If your heart is set on having a bungalow
Once a good place for backpackers to fulfil their river view bungalow dreams, Nam Houn Guesthouse has steadily gone down hill and it is in worse shape than it’s ever been, but it remains a popular choice in high season and it has some qualities travellers may be looking for.
In terms of quality and liveability, the bungalows closest to the house are the best as they seem to be the newest. They line a gardened pathway, all facing inward with a front porch and hammock. The standalone raised bungalows have bamboo thatch walls, tin room and wooden floors covered with natural woven bamboo mat. The room we inspected had the bed pushed in one corner and it had a bedside lamp, mosquito net but no top sheet for under the blanket.
The attached bathroom is a tile and concrete affair with a bucket flush western toilet and electric heated shower. The bungalows here are close enough to the main house that you can pick up WiFi. As of 2018, these set were in decent working condition. However, maintenance and care doesn’t seem to be Nam Houn’s strong suit and we expect it to decline as the years go on. The evidence?
The older bamboo-thatch, stilted bungalows leading to the river are tired, worse for wear and more expensive. Yet these still attract people wanting the bungalow and river combo. The row of huts line a small waterway, the namesake Nam Houn, where it joins the Nam Ou. The Nam Houn may have at one point been a good river but now, it seems to have stagnated and we noticed a bit of a smell. Only the last three bungalows, #11, 12, 13, have the best view of the Nam Ou. We couldn’t inspect these any of these older bungalows because they were full. We have stayed here a few times over the years and we can say that they are basic and the rustic construction doesn’t keep critters out so it’s not for those who can’t handle insects.
When it comes to river view bungalows: we’d opt for Pho Sai River View (Phosai Guesthouse) on the town side. If you would really prefer to stay in the tourist centre, then we’d say the similarly price Sunrise Guesthouse is slightly better. We recommend Ban Lao Sunset Guesthouse if budget allows. Stay at Nam Houn if you like rickety and ramshackle.
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Bungalow fan private bathroom|
120,000 kip with a river view
|80,000 kip||80,000 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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