Many have heard and used the word ‘homestay’ without fully understanding the actual definition of it. It is usually confused as a home lodging facility, but it actually is more than just that. The homestay programme is where tourists are given the opportunity to stay with a family in their home and experience the daily life of the chosen community in local villages. The tourists get to learn about the culture and lifestyle of the community, as well as participate in their daily activities.
In Selangor, homestays are carefully handpicked and have to meet the set criteria before they are promoted by Tourism Selangor. The homestay programmes are usually categorised according to the activities that are provided, such as, Culture & Lifestyle, Economic Activity, Recreation and Environmental Preservation. Recently, a budget of RM398,000 has been set aside to develop programmes for Community Based Tourism that provides training and guidance for local communities to better manage homestays and tourism related activities. Three local districts have been identified suitable for this programme and training will commence very soon.
The three popular districts among tourists in Selangor, are homestays in Sabak Bernam, Sepang and Kuala Selangor and the top 5 are, Homestay Papitusulem (Sabak Bernam), Homestay Sungai Haji Dorani (Sabak Bernam), Homestay Air Manis (Sabak Bernam), Homestay Banghuris (Sepang) and Homestay Sungai Sireh (Kuala Selangor). Homestay has definitely become an attraction to local and foreign tourists, who extremely wish for a wonderful and peaceful atmosphere of rural paddy field and only a few hours from central.Each of these homestays have their own specialities and individual charm. However, the one thing that they do have in common is the friendly family atmosphere of the host communities.
Activities that are offered are common to the communities living there and guests are able to participate in most of them including, paddy planting or harvesting, fruit plucking, planting fruit trees, rubber tapping, harvesting palm fruits and other agro-based activities. Apart from the agro-based activities, there are also cultural shows in the evenings and guests can visit the SME factories to see how local products are produced, as well as sample some of the local delicacies.
The cultural shows are a big hit with tourists, where they are treated to real traditional dances such as, ‘Tarian Poja’, ‘Tarian Cemara’, ‘Tarian Maduppa Bosara’ and ‘Tarian Pattennung’, accompanied by traditional music. This cultural dances still kept alive by the local villagers. Another one of the must-try is a sweet delicacy called, ‘Kuih Bangkit Bugis’, contrary to the more popular varieties found elsewhere locally, these are cookies that are similar to shortbread cookies and simply melt in your mouth.
Also unique to these homestays are their local traditional cuisine which can only be found here. There are many local delicacies and whatever dishes that are served, are guaranteed to be simple, fresh and totally delicious.
“Tourism Selangor is ensuring that this part of tourism industry, Homestay, is further developed and promoted to reach its true potential and will continue to promote Agro Tourism in years to come.” Said Madam Noorul Ashikin Mohd Din, General Manager, Tourism Selangor.