Au Lac Bar and Hostel, Dong Hoi

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, Dong Hoi accommodation, Vietnam accommodation, Vietnam hostels
Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, vietnam, vietnam tourism, phong nha, places to stay in vietnam, vietnam hostels

Au Lac Bar and Hostel is more than your average Vietnamese hostel

This was our second visit to Dong Hoi and it was for pretty much the same reason. We wanted to visit the Phong Nha caves. While researching accommodation options, we found that not only was Dong Hoi cheaper than Phuong Nha, it had more to offer too.

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The famous Phong Nha National Park Caves

On our first visit we found one hostel, Buffalo’s Hostel and all the foreigners were raving about. Everything else, was either in Vietnamese or way out of our price range, so we went with it.

We chose to book it as they offered accommodation and cave tour options, which at the time, was just what we needed. While our stay there was a fun experience, it wasn’t the warmest or most comfortable experience.

This time round we did the same thing and found the same result. Phong Nha just didn’t offer value for our money so we went back to looking at Dong Hoi.

I’m going to be honest and say that I wasn’t completely thrilled by the idea of staying at another party-hard hostel. What saved the idea was that it wouldn’t be for long and I could work with that.

Our stay at Au Lac Bar and Hostel turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip!

 

How we found Au Lac Bar and Hostel

Our regular readers will know that Hotels Combined is our ‘go to’ for finding a place to sleep and so far, it has been good to us. Though when it gave us another hostel option in Dong Hoi, I was a bit hmmmm.

As it turned out, Au Lac Bar and Hostel is now a new addition to our favorite accommodation list. Not to mention our first option for future visits to the super funky city of Dong Hoi.

Affiliate disclosure: This blog contains affiliate links for our accommodation partner, Hotels Combined. We trust and used them for most of our trip and we are happy to recommend their services (especially since they were so easy to use and found us really good choices too.) Now, you don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use these links but if you do, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

 

Location

Au Lac Bar and Hostel

Au Lac sits at 68 Dong Hai, Dong My, Dong Hoi.

The area boasts plenty of restaurants, bars, hole-in-the-wall eateries and you can walk to the city center or river front in no time.

 

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Facilities

The first thing we noticed about Au Lac was the awesome decor and welcome feel when you step inside.

The massive pool table greets you at the entrance then leads you to the bar/reception area. before sweeping you up the stairs to the rooms.

The communal area extends from the comfy couch by the window with a great view, across to the the row of small tables and chairs on the opposite wall leading to the bar.

There’s no lift but thankfully it’s only three levels so you don’t have far to go. The staircase is nice and wide too, so you’re not wrestling your luggage to the room.

 

Parking

Au Lac Bar and Hostel does offer parking and at first, we thought the parking facilities were a bit silly as there wasn’t much room in front of the building.

We soon learnt thought that they use the parking space across the street as well as the space out front.

The staff also bring the bikes inside round 11 PM and then wheel them back out at 7 AM the next morning. We thought that was super courteous of them, making our stay so much more enjoyable.

 

Socializing at Au Lac Bar and Hostel

The ground floor area is great for mingling with other visitors or just doing your own thing.

We had a blast playing a few games of pool and chatting to Thao who was manning the bar. Not only was she awesome to hang out with but she had great taste in music and was happy to find a few of our favs too. Thanks Thao!

We met a few of the other visitors in passing, though we got the feeling it wasn’t fully occupied.

 

Our booking bonus

Another bonus for us and booking via Hotels Combined was that we got a free breakfast out of this deal.  Kien delivered our breakfast as soon as we were ready for it and it consisted of the most delicious banh mi. Freshly made by the local banh mi legend and we loved every bite.

Au Lac also has a proper coffee machine too! You can order a choice of Vietnamese or western coffees at very reasonable prices.

 

Red Peppers Restaurant and Pizzeria

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, vietnam, vietnam tourism, phong nha, places to stay in vietnam, vietnam hostels

If you’re looking for somewhere to to eat, then head on over to Red Peppers Restaurant and Pizzeria.

Au Lac guests receive a 10% discount on their food bill. Extra bonus, whahoo!

The food selection is a good combination of western and Vietnamese food. The ingredients are fresh, the dishes are really yummy and reasonably priced.

Red Peppers is a short walk from Au Lac and like the hostel it has a very welcoming vibe to it too. It is a sister property to Au Lac and you’ll receive the same high level of hospitality there.

It’s not unusual to see Thao, Binh or Kien floating between the two either.  Good company guaranteed!

 

Where to eat in Dong Hoi

If you’re looking for something of the more local variety, then head right out the front door where you’ll find plenty of options to choose from.

A short stroll across the bridge towards Cang Dong Hoi takes you to an area that is full of eateries with mouthwatering selections to chose from.

Dong Hoi also sports a lively night market. On of the main features is the selection of local delicacies and crowd favorites, which we miss out on thanks to the wet weather and of coarse a good reason to come back. HA!

 

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, vietnam, vietnam tourism, phong nha, places to stay in vietnam, vietnam hostels

 

We tried a local spot at the other end of Đông Hải that had a lovely little old couple running it. While communication was almost non existent between the four of us, Leon and I were quietly confident they would deliver a superb meal, which they did of coarse.

Our order turned out to be beef and noodle soup dishes that were absolutely divine, not to mention a great find as it cost us next to nothing at VND80,000 (~USD3.50 / ~AUD4.80) for both bowls.

The most enjoyable part of the meal was watching the old couple get excited about their foreign visitors, finding ways to converse which ended in a fun and hilarious conversation via Google Translate that still makes us laugh.

 

Our Room

Our room was a basic but lovely and comfortable space where everything felt and looked bright and fresh and the private bathroom was huge (compared to previous places we’ve stayed).

 

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, vietnam, vietnam tourism, phong nha, places to stay in vietnam, vietnam hostels

 

The queen size bed was a dream with a Western style mattress, crisp sheets and a super warm and comfy duvet.

The first bonus was the balcony with a view over the Cau Rau river and out over towards the Nhat Le river. It was a great spot to have a beer and watch the world go by.

 

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, vietnam, vietnam tourism, phong nha, places to stay in vietnam, vietnam hostels

 

Two special mentions.

One, there is no TV. We weren’t bother as we were too tired after exploring and touring. Two, there is no wardrobe as such but they do offer coat hooks. Still if you’re only there for a few nights, you won’t even notice it.

The bathroom was clean and modern with the traditional all-in-one set up and was big enough to swing a cat in. We love it!

It had a western toilet, basin, double head shower which was perfect for Leon and stocked with basic toiletries as well as plush towels.

 

Au Lac Bar and Hostel Dong Hoi, vietnam, vietnam tourism, phong nha, places to stay in vietnam, vietnam hostels

 

Service Experience

Can’t fault the service in any way. Owners Binh and Kien, along with their team did an amazing job of looking after us. They give us heaps of insight into Dong Hoi and some great recommendations too. Then they hooked us up with a great tour to Paradise and Dark Caves, assuring us it would be both value for money and memorable.

We enjoyed hanging with these guys so much so that we’ve become friends and stay in touch regularly and it’s experiences like this that make us love this country so much!

 

Cost

We paid VND 200,000 (~USD 8.50 / ~AUD 12.00) per night for our three nights at Au Lac Bar and Hostel. It was an awesome deal and one of the best we’ve come across in our travels so far.

 

That’s our stay at Au Lac Bar and Hostel

We really enjoyed our stay. In fact, we enjoyed it so much so that we almost considered extending our trip to spend just so we could spend more time with Binh, Kien and Thao!

If you are thinking of doing the Phong Nha caves, don’t feel obligated to stay in Phong Nha. Dong Hoi has so much more to offer and Au Lac is the ideal spot for a base.

Check them out guys, you won’t be disappointed!

They are locals who know Dong Hoi well. They have a ton of recommendations that you will never find on TripAdvisor. Or any other review platform for that matter. (*Hint: Ask Binh about the hot springs.)

Thanks for reading and see you in the next one…

Hoi An Riverlife Homestay

Places to stay in Vietnam, Vietnam accommodation, hoi an accommodation, homestay accommodation, homestay hoi an

Looking for a great homestay experience in Hoi An?

Sure, everyone is constantly on the hunt for accommodation in Hoi An old town. Why not, it’s charming and popular but it can get expensive! What if we told you about an option that is cheap, comfortable, has river views and offers exceptional service? The Hoi An Riverlife Homestay delivers all those things along with hospitality that is second to none!

Hoi An Riverlife Homestay was suggested to us by another traveler back when we were planning our first visit to Hoi An.

Generally, we tend to lean towards hotels and apartments over home stays. They tend to suit our travel needs better but in this case, we decided to give this one a go and we haven’t looked back.

This happened to be our third time staying at this simple but most hospitable home stay.

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Hoi An - central Vietnam's little charm

Back in April this year we planned our first trip to Hoi An. We were living in Da Nang at the time where one of our first Tribe members suggested Hoi An Riverlife Homestay) to us.

We hopped on our favorite accommodation booking site, Hotels Combined. Found it on there and booked it immediately!

Want to book a stay at the Hoi An Riverlife Homestay?

Look no further than right here!

Affiliate disclosure: The information above contains an affiliate link for our accommodation partner, Hotels Combined. We trust and used them for most of our trip and we are happy to recommend their services (especially since they were so easy to use and found us really good choices too.) Now, you don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use these links but if you do use them, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

Where to find Hoi An Riverlife Homestay

The location is one of the best parts of this home stay. As the name suggests, it sits next to the Thu Bon River on An Hoi island at, 68 Road 18/8, Phường Minh An.

What makes this location so great? Well, you can look for the best accommodation in Hoi An Old Town or stay here where it’s a short walk to both Old Town and the Hoi An Night Market. Tucked away from crowds but close enough to immerse in the action whenever you want! 

Catching a taxi or GRAB from here is super easy too and the hosts will even arrange it if you want.

What to expect from your stay

The Hoi An Riverlife Homestay is almost more hotel than home stay with private and comfortable rooms, a reception area that is open between 7AM and 11PM and they offer secure onsite motorbike parking.

The family do offer an array of activities that guests can enjoy such as:

  • a tradition BBQ with the family, 
  • shopping with the family at the local market, and
  • learning how to prepare a local dish
Ask Chi for more details on those.

They can also arrange transportation to and from the home stay to most places. These include areas around Hoi An and Da Nang or, as far up as Hue. We’ve used this service before. It’s reliable, cost effective and hassle free.

Not sure where to start looking for bus or train tickets, time tables and the like?

No problem, we've got you covered. Hit search to find  your travel solutions

Affiliate disclosure: The information in this posts contains affiliate links for our travel partnerships.  You don’t get charged extra for using these links and we may earn a small commission from them which goes towards finding and managing all the awesome content on our site.  You are under no obligation to use them but if you do, we want to salute and thank you for your support, we appreciate it!

Hoi An Riverlife Homestay Facilities

The home stay consists of two levels with two rooms per floor. There are two rooms with river views and the other two overlook Old Town. The rooms are spacious and comfortable and well designed with foreign visitors in mind.

Another neat feature of this home stay is the rooftop terrace. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a cold beverage at the end of the day or a morning cuppa while you wake up with the rest of Hoi An.

There are three room types to choose from:

  • Standard Twin,
  • Superior Double, and
  • Family Room

We’ve stayed in both the superior double and family rooms.

Superior Double Room

We happened to stay in the same room on two of our visits and loved it!

This river view room was spacious and light. It also came with an added feature of a small balcony overlooking the Thu Bon river. (Perfect for a cheeky avo vino and nibbles).

Simply furnished with a comfortable large double bed, a small dresser, sitting area and luggage storage.

There was no blanket or duvet in any of our stays, but we found we didn’t need one. We’re pretty sure they will have one if you need it.

The private bathroom was clean and simple with a separate shower, western toilet and basin. Stocked with towels, toiletries (shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste), and a hairdryer.

The room had a large flat screen TV with cable channels, a bar fridge and came with free WiFi.

Family Room

The family room had all the same conveniences as the superior double with a few key differences.

The main area/room housed two large single beds, a flat screen TV and fridge. It also had double doors opening onto a balcony.

While the main bedroom had a large double bed, wardrobe and its own flat screen TV and balcony.

The private bathroom was also slightly bigger and offered the same amenities. It would easily accommodate up to four guests.

Costs

The superior double room cost us VND 300,000 (~USD 13.00 / ~AUD 18.00) a night.

For the family room, we paid VND 400,000 (~USD 18.00 / ~AUD 24.00). (We did get a discount on this because it was our third stay with them in a year and they were showing us some love.)

Either way, we would happily pay standard pricing as it is totally worth it.

Service that is second to none

Chi and her family will welcome you with open arms and make you feel right at home. That was the best part of all our stays at the Hoi An Riverlife Homestay.

The service doesn’t stop there either.

You can opt to order a home cooked breakfast and we hear it’s pretty impressive. (We’re always out the door so early and don’t want to bother them with getting up early to feed us.)

If you are not sure what to do in or around Hoi An then then just ask Chi. They have a wide variety of tours, activities and excursions on offer. They are very knowledgeable on the area and offer excellent recommendations.

All you have to do is ask.

Being greeted with a giant smile and a warm hug every time we stay is what we love most about this home stay.

So, if this is your idea of home-away-from-home, then we highly recommend coming here.

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Riding a scooter from Da Nang to Hoi An vs. riding the bus

If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome!  Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.

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Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…