Klara from Melbourne travelled to Vietnam and visited the Mekong Delta and Tien Giang’s Cai Be district. After two days at Mekong Rustic Cai Be homestay, she said, “We stayed in a lovely double bungalows. The garden setting is beautiful and the hosts cooked us incredible food. It was very relaxed and quite rustic - you can hear roosters crowing and other farm animals around and we enjoyed hearing all the local sounds.”
Perhaps, the most interesting feature in Mekong Rustic Cai Be is not the luxury of high class services but the activities surrounding the farm life. Mekong Rustic homestay is more than just an accommodation, it is also a place full of culture and the daily life of farmers. Hosts will cook and introduce more about local specialities for tourists. In order to guarantee the quality, the maximum capacity for a homestay is ten people. Visitors can wear traditional outfits of Mekong Delta farmers and work as a farmer with the hosts.
During the days of this journey, tourists can visit local houses, talk with owners, and go around and pick and enjoy fruits. They can also enjoy such activities as basket fishing, shopping at the local farmers’ market, making jackfruit leaf cake – a special cake of Mekong Delta region - and hammock manufacturing with local craftsmen.
To help travellers experience the most authentic life and rustic beauty of the Mekong Delta, the host also offers boat-rowing tours on the most beautiful and pristine routes in Tan Phong commune. At the end of a day full of activities, visitors can enjoy folk song performances - one of the intangible cultural heritage as recognised by UNESCO – and listen to stories shared by local people.
Six years ago, there were few groups of foreign travellers who came here to experience the homestay. But right after uncle Ut co-operated with Mekong Rustic to open his homestay on Tan Phong islet, just 300 metres from the famous Cai Be floating market, the number of visitors coming to the area has increased significantly.
Sharing about this special tourism product, Nguyen Ngoc Bich, CEO of Mekong Rustic, said, he aims to develop sustainable tourism by working with local people to introduce visitors to the culture, habits, and hospitality of the local community, where the priceless traditional values are preserved.
“Why do we have to follow foreign standards but dismiss the tradition of local specialities? Not all tourists who come to Vietnam eat pizza, drink Starbucks, and stay at the Hilton hotel. Most of them want to experience local traditional elements, and the hospitality of the people. Therefore, tourism products should be based on these factors to make a difference and build a brand for Vietnamese tourism according to the combination of local elements and international standards,” Bich said.