Hey all another question for everyone!! we are travelling bangkok through cambodia and up vietnem in may/june (more details https://www.travelfish.org/board/post/indochina/8974_singapore-to-hanoi-in-35-days-advice--) and where really keen on a nice homestay somewhere along the way to get a feel for the real south east asia life.
Anybody have any recomendations that would fit in along the way?
#1 hamilove has been a member since 12/12/2009. Posts: 25
Frankly I've always found the homestay idea a bit strange. I guess because when I visit my in laws I get to experience a real homestay in an Isaan village, and it has a lot of negatives:
a. It's loud. Dogs, Roosters and kids on motorcycles make for a loud night. One dog barks, they decide to do it in harmony. Every little noise gets them barking again. Usually in ten minute intervals.
b. The food sucks. I don't care where in the world you are, peasants don't eat well. They eat "traditional" food, which is cheap food and often bland or just flat out bad. It's also repetetive.
c. There is nothing to do. After you've seen the area, which usually takes about ten minutes, there just isn't much to do. The locals don't speak English, so conversing with them in a meaningful way is extremely difficult.
d. The insects - particularly the mosquitos and ants - are avracious. IF you put a food item down, an ant forward observer will be investigating it within a minute, two at the most. Five minutes latter, he's bringing in the advance party to start taking it apart and bring it back to the nest. In an hour, it's fully covered in ants. Mosquitos fly patrol in formation looking for a victim.
e. Sleeping. I hope you find a concrete floor comfortable, because that's how most people here sleep.
f. It gets hot in the summer. Really hot. And there is no AC and no relief from it, other than...
g. The cold showers. Since water for bathing isn't heated, showers are cold. Some would say refreshing, and they are after you've finished. While you're doing it, it feels like you're bathing in the North Atlantic in November.
For this reason, most of the homestays I have heard about are not really homestays. They are custom designed with beds, designer food, little tours to go see some sort of sights, maybe even AC in the room where you sleep. They sit in some scenic little spot. Being a farmer in southeast asia is back breaking work done in the hot sun, with nature working against you every step of the way. My father in law has been a farmer his whole life. It's not romantic in any way. There's a reason millions of women would rather be prostitutes than work in the fields.
Here is one in a very nice part of Isaan, however, if you are interested. This is a pretty much basic kind of place that will give you a feel for rural southeast asian life: