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Homestays in Asia

by Kate Goulson

When soaking up everything that Asia’s diverse destinations have to offer, nothing beats being welcomed into the heart of a community for a night or two of rest and relaxation.

Cosy down in homely properties and family-run lodges from Laos to Sri Lanka, getting the lowdown on the culture and traditions of each place from the perspective of those who call it home. Prepare and enjoy meals with your hosts, find well-loved armchairs and tempting hammocks where you can steal a few peaceful moments, and sink into the rhythms of the region.

Keeping your accommodation local ensures that more of your travel spend is channeled straight to the people and communities who make each destination so special.


Community Homestay Network

Exploring the valleys and foothills of Nepal’s mountainous landscape is a proper bucket-list experience for many, following in the footsteps of adventurous dreamers searching for spiritual space among the peaks. This life-changing experience can be enriched even further by staying in the locally-run homestays which form the country’s Community Homestay Network. This pioneering organisation is setting the bar for homestays like no other, empowering communities and creating a blueprint for the rest to follow. Discover more about daily rural life in Nepal, cooking and eating together with your hosts, and getting to know the walking trails like the locals do.


Rural Palaces & Waterside Homes

Homely doesn’t necessarily mean ‘quaint’ - in fact, properties such as Dev Shree Deogarh offer something altogether more swish. Get a taste of India’s opulent rural history in the stylish family home of one of the region’s regal families - reminiscent of the palaces of their ancestry - which has been re-imagined as top-quality traveller accommodation. Set amidst Rajasthan’s majestic landscape of russet-coloured hills and pockets of lush greenery, this family-run property provides a tangible connection to the region’s royal heritage.

In Kerala, the homestay culture offers the chance to experience local life amid the sultry southern heat. Visit riverside villages and temples, slow the pace right down with little fishing, or simply sit by the riverside soaking up the serenity.



Head into the heart of Bhutan’s rural beauty and get hands-on with the agricultural rhythms at a locally-run farmstay. This is a country that still feels enigmatic, having maintained a lower travel profile and never compromised on the ideals that lead the world in sustainability and community priorities. The farmstay experience is 100% true to life, offering simple, functional facilities without the tourist-ready sheen, where the welcome is warm and the connection is tangible. Eat and prepare food with host families, absorb the atmosphere of a welcoming Bhutanese home and, perhaps, get a glimpse of traditional farming.


Mrs Kham’s Nam Ou Homestay

Situated amid Laos’ verdant rice paddies, and bordering the gently rolling Nam Ou River, the village of Ban Muang Soune is home to Ms Kham and her family. Spend time in their 100-year-old family home, chatting about their life over shared meals and walks through the surrounding landscape. The family may introduce you to local weavers and organic farmers, and even share Lao fishing and cooking secrets with you. If you’re an early riser, take the chance to witness the alms-giving procession of monks that starts every day at sunrise in this peaceful region of rural Laos.

Sri Lanka

The Mudhouse

There’s no other property in Sri Lanka - or anywhere else in Asia, in our opinion - quite like the Mudhouse. This extraordinary venture, which began as the dream of three friends almost 20 years ago, has become one of Asia’s most distinctive places to stay. Rest your head in one of the lodge-style huts, each individually designed and made from a range of sustainable, locally sourced materials. Spend your days walking in the surrounding forest, keeping an eye out for local wildlife, enjoying home-cooked dishes, and taking time away from the rush.


Fang & the Phumanee Lahu Home Hotel

Surrounded by cool, forest clad hills and fertile rice fields, Fang is an excellent base from which to explore northern Thailand’s unspoilt landscape. Far fewer visitors make it this far off the beaten track, but those who do often stay at the Phumanee Lahu Home Hotel. This charming guest house is owned and run by a Lahu family, who have ancestral connections to the nearby mountain village of Doi Pumuen (where the owner's father was formerly the tribal chief) and the property proudly displays its colourful cultural heritage.

by Kate Goulson on 30th June 2024

Blog > Asia > Homestays in Asia