Ideal Places To Stay In Laos
Until the 1990s, Laos continued shut off from the outside world, and largely unknown to Western visitors. Since then, more and more travelers have come to discover that this land locked country offers some of Southeast Asia’s most charming natural landscapes and a delightful diversity of cultures.
Although Laos still much less backward than its neighbor, Thailand, the country’s accommodation services have developed considerably in recent years, whether you want to spend money on a plush resort or enjoy a peaceful budget getaway. Today, we are going t share you 6 places are our favorite.
SETTHA PALACE HOTEL, VIENTIANE
Located on a broad curve of the Mekong, Vientiane, the undeveloped capital of Laos is a unusual and easy-going place. In the two decades since Laos became reachable to foreign visitors, the city has increased remarkably quickly. Today, with foreign investment continuing to pour in, Vientiane is rising fast. And along with new shopping areas and luxurious high-rise developments, the city has some excellent places to stay. The Settha Palace Hotel, a magnificent 1932 building close to the centre of Vientiane, is our pick. This carefully repaired relic of the colonial-era is filled with French period furniture. Its 29 rooms have all the mod cons, comprising mini-bar and safe, while outdoor you’ll find an outstanding pool and beautiful landscaped gardens.
Doubles from $200; www.setthapalace.com.
BAN PAKO (LAO PAKO) ECO LODGE
Head 50km northeast of the capital, Vientiane, and you’ll reach Ban Pako, where the rustic Ban Pako Eco Lodge is sited on a curve in the Nam Ngum River. Opened in 1993, they admit it to be the first eco-lodge in the country. There’s room for just 22 guests here, but if you manage to bag a bed, you could easily while away a few days soaking up the laidback atmosphere. Besides lounging in your loose river-view bungalow or in the wide restaurant overlooking the river, there are a slew of outdoor activities: tubing, birdwatching, swimming, and hiking to nearby villages to name a few. Self-guided nature trails also fan out from the resort, on one of which is the herbal sauna near a refreshingly cool spring.
Doubles from $25; www.banpako.net.
LUANG SAY RESIDENCE, LUANG PRABANG
Intersected by the mighty Mekong and Khan rivers and surrounded by lofty mountains, UNESCO-listed Luang Prabang is one of Laos’s major tourists draw for good reason. Yet for all its obvious beauty and charm, there’s no doubt that Luang Prabang has been changed by its ever-growing popularity with Western visitors, with almost every property in the historic centre now supplying the travel industry in some form or another. Venture just to the south of the centre to find relaxaiton. Here this exquisite luxury hotel is placed in gorgeous colonial-style villas amid palm, banana-leaf gardens, summoning all the spirit and exotic mystery of imperial Indochina – despite only dating back to 2010. The huge, light, with columns and big bay windows, are irresistibly decadent, and highlights include top-class French cuisine at theBelle-Epoque restaurant and afternoon tea in the Henri Mouhot-dedicated 1861 Bar.
Doubles from $530; www.luangsayresidence.com.
MUANG LA RESORT, MUANG LA
Set in lush tropical gardens in a peerless position by the Nam Phak River in Muang La, this dreamy retreat is one of the most luxurious places to stay in northern Laos. The huge, in half-timbered villas, with naga-themed suites, are exquisitely furnished and feature acres of polished wood. Guests can take in the river views from private hot tubs, drawn from the 43°C local hot springs and raised off the ground. Visitors usually stay as part of a two- or three-night package, which includes a choice of well-thought-out activities and trips.
Doubles from $331; www.muangla.com.
THE RIVER RESORT, NEAR CHAMPASAK
The attractive small town of Champasak is a popular base for touring the atmospheric relics of Wat Phou, one of the most meaningful Khmer temples outside Cambodia. And for a luxury base from which to visit the sites, this riverside hideaway is without compete in southern Laos. The twenty lao–Japanese-style rooms, with outdoor showers and fan-cooled terrace fields, occupy an fabulously serene stretch of the Mekong’s western edge, and are separated from one another by abundant gardens of banana plants, organic rice paddies and majestically tall trees. The resort even has its own spa and a scenic restaurant overseen by a Thai chef.
Doubles from $119; www.theriverresortlaos.com.
THE LAST RESORT, DON DET
The tropical islands of Don Khon and Don Det, 15km downstream from Don Khong and planted with jade- and emerald-coloured rice paddies, are an attractive haven for backpackers who come here in ever-increasing numbers. Yet despite the development of travellers’ cafés, parts of Don Det still maintain a rustic charm. On the west side of the island, about 750m from town, is this self-styled travellers’ community started by a former banker from the UK. Thatched wigwams sleeping two to four people are set around a sociable garden that’s home to a fire pit and an outdoor cinema, and the organic herbs and vegetables grown on site are used in communal meals each night.
Doubles from $8; www.facebook.com/lastresortdondet.