Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hotels and Guesthouses in Luang Prabang

See the locations on Luang Prabang Google Map and get the kmz-file for Google Earth.

3 Nagas by Alila: From 198 USD. Sakkalin Road. Located in two houses, one, The Lamache House, built 1898, hosted the roxal family. As there is a wooden floor, you stay better on the upper floor to not be disturbished by people above your head. Good reviews on tripadvisor.com.


Superior room


Auberge Le Calao Inn: From 90 USD. Mekong Riverside Road. An old hotel, balconies with view to Mekong. Good reviews on tripadvisor.com


View from the balcony of Calao Inn to the Mekong. Picture by kenandlynns.com


Bakery Guest House: Sisavangvong Road. Three rooms with balconys overlook the road. There is a restaurant downstaits, so you may hear some noise. Mixed reviews on tripadvisor.com

Picture by marhas


Ban Lakkham Guesthouse: From 105 USD. Kingkitsarath Road. One of the new guesthouses. Nice room, shower in the bath with a lot of variations, beautiful balcony with view of the Nam Khan River. Helpful owners. The dust on the balcony was not cleaned, when this blogger was there for some days. Ask for the Lao noodle soup for breakfast. Good reviews on tripadvisor.com

Picture by marhas


Ban Pack Luck Villa: From 40 USD. Room 1 and 3 are the best, according to travelfish.org. Read review by easteatswest.typepad.com

Picture by marhas


Boungnasouk Guesthouse: See picture and read review on Thorntree.


Burasari Heritage: From 194 USD. 44-47 Unit 03, Khiri Village, Kingitsarath Road. Situated at Nam Khan River, in different buildings, meals are taken on the terrace of the river bank. Very good reviews on tripadvisor.com.

Picture by David McKelvey


Chittana Guesthouse: From 8 USD. In a small lane between Sakkarine and Kingkitsarath Road. Basic rooms with own and shared bath, vary in size and qualitiy, according to the review on travelfish.org. See a picture.


Indigo House (before: Ancient Luang Prabang Hotel: From 80 USD. Some mixed reviews on tripadvisor.com

Picture by Indigo House


La Maison De XanamKieng: From 50 USD. Sipoutthabat Road. Quite new. One good review on tripadvisor.com


Lane Xang Guesthouse: From 37 USD.


Lao Wooden House: From 55 USD. In a restored Lao style house, once built for a member of the royal family.

Picture by Lao Wooden House

Picture by Lao Wooden House


La Residence Phou Vao From 241 USD. The most luxurious option in Luang Prabang with excellent reviews on tripadvisor.com. "A high-end experience", notes the New York Times. The hotel sits on a hill - one mile outside of town, a long walk, but they offer a shuttle of course. Phou Vao is part of the Orient-Express group. "Excellent and decadent", means travelfish.org.




Massage at the Spa




Levady Guesthouse:Off Sisavangvong Road. From 10 USD. Read the review of travelfish.org, the review of tamar hadar and see pictures on flickr.com


Le Parasol Blanc Hotel: From 51 USD.


Lotus Villa Boutique Hotel: From 52 USD. Kounxoa Road. The hotel sponsors the Deak Kum Pa orphanage with 500 children with bread and milk for breakfast. Guests are invited to donate. Read about a visit to the orphanage. Very good reviews on tripadvisor.com.


Frangipani room


Maison Damis:


Maison Souvannaphoum: From 180 USD.

Picture by Lisons&Dansons



Manoluck Hotel:



Mekong Estate: 555 USD per week. Thou Gnai Thao Road. "More luxury apartment than hotel", notes travelfish.org. Two storey for each guest.


Mekong Riverview Hotel: From 190 USD. All rooms vith terrace or baöcony with Mekong riverview.

























Merry Guest House:


Namma Vong Guesthouse:

























Oui's Guesthouse:


























Phousi Hotel: From 52 USD


Ramayana Boutique Hotel and Spa: From 100 USD. MIxed reviews on tripadvisor.com. They mention, that the morning market starting at 4am takes place in front of the hotel, so guests in rooms to this side can feel disturbed by tuktuks and people, who are talking.

























Sakarinh Guesthouse: Sakkarine road. From 12 USD. Good review on
Thorntree-forum.

