A hippy, happy homestay service

Monday - 27/05/2019 20:16
After graduating from college and working at a bar in Hoi An, Phan Mai Thien Tam decided to start out on her own.

Tam, 24, got the idea to start a homestay service after going on trans-Viet Nam and trans-ASEAN bike trips.

With her own money, she rented a full house in an alley on Hoang Dieu Street in Da Nang.

Tam and her friends decorated the house in a freestyle manner and called it "An Nhien House".

The two-storeyed building, which is isolated from most of the noise in city’s downtown area, offers three rooms for short vacationers in Da Nang.

“We intentionally set up a self-service at An Nhien-Homestay so that guests can feel like they are at home. Visitors can share kitchen, washing machine, bathroom and dining room with the hosts at their price,” Tam said, adding guests could put whatever they want for using these services.

“I don’t care how much they pay for what they use during their stay here, I just offer them a homely space when visiting Da Nang, a free and relaxing time.”

Tam, known as Ha Di on her Facebook, said she started the business to do something that made her feel free and helped others feel the same.

The three-storeyed building, which was rented from a family living far away from Da Nang, has seven rooms, including double-rooms for couples and family rooms for four people with prices of between VND300,000 and 400,000 each day.

“I founded the service as my favourite start-up businesses, allowing tourists to explore real life in Da Nang. Visitors can design a vacation that helps them immerse with locals and enjoy local cuisine. They can also cook their meals with fresh fish and farm produce from a market near An Nhien Homestay,” Tam said, adding that the home has two rooms where four-member families or a group of six could stay.

She said guests themselves clean the rooms, wash their clothes and cook their food.

“It’s like their home. They come and go as they like. Security in the living quarter is quite good, and the home is a registered business,” she added

Tam said the An Nhien Homestay can host 20 visitors at a time in its seven rooms.

She said she does not spend much time at the house, because guests do everything themselves.

The Da Nang native also employs students to take care of the house, offering them free accommodation.

“I’ve studied in college and understand the difficulties of students living away home. I employ them to work at the house as a chance for them to practise a vocation and pick up some life skills before graduating from college,” she said.

“Students also get a little money from my home service’s profit every month, and that should help them with small expenditures, since accommodation at the house is free,” Tam said.

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Hip: Interior decoration in the An Nhien-Hippy home.

Hippy house

Tam has opened a new homestay service on Mai Xuan Thuong Street in Thanh Khê District near the city’s bus station and airport, offering six rooms that can accommodate 30 travellers.

Tu Thanh Binh, 22, a student of the Duy Tan College in Da Nang, said he was employed as a manager in the new-opened An Nhien-Hippy home.

“We are a group of five students including three managers and two staffs. We assign each other work and studying schedules. When I was away in college, other managers will take care,” Binh said.

Binh a native of Binh Dinh Province, said employees at the An Nhien-Hippy enjoy group work and free accommodation, and get a little money from the home service.

“The temporary job helps us grain real life skills and practice. It also saves money for us with free accommodation and shared cooking. All of us clean the house, decorate it and host BBQ and music parties on the weekend for tourists,” Binh said.

“The new home offers more choice for tourists as it is located in a residential area with many restaurants, markets and shopping centres. We have bikes for rent and links with travel agencies, booking centres and eateries,” he said.

The student manager said the home is just 500m away from the coast, so guests can enjoy the sea and its breeze after a short walk.

“It’s cheerful home for young hippy types in Da Nang at reasonable cost.”

He said the Hippy house has a room for couples with VND350,000 (US$15.5), while a room for four costs VND400,000 ($17.7).

Laurent, a tourist, said about her time at the An Nhien Homestay: “If you are looking for a great and relaxing spot in the middle of Da Nang, this is the place to go. Just a few steps from the busy city you will find this beautiful house with the great hosts – they will immediately make you feel at home and will help you with any questions you may have during your stay. I strongly recommend you to stay here if you’re in Da Nang.”

Another visitor, Till, said: “What a nice house in the heart of Da Nang. I could not imagine a better homestay. It’s quiet and has a wonderful terrace where you can enjoy eating outdoors or just have a cup of coffee.”

Homestay service is the latest hospitality sector entrant in the coastal city, following investors pouring funds into international standard hotels and resorts.

“I plan to open more such places in quiet streets near the beaches of Da Nang and the tourism hubs of Hue and Nha Trang,” said Tam.

“I just want to create an easy choice for tourists when they come to Da Nang, as I have experienced in my own bike trips in ASEAN and Viet Nam. The opportunity to stay in a safe and peaceful house in Da Nang would lure more tourists to the city.”

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Simply done: The wall at An Nhien Homestay is decorated with a wall painting and costumes of ethnic minority groups in Viet Nam.

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The host: Phan Mai Thien Tam has started a homestay service in Da Nang, something that makes her feel free and helps others feel the same.

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