Homestay is tourism type in which tourists will stay at home of local people and be considered to be a member of the family. Taking a homestay tour, tourists will have the opportunity to not only contemplate the natural scenery, enjoy traditional food, explore culture but also mingle with local people in a normal working day. In Vietnam, there are a large number of destinations providing homestay service such as Hoi An ancient town, Mai Chau (Hoa Binh), Mekong River Delta and especially Sapa. Sapa is truly an outstanding homestay destination which is widely praised by international tourists.
In Sapa, homestay is particularly attractive to visitors thanks to houses made of “po mu”, a rare wood species in forests. Those houses are particularly popular in Ta Van Giay village, also the most famous village for homestay service. Ta Van Giay village is located on the halfway of Muong Hoa valley. Along the way to Ta Van Giay are terraced fields which look like a picture of beautiful natural ladder to the sky. Especially in harvest, the terraced fields are covered with golden yellow which is like a golden silk flying over the wind.
Passing terraced fields, tourists cross a bridge named “Cloud Bridge” to get Ta Van village. There are 140 households in the village, of which two third provides homestay service. Houses are built with wood and designed in traditional architecture of local people. Furniture inside are so simple, with only a cushion, a pillow quilt , a curtain for tourists and some local items and brocade dresses for decorating. Nevertheless, homestay travel is definitely not a service just to provide accommodation. Tourists staying in Ta Van village have the opportunity to cook dinner themselves by a wooden stove and enjoy local specialties, particularly boar meat. If boar meat is not your appetite, the menu is still varied with duck, chicken and vegetables of which all are raised by the host. The local wine is also worth-trying. In the evening, there are musical performances or campfire event from time to time. It is the ideal occasion for visitors to explore the unique culture of ethnic people in Sapa. Talking with local people is extremely interesting as well. People in Sapa are fluent at English and friendly so tourists can ask them any question about culture, daily life or customs and habits.
If Ta Van Giay village attracts tourist with a breath-taking wild beauty of nature then Ta Phin appeals them with a secret key. It is “bathing with herbs” service. The ancient Red Dao people here hand down a precious folk remedy to their descendants for curing disease. The bathing remedy includes several herbs species, 10 kinds at least and even 120 kinds at most. Herbs and hot water will help removing poison and tiredness out of the body. Therefore, after taking a bath in Dao people’s way will make you feel energetic and cheery. This is a traditional remedy of ancient Vietnamese. With a reasonable price, only 50 thousand dong for per turn, tourists are welcomed to experience an exotic custom which is found no where apart from Ta Phin village.