2008 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
First published 9th October, 2008
As the most popular tourist destination in Laos, Luang Prabang is filled with a wide range of guesthouses and hotels to choose from. Finding one with the right blend of comfort, style and value can make or break your visit. Here's an updated-for-2008 version of our old story titled "What's a good guesthouse in Luang Prabang?"
At backpacker level, guesthouse prices can fluctuate wildly, reflecting seasonal tourist density. A US$3 bargain room can rocket up to $15 weeks later. Few in this range take bookings, relying mainly on walk-in business. It's not uncommon late afternoon to see a stream of newly-arrived backpackers, fresh off the boat or bus, tramping the streets door to door. Competition can be fierce at busy times, so under those circumstances it's sensible to take the first acceptable option for the night and relocate in the morning if you wish to change.
Touts meeting buses and boats are often family members or guesthouse employees. While they obviously have an agenda, shyster antics commonly seen in other countries ("that one is full/closed, come to mine instead") are mercifully not in evidence. Check out their brochures and make a decision on the spot: they may help with transport, and you can always move on tomorrow. Common sense dictates however, that if there are a large number of touts, the town is probably not full, and you'll find a reasonable number of vacancies in town yourself.
There are three budget accommodation areas in Luang Prabang which are best to explore:
Behind the post office, Ban Hoxieng
This atmospheric residential area has narrow paved laneways crowded with large homes, many converted into cheap but comfortable accommodation. Close to the night market and inexpensive Mekong-side restaurants, it's just a small walk from the popular backpacker hangouts.
The pick of the bunch has to be Rattana Guesthouse ($12-$25), although the higher price range eliminates the interest of many die-hard backpackers. Good backpacker budget options include Somjith (from 50,000 kip), Tanoy (from 40,000 kip) and Nok Noy (from 50,000 kip), but there are a bunch of others in the same range should these be full.
Along the Mekong
Lining the road along the Mekong and in the small alleys running off it are a myriad of small, mostly budget guesthouses; some of the biggest offenders in the fluctuating price stakes. Bougnasouk is cheap and popular with a great restaurant, but next door is a noisy silversmith, so be prepared to wake early ($8-15). Sivilay offers decent rooms ($10-$30) and Sok Dee has a plethora of size and price variations in their expanding mini-empire ($8-$40).
By the Nam Khan
This narrow alley is a popular tuk tuk drop off point from the bus but some consider it to be a little far away from the tourist centre for comfort. It is, however, very convenient for access to the backpacker bars in Ban Aphai. The Merry 1 Guesthouse and Merry 2 Guesthouse are family run and clean (from 70,000 kip), but there are a number of other very cheap, basic establishments surrounding them.
Options in the flashpacker and mid-range fields have multiplied in recent years with many options available in the $15-50 range. As they often fill up during the busy periods of December to January and Chinese and Lao New Years, it is definitely worth booking ahead. These guesthouses are usually contactable by email, fax or phone, and have reasonable English skills and a decent level of reliability when holding reservations.
Standouts in the crowd include Thong Bay ($22-40) and Khoun and Khone ($15-19) both of which have lovely bungalows on opposite edges of town. Back in the centre of things, Senesouk ($25-40) is classy and Lao Wooden House ($35-50) beautifully different -- both are fine choices. Another good choice is Xieng Mouane Guesthouse ($15-40) with its welltended garden and fine location.
Boutique hotels in the old quarter The promontory where the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers meet is an enchanting quarter and holds a number of temples and stately old French colonial homes. Not yet overrun with tourist amenities, it has a handful of boutique hotels and mid-range guesthouses catering for those looking for a little more style and comfort. 3 Nagas (from $125) was the first big arrival in this area, but there are quite a few others to choose from now. Mekong Estate (from $555 per week) requires a minimum week-long stay and once you see the rooms you’ll need no further convincing, while The Chang Inn (from $80) is simply gorgeous. Another fine new addition is La Maison De Xanamkieng with quite modestly priced rooms (from $50).
Out of the old quarter lies Satri House (from $100), a fine retreat for those looking to stay off the radar.
Top end travellers
Travellers on a higher budget can choose from many locations. Centrally, there is Maison Souvannaphoum (from $190++). La Residence Phou Vao, Luang Prabang's finest hotel, far surpasses others in elegance, comfort -- and price. This is the place to stay if you're after something special -- and especially if someone else is paying (from $254).
Travelfish Guides for Luang Prabang
This story was originally published in the Travelfish Guide to Luang Prabang. The guide includes detailed coverage of Luang Prabang, Nong Kiaow and Muang Ngoi and is easily the most up-to-date resource available in print. This Luang Prabang guidebook is available from the Travelfish store for US$5.95, or as a part of our Laos pack for $11.85.
