Picturesque Hoi An is one of Vietnam’s coolest little cities. Steeped in history, and dotted with aged Chinese and Japanese architecture this UNESCO World Heritage Site packs a lot of character and ambiance into a small package. Tourists are flocking to Hoi An in ever increasing numbers for its Old Quarter, its renown tailors, and famously delicious cuisine. There are hundreds of sleeping and accommodation options available to visitors, from boutique hotels, to resorts, hostels, and homestays. We wanted to experience a bit more of Hoi An’s culture than the average hotel offers during our brief four day visit, so we opted for a homestay.
Loc Phat Hoi An Homestay Villa is run by Nguyen Thi Ngoc Linh, or Linh for short, whose family has lived on the same property for 4 generations. It’s named after her sons, Phat (which means development) and Loc (Luck). Her roots stretch back to a small fishing village near Hoi An, while her husband’s family has lived on the property she now operates from for over a century. Linh claims to have established the first professional homestay in Hoi An and everything she has learned during her time working in hospitality is visible in the day to day going-ons of the Villa.
Stay for a night and you will notice the family’s impact on every aspect of life in Loc Phat. Linh’s children, nieces, and nephews run around and play with their toys, her father-in-law stands aged and smiling as security, her sister greets you from behind the reception desk, her sister/brother-in-law serve you a complimentary breakfast, and her aunt will clean your room. In fact every employee of the homestay is a member of the extended family.
“We respect everything we have, because we are very lucky to have it” Linh tells us while sporting her winning smile, and we know she speaks those words on behalf of her entire family in earnest. You can watch them eat dinner together, a very important tradition in Vietnamese culture, and see the contentment on everyone’s faces.
The homestay is more than just a business for them, it’s a way of life. The Homestay Villa has recently added brand new buildings to its complex, so visitors no longer live within Linh’s home, they have their own beautiful modern private rooms to retire to, all built around the tranquil garden. However interaction with the family is still a large part of the experience, and any guest who wishes to sit down for a chat or simply observe is greeted with open arms and a smile.
Lantern making workshop tour arranged by Loc Phat Villa.
Linh is an intrepid and well versed cook, and she exhibits her skills for the dinners she enjoys cooking for her guests. Stay in the Villa for long enough and eventually you will be invited to her home for a delicious dinner composed of Cao Lau noodles (made from a secret recipe that is known to only one family in Hoi An), green mango salad, fresh spring rolls, and the famous Hoi An pancakes. We joined Linh for a cooking class and after tasting her work we can vouch for the deliciousness of the meals.
Linh also takes great pleasure in talking with her guests and spends hours of her day interacting with anyone who has a question or is curious about the Hoi An way of life. She will organize any manner of trip for her visitors, from a excursion to a lantern making shop, a trip to a local market for ingredients used in the cooking class, or mundane things like arranging taxi service to the airport.
Cooking class with Linh.
The Homestay likes to give back to the community and every year Linh and her husband sponsor the education of two children, one from Linh’s fishing village and one from Hoi An. Since there is no such thing as free public school in Vietnam many children, especially the third or fourth born in any family, are in danger of missing out on a formal education. Linh was one of only five children to go to school in her village, so she has a deep empathy for the plight of uneducated children in the region. In addition the homestay also gives away a bicycle to one lucky child at the end of every year.
If you haven’t already gathered we were charmed by Hoi An, Loc Phat Hoi An Homestay Villa, and the family living there and operating it. If you want to experience an authentic slice of Vietnamese life within Hoi An City, book a stay at the Homestay Villa. You will be welcomed to the family with big smiles and open arms.
Want to stay at Loc Phat Hoi An Homestay Villa? Book here now!