Dec 06 2012
If you are thinking of taking up our recent suggestion of doing nothing much in Chiang Khong then you could do worse than try the excellent midrange Namkhong Riverside Hotel to do just that.
One of the hotel’s strongest selling points for us is the view itself. With a location right on the riverbank in the centre of the small town, there’s a guaranteed Mekong view from any room. The view obviously gets better as you go up the hotel’s five floors but a snappy layout means each room has its own small balcony and all rooms face Laos. The hotel is constructed on the side of the river bank itself so as you enter from the main street reception is actually on the third floor. Ask for availability on the fouth or fifth.
Rooms are simply but pleasantly decorated and come with everything you’d expect for the 1,000 baht price: air-con, cable TV, hot showers, minibar, tea and coffee and WiFi.
A restaurant on the third floor has equally excellent views over the river. Your room price includes a good buffet breakfast with plenty of Western and Thai options; it’s worth getting up early to have the bonus of stupendous river views while you’re sipping your locally brewed coffee. The lunch and dinner menu has several Western offerings and the usual Thai standards but do bear in mind that while they can’t really go wrong with the eggs and toast for brekkie we’re not convinced by their spag bol for dinner. Thai dishes are very good however, albeit slightly on the expensive side (100 to 150 baht for most dishes).
The downside of the hotel’s Fueng Fah (bougainvillea) restaurant however is the rather annoying live music. We’re sure the musician is probably a jolly nice chap and only plays what the boss asks him to play, and we wouldn’t want to be too harsh, but to call it supermarket muzak would be doing a disservice to most supermarkets. On our last visit, after some debate, we settled for calling it lift muzak (which may actually be doing a disservice to some lifts too?). Late afternoon or early evening, before the live music starts, is a great time to sit and have a cold drink, after which you can either eat in one of the cheaper neighbouring spots or stay there, pay a bit extra and pray for a power cut.
Another disadvantage of this otherwise excellent establishment is that being a good deal and with a fine location, it does get very popular and weekends and public holidays it’s often full with Thai tourists as well as foreign visitors — do book in advance. That consequently means the restaurant is busy during those periods, so you may have difficulties getting a riverside table and if you do may have to put up with sometimes over jolly annual staff outings singing along to the lift muzak. (A coach in the hotel carpark can forewarn you.)
The helpful staff can also assist with onward travel. All in all a good address.
Namkhong Riverside Hotel
Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai
T: (053) 791 796, (053) 791 801
F: 053791 802
www.namkhongriverside.com (Warning: website accompanied by same music they play in their restaurant!)
All rooms 1,000 baht
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