Most popular but poor value
500 metres south of km-2 market roundabout, Ban Viengvilay village T: (051) 212 931,
(020) 5821 5315
The Thakhek Travel Lodge helped put the Tha Khaek motorbike loop on the backpacker map and it remains a long time favourite for travellers making the journey.
It’s a popular budget choice and is THE traveller hub for Tha Khaek, with those who have completed the loop chewing the fat and sharing their adventure ’round a nightly bonfire in the garden. Many also choose to stay here because of the reputable motorbike rental attached to the lodge, so it’s a one-stop shop. Be aware, the accommodation side of the Travel Lodge has failed to maintain its value for money, particularly for its dingy private rooms in need of TLC.
The Travel Lodge has a rather inconvenient location. It’s a big property moored in the middle of town, 2.5 km away from the river and main concentration of restaurants and cheap night market eats. Once you have a motorbike rental, the distance is less of an issue. Without one, you are stuck at the lodge.
The private rooms are cavernous—space is certainly not the issue. It’s the walls in need of spackle and paint and the overwhelming feeling like you are paying far too much for what you get: a tile floor room with a bed, table and basic tile bathroom with electric heated shower. We also met two travellers who showed us their battle scars from a night at the lodge: a large concentration of bites covering one arm.
The Travel Lodge is more expensive than or the same price as several of the guesthouses we recommend close to the town centre like Southida Guesthouse, Somsengsouk Guesthouse or Xailuedy Hotel. Consider that for the same price of the dorm you can get a private single room at Khammouane Inter Guesthouse, walking distance to the river.
If you have your budget-backpacker-heart set on this social place, then the dorm is a big open fan room with eight metal frame beds and a couple of electrical outlets for charging. There are no lockers. We find it unusual that there are no mosquito nets, something you’d find in all but the cheapest dorm in Laos and it’s a necessity in buggy Tha Khaek. Extra charges, such as 5,000 kip for bag storage, seems superfluous.
It does appeal to backpackers with English speaking staff, posters of info and maps, a social atmosphere and a traveller log book that is both useful for tips and for entertainment (read through for a chuckle). Just know that there is a lot better value elsewhere. For travellers wanting flashier rooms while wanting access to this hub, check out Villa Thakek (part of the same property) or Vannida Hotel (across the road).
By Cindy Fan
Last updated on 14th January, 2017.