Picture by marhas


Sala Prabang: From 50 USD. There is a street between the hotel and the Mekong, so if you book rooms with Mekong view, be aware, that there can be some street noise. And the view is not so great, because there are trees between you and the Mekong. Sala Prabang consists of six buildings. Quite good reviews on tripadvisor.com

Picture by guscairns.com

Satri House: From 100 USD. 057 Phothisarath Road. In this house Prince Souphanouvong grew up, the later known "Red Prince" and from 1975 Lao president. Good review on travelfish.org, a bit mixed reviews (charming, needs renovation) on tripadvisor.com. And description by luang-ptabang-hotels.com

Picture by annamatic3000

Picture by annamatic3000


Saynamkhan Guesthouse: See picture by Michael&Sharon


Sayo Guesthouses: From 30 USD. Three houses - Sayo Xieng Mouane, Sayo Naga and Sayo River - in renovated old style buildings. Good reviews - especially for Sayo Xieng Mouane with the neighbouring temple - on tripadvisor.com and on frommers.com

Picture by marhas


Senesouk Guesthouse: From 25 USD. Sakkarine Road. No breakfast, but nearby many possibilities. Good reviews on travelfish.org and on tripadvisor.com.

Picture by marhas

Picture by marhas


Symoungkoum Guest House:
























The Apsara: Good reviews on tripadvisor.com, but the safes in the room seem not to be safe, as one guests writes.
























The Chang Inn / The Chang Heritage Hotel: From 80 USD. 93/03 Sakkarine Road. The newer Chang Heritage Hotel is just around the corner at Kingkitsarath road on Nam Khan River. "Absolutely gorgeous", comments travelfish.org. On the second floor is a balcony perfect for lounging, where you can also take the breakfast. Or you have it in a palmed courtyard behind the hotel. On tripadvisor.com is noted, that the walls in Chang Inn are thin, so you here the phone of the reception ring. Good reviews for Chang Heritage on tripadvisor.com.
























The Chang Inn
























The Chang Heritage Hotel


The Grand: From 120 USD. On grounds of the Xiengkeo Palace, which belonged to Prince Phetsarath, four kilometres and a ten minutes drive from the centre. Good reviews on tripadvisor.com and in Lonely Planet and on kolalo.com.


Thongbay Guesthouse: From 22 USD. Bungalows set around a small but beautiful tropical garden. "The place is gorgeous", comments Two Go Hobo. But you have to walk 20 minutes to the town centre. Good reviews on travelfish.org. Thee wooden bungalows are in Lao sytle, they have no glass in the windows, just mosquito net. There is a bar on the other side of the river that plays Lao pop music in the night. Good reviews on tripadvisor.com.























Tum Tum Bamboo Art & Guesthouse:


























Vanvisa Guest House: Read the review of thewanderingstraycat and comments on travelfish.org. And read a story in The Guardian.


Villa Laodeum:


Villa Champa:: Quite good reviews on tripadvisor.com, some point out, that the rooms are not cleaned on a daily basis. Lies on the way of the monks, who collect alms in the morning.

Picture by marhas


Villa Chitdara:


Villa Maly: Going to open soon. 33 rooms spread across five buildings, a mix of Laotian architecture and French and British colonial influences. Five of the rooms are deluxe and have their own balconies and views over the gardens and pool. In the centre is the 1938-built residence of Princess Khampieng and Prince Khamtan, a grandson of the 19th century’s King Zakarine. Read a description here.


Villa Maydou: From 85 USD. Ban Meuna.






Villa Phathana:

See their video:


Luang Prabang Finest Guest House - Villa Phathana from ArnuShawn on Vimeo


Villa Santi: The hotel has been created 1992 from a former royal mansion on Sakkarine road in the old town (from 150 USD). In 2001 the Santi Resort & Spa has been constructed 6 km south in a 10 hectare valley, beautifully lanscaped with streams leading to the Mekong River, surrounded by mountains, hills and terraced rice fields and with swimming pool (from 150 USD). According to some reviews on tripadvisor.com the rooms of the hotel in the old town need some renovation and are therefore overpriced. A part of the hotel is situated next to Luang Prabangs Primary School, some guests complain about the noise of the children. For the Santi Resort & Spa the reviews on tripadvisor.com are good.
























Villa Santi Princess Wing.


Villa Sayada.
29 USD.


Villa Saykham:


Villa Sokxai 1 + 2: Villa Sokxai 1 is on Sakarine Road, Villa Sokxai 2 on Phosi Road. See the view from balcony of Sokxai 1 on youtube.com and find a good review on virtualtourist.com. Hayleyandlorna on travelpod.com note, that you can sit on the balcony and see the life of Wat Phon Heuang. It may wake you up at 4am (they bang the drums...), but "sitting on the balcony and listening to the evening chanting and singing at 6pm is magical". Read also the review by kolalo.com. A review of Sokyai 2 can be read on tripadvisor.com.
























