, accepting the services are appreciated. In general, Vietnamese culture is quite reserved, if you are not content about any thing, you should leave the message or a note when you leave the house.
Dining etiquette is an important part of your homestay. It normally comes with dining etiquette.
- In the mountainous area, people drink a lot of alcohol.
- Using chopsticks to give you foods from main plates should be understood as a good gesture, nice attitude.
- Refusing cheers means you do not respect them unless you informed them at the beginning.
- Hand shaking should be done by 2 hands, not single hand
- Do not throw the food in front of your host.
For conversation, you should notice about the age of the person you talk to. Old people may expect a nice talk about culture, polity or knowledge than just fun while young people tends to drink, laugh.
Places to do homestay
Places to do homestay in Sapa: Ta Van village, Hou Thao village, Ban Ho village, Cat Cat village. Places to do homestay outside Sapa: Sin Chai village near Ban Ho, Muong Khuong district, Ta Van Chu in Bac Ha. Note: please bring your passport for your homestay register your stay in local village.