As a solo traveler, a woman traveler, finding a place to stay when traveling probably requires more research than anything else in your itinerary. It is the place where you wish to feel safe and at home when away from home. Hoa Ban homestay in Ban Lac village, Mai Chau was and is a safe haven for women travelers and local women from the villages around. Opposite the homestay’s entrance you will see a weaving factory where local Vietnamese disabled women create beautiful scarves, wallets and purses, clothes and souvenirs in traditional patterns.
The homestay is run by charming Vinh, that will become your host, tour guide and friend even if you are staying for a night or two. She is the most welcoming and warm woman and made me feel right at home in the traditional bamboo houses, starting from greeting us with a wonderful lunch.
The homestay is located in the quite village of Ban Lac, one of 3 other villages in a greenish valley, surrounded with mountains, bamboo, rice fields, lakes, and of course the women of Mai Ban Lac that will share their smile, kindness and bananas with you, just because you exist and you share your smile with them. Mai Chau is the less touristic option when traveling in North of Vietnam, in contrast to Sa Pa.
I arrived to Mai Chau and to Hoa Ban homestay after reading countless reviews in FB travelers groups, praising Vinh’s hospitality and admiring the women of the weaving factory. Being unable to provide for your family, children, when you live in a rural place, unable to work the fields can be more than frustrating, it can be a question of life or… in regions where your only option is farming. Creating such an opportunity for women, the less advantageous in every society, is just a remarkable and inspiring thing.
The women arrive to the factory in the morning, work until lunch time and join there families for lunch, after which they return to complete the work day. Their beautiful crafts are available next door in a small shop and in very affordable prices, giving you the opportunity to give back and contribute more than a smile to the lovely women and community.
The universe gives us so much in our journey, don’t forget to give back and leave a footprint of generosity wherever you pass.