Related readingElephant trekking in Laos
Luang Prabang escape
2006 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
Cheap flights with Discovery Airpass
Read 1 comment(s)
Add your comment
Feature story quicklinks
- Giving back in Southeast Asia (12)
- All stories
- COPE: Helping people move on
- Epic Arts
- Helping Phuket's children in need
- Helping Siem Reap's rubbish dump families
- Helping Singapore's transient workers
- Helping the Karen of Burma
- Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam
- Lifestart Foundation, Hoi An
- Swim Vietnam
- Thai Freedom House, Chiang Mai
- The Samui Prison Project
- The SET Foundation
- Burma (8)
- Cambodia (22)
- All stories
- A Cambodian Eco-lodge
- A honeymoon in Cambodia
- Angkorian traffic woes
- Battambang weekend
- Elephant riding in Cambodia: Should you?
- Great places to stay in Siem Reap
- Is Preah Vihear safe to visit?
- Koh Rong: Trouble in paradise?
- Kompong Cham escape
- Northeast Cambodia in photos
- Oh Poipet!
- PEPY:Sustainable Cambodian tourism
- Phnom Tamao Wildlife Refuge
- Sihanoukville beaches lure expats
- Spas, shopping & seers in Siem Reap
- The best islands in Cambodia
- The best places to stay on Cambodia's islands
- The Death Highway
- Trekking in Virachey National Park
- Trekking the Cardamoms in Cambodia
- Which Cambodian island is right for you?
- Why you should go to Cambodia
- Indonesia (13)
- All stories
- A funeral in Toraja, Sulawesi
- Climbing Rinjani
- How to hire a boat in Indonesia: Without drowning
- Learn to surf in Bali
- Medewi: A great Bali getaway
- Mountain biking in Bali: A ride in the woods
- The Gili islands: Which is the right one for you?
- Ubud bird watching: From waterhens to witchcraft
- Ubud shopping guide
- Village trekking in Tana Toraja
- Weekend in Nusa Penida
- Yogya's student scene
- Laos (16)
- All stories
- A breeze through Luang Prabang
- Best budget rooms in Luang Prabang 2013
- Elephant trekking in Laos
- Exploring Laos' Bolaven Plateau
- Huay Xai to Pak Tha by slowboat
- Is Lao Airlines safe to fly?
- Laos' vanishing elephants
- Luang Prabang escape
- Muang Ngoi Escape
- Photos of Luang Prabang, Laos
- Pi Mai Lao in Luang Prabang: In 1999
- Southern Laos by scooter
- Temples in Luang Prabang
- The Gibbon Experience
- The Phonsavan adventure
- Vientiane's Chinatown
- Malaysia (7)
- Singapore (9)
- Thailand (73)
- All stories
- 10 Bangkok galleries worth a look-see
- 10 Thai treks aside from Chiang Mai
- 24 Hours in Bangkok: Sukhumvit to Siam Square
- 31 Thai islands
- 5 Southern Thai towns to lose time in
- A Thai homestay in Ayutthaya
- A weekend in Phra Phradaeng
- A weekend on Ko Samet, Thailand
- An extra day in Krabi
- Andaman Sea island hopper
- Ayutthaya temple tour
- Bangkok for art lovers
- Bangkok's Charoen Krung Road
- Bangkok's Thonburi: exploring the west side
- Brilliant Bangkok
- Chiang Dao getaway
- Chiang Mai's temples
- Corruption in Thailand
- Eating on the edge
- Elephant's World Kanchanaburi
- Exploring Lamphun
- Exploring the Lungs of Bangkok
- Far southern Thailand: Go or not?
- Five days in Khao Lak, Thailand
- Floating markets around Bangkok
- Highlights of Chanthaburi province
- How to do Khao Yai National Park
- Khao San Road safety and scams
- Ko Mun Nork: a nearby paradise
- Ko Pha Ngan 7-day detox:Colonic fast
- Ko Pha Ngan's best beaches in 2013
- Ko Phi Phi on a budget
- Ko Tao for non-divers guide
- Ko Yao: the islands you're looking for
- Learning Muay Thai in Bangkok
- Motorcycling the Chiang Rai loop
- Narathiwat: residence of good people
- Navigating Bangkok: The BTS Skytrain
- Phuket by night
- Phuket for Kids
- Phuket heritage walk: Car parts to saris
- Phuket's secret beaches
- Planning around Thailand's civil unrest
- Roll your own Kanchanaburi
- Should I book for the full moon party?
- Should I cancel my Thai holiday? No.
- Should I cancel my trip to Thailand? No.
- Soi Thong Lo, Bangkok
- Sorting out Suvarnabhumi Airport
- Staying at a Thai monastery
- Thai islands for nature lovers
- Thai islands to lose yourself on
- Thai visa FAQ
- Thailand tsunami wrap
- Thailand's Mae Khlong market
- Thailand: Where to from here?
- The best beach on Ko Samui
- The best places to stay on Ko Kut, Thailand
- The bridge over the River Kwai festival
- The road to Sangkhlaburi
- Travelling through north-east Thailand
- Trekking in Thailand
- Trisara -- decadent luxury at its best
- Two days in Kamphaeng Phet
- What is the best beach on Ko Tao?
- What is the best island in Thailand?
- What's a good beach on Ko Pha Ngan?
- What's a good beach on Ko Samui?
- Where to stay at Railay Bay, Thailand
- Where to stay in Sukhothai?
- Where to stay on Ko Samet, Thailand
- Which beach on Ko Samui?
- Which island in Trang?
- Vietnam (31)
- All stories
- A short break in Nha Trang
- A Weekend in Can Tho
- Being fed Fido: Eating dog in Vietnam
- Buying a touring motorbike in Vietnam
- Con Dao escape
- Do nothing and see the best of Hanoi
- Doing the DMZ from Hue
- Exploring Kon Tum
- Exploring Vietnam's Mekong Delta
- Ha Long Bay conclusions
- Ha Long Bay for backpackers
- Ha Long Bay for budget-busters
- Ha Long Bay for flashpackers
- Hanoi escape
- Hanoi or Saigon?
- Hoi An -- Walking over the dragon
- How to do the Dien Bien Phu loop
- How to enjoy your time in Vietnam
- How to pick a good Ha Long Bay cruise
- Is the Hoi An culture tour worth it?
- Motorbike Vietnam's Central Highlands
- One day in Hanoi
- Responsible shopping and eating in Hoi An
- Saigon's top 10 cafés
- Sapa or Bac Ha?
- Saving Vietnam's bears
- Street food safety
- The DMZ: Traveller tactical briefing
- Travel tips for Tet in Vietnam 2013
- Two Wheels & Ricefields: A review
- Which is the best street food tour in Hanoi?
- Accommodation guides (21)
- All stories
- 2005 Top guesthouses in Bangkok
- 2005 Top guesthouses in Chiang Mai
- 2006 Top guesthouses in Hanoi
- 2006 Top guesthouses in Phnom Penh
- 2006 Top guesthouses on Ko Phi Phi
- 2006 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
- 2008 Top Bangkok airport guesthouses
- 2008 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
- 2008 Top spots on Phu Quoc Island
- 2009 Top guesthouses in Bangkok
- 2009 Top Phnom Penh guesthouses
- 2011 Best places to stay in Kuala Lumpur
- 2011 Best places to stay on Ko Phi Phi
- Best places to stay in Hanoi 2012
- Cheap Phuket guesthouses & hotels
- Five special hotels in Cambodia
- Ko Lipe's best budget guesthouses 2012
- The best hostels in Bangkok 2014
- The best places to stay on Ko Chang, Thailand
- The changing face of Khao San Road
- Where to stay on Koh Rong Samloem
- Travel with kids (7)
- Opinion & advice (15)
- All stories
- 10 reasons to do an adventure tour
- 10 reasons to travel independently
- A year's worth of travel for 2013
- Beach hideaways in Asia
- Christmas and New Years in Southeast Asia
- Do I need reservations for my holiday?
- Evil man of Krabi
- Fifteen tips for a great holiday in Asia
- Getting a cheap airfare to Asia
- Hotels should never charge extra for WiFi
- Long distance buses in Southeast Asia
- Mass tourism in Southeast Asia
- Nine Asian upcountry hideaways
- Planning a Gap Year? Some advice.
- Ten Southeast Asian trips for 2008
- How do I? (11)
- All stories
- Bangkok to Ko Samui, Pha Ngan & Tao
- Bangkok to Siem Reap
- Catching a train in Thailand
- Catching a train in Vietnam
- Cheap flights with Discovery Airpass
- Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
- Crossing the Cambodia Laos border
- Ko Chang to Phu Quoc Island
- Siem Reap to Ko Chang
- Stops between Bangkok & Chiang Mai
- Visa run from Thailand to Burma
- Cycling Asia (13)
- All stories
- 24 hours in Bangkok
- An Angkor cycling guide
- An introduction
- Battambang, bamboo trains & guides
- Confessions of a "cheating cyclist"
- Cycles of all sorts
- Ha Long Bay independently
- Ko Samet Vs Pattaya
- Muay Thai night
- Phonsavan and Luang Prabang
- The hills of Vietnam
- The road less travelled
- Tubing in Vang Vieng
- Health and safety (6)
- Money and finance (4)
- Diving guides (6)
- Photo essay (3)
- Guest blog (2)
- General (15)
- All stories
- 10 Christmas days in Asia we're yet to have
- 10 dumb things I've done while travelling
- 34 ways to travel greener
- Asian animal experiences
- Call me Mr Massage Magic
- Chefs Without Borders
- Flying is fun!
- Mr Golden
- On being a travel writer
- Teaching ESL in Asia
- The 211 country honeymoon
- The Boxing Day Tsunami: 5 years on.
- To Teach or Not to Teach
- Travel writing scholarship 2012
- Tuk to the Road Charity ride
- Book reviews (5)
- Interviews (8)
- Explore Bangkok by BTS (16)
- All stories
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ari
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chid Lom
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chong Nonsi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Mo Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: National Stadium
- Bangkok by skytrain: On Nut
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phaya Thai
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phloen Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phrom Phong
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchadamri
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchathewi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sala Daeng (S2)
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sanam Pao
- Bangkok by skytrain: Saphan Taksin
- Bangkok by skytrain: Surasak
- Bangkok by skytrain: Thong Lor
Sign up for Travelfish Burp!
Our weekly wrap on Southeast Asian travel.
Click here to see a recent newsletter.