Staying with local families allows you to live like a local
If you are heading to Sa Pa from Hanoi, we recommend you to stop in the countryside village of Huong Non on the way, where life is very self-sustained and most of the food comes from the surrounding fields, fish ponds and yards.
If you are going to the South, to Hué for example, you should stop for a stay in the village of Quynh Ngoc. While this village makes you feel like you’ve been dropped in the middle of nowhere, in fact you’re only a few kilometres away from a beach where many locals as well as foreigners go swim on warm days.
Good to know about Vietnam
The Tet Festival, Lunar New Year, takes place in January – February and is definitely the biggest festival of the year. Note that in small villages everything will be closed but it’s a good occasion to participate on the celebrations with the families who usually get together for the party.
Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated throughout Vietnam in May. Many temples are beautifully decorated and locals are offering fruits, flower garlands, and various Vietnamese dishes!
Wandering Souls Day is celebrated in the whole country in early September. Locals believe it is the day when spirits of their ancestors are able to visit their homes.
Whilst Vietnam is typically warm and humid, the weather can vary from one region to another.
During summer period, from May to August the temperatures can reach +40 C. Heavy rains are usual and it’s the most wet period of the year.
The best time to visit northern Vietnam is fall from September to November and spring from March to April, when weather is dryer than in the mid-summer but temperatures are up compared to winter, which can be very cold in the Hanoi area.
Typhoon season on the coast is from August to November.
Vietnamese people are extremely friendly and helpful. They will do everything they can to see you enjoy your time in the village. Here are a couple of tips to make the most out of it.
Try to use chopsticks for eating! You can ask for a spoon, but it tastes much better like this, trust us!
Most Vietnamese people sleep on beds without mattresses in the summertime - because it’s cooler! Feel free to ask for a mattress if you’re not ready to test your limits. Most families have them in store for the winter.
Use your both hands for passing or receiving items.
How is it like?
This is what our travellers say
"We worked on a rice field, went fishing, drove around with motorcycles, attended a local wedding, drank snake wine, sang karaoke, fed the animals, made amazing food and took care of the farm. We had the most amazing time, and five days went by way faster than I expected.
I recommend this experience for everyone who wants to make the most out of traveling, and not only do the touristy stuff abroad. I learned so much about Vietnamese culture and also some basic Vietnamese which came in handy when bargaining later on.
For anyone going to Huong Non or other Duara villages: Keep an open mind, attend EVERY activity you are invited in, have loads of fun and download the local language on Google Translate. You will have an unforgettable experience."
Juuso, Finland, visited Huong Non, Tam Non province
"Best part? The people. I was welcome everywhere from shop opening lottery to traditional Vietnamese funeral, from shrimp sauce preparing to an English lesson, almost everyone greeting me with a friendly 'hello' where ever I went. Also not to miss: The food! Xuyến is an amazing cook and would come up with new dishes every time. The variety of Vietnamese kitchen is overwhelming and markets have so much to offer. We also went to the beach with a taxi and came back with some tasty grabs and fish she prepared for lunch and dinner. Luckily I eat anything and she helped when I needed it - I had no idea how to eat grabs!
Another few hours trip to be paid apart we did was to see the sunflower fields, and we also saw on the way the Ho Chi Minh trail and the milk district.
I hope to be back soon!"
Jatta, Finland, visited Quynh Ngoc, near Vinh
“When I arrived to Huong Non I thought I had arrived to the wrong place. In my head I was expecting a remote village in the countryside with a green landscape, but in reality the weather was grey and the surroundings were dirty and quite urban.
“Now you probably think that I hated the experience. But I absolutely loved it! I have never met people this friendly in my entire life, and although I didn’t even learn the names of everyone in my host family, I miss them like crazy.”
Susan, Finland, visited Huong Non village
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