Luang Prabang has a reputation as an upmarket town catering towards package tours and older folk willing to spend a bit more on their accommodation than the typical backpacker -- and indeed, the World Heritage-listed town has some absolutely world class accommodation, but it's all but useless unless you've got cash. For those with less money though, some decent options are available, if you know where to look.
Those travelling alone are probably going to want to try and find a dorm room such as those on offer at Spicy Laos, where a bed will cost about 30,000 kip per night. For those travelling in pairs (and up), there are great guesthouses with attached private hot water bathrooms topping out at around the 100,000 kip mark. After reviewing these hotels recently, the following are our top budget accommodation picks for Luang Prabang, 2013.
Somjith is a great guesthouse tucked in the alleyways behind Joma Bakery. The buildings are constructed with lots of wood which gives a great feel when walking inside the rooms. The rooms come with varying facilities depending on which actual room you choose but include air-con, fan, hot water bathrooms and cable TV. Prices do fluctuate dramatically throughout the year according to demand, but in the quieter months you can really snag a bargain here. It's a lovely place with a lovely vibe at a price that is hard to beat. You're likely to get a better price on a room by just rolling up and negotiating on the spot rather than booking.27/2 Ban Hoa Xieng, Luang Prabang
T: (071) 252 756; (020) 7777 4883
Share/private bathroom: 70,000 / 100,000 kip
Read our full review of Somjith Guesthouse here.
Jaliya is a bit of a dark horse, to be honest, primarily due to its out of the way location. It's a 10-minute walk from the guesthouse to the riverfront and well away from where most buses and tuk tuks will drop you off, so people coming here are generally coming because of a recommendation. And we recommend it! A variety of rooms are on offer throughout the property, but our favourites are the ones tucked out the back surrounding the lovely garden. You'll often see people out here drinking a Beerlao, playing cards and relaxing under the shade of a tree. The rooms are simple with attached bathrooms, a few sticks of furniture and typically rock-hard Lao beds. But this place is something a little different for Luang Prabang and definitely worth checking out, particularly if you want a cheap air-con room.
Phamahapasaman Rd, Ban Viengxay, Luang Prabang
T: (071) 252 154; (020) 587 1315
Fan/air-con: 70,000 / 120,000 kip
Check our full review of Jaliya Guesthouse here.
Namsok Guesthouse 3
As with all places in Luang Prabang, you get absolutely stung here in the high season. We stayed here twice recently with a two-month gap between stays. The price was double the second time due to peak season being in full swing. The rooms here are all slightly different in configuration, with one room even coming with a cable TV while others don't. It costs hardly anything extra for air-con here and it's certainly worth the slight extra expense during the hotter months. Some of the bathrooms are old and slightly weird with big concrete bath tubs while others are perfectly clean and modern. Given the different styles, you certainly need to check out a couple before settling on one. But when you do, you'll be happy in the knowledge that you'll be staying in one of the best value budget options in Luang Prabang. Free WiFi is included, but you'll want to check to see if it works in your room first. It's located in the heart of the old town, too, near the Mekong.
Sisavangthana Road, Luang Prabang
T: (071) 254 426, (020) 9999 0901
Non-air-con/air-con: 60,000 / 80,000 kip (double in high season)
Check our full review of Namsok Guesthouse 3 here.
These are not the cheapest rooms in town, but they are some of the best value in the budget category and most backpackers will be happy to stay in one of these top picks. If you've stayed in a great value budget guesthouse in Luang Prabang, let us know in the comments and we'll check it out when we're next in town.
Adam gave up a corporate career in 2009 and left Australia for the hustle and bustle of Southeast Asia. He now lives in Indonesia.
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Our top 10 places to stay in and around Luang Prabang