Many youths have given up their job in Ho Chi Minh City to build a new home in the Central Highlands city of Da Lat and accommodate tourists with their homestay service.
The homestay facilities, uniquely tailored to the personal taste of their owners, offer affordable bunk bed rooms, late night cooking or barbecuing in shared kitchens, and opportunities to make new friends that are not found at regular hotels.
Their owners have found beauty and peace in the picturesque scenes of Da Lat, dubbed the ‘city of a thousand flowers’ thanks to its year-round spring-like climate, which allows a wide range of flowers to flourish.
300 reservations a day
The homestay facility named ‘Doi Mot Nguoi’ (Waiting for A Person) by gen-Y trio Diem, Thuan, and Lang is located at the end of a winding, uphill road in Ward 10, Da Lat.
The small, shabby brick house may come off as a disappointment to some at first sight, but its breathtaking interior design and the vibe it gives off get more memorable the longer one stays.
The house overlooks a valley of coffee farms, palm woods and rose gardens, with one side built entirely of glass to allow the first light of day to flow inside and entertain guests’ eyes.
Small as it is, the house has one double room, a bunk bed room in the attic, a small kitchen and a long dining table where all guests may share travel stories over dinner.
Just outside the kitchen is a small terrace with wooden chairs and a long bench where visitors may sit and enjoy the beauty of the valley below.
The house owners are fresh graduates from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Architecture who had decided to open a homestay business in Da Lat together after their graduation and call it home.
“We have been drawn by the beauty of the winding, uphill alleys of Da Lat since our travel trips in our student years, so after graduation we came back, determined to find such a place to build our new home,” Thuan, one of the house owners, said.
The trio spent two months refurbishing a shaggy cabin they had rented into the current belvedere, designing and crafting most items in the house by themselves.
According to his friend and co-owner Lang, their homestay has been a household name among backpackers visiting the Central Highlands city since its opening.
“We receive up to 300 reservation calls a day during peak times, but we can only accommodate one percent of those,” Land said.
A homage to Da Lat in 1980s
‘Dalat80s. Nha Minh’ is a more ambitious dream by Son, Quyen, and Thuy, who invested nearly VND700 million (US$31,250) to transform a four-story regular house into a homestay facility with eight medium-sized rooms.
Their idea for the homestay came like a flash during a coffee meetup among the three friends, upon which they wasted no time to search for the perfect location “on a tranquil hill of Da Lat,” said Le Thi Thanh Thuy, one of the house owners.
They scavenged through all the markets in Ho Chi Minh City for old furniture, resolved to resurrect the image of Da Lat in the 1980s with a touch of European architecture at their homestay.
Thuy said the three had spent all their savings on the house, but to them it was not only an ambitious venture but also a place where they are free to live the life they had always dreamt about and do what they love.
It was the strong connection among the house owners that had created a home-like atmosphere for visitors, most of whom are also groups of young friends looking to create memories in the dreamy city.