Mama Piang’s– It’s 20,000 kip (<3US$) price tag per night remains my cheapest accommodation yet. AND, that was for my own big queen bed with mosquito net. It was a great place. Mama and Papa are a little wild, but their kids are darling. It’s right in the middle of the one street between the docks and the bridge to Don Khong. She cooks one of the best laap dishes I had in Laos.
Pakse, Savanakhet, Tha Khek, Pak Beng, Huay Xai:
You’re on your own here. Use your gut and pick a guesthouse. There is not much to plan for here. Each place has about one main street along the river with lots of options. I did stay in the Mekong Hotel in Savanakhet, which had large rooms with TV’s and fan for about 100,000 kip (12US$).
Sihome Hostel– This place should win awards. Great common area with pool table and beers. There is a padded room with movies and flat screen TV. I came home around midnight and there were some British blokes watching Premier League on the communal TV. All around good atmosphere. Beds are nice, but bathrooms cramped and great location at the beginning of the riverside walk. Absolutely best breakfast for a hostel: Bacon, tasty poached eggs and bread with coffee. They helped us pick the hostel in the next town, Vang Vieng.
BounTang Guesthouse– Fabulous private rooms. Brand new, air-con, balcony, and clean. For 100,000 kip, I bought a private room with best view you can get of the mesmerizing Vang Vieng landscape. They also offer air-con dorms for half the price. Only stayed here one night, but going to bed with the lightning striking over the looming mountains in the distance and waking up to the sunny green hills was quite an experience.
EasyGo Hostel– This place is a dump. It has a small, filthy common area that keeps some of the rain off of you. But judging by the overflowing ashtrays, hasn’t been cleaned in a long time. The showers were clogged with plastic bottles and hair. Mosquito nets were provided. There is one girl who works the front desk and the only face I saw in three days. I understand a hostel is too much work for one girl, but eventually, they must hire a cleaning person or else it’s only going to get worse. It’s cheap though.
LPQ Backpackers- A place full of rules. They rent towels, close the gates early, don’t allow billiards after ten, turn off air-con between 9-10 a.m. but offer a free egg breakfast. The rooms and toilets are nice and clean. It’s off to the end of town, so a slight walk is entailed.