What your Kip gets you in Laos budget hotels and guesthouses

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Mixay Guesthouse in Vientiane

In Laos, it seems that you’ll always have a place to lay your head.  Even if it’s peak season.

Enjoying inexpensive Laos budget hotels and guesthouses is where the backpacker’s fun is at. But to find awesome digs at a quarter of the cost takes real shopping. You can find much time on foot looking around. While I didn’t come across many guesthouses which dazzled me with electric chic, the pads I slumbered in might give you an idea of the backpacker budget median you’ll find in Vientiane, Nong Khiaw, Muong Ngoi and Luang Prabang.

Where to stay in Vientiane?

As the capital city, Vientiane can feel a bit spartan when it comes to sightseeing and things to do. But when it comes to budget hotels and guesthouses in Vientiane, Laos, you’ll have options galore to choose from! You’ll never be at a loss for finding a room to suit your wallet and convenience.

My accommodations in Vientiane

MIXAY GUESTHOUSE
P: 021243400
Cost: 50,000 kip/night

Great bang for you kip! If you’re solo and don’t mind sharing then the dorm rooms are the way to go! Rooms are clean and well-maintained and I think there’s a certain pride that the housegirls take in their cleaning. The front desk may not carry the warmest smiles but they get the job done well.

WHAT I GOT: A BED IN A SHARED DORM, SHARED BATH.

Pros: Great location (walking distance to the river and night walking street), Free wi-fi, booking assistance for transportation, free & amazing breakfast (fruits, toast, eggs and a hot meal), clean sheets changed with every new visitor!
Cons
: Shared dorm and bath.

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Where to stay in Luang Prabang?

Sadly, Luang Prabang is a bit like a little Waikiki, but Laotian style. Aside from French colonial architecture, tourist-filled bars and riverside restaurants an guesthouses, roadside smoothie and baguette stands and massage parlours, the little town has a tranquil beauty about it. You have a range of budget hotels and guesthouses to choose from in this Laotian town, as well as higher end hotels with colonial elegance. There’s handful of sites to see from a night bazaar, Mt. Phousi, the Nam Ou river and you can stand in the paparazzi line at 6AM with the rest of the travelers to watch monks receive alms from locals… well, no, tourists.  The beauty of this cheerful and chilled town is that it can be seen by foot or bike.

My accommodations in Luang Prabang

PHOUSI GUESTHOUSE 2
Khem Khong Road
P: 071 253 717, M:  020 5771 888
Cost: 70,000 kip/night (approx $7-9 USD)

Not far from the National Museum, the night market and Phousi 1 Guesthouse is Phousi 2.

WHAT I GOT: SINGLE ROOM WITH BALCONY, SHARED BATH

Pros: Central location in town next to river, balcony room has a view of the Mekong River and many outdoor river restaurants. In-house tour booking agency and riverside restaurant. Cons: shared bath is a bit dingy and paid computers shut down at 11P.

phousi 2 guesthouse luang prabang

phousi 2 guesthouse luang prabang

phousi 2 guesthouse luang prabang

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CHANNUANE GUESTHOUSE
Ban Ho Siang, Luang Prabang
P: 856-71  252 804
Cost: $30/night  USD (split with another traveler $15 USD/person)

The outside looks like a charming palace; the inside is more homey, like a colonial Laos Plantation home. There’s an attempt to be elegant in a Laos way.

WHAT I GOT: TWIN BED ROOM WITH SMALL OUTDOOR PATIO

Pros: free wifi, personal outdoor patio or balcony, hot showers, bath/shower, free fruits. Central l0cation.
Cons:
No Computer

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Where to stay in Nong Khiaw?

Dusty roads is the main thing you’ll see when you’re getting in to Nong Khiaw. The small town looks like a Laos version of the wild wild West. Sometimes it feels like a bit of a ghost town and there’s not much to do but hang out at Delilah’s cafe and hook into the wifi or go down to the river and hang out on the shores. Not much internet access in this town either. What it has is a pretty nice view of the river and karst mountains, a small handful of guesthouses (located across the bridge) and you can catch glimpses of local life.

