Authentic hospitality, home-cooked food, and a host who knows everything there is to know about your location. A homestay offers the chance to experience a fascinating side of life that’s only possible by taking the local view.

The concept may have originated in Kerala, but now homes of all shapes and sizes have opened up across India – and there are even a few in Bhutan. Your homestay could be a plantation bungalow, backwater hideaway, working farm, former hunting lodge or a restored colonial mansion.

Although sometimes the accommodation may be a little simple, homestays offer an authentic experience with extremely hospitable people and an insight into the everyday that’s not to be missed.

On the inside track

Your hosts are often among the most respected residents of the community and will show you round their village or town, farm or estate, sharing their local knowledge. They will always be pleased to make recommendations of great things to do and may even use their influence to give you access to special events or places otherwise closed to visitors. And best of all you’ll be tucking into local cuisine at its finest – home cooked. If you’re lucky, they may even let you in on the secrets of a closely guarded recipe or two.

Talk to us about arranging a homestay, and open up a world of unforgettable travel. 

Will I have much privacy on a homestay?

At some homestays you’ll find just one or two guest rooms in the family house, but we can suggest others with detached cottages for a smidgeon more independence. Your hosts invariably know when to grab you for a chat or leave you to your own devices, but meal times are usually taken together and are a social occasion to relish.

How comfortable is a homestay?

Rooms are homely, with en-suite shower rooms, air-conditioning or fan and can be decorated in a variety of styles. Usually the candlewick bedspreads have been replaced with cotton linen and duvets and any personal trinkets or knickknacks have found a new home. In the living room you’re likely to find the usual family photos and souvenirs – and don’t be surprised if there’s an antimacassar on an armchair.