Rustic bungalows, stellar service
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.
T: (020) 5542 9950;
Coordinates (for GPS): 105º3'7.88" E, 17º50'38.13" 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.
|Dorm fan cooled||30,000 kip||30,000 kip|
|Bungalow fan private bathroom|
60,000 kip with a western toilet
|50,000 kip||50,000 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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