Stay in a family home
The tourism department, no doubt with the help of some NGOs, has set up Konglor village (Ban Konglor) for homestays. Staying in someone’s home is great way to experience Lao village life.
Driving into Konglor, look for the “homestay” sign pointing into the village. The homes participating in this program will have a sign on their house and a number—chat up other travellers on “the Tha Khaek loop” and you’ll likely find someone who did it and can recommend a house number.
It’s 50,000 kip per person including dinner and breakfast. You’ll be provided bedding, a mosquito net and real home cooked Lao food. There’s no English spoken and communication will be difficult so try learning a few phrases, bring pictures of your home country, use charades. For two people, it’s not necessarily cheaper than staying at a guesthouse, but it certainly can be more memorable and meaningful.
Homestays are also available on the other side of Konglor Cave in the less developed rural village Ban Natan or Ban Phon Kham. Once you emerge from the cave, it’s a two-kilometre walk to Natan (go left at the fork), or one-kilometre to Phon Kham taking the right fork. Note that you’ll have to pay for the cave entrance fee and boat again on the return journey.
Some homestay etiquette:
Remove your shoes before entering the house. When sitting down on the floor (as you likely will for the meal), avoid pointing your feet at people; sit crossed legged or tuck legs under. Public displays of affection is taboo; kissing and hugging will make your hosts uncomfortable. The bathroom will likely be a simple bucket shower and a squat toilet; avoid putting wads of paper into the toilet. If you choose to bath in the river, as most of the village does at the end of the day, women should cover themselves with a sarong.
To get an English speaking guide along with the homestay experience, arrange a tour/trek through the Khammouane Tourism office in Tha Khaek. You can try the small office at Na Hin or at the entrance to Konglor though they may not have English speaking guides readily available.
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Sgl fan share bathroom|
|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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