Villa Sokxai 1


Xieng Mouane Guesthouse: Good reviews on tripadvisor.com, guests say, they were not bothered by the drums of Wat Xieng Mouane.

Picture by marhas


Xiengthong Palace Hotel: From 90 USD. A former royal palace, turned into a luxury hotel with "Ayu Spa", just around the corner of the famous Wat Xieng Thong. Outstandding hotel according to the first reviews on tripadvisor.com

Picture by marhas
The restaurant

Picture by marhas


Picture by Xiengthong Palace
Jasmine suite



Downtown Luang Prabang

Amantaka: From 1500 USD. 55/3 Kingkitsarath Road. In a French colonial former hospital set in gardens you find 24 luxury suites. Wonderful according to reviews on tripadvisor.com.

Picture by Richard Michael Shaw


The Luang Say Residence: From 401 USD. 4-5 Ban Phonepheng. The new buildings gives an air of old French colonial life. Very good reviews on tripadvisor.com.


Hotels and Guesthouses outside Luang Prabang

Kamu Lodge: Located 2 and ½ hours upstream from Luang Prabang, on the left bank of the Mekong River. Twenty Safari tents provide unique accommodation, attached are stone bath rooms.The tents are furnished with bamboo and rattan furniture and have private balconies,overlooking the river.

Picture by Kamu Lodge


Khoun and Khone Bungalows:From 15 USD. In the hills surrounding Luang Prabang, ten minutes from the centre, run by a young family. Good reviews on travelfish.org. See a video of the sunset, the interior and the exterior


Lao Spirit Resort: 99 USD. 15 km out of Luang Prabang, along the Nam Khan river. Old houses from the French colonial era were brought here and restored. Read more. See pictures on flickr.com


Long Hanfa: Bungalows on the road to Kuang Si Waterfall, around four kilometres from Phosi Market.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chinese money brings big change:
A Railway from the North of Laos to Vientiane
and Thailand




China has just opened the worlds longest Highspeed-Railway from Beijing in the north along 2298 km to the southern boom city of Guangzhou. There were a lot of international headlines around the first train on this line. And they helped to forget the big problems with Chinese Highspeed Trains as the Wenzou train collision in the not so far past.

But the Chinese Railway policy has much bigger ambitions. It is under way to create a Highspeed Railway System in Southeast Asia, linking China to Laos and Thailand and creating connections from China to Singapore.

Laos is forcing plans for a $7 billion railway link from the capital Vientiane in the South to the Chinese border in the North (passing the towns of Phonhong, Vangvieng, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha). The construction shall begin early in 2013. The line will be completed around 2014, said Laotian Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad at an international rail conference in Beijing. "While the exact route isn't clear, the rail line is expected to connect the southwest Chinese city of Kunming with Singapore, passing through Laos, Thailand and Malaysia", wrote wsj.com.

The project is financed by a 30-year loan from Export-Import Bank of China, according to rfa.org. China will be responsible for the construction. "Beijing is seeking to secure raw materials from neighboring countries to feed massive infrastructure investment and its manufacturing industry", wrote wsj.com. There is one more railway project in Laos: On December 24 a contract was signed for a US $5 billion railway line from Savannakhet to Lao Bao at Vietnam border. The construction is undertaken by Malaysian company Giant Consolidated, writes enjoy-laos.com.

Meanwhile preparations for four highspeed-railway lines in Thailand are going on. Funding is to come from a proposed 2-trillion-baht investment programme dedicated to new infrastructure projects over the next seven years. In November 2012 Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said according to Bangkok Post the government is planning four high-speed rail lines to support trade and tourism within the country. The four high-speed rail lines are Bangkok-Nong Khai-Vientiane; Bangkok-Ayutthaya-Chiang Mai; Bangkok to Hua Hin; and an expansion of the Airport Rail Link in Bangkok to Chon Buri, Pattaya and Rayong. These plans are supported by a Study of Thailand Development Research Institute Foundation. And China is aggressively lobbying the Thai government to select its train and construction technology, writes Bangkok Post. Chinese Deputy Railways Minister Lu Chunfang told Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra that its construction costs average only US$20 million per kilometre compared with $81 million in Japan and $50 million in Germany. Thailand and China signed a memorandum of understanding on April 15 to conduct a feasibility study for the Bangkok-Chiang Mai and Bangkok-Nong Khai high-speed rail links. Thailands government plans to open international bidding early next year on the first phase of the high-speed rail project. Chinese government officials advising Thailand have suggested that it begins with a 54km route linking Bangkok and Ayutthaya as it would fall in line with the government's push to have the ancient capital serve as host for the 2020 World Expo, noted Bangkok Post.


