Sapa O’Chau, Vietnam
Home to several ethnic groups, such as the H’mong and the Dao, the remote Ta Phin Village in the mountainous Sapa region is eight to 10 hours from Hanoi by train. However, its rich cultural heritage and stunning vistas make the journey well worth your while.
Ly Man May is a member of the Red Dao tribe, known for its wealth of knowledge in herbal medicine. Women in this tribe wear distinctive red turbans with dangling tassels in a matching hue.
The rustic homestay is simply furnished with wooden beds, mosquito nets and not much else. The biggest draw, aside from the chance to sample a herbal bath? It’s just how close to nature you’ll feel, with views of rolling hills and cloud-topped peaks right outside your door.
The homestay is one of numerous pit stops available during a two- or three-day trek in Sapa. Enjoy dinners cooked over an open fire, and visit nearby villages to get a glimpse of how the indigenous tribes live.
Bali Traditional House with Temple, Indonesia
Located in Tampaksiring, a small village one hour north of Denpasar, the homestay’s compound comprises a traditional Balinese house and a backyard that holds its own temple. The village is home to several cultural sites, such as the prominent Tirta Empul temple, where devotees purify themselves with spring water.
Aji and his wife, with their eldest son Surya and his family. The friendly hosts are ever-willing to share homespun insights into the Balinese way of life.
The single and double rooms, located in the west building, all come with ensuite bathrooms. WiFi is available, as are basic amenities like hairdryers.
Get up early to catch the sunrise or w watch fireflies dance merrily at nightfall in the nearby rice field. Alternatively, take a 15-minute walk to the bustling local market.
Blue Mountain Homestay, Nepal
A 13-minute drive from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, this homestay is situated in Thamel, a bustling district that’s brimming with narrow alleyways and crowded restaurants.
Buddhi and his family, who run the place, speak English and reflect all the virtues of Nepali hospitality: warmth, friendliness and a willingess to help.
There are two types of rooms available: Standard and Special (the latter being more spacious). Each room comes with a private terrace, and guests can enjoy free WiFi around the clock, plus access to cable TV and laundry services.
Get your adrenaline pumping with active pursuits like white water rafting, paragliding and bungee jumping. You can even hop on a bike and pedal up to the Tibetan border.
Happy Healing Home, Thailand
Tucked away near the small town of Samoeng in the mountains surrounding Chiang Mai, this 10-acre farm advocates sustainable living. It grows everything from bananas and sweet potato to rice and coffee, in an idyllic setting that also boasts seasonal waterfalls and hiking trails.
Meet the Kumrisom family: Jim is a medicine man and former Buddhist monk who has received a Certificate of Divinity from the King, while his wife Tea has a background in rural development. They live on the farm with their 10-year-old son, Lou Toung.
Stay in a private hut or bunk down in the dormitory. There are also two meditation huts, a sauna, a library and a pond for fishing.
Get schooled in organic farming and forest survival skills, and learn how to prepare Thai and Lanna dishes using local plants. Or you can find your Zen at a meditation class.
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Silkwinds magazine.