Firstly, thanks for all the information in this forum, which has been so useful to me in planning my trip.
I'm going to be in Luang Prabang for a few days in mid-Feb and am looking to book somewhere to stay. I've seen a lot of nice looking mid-range places but a lot of them seem to be owned by foreigners - I was wondering if any of you could recommend some nice places that are Lao-run and owned? I'd much rather put my money into local hands!
Any suggestions welcome. Thanks!!
#1 indiansummer has been a member since 20/1/2010. Posts: 5
not stayed in any mid-range places there before. but you could look through this website: http://www.luang-prabang-hotels.com
for each property, click on the tab 'your host' & that should tell you if it's Lao-owned (although this info is missing for at least one of the Lao-owned places listed on that site).
owning a mid-range place would put the owners in the 'upper(most?) income bracket' of locals...guess that's why most Lao-owned places are in the budget range - many many in the Ban Wat That + Ban Houa Xieng neighbourhoods.
have stayed in the Lao-owned & -run (by family) Vanvisa Guesthouse (budget range) twice, & they've just (as of late Dec 09) completed an extension right next door that looks more mid-range. more info here: http://vanvisahome.com/index.html (info on the extension yet to be added, prob hafta contact them & ask)
Thanks wanderingcat. I should've said - it doesn't have to be mid-range - I'd mainly been looking at them because they seem to be the most accessible ones in so far as having websites etc. I've heard a lot about Vanvisa - didnt realise they had a site though, so thanks!
#3 indiansummer has been a member since 20/1/2010. Posts: 5
if budget places are fine with you, many of the budget ones in the Ban Wat That/Ban Houa Xieng area listed on Travelfish are Lao-owned. also many that are unlisted e.g. Oudomphong, Vongchampa, Nittaya, etc. & last month i saw even more new places 'freshly converted' from family homes - for mid-Feb should be no problem just turning up without a booking & looking around, practically every other home in those two neighbourhoods has morphed into a guesthouse.
to me there can be a difference in atmosphere between 'Lao-owned' (where employees come & go, just like in foreign-managed places) & 'Lao family-run' (e.g. Vanvisa, Oudomphong, Rattana, Chanthy Banchit, Cold River, etc).
I'll put in a plug here for the Villa Laodeum. It's located a short block up from the Mekong and across the street from the Royal Palace Museum. It's assuredly Lao-operated and, I believe, Lao-owned as well. The couple running the place were charming, and helpful in making arrangements if so desired. The staff consisted of two people, who seemed to be long-term. We were there in late March, 2009, and paid USD35 per night, breakfast included.
Have a great time in Luang Prabang. Some may complain it's been "ruined" and lost its authenticity, but we spent almost a week there and found it to be delightful & very laid back. At the southern end of the night market is a small side street (more like an alleyway) with several local food vendors. Grilled chicken and fish, cold Beer Lao...great fun.
Enjoy your trip!