Photo: On the canals near Vinh Long.

An Binh Homestays: An introduction

Well worth checking out

An Binh Homestays: An introduction

An Binh Island homestays are a great alternative for those looking to stay in Vinh Long for a night. Meandering paths through lush greenery and waving children on bicycles await travellers willing to make the journey by ferry across the river to get here.

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While formulaic in what they offer, homestays give travellers a great opportunity to check out a slice of provincial life. While originally they were families renting out rooms in their residences, they have evolved into guesthouses with hosts living on-site, but that isn’t to say that the chilled out vibe has left the building.

Your typical An Binh homestay

Your typical An Binh homestay.

While you can book online for a homestay, touts hanging out near the ferry crossing that runs to An Binh Island can organise a night or two at one. Most speak English and give a fair price without a markup. Homestays range from 250,000 VND to 350,000 VND a night depending on amenities. The four we visited offered fan room, bicycle rental, breakfast and a six-course cooking class/dinner for the price. Only one had air-con rooms.

A typical An Binh sight.

A typical An Binh sight.

The standard layout of the homestay is concentrated around a central building where the family sleeps. This building will have the original rooms and most are very basic. Most will have an expanded wing or separate building with extra rooms. These are generally less stuffy, so it’s best to request a room here. Rooms are basic with a bed, mosquito net and fan. With the exception of Bay Thoi homestay, toilet facilities are shared.

Bunk beds in An Binh.

Bunk beds in An Binh.

What these homestays lack in luxury, they make up for with chilled out vibes. Every homestay we visited had inviting hammocks strung up around the property and had an honour system for drinks. A couple had small book exchanges and all had decent WiFi connection.

Chilling out on hammocks.

Chilling out, An Binh style.

If you get a bit stir crazy from laying in a hammock, Chua Tien Chau is just a few metres from the ferry crossing. The entrance to the temple is dominated by a very large statue depicting the selfless act of a naga-shielding Buddha during a rain storm. A few buildings house some places of worship and a pretty garden lies out the back. Viet Artisans is a few hundred metres from the ferry crossing and offers hand-made goods in a serene garden. Sip a complimentary tea while perusing wares produced by disadvantaged residents living in nearby villages. Look for signs for directions -- you’ll know you are close when you smell the fish sauce factory about 100 metres away. Those looking for a bit of surreal entertainment could head to Vinh Sang, a 12-hectare entertainment centre, though we would skip it. The sprawling property offers games of chance, ostrich riding, go-karting, an artificial lake and sadly one of the most depressing zoos in Vietnam. Entrance fee is 35,000 VND. Homestays will give you a map of the surrounds that you can easily explore by bicycle.

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