Stayed: Loc Phat Homestay, Hoi An review

I spent four nights at Loc Phat Hoi An Homestay during my trip to Hoi An. The place is runned by Linh–who deserves her Superwoman title–her husband (Quoc) and the two kids Billy and Tony.

It’s a terrific place for a solo travelling female since being in a homestay feels safer than a generic hotel or a backpacker’s place where you meet drunk kids on their gap year.

It’s also great for an ISFP like me because there is just the right number of people for me to interact with and not feel too overwhelmed.

Since I arranged for airport pickup, I didn’t take note of the address when I left for Hoi An. Airport shuttle was US$13 one way and Linh’s younger brother’s picked me up from Danang airport. It’s a lot more convenient than trying to haggle with cabbies.

The household

The previous tenants were not exaggerating when they say how accommodating Linh and her family is.

Linh whose day job is at a nearby hotel made sure that I was comfortable and changed my bicycle which had a loose chain. She even made extra keys for the tenants.

While I was there, Linh and her family slept in the living room, giving up their room to a pair of travellers. I think there was a mix up so they didn’t confirm their accommodation or something like that. I thought it was really nice of the family.

I also ate two of Linh’s meals, not refusing the second serving like how our Asian culture dictates. The family dinner was nice. And the cau lao which I had before leaving was the best cau lao I had during the trip, trumping even the central market one.

The tenants were really colorful characters. There was R who spent 30+ years with her husband and son on a boat! Two travelling 20-year-olds who asked me to have dinner with them (so sweet).

Room

$10 room

My $10/night room was the one facing the front garden. I had a large window and an even larger bed.

In the room, there are hangers which I used to dry my laundry. Multiple electrical plus. A tiny table with an equally tiny chair (children size) which acted as my makeup table.

Room with a view

The room has a standing fan which I had to use throughout the night because of the hot Vietnamese summer. In the morning, I can see a bit of sunrise right out of the window.

I do feel conscious that the opposite neighbors might see me while I change or sleep in ugly positions, but it’s probably my over active imagination.

Location

The road to Old Town

The house is in the middle of the roads to Old Town and Cua Dai beach. While it might seem a chore cycling to both destinations, it’s actually really easy if you pick Nguyen Duy Hieu to cycle (there’s less traffic compared with Cua Dai Road).

If you don’t have much time in Hoi An, I would recommend staying in the Old Town for the night view. But staying away from the attractions means I have incentive to explore the neighborhood and to discover the best coffeeplace in Hoi An (Cafe 139, on Nguyen Duy Hieu).

At the end of Cua Dai Road is the tailor where I made a qipao (more on that in a future post) so the location’s great.

Taxis are cheap and run on meters so they are a good alternative to cycling.

My trusty bike

Booking

I recommend contacting Linh directly through the site since it takes away the hotel booking site charges that both parties have to pay.

Stayed: Loc Phat Homestay, Hoi An review
Pro: Wonderful hosts, in middle of road to town and beach, cheap (US$10), airport/train transportation available at extra charge
Cons: Might be a bit warm in the room (because of the Vietnamese summer)

July 05, Saturday

I am so so sleepy. I think it’s the weather. It’s now officially summer and it’s very very warm, makes you want to switch on the aircon and snuggle in bed.

Japanese newspapers don’t have a lot of adverts inside. They are printed on another sheet of paper and folded with the newspaper. Here’s how big an advert (for an electronic store) usually is:

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I was looking for the price of an electronic dictionary, mp3 and rechargeable batts.

In the morning, I went to nearby Jusco with okaasan. Felt a bit awkward shopping with her because I look at the weirdest stuff and don’t like buying clothes. I bought rechargable batteries at 1,980 yen. Perhaps I should buy extra batteries because I can use that charger when I’m back home too.

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Simple design and the wrapper for the batts is white, instead of the normal shiny silver colour.

It wasn’t really Jusco where we went. It’s a big mall and their bread shop is lovely. The bread here all suit my taste. Yum Yum.

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Oh, while we were at the mall and passing a phone shop. Okaasan told me that when they first bought K-kun a phone, he used around 700,000yen. That is F-R-E-A-K-I-N-G a lot. Now they took his phone away. AHH! How can you tell her that you would like her to help register a phone for you when she had such bad experience?

free tissue from phone shop

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After shopping, we came home and tool K-kun to lunch. We had the famous Hakata ramen. It’s called tonkutsu ramen, which means pig’s bones ramen. The soup is a milky colour and those who don’t like it says it’s smelly.

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We ate at Asahi ramen.

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My bowl of tonkotsu ramen:

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I liked it a lot, the soup reminds me of something I’ve had before. I was a bit disappointed that ramen’s noodles is just normal noodles. I like udon more than yellow thin noodles. But the ramen was good.

After lunch, we went to buy dog food at a supermarket. I love supermarkets, and this one has a whole HUGE row of skin care products.

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Then we came back, everyone went for a nap while I watced the small TV at the dining table. Maybe I will put up the photo of the TV one day.

Then we went to the tea ceremony teacher’s place. While we were walking to the car, a little girl ran towards us teary face and said, “Mommy’s mad! The car’s gone!” Poor dear! Okaasan asked the little girl where she lived and they walked to her place.

Turns out, the little girl woke from her nap and found no one in the house so she ran out. She even said, “It’ll be dark soon.” It’s only 3pm and it gets dark only around 8. But she’s too cute!!

