The best backpacker bungalow on Don Dhet
There’s no shortage of riverside bungalows on Don Dhet but finding a clean one that won’t have you hearing your neighbour’s every exhale is another matter. Mama Leuah is such a place.
Mama Leuah is located away from the main metropolis of accommodation, two kilometres south of the boat landing. This means the property has a relatively wide section of river front and their inexpensive, clean bungalows have the luxury of breathing room between each other.
The raised bungalows are of a sturdy construction and in good condition, with concrete pillars, a metal roof and wooden walls which allays fears that flopping into the private balcony’s two hammocks won’t collapse the entire building. The interiors are cheerful and tidy, complete with bedside table, mosquito net, fan, window and towels. Five of the bungalows have a private bathroom with cold water shower and western toilet, while two bungalows share a bathroom. Overall it’s great value for money.
The restaurant is sweet—a open riverside wooden terrace with high ceilings. Best of all, the owners (who speak English, Thai, German and Lao) are friendly and clearly take care of their bungalows. We tried to stay here but they had actually closed for a few weeks for annual maintenance (something other joints on the island desperately need to take a cue from) and they were busy painting, fixing and cleaning. Like the rest of the island, WiFi may or may not work, which part of the point of Don Dhet and why being two kilometres from the tourist strip isn’t a bad thing. Disconnect, this is a lovely spot to do so.
The easiest way to get there is to not disembark at the regular boat landing, but at the old French pier, about 1.5 km down the eastern side. When you buy your boat ticket at Ban Nakasang, tell them you need to go to Ban Don Dhet and the “taka pan” (where the small trucks are). It should cost an extra 5,000 kip. Then walk south taking the dirt path along the river 500 m. You may even be able to charm the driver into dropping you off directly at Mama Leuah for a few more kip.
Address: Don Dhet, 2 km from boat landing
Coordinates (for GPS): 105º55'41.36" E, 13º58'37.26" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under US$10
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Bungalow fan share bathroom||60,000 kip||60,000 kip|
|Bungalow fan private bathroom||70,000 kip||70,000 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 Don Dhet