Popular but chaotic
Directly beside one end of the bridge, longstanding Sunrise Guesthouse and the attached Joy’s Restaurant continues to be a backpacker favourite, namely because of the basic bungalows which are one of the cheapest options in Nong Kiaow.
Also, it’s become something of a hub to meet other travellers in a town that lacks a true hostel. There are many other places with better rooms that are better value, but for travellers who like a busy atmosphere, Sunrise will suit.
It’s clearly been successful as they continue to build and add (rather than improve on existing) and the property has become a Frankenstein, with a disorienting array of categories that even the staff who showed us the rooms seemed to get confused by. From what we could surmise, closest to the restaurant are concrete bungalows for 120,000 kip. Frugal travellers will head straight to the rickety 50,000 kip wood/bamboo bungalows beside it. Everything about it, especially the private bathroom, has seen better days.
Down a level, closer to the river, there’s wooden bungalows for 80,000 kip and then what we think are the best value because it is furthest from the street and restaurant noise, a modern building block with rooms for 100,000 kip. These rooms felt newer, tidier and cleaner than the lot, and still had a porch. Our advice would be to show up and see which suits you the best. All have private bathrooms with western toilet, a vantage over the river and the bridge, which looms closely. The river view is the big selling point and the room rate rests on this.
Incredibly, when we inspected in 2018, there was a building being constructed on the river bank right below. All these different buildings being squeezed in gives the whole place a shanty town feel. One thing’s for sure, if you go to Sunrise there’s no lack of choice and if Delilah’s dorm is full, it’s the cheapest in town.
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Bungalow fan private bathroom|
80,000 kip for a newer bungalow
|50,000 kip||50,000 kip|
|Dbl fan private bathroom|
Up to 120,000 kip
|100,000 kip||100,000 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.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Nong Kiaow