Peaceful and charming
The rattan bungalows at Phou Iu II Guesthouse certainly are charming and the prices are much higher than they used to be, but it’s because they’re the best guesthouse located in the centre of Muang Sing.
The bungalows all surround a lovely garden courtyard and this is the real selling point of this place. The older huts have tile floor, squeaky saggy mattress, a small window and a wet room-style hot-water bathroom with Western toilet. For those looking for more comfort, the newer standard and suite bungalows have charm and are a definite upgrade with wood or rattan covered floors, big windows, fan, relatively comfortable mattress and linens, a white Tai Lue cotton bed spread and a well-lit tile bathroom with separate shower area and a sink with a countertop. All bungalows have a front terrace with seating to enjoy the garden. With Phou Iu, the compound is a one-stop shop. Their restaurant is one of the only decent places to eat in town. You can book treks, tours, guides and drivers with Mr Sisomphone who speaks good English. They also rent mountain bikes for 50,000 kip per day. And they have WiFi to boot. A few drawbacks: The lighting is dim. The rattan walls offer zero insulation and from December to February, it’s absolutely freezing at night. The comforters are thick but you’ll also need plenty of your own warm things to layer on. And no insulation means you’ll hear your neighbour and you will definitely hear the town’s public radio that blasts on loudspeaker from 06:30-08:00 every morning. It’s supposed to be a public service but we see it as a cruel wakeup call. Reservations are tenuous: Despite your best efforts to book in advance, it’s disorganised and always disintegrates into first come, first serve. Since it’s the best (and only) decent guesthouse in town, Phou Iu II does actually fill up in high season with small group tours. Aside from the unavoidable morning wake up call, it’s peaceful and charming. Along with Adima, a top pick. Tip: Avoid the jacked up room rate that includes breakfast and just go a la carte.
By Adam Poskitt
Last updated on 11th May, 2015.