Mostly, Nong Khiaw seems to be your transportation hub and launching spot to other places. Three hours from Luang Prabang, you can get here by bus or boat.

My accommodations in Nong Khiaw

BAMBOO PARADISE GUESTHOUSE
Located near Sunrise Guesthouse (opposite side of the  river from the boat dock)
Cost: 60,000 kip/night

If you can’t get Sunrise Guesthouse (prices have jumped to 130,000kp since Lonely Planet Laos review, this is your next best bet! Neighboring each other, Bamboo Paradise gets the prime views that Sunrise leaves as left over and it’s still pretty good.

WHAT I GOT: MY OWN  BUNGALOW WITH PRIVATE DECK & HOT SHOWER BATHROOM

Pros: One of the guesthouses with amazing riverside/mountain view. A whole bungalow to myself and an awesome view of the river and the majestic karst mountains of Nong Khieuw! The bamboo bungalow felt a little rickety (even though it’s very sturdy). But it was all good. Having a pad to myself and walking out onto my balcony to stare at my amazing view, had me feeling like I was in a palace. Hot water showers, mosquito net.
Cons
: Minimal English help (lack of information about boat/bus times), no internet (due to limited internet in town). On a cold night, this kind of pad may not be your best choice. Being a bamboo bungalow, the cold air passes in freely. Otherwise, it’s one of the down-to-earth gems in Nong Kheiuw.

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Where to stay in Muong Ngoi?

Muong Ngoi is a beautiful cove of a village, one hour away from Nong Khieuw and accessible by boat. It was my highlight spot and a serene haven to kick back or launch into trekking.  The town at night, runs electricity off of electric generators which means few guesthouses offer hot showers! Not to worry, at the end of the road @Moon Guesthouse runs an herbal sauna and hot dip and pour showers that have travelers lining up.  Town lights go out at around 9PM. Bring a flashlight or buy one at one of the local shops there.

My accommodations in Muong Ngoi

RAINBOW GUESTHOUSE
Located directly off of the stairs from the boat dock (on the immediate right hand side)
Cost: 50,000 kip/night

At 50,000 kip/night, this place is a literal steal!  Rainbow Guesthouse, is one of Muong Ngoi‘s many jewels for weary travelers. It’s a standard guesthouse and rooms are clean. I hear it’s really owned by Koreans but a local family runs it and tends to its guests. Ask for Aoot, who’s the trekking guide at bay— he loves his job, does it well and may try to swing you a deal.

What I got: A nice twin bed room (which I split with another traveler; hence $2USD/person) with private bath.

Pros: Well maintained, clean, close to the boat docks, restaurant and trekking/guide services.
Cons:
There are no hot showers (*however,not many guesthouses in MN have hot showers if they don’t have a generator) and electricity is from 7-9PM.

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my trekking guide, Aoot

 


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4 Comments. Leave new

You definitely had some good finds! 🙂

We did have trouble finding accommodation at one point in Laos – the week of Christmas! There were plenty of rooms available really, just not four or five days in one place. So we stayed in a different guest house each night for a week. It was a bit of a hassle, but it actually made us see all different sides of town that we might not have otherwise explored, so fair enough! 🙂

Though my favourite thing about Laos accommodation was in Vientiane – the place where we stayed was perfumed. Apparently it was a sort of Laotian answer to citronella – a scent that keeps the bugs away. It smelled lovely (and not overpowering) and worked as we never saw a single mosquito there, even though there were tons outside the front door. I asked what it was and the lady in charge told me it was her grandmother’s secret! She wouldn’t tell us anything more – but in the sweetest of ways. 🙂

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Avatar
Laura in Cancun
April 2, 2011 1:21 am

Some of these are so cool! Thanks for sharing

Reply

I guess its about making a sacrifice and what you are willing to deal with. Everything has some pros and cons. For the most part the are all bearable.

Reply

    @Kirk: Yessss… sometimes, it definitely feels like a compromise;ideally, you’re always looking for a gem that’s equivalent to western standards . But you’re right– there are pros and cons. Seeing the spectrum can feel like a mixed bag of culture shock and novelty. Mostly, it puts your sensibility of the country’s lifestyle into perspective.

    @Laura: You’re welcome.

    Reply

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