Laos ~ Places to Stay

4,000 Islands:

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$).

Vientiane:

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.

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.

Luang Prabang:

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.

Cambodia ~ Where to Stay

Phnom Penh:

Me Mates’ Villa– This clean white and black house is set off from a small street in the middle of sprawling P.P. They have great beds in 8 person rooms with two en-suite bathrooms with water hot enough to peel paint (not that you need that in a city with such outrageously hot days). A small, but convenient common room with internet, drinks and food helps for meeting people and planning trips ahead. Recommended

Diamond Palace 2– A value hotel with good wifi and clean, tiny rooms. It’s got a nice location next to the river and palace.

Sihanoukville:

Wish You Were Here– These bungalows are actually on Otres Beach. They are decent sized A-frame, dorm rooms looked hot and cramped though. It is not on the beach side which is more of a disappointment than an inconvenience. Shared bathroom and dim, cool bar with slow-moving bartenders. The Indigo bungalows looked nicer and were beachside with their own bar.

Siem Reap:

Mad Monkey- A prototype of a party hostel, this is THE stop for backpackers. The bar on the 4th floor has sand underfoot and stars above. Beer Pong and specials daily until midnight keep things moving. The common courtyard pool A la Melrose Place has bean bags for chilling and shade for reading. Tours available for Angkor, but too expensive, find your own transport. Showers were not strong, but towels and toilet paper provided.

Kratie:

Mahoungkong Guesthouse– I think all the guesthouses in this area are very similar to this one towards the end of the main drag of riverside accommodations. The 6US$ price tag was right for an en-suite bathroom double bed room with fan. There was a small television provided that felt like a nice luxury.

Vietnam ~ Places to Stay

Hanoi:

Landmark Hotel–Very nice, about 20$ per night. Free and large selection for breakfast. Great wifi.

Hue:

Hue Backpackers–Chill main area. World sports on the TV, good dorms cleaned everyday. Location good for bars/restaurants but far from the Citadel.

Hoi An:

Sunflower Hotel–This converted hotel now caters to the backpackers. There is a pool, amazing buffet breakfast and good beds. They aren’t close to the main area, but it’s not too far to walk, and the beach is nearby.

Nha Trang:

Mojzo Inn–Cute boutique hostel. Elevator, rooftop breakfast, great staff, perfect location. Near beach and bars. This place is a great example of what new hostels should be.

Da Lat:

Dalat Family Hostel–The epitome of energy. The girls and Mama never get tired of entertaining. There are no lockers here, but a total family vibe prevents most theft. They are way off the main area, but such a funny place to stay and great for meeting and having a communal dinner and drinks after on the porch/street.

Ho Chi Minh City:

Long Hostel--Family run and family feel. Great beds, pillows, showers, new towel everyday. Clean, shoes off type place. Banana pancake free breakfast and delicious coffee. No common area, but good location away from the craziness but easily accessed.

If you want to recommend any other places, let me know.

The Landmark Hotel–Hanoi

My room was small but clean. The helpful and friendly hotel staff spoke English. The free breakfast included bacon, ham, eggs, fruit, vegetables, coffee and tea, essentially a very good start to the morning. The hot water was slightly sporadic. A train came by about 3 times a day, but not too noticeable. The location is good and wifi worked very well. It’s a great room for the price of 18US$.

Address: 18 Nguyen Van To