I'm headed to LP in a bit and would like to know a bit more about the personalities of the little neighborhoods so I can pick one when I roll into town looking for a guest house. I'm kind of a TravelFish junkie and love to read all the forums, but I don't think I have seen anything explaining whats in the Historic District vs. Southern LP or Behind Joma Bakery. And do you literally mean right behind a bakery? Ha! And not that LP is San Francisco, but you sure get a different taste in the Warf vs the Castro vs SOMA.
#1 ccalvin09 has been a member since 27/8/2009. Posts: 20
Cold River Guest House gets my recommendation. It's on the other side of the hill from the "center" - tourist hub, on the Nam Khan Side - but that's only a five or ten minute stroll into the mix. In fact . . . everything is a five or ten minute stroll. I liked walking along the Nam Khan home in the evening as there weren't as many lights on that side and you could really see the blanket of stars.
And not that LP is San Francisco, but you sure get a different taste in the Warf vs the Castro vs SOMA.
that covers a much much larger area than central Luang Prabang where the majority of the guesthouses are. try looking at both on wikimapia/Google satellite view & compare their sizes.
behind Joma Bakery refers to the entire neighbourhood of Ban Houa Xieng (with neighbouring Ban Wat That often included). 'Joma' is easier than 'Houa Xieng' for non-Lao speakers to pronounce correctly. Joma Bakery & the PO are also the most easily recognisable landmarks along the main road for tourists who are new to a city that doesn't have much in way of street name signs, & where even locals don't really know the names of most streets.
to me there's the Disneyland area (2 of the most famous temples, gentrified, beautiful nicely conserved buildings turned into hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, travel agencies, galleries, spas, etc, see more foreign than local faces along the fully paved streets), the behind Joma Bakery area (every other house is a guesthouse, more local faces), the 'bar alley' (near Wat Aphay, whole bunch of bars that can get noisy at night), the 'old bridge' side (Ban Meunna, think it's the same quieter Nam Khan side that #2 mentioned), the 'China package tour groups' side (Phouvao Rd with Shell stations on either end), the 'old hospital-turned-Amantaka' side (quiet pleasant streets of Ban Viengxay & Ban Mano), & so on (many other 'sides', but with few - if any - guesthouses). the individual areas have different pockets of character within too. great place for a flaneur. have a look at hobomaps.com.
The Nam Khan is certainly more scenic, though less storied, than the Mekong. The little lanes on both sides of the peninsula are lovely; were I to go back to LP, I would look for accommodation there.
#5 glomer has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 86
Thanks Wanderingcat, Hobomaps are always awesome. Do you have any additional thoughts on the Joma Bakery pocket vs the Nam Khan side of the river? Nam Khan sounds nice — I just don't want to be much more than a 10 minute walk to town. We were about that in Siem Reap and it was just right. I don't like being right on top of the late night scene as I'm usually up and down with the sun.
Same to you Glomer. Any more specific thoughts on the personalities of these little areas?
#6 ccalvin09 has been a member since 27/8/2009. Posts: 20
was last there almost 2 years ago, things could have changed, & you might find a quiet guesthouse but end up with noise from fellow guests or even a neighbour's wedding party or a temple fair
JG208-210 = Nam Khan area
JD206 = so-called 'bar alley' (Hive Bar, Lao Lao Garden, Smile Lao Bar, etc) - quiet in the daytime though
JD-JE 198-199 = plenty of guesthouse names in blue font
you can work out the distance using the scale...the area shown in this map is really flat except for Phou Si hill (so if coming from the Nam Khan side, you'll have to walk around this hill to get to the National Museum area...or pay a fee to climb up the hill)
I personally avoided Joma (missionary-owned). I liked the area from the primary school (had breakfast at Café Ban Vat Sene everyday) to the tip of the peninsula, but also enjoyed the morning market on the other side of town. We were there just before Christmas, so Sisavangvong was quite crowded, but useful for atms/internet. My big regret is not making it to Nong Khiaw, so if you have time, go!
#8 glomer has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 86