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Ban Pako Eco-Lodge

Lives up to its billing as an eco-lodge

What we say: 3.5 stars

Fifty kilometres northeast of Vientiane, a red dusty road winds through farm villages, beneath the boughs of subtropical trees, and ends at a bend in the Nam Ngum River. Here, on an ancient temple site, sits Ban Pako Eco-Resort. While no remnants of the ancient temple are visible, a sense of tranquility instills a timelessness in the place.

Hammock on the bungalow porch

Take it easy!

The compound is made mostly of wood, bamboo and other natural materials and surrounded by lush greenery. The main bar and restaurant area is perched on the river bank and mostly open air, save a large thatched roof covering the wooden deck. Bungalows are lined up along the riverfront, with views across the Nam Ngum into untamed jungle. Early risers enjoying the morning air may hear the call of gibbons in the forest.

Bungalows are spacious, with hot showers, mosquito nets and porches complete with hammocks overlooking the river. With no window panes and only sliding bamboo doors, there is little protection from mosquitoes, but the bungalows are spaced so that there is a good amount of privacy. Sizes of bungalows range from a double bed to a medium-sized family suite with a partition, to a duplex bungalow with very stylish bathrooms; prices start at 160,000 kip to 295,000 kip for two people, depending on the bungalow and the season. Extra mattresses with mosquito nets are available for the rooms, at 50,000 kip each.

Double Bungalow

Only a Beerlao is missing.

The kitchen offers a range of tasty Lao and Western dishes, with some of the vegetables fresh from the kitchen garden. Prices are a little higher than in the cities, particularly for Western dishes, due to the remote location. The kitchen can be slow, so be sure to order well in advance if you’re punching a time clock. The bar is well-stocked and serves a good variety of drinks at standard prices — around 30,000 kip for a mixed drink. The restaurant charges a corkage fee if you BYO.

Ban Pako offers a serene backdrop for some serious relaxation, as well as a range of activities. Steam yourself in a wooden herbal sauna fuelled by an old-fashioned wood-stove. A 10-minute walk on a jungle trail brings visitors to the sauna, overlooking a small wade-pool designed for an icy-cold dip after your steam. Notify the staff ahead of time if you wish to use the sauna, as they need to get the fire going. Use of the sauna, which seats five to six people, costs 20,000 kip for one to two hours.

View from the restaurant.

View from the restaurant.

Paths lead down to the river, with entry points at either end of a stretch spanning the length of the resort. Tubes are available to rent free of charge, and a boat escort is also available for one to two hours at 30,000 kip per person.

Ban Pako can arrange eco-tour trekking trips that include a boat and a guide for the day at 75,000 kip per person. Temple visits and massages are also on the list of possible activities, and the owner is generally very accommodating toward the interests of his visitors.

The End of the Road

The End of the Road

How to get here? A house van can pick up guests at Scandinavian bakery at Nam Phu in Vientiane if arranged ahead of time. If you’re coming here under your own steam, see directions on their website; they suggest here that a songthaew can be hired from 150,000 kip, but expect to search long for someone to take you there at this price. With the roads being dusty in the dry season and muddy in the wet, the van is highly recommended.

Ban Pako
On the banks of Nam Ngum River, Vientiane
T: (030) 988 4611, (030) 525 7937
www.banpako.com


    Contact details:

    Ban Nabong, Pak Ngum District, Vientiane Province  T: (030) 988 4611, (030) 525 7937 
    Email them at: info@banpako.com
    Visit website

    What we were quoted

    Type of room Low season High season Notes
    Dbl fan private b'room 150,000 kip 150,000 kip
    Family room 440,000 kip 440,000 kip
    Bungalow fan private b'room 230,000 kip 230,000 kip River view bungalow 260,000 kip for a jungle room

    Added to Travelfish on: 20th February, 2007
    Last visited or updated on: 2nd January, 2014

    Last reviewed by:
    Born in Aarhus Denmark, Ivana got her first passport at 6 months old and moved to Southeast Asia in 2009 to work as an English teacher and find new cultural windows in which to peep.
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