Although it opened in its present form just a year ago, the Farmstay has become a popular spot for those who are looking for holidays away from the hustle and bustle of big cities, and for those who want to loosen up their tight muscles after long cave trips in the area.
A Charming Retreat
Sitting at the foot of the mountain, Chay Lap Farmstay looks beautiful at any time of the day. While clouds embrace the mountain in the morning, its green spaces become brilliant in the afternoon sunlight.
Chay Lap has 27 rooms for families and couples, which are located in individual houses, giving complete privacy. Some rooms are set up with outdoor lounge chairs, allowing guests to relax over a book or a cup of coffee while birds tweet in the background. Guests can also socialise or try the resort’s cocktails in the bar and restaurant area while lazing around the pool.
One of the most interesting activities at Chay Lap is the Vietnamese sauna. Set up in a 100-year-old house, the traditional sauna method is to cover the whole body with a boiling pot of herbs and a blanket. Chay Lap’s version is a little more up-to-date and uses a sheet-covered cage and a machine burning herbal oil. Regardless of how traditional it is or isn’t, it’s a must-try. Especially after a trip to the caves.
There are also free bicycles available to use, perfect if you want to start your day with a warm-up cycle ride or go to other nearby tourist attractions. You can also reach the centre of Phong Nha by bicycle as there is a shortcut that requires a short boat trip. Ask the manager or reception staff for directions, but remember to come back before dark as the boat service, costing VND10,000 (including your bicycle) per trip ends at around 6pm.
The Water Sports Centre
To add to the attractions there is a water sports centre located just a few hundred metres from the resort. Opened a few months ago, the centre offers a wide range of water sports including kayaking, water bikes, water skippers and round coracle-style boats.
If you travel with a group of friends, you can take a private cruise tour along the river. Depending on the length and your schedule, the 12-person boat will take you through different villages along the Trooc and Son Rivers, as well as to fish farms, rice wine-making villages and souvenir shops. However, if you are a solo traveller and want to indulge yourself with cocktails and food while watching the sun set behind the mountains, there are also two floating bars on Trooc River. — Vu Ha Kim Vy
For more information on Chay Lap Farmstay, click on chaylapfarmstay.com
Photos by Bao Zoan