While the Vietnamese are generally gregarious people, it’s unusual for foreigners to be invited into their homes. However, most visitors are curious about local culture, so it’s not surprising that home-stays are becoming ever more popular and widely available. Though there are home-stays all around the country, those located on tranquil islands of the delta, surrounded by acres of orchards, are particularly attractive.

For around $25 a head, you are transported by boat to your host’s (usually isolated) abode, shown around the gardens, given a tasty dinner (most likely including the delicious elephant-ear fish – a delta speciality) and lodgings for the night, either in a bed or hammock in a spare room. Bathroom facilities are basic, sometimes with squat toilets and bucket baths, but generally clean. If you book your home-stay with a tour operator like Sinhbalo Adventures, you can also spend the day kayaking between water palms along narrow canals, or cycling along narrow lanes between coconut, mango and papaya trees.

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