Wooden bungalows with character
The front garden and entrance to the extremely popular Kong Keo is looking a bit dated these days with long grass and some scraps of furniture ready for the rubbish dump.
In the corner is a wooden shack that does duty as a bar, but it would have to be one of the least attractive bars in town â€“ head to Bamboozle for a drink instead. Stacked all around the grounds are loads of old bomb parts and other war remnants, but the highlight is a cosy wooden balcony, which serves as a restaurant. The menu is limited and the food is the standard Laos/traveller range you see in many places. Out the back is a collection of individual wooden bungalows, all with private bathroom and hot shower. They are clean, with big beds and piney scent, but quite basic and do let in their fair share of insects. Rooms in the main building are nothing special, less clean, most sharing a bathroom with hot shower and Western toilet which could do with a scrub, and without fan. The bungalows are definitely the better option. Perceptions of the Kong Keo are divided; some love the earthy atmosphere, some hate it because of how basic it is. When we visited it did feel that the whole place could do with a spruce up, but when you're paying these prices it's hard to complain too much. And besides, Kong Keo does have character. They run tours to the Plain of Jars, with price depending on the number of people, but outside of high season you'll struggle to get enough people together â€“ rent a motorbike or visit a tour shop in town instead. Come here if you're on a strict budget, otherwise pay 20,000 more and get a more modern room elsewhere. To find this place, head to the main cluster of hotels in town and look for White Orchid Guesthouse. It's across from Nice Hotel. Head down that road and look for a sign pointing down a dusty dirt road to Kong Keo.
By Adam Poskitt
Last updated on 19th December, 2012.