Oh before talking abuot how the tea ceremony class went, I want to tell you what I had imagined it would be like. I’ve read too many manga and watched too many dramas that I imagined we would be going to an old house and the teacher’s a young man (who’s good looking, by the way) who will inherit his father’s tea ceremony school. Ah, eye candy.

But in reality, the teacher is an old lady who has travelled to Indonesia, China and Mexico before. Oh, and she lives in a modern house with a room specially prepared for tea ceremony classes.what a disappointment.

I declined the teacher’s offer for a chair and sat kneeling. It was bad but not so bad that I screamed. So it was ok but I kept thinking, “are we done yet?? are we done yet??”

Oh, K-kun has been going to the classes for eight years. I must say, impressive! I don’t have to the patience for that long!

We came back tired, because of the weather and all that kneeling. Then I was in charge of Yume (you-meh, meaning dream) during the walk.

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The cat sitting at the windows, watching us leave.

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Then we went to dinner at Joy Fun, it was a western restaurant which also serves Japanese set meals. Interesting… I had some italian food. It was nice, but I don’t have much appetite for anything more.

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Nearby, there was a temple-like building.

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Then we came home and nothing much happened. Too lazy to study. :(

 

A few Qs answered:

–Why the cat comes in.
My door is a Japanese type sliding door and there’s no lock. sigh. The cat sleeps with the others so my room is probably one of the few places it has not been sleeping in.

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–I do not pick dog poop. I may walk the dog but NO WAY I will pick up their poop. It’s just waaay too gross.

 

Blog for June 29, 2008. Sunday

It has been a rainy and cloudy day. The weather was very cool, we’ll need to wear our cardigans. Isn’t this supposed to be summer? Where’s the sun??

In the morning, one of the cats came into my room and took half my sleeping place. Oi!

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I had trouble waking up at 7.00am when the sun was already shining on me. I kept saying to myself, “It’s only 6 back home.” In the end, I got up at 8am because it seemed like a good time to wake up.

Breakfast was pastry, salad, sausage and corn soup. The mom is on a diet. She’s so thin already in my opinion.

Later we went to Miyajidake shrine that is an hour away. I snapped a lot of photos during the ride. Hope I will be able to share it all with everyone.

The houses here are pretty. The shrine is some where in the “country” so there were a lots of paddy fields along the way. The hills here are cute too.

On the way to the shrine, we saw a plague and there was a picture of Pei Yong Jun on it. That’s the last thing I expect seeing in a Japanese shrine. Turns out, if you donate a really large sum of money, you can get your face on a it and they’ll put the thing at the shrine. Strange things happen.

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The shrine is a magnificent wooden building. There was a HUGE coil of rope that reminded me of intestines.

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This is a fortune telling machine. It was out of order when we were there. But I believe you put in money and they’ll drop you a random note with your fortune told on it.

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There was some ceremony going on in the main shrine — a guy was wearing old costume, chanting and banging on his large drum. It seemed impolite to snap photos of him like a tourist so I didn’t take any.

There were other smaller shrines for different deities. I snapped a pic of the red tori. The gates leading to a shrine.

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It was now the season of Japanese iris and another flowering plant. They had the most lovely bush of flowers and a field of iris.

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After the temple, we had rice cake at one of the shops at the entrance of the shrine. It was my first time drinking konbucha. Seaweed tea, it looks innocent enough but when you drink it, it tastes like soup — not tea-ish at all. The rice cake was filled with red bean paste and it was yummy.

On our way home, we visited an air-conditioned farmers’ market. It looked more like Fairprice than a real market. The veg there were all sold out and we bought fish cake and some large orange.

I saw a Chinese bell flower there. kikyo!!

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We returned home and rested. At 2pm we had cold somen and the soy sauce was very lovely!

At 4pm, K-kun’s tutor came and I hurriedly sent an email to my parents. I wanted to send mails to friends but I accidentally activated the Japanese typing stuff and couldn’t even type email addresses. >o<

Before dinner, we walked the dogs. I was in charged of the aged, cancer survivor Meri-chan. Meri is an old dog who (yes, “who” not “which”) wears a doggie diaper. Enough said.

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It was raining slightly during the walk but I quite enjoyed it.

I saw the train I will be taking to school.

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A fantastic garden

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And lots of really Japanese stuff.

DAISO! A whole shop!!!

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For dinner, we went to a sushi restaurant where they have food on belts turning round and round. I’ve found out that they drink miso soup right from the bowl (cool), that they have hot water at the table and you pour in your tea powder to make your own tea, and that sushi is damn nice!

See you in the next entry!

Updates!

I finally have my Japanese visa and I have information on my host family!

This sticker costed me nights of worry. I finally have it!

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Another news, the travel agent here tells me that I do not need a transit visa. I will call the airlines tomorrow to double check.

I have info on my host family. I won’t post much about their private info.

My hosts are Mr J, Mrs J and K-kun (who likes games). I will be sleeping in a five-tatami room on a sofa bed.

They have a total of five animals. Yes, you’ve read right. FIVE animals. I don’t mind animals but I’ve never been around FIVE animals. And they’ve never showed a family with FIVE animals in J-dramas. Good thing I’m not allergic.

Oh, I’m expected to help walk the dogs. Perhaps I can exercise and explore the neighborhood and take lots and lots of pictures ^___^. Cool.