Rustic bungalows, stellar service
Thalang T: (020) 5542 9950
Sabaidee Guesthouse, its lovely owner and his nightly barbecue feast has achieved legendary status, mostly spread by word of mouth alone.
The reputation is deserved, as Mr Thoun aka “Mr Happy” is an absolute delight, greeting every arrival in person with a smiley “sabaidee” even when his guesthouse is full, which, as we learned firsthand, can happen by 16:00. He’s extremely apologetic to those who he has to turn away.
The popularity is less to do with the accommodation, which is quite basic. It’s about the convivial atmosphere, the gathering of loop-ers and the epic all you can eat barbecue feast that fills backpacker bellies with fresh salad, chips, sticky rice, skewers of fish, chicken, pork and beef. Even if staying at Phosy Thalang, biking over here for a meal is a good option. You’d think the owner would be exhausted doing this every day for years, but Mr Happy is as relaxed and happy to please as ever.
The accommodation itself has ramshackle charm. In total 32 people can be accommodated, with an additional six rooms to be finished in 2017. The rooms are no frills bungalows with awful beds, mosquito nets, fan and bathroom with hot water and squat toilets. Newer bungalows have a western toilet. The dorms are cramped and in desperate need of an upgrade. The beds, which need new mattresses and bedding, are crammed in and there is no privacy between beds.
Since availability works on a first come, first serve basis, the dorms are usually the last choice. In this case, for a couple it would make sense to just get a private bungalow at Phosy Thalang.
There is spotty internet available at the restaurant but this is a place to disconnect and relax. The guesthouse, their dinner and the beautiful lake make a good case for staying more than one night. Sabaidee can arrange for a boat trip, 100,000 kip an hour for 1-2 persons. Make it special with a sunset tour, add fishing, a trip to a waterfall or a picnic/barbecue with fresh caught fish.
By Cindy Fan
Last updated on 17th January, 2017.