Lovely rural retreat
Nam Ou Riverside Hotel and Resort joins the growing list of beautiful properties offering an eco-escape from Luang Prabang. The hotel, which neighbours an elephant camp, can be reached by boat, making for a more interesting journey and experience.
The hotel is 35 kilometres, or a 50-minute drive, from town and is situated on the Nam Ou River, known for its dramatic mountain landscapes hugging the river closely. This is the same river that flows through Nong Kiaow, eventually joining the Mekong at Pak Ou Caves. While further from Luang Prabang than Hillside Resort or Zen Namkhan, unlike these resorts the journey to Nam Ou Riverside is almost all paved and a smooth ride.
The grounds are spacious, the atmosphere is tranquil. The hotel is accessed via a tiny village and when we arrived, we could hear the sound of… nothing. The main lobby/restaurant has high ceilings and full windows creating a breezy, elegant space. Steps lead down to an outdoor riverside terrace. The swimming pool is also not a bad place to kick up your heels.
The best rooms are the seven Lao-style River View Bungalows constructed with lots of heavy wood, high ceilings and riverside balconies so big you could do several cartwheels in a row if you wanted to. Air-con, ceiling fans, WiFi, minibar and safe are all provided. Rooms range in size from “standard” to “grand suite”.
A new building block was completed in 2014. The hotel wing rooms are fairly modern and generic, with white walls and tile floor. The rooms are cavernous with high ceilings. While no one would complain about the extra space and clinical looking bathrooms with bathtubs, it feels a little out of place in this natural setting. But the rooms are spotless and have the same amenities as the villas, as well as a small terrace facing the lawn and garden. Upstairs rooms have a mountain view.
We think the big draw is the outdoor activities. The resort is well situated for village visits, biking on dirt roads and trips on the river. You can arrange for kayaking, fishing, a visit to the Whiskey Village and Pak Ou Caves seven kilometres downstream. Overall, the hotel is a pleasant place for a one-night getaway or a few nights to explore a more rural side of Luang Prabang.
How to get there
Two free daily shuttles run by road to and from town. Private transfers one-way cost US$25 or US$80 by boat. By road from Luang Prabang, head up Road 13 for 35 kilometres, approximately 50 minutes. By river, the boat should travel up the Mekong and then east at the mouth of the Nam Ou, approximately 2 hours 40 minutes upstream, 1 hour 30 minutes downstream.
Address: Ban Vanglae Village, Pak Ou District
T: (030) 924 8567; (020) 22 350 157; F: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coordinates (for GPS): 102º14'12.66" E, 20º3'10" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: US$50 to 100
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room|
|Superior double room|
Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you'll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.
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