Middle of the pack
Within Muang Ngoi’s small crop of accommodation, Suan Phao Guesthouse’s six bungalows hover in the middle of the pack.
It’s not as modern or fancy as Lerdkeo’s solid buildings but it’s not flimsy or basic. The tidy, clean room interiors should satisfy flashpackers while the partial view of the river and porch hammock should tick the box for “relaxing bungalow”.
Six wood-clad raised bungalows form a U-shape around a restaurant terrace. Each has a porch with a hammock and clothesline. Interiors are surprisingly more refined than the average shack and everything is neatly presented. Walls are covered in white drywall, unlike the unfinished wood planks usually found. Beds are topped with clean linens and white cotton duvets cover. There’s also mosquito net, fan and curtained windows with security bars, meaning windows can be safely opened at night for fresh air. The tiled bathrooms are also noteworthy. They are more befitting of a bricks and mortar guesthouse building than riverside bungalow. It’s a reasonable size and has a Western toilet, electric heated shower and towel rack.
The only downside to Suan Phao is that their communal terrace sits smack dab in the centre partially marring the view. Contrast that with Nicksa’s Place, where no structures stand in front of the bungalows.
For some travellers, Suan Phao will be the Goldilocks of rooms: not too rough, not too expensive, just right. It’s a touch above the basic Muang Ngoi accommodation like Rainbow Guesthouse, Phonevilai or Saylom and the price reflects that, being US$1-2 more. If you want to get away from the crowds, it doesn’t get much further than Suan Phao. It’s located at the end of the main street. That’s only 350 metres from the main boat landing. At the top of the boat landing stairs, turn right.
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Bungalow fan private bathroom||120,000 kip||120,000 kip|
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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Our top 10 places to stay in and around Muang Ngoi