Guide to Luang Prabang: From Shoestring To Showstopping

Hidden in the shadow of lofty green mountains, in between the mighty Mekong and calming Khan rivers, lies the laid back town of Luang Prabang, a UNICEF designated world heritage site and the most stylish of Laos’ tourist draws, thanks to its French Indochinese heritage.

Luang Prabang is a perfect, pocket-sized blend of prohibition-era Paris and the innocent, but beguiling, Buddhist way of life. Endowed with chic colonial architecture, the town is as dotted with red-roofed temples as it is red-wine bars.

Backwater of Beyond : Nong Khiaw & Muang Ngoi (Laos) www.borntobeawildflower.com Bianca Capstick

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Steeped in culture, Luang Prabang’s most famous tourist attraction is Wat Xienv Thong, the most enchanting and historic Buddhist monastery in the entire country.

Backwater of Beyond : Nong Khiaw & Muang Ngoi (Laos) www.borntobeawildflower.com Bianca Capstick

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While visitors flock to marvel at its intricately designed golden walls and quietly admire this graceful place of worship; this quaint riverside town has so much more to offer backpackers and flashpackers, whatever the budget.

There is a distinctly stylish and low key vibe here, where French culture compliments its Southeast Asian home.

ON A SHOESTRING

Things to do, What to Eat and Where to Stay

The cheapest way to enjoy Luang Prabang and soak up its atmosphere is by hiring a push bike from one of the town’s many guesthouses (£1 for 12 hours) to meander down the town’s winding alley ways and alongside both of the rivers.

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Let Angkor Restaurant Review: Luang Prabang (Laos) www.borntobeawildflower.com Bianca Capstick

Cycle along the Mekong and there are no shortage of budget-friendly river front restaurants or cheap street food stalls.

The former makes a picturesque pit stop for lunch or evening drinks to watch the sun disappear behind the mountains. The former is the cheapest and most authentic way to eat out in Luang Prabang – with vegetarians more than catered for. Grab a bowl, pay £1.50 and treat the barbeques and street food stalls like a buffet and fill up as much as you can.

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Meat-lovers will adore the dirt-cheap smoky skewered pork and vegetarians can eat their fill of vegetable noodles, fried Mekong river weed and sweet potato curries.

If a bicycle isn’t for you, your feet wont tire of strolling past French Colonial houses-turned-wine-bar or art galleries, dotted with Chinese lanterns; leading you in circles around the town among Luang Prabang’s legacy of ancient red-roofed temples to the sacred Buddha image, Pha Bang.

Backwater of Beyond : Nong Khiaw & Muang Ngoi (Laos) www.borntobeawildflower.com Bianca Capstick 

Greenpark Villa Hotel: Vientiane, Laos www.borntobeawildflower.com Bianca Capstick

SHOWSTOPPING

Things to do, What to Eat and Where to Stay

If visiting Luang Prabang with a little cash to splash then you will not be disappointed with town’s choice of frangipani fringed boutique hotels, stylish restaurants, cocktail bars, fashion boutiques, art galleries and day trips…

…The best bit about most of these options being that they each serve, in some way, to give back to Laos local communities – essential to this beautiful country with its little-known tortured past as the most bombed country in the world!

While spoiled for places to stay, my number one recommendation would be the stunning Villa Maly hotel. Centered round a pristine pool under chic Chinese lanterns, you will find Villa Maly, a colonial mansion turned boutique hotel, hidden from the hustle of Luang Prabang by its dense green garden of sky high palm trees and vibrant banana plants.

villa maly poolside 4 Bianca Capstick/BorntobeaWiildflower

Villa Maly Hotel : Luang Prabang (Laos) www.borntobeawildflower.com Bianca Capstick

The hotel serves expertly blended cocktails by the talented team in Villa Maly’s Mouhot’s Bar, its namesake Henri Mouhot, the French naturalist who rediscovered the famous Angkor temples before travelling through Luang Prabang.

As well as Mouhot’s Bar, Villa Maly offers luxury dining at Le Vetiver a perfect alfresco experience, sited on a wooden deck, appointed with a warm rose wood furnishing and sheltered by a canopy.

And on balmier evenings guests have the option of a poolside barbecue: Surrounded by the garden’s tropical frangipanis, ginger, orchids, lilies, gardenias and mango trees, and served next to what has been rates as one of the best pools in Luang Prabang, here Villa Maly’s team will fire up the grill and leave you to cook your selection of tantalizing cuts of well marinated tenderloin, ribs, pork, shrimp and fresh seafood.

If you’re not watching your pennies then Luang Prabang’s sunny streets are rife with luxe Laos cuisine, French bistros and low key wine bars.

Everyone who’s anyone in Luang Prabang 
(whatever that means!) heads to L’Eléphant, where you can choose from a French or Lao menu (Ban Vat Nong; 856-71-252-482; entrées from $10).

Its sister restaurant next door, the chic Green Elephant, 
is Laos’s first vegan eatery (no phone; set menu, $21).

And even if you’re not staying at the hotel itself, the 3 Nagas café—with extra-fresh Lao court cuisine—is worth 
a visit. The shady patio makes for 
a great lunchtime spot (856-71-253-888; entrées from $5).

My favourite restaurant is Le Tangor  on the main street of Sisavangvong Road; a French restaurant perfect for people watching, serving a killer steak and baked camembert, espresso martinis and delicate lemon tart. The shabby chic, red hued interior plays strong homage to its Indochinese heritage to perfection.

Let Angkor Restaurant Review