The homestays I have been lucky to do so far have been amazing and on paper this homestay had the potential to be incredible too. However, after the 10 hour slow boat we were all feeling pretty broken and tired so lost the enthusiasm for the homestay a bit.
When we got to the island we were given a short tour around the village where we were greeted by a lot of locals. The village was very traditional and still upheld many beliefs and traditions from centuries before that are no longer in existence in the more populated areas of Laos or the bigger cities.
One of these traditions are that guys and women must sleep separately outside of wedlock. Therefore, our group was completely split into different houses and accommodation. I was staying with a group of the guys in one of the family homes. The house was effectively on stilts with toilet underneath at ground level. Another tradition for these locals is that the toilet should be outside of the main house because it is seen as an unclean part of the home. That’s why the toilets were always outside in small sheds.
The bedroom itself was a combined lounge and bedroom. They had electricity for lights but there was no television, computers or games consoles that we are so used to back home. The beds were essentially a thin mattress placed on the floor with a pillow and thin sheet. There was a giant Mosquito net covering each bed because we were in the wilderness. By this point I had been taking my anti-Malaria tablets for a while so I wasn’t as nervous about the number of potential mosquitos.
We had about 5 hours sleep before having to wake up at 4.30am and get back onto the slow boat to head towards Thailand. Another early start…
It was an interesting experience but from all the homestays I’ve been fortunate enough to do, this was my least favourite.