Read also:
Growing Chinese influence in Cambodia: A railway from Preah Vihear, a steel plant and a seaport in Koh Kong

Thai-Burma Railway to be restored: The Myanmar government has announced plans to complete a railroad and highway on the route of the Thailand-Burma Railway built by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Jewel on the Mekong

See the locations on Luang Prabang Google Map

Suddenly there is an orange gleaming in the morning mist. A line of monks in their saffron robes turns around the corner. From the temple, where they live, into the main road. A line of Lao women is waiting, kneeling on mats, with baskets filled of hot sticky rice, bananas, candies. It's short after six o'clock in the morning. It's the daily procession of hundreds of monks through the streets of Luang Prabang. The women are ready to gain merits. Merits are important in Buddhism. Monks earn merits through meditation, chanting and more rituals. One way for women to earn merits is cooking and serving food to the monks, giving alms to them. When the monks pass by, the women take the food out of their baskets and put it into the bowls of the men.


The monks on their way

It's a magical moment in a mystic town.

And it's a moment of pity, when the monks and women are surrounded by hordes of tourists with their cameras. What happens too often now.

Luang Prabang is awakening. One of Southeast Asia's best preserved old cities makes faster and faster steps into the modern era. Tourism is a hope for the poor country of Laos. And also a danger. More and more tourists are looking for the unhurried charm of the traditional tranquility. They can still find it in this former royal city on a peninsula, formed by the Nam Khan, a river coming out of the misty mountains and joining the Mekong, the stream that is one of the wonders of Asias nature itself.

Luang Prabang has been a spiritual centre for hundreds of years. It became the royal capital in the 14th century, for six centuries, until the abolition of the monarchy in 1975. The first Lao Kingdom, The Lan Xang (Million Elephants), was founded in 1353 by the Khmer-supported conqueror Fa-Ngnum. He made Theravada Buddhism the state religion (see history). He got from the Khmer monarchy as gift a golden Buddha image, the Phra Bang, which gave the town the name. Today still around thousand monks and novices are living here. More than 30 temples, the so called wats or vats, have survived, dating from the fifteenth century onwards. In the morning you may wake up and hear chants, bells, gongs and drums sound harmoniously across the town. You wake up in a town of old Indochina, that still looks as it used to look during the colonial time, when the French were the rulers. A combination of Lao, Indochinese and French styles. Temples as well as shophouses from the early 20th century and older wood houses. Since 1995 Luang Prabang is a Unesco World Heritage site. Strict construction rules are followed. Thats why you discover an unique old asian town.


Haw Pha Bang


L'Eléphant Restaurant



But inside the buildings there are changes. More an more families leave the old town, because they transform their old houses into guesthouses and hotels. There is a limit of this development in view: Some days there could be not enough families left for giving nutrition to the monks. Then the existence of the old temples will be in danger. The impact of the tourism on the city has been described by the New York Times lately. This led to a broad discussion, that you can follow on lonelyplanet.com.





The view from Mount Phousi, picture by annamatic3000

See a series of fotos by New York Times and read 36 hours in Luang Prabang.

The Royal Palace is now a museum. Read the article by Gary Walsh from the Australian, whats best here and elsewhere in Luang Prabang. Find a nice description also by Jeffrey.


Picture by jeffreyalanmiller.wordpress.com

Royal Ballet Theatre: The Royal Ballet troupe performed Phra-Lak Phra-Lam, the Lao version of the sacred poem, the Ramayana, in the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang. 1975 the theatre was banned. 2002 the theatre was reestablished. See scenes from the Lao Ramayana, Lao folk dances and tribal dances. The performance starts from 6pm and entry is from 8 to 20 USD.


Picture by Lorna87. See more pictures by Esther Kalandjai

Read:
visit-laos.com


Exploring Luang Prabang See picture by Mariko



Sakkarine Road.







Ban Phanom Village



Luang Say Mekong Cruise: On the Pakou Boats, a 34 meter long barge

Links




Festivals Find a calendar of festivals in Laos here.
Hmong New Year: See a photostory by AdVenture into Laos.







Read background articles:
Stemming the Tide by Travel+Leisure
Unce upon a Sleepy by Fah Thai Magazine
Le tourisme au Laos ; bénédiction ou calamité? - Article by Alain Devalpo