Sy was born during the American-Vietnam War and raised in a wartime village just west of Dong Hoi. After local schooling, he graduated from university, earning his M.A in Economics. He worked to improve irrigation for the rice fields in the province, then as a consultant to the Asian Development Bank and subsequently established his own NGO (non-governmental organization) to assist local community development. Their home was converted to an office, computers lining their living room. While Nga managed the Nam Long Hotel, Sy developed several community projects, including training 20 blind people (ask about the nearby Blind Massage Center); conducting five community grass roots democracy projects; helping a fishing village refine and promote its fish sauce, and assisting mountain tribes, among many other endeavors. If you tour Phong Nha cave, look to the right as your boat passes the Y in the river just before the cave. You will see a concrete ferry landing that replaced the mud bank the children used to slide down on their way to and from school…another Sy project.
In 2013 Sy and Nga made the bold decision to design and build their second hotel, “Nam Long Plus” on their previous home site, just a few blocks from the original Nam Long.
Nga, the hotels’ manager, now has her two sisters’ families involved in the hotels. Sisters Hong and Ha are key staff at the Nam Long, as are their husbands Huynh and Quang, respectively. Grandma (Nga’s mother) has joined the extended family, which includes young grandchildren, in the rented house just across the street from the Nam Long.
Sy and Nga’s daughter Bong, born in 1999, excels in art and academics and is finishing high school at ISAK, a top rated school in Japan.
Young Mr. Bun, born in 2007, has been surrounded by English-speaking hotel guests (and English-speaking cartoons) his entire life. You will find him a spirited and engaging conversationalist, despite his young years.
Note: this website is developed courtesy of Mr. Al Tigner, an American friend. Many guests have kindly showed a personal interest in the Ho family. Vietnamese traditionally are reluctant to talk much about themselves. So they have obliged by allowing family friend, Roger Van Dyken, an American, to tell a little of their story, above. Roger also authored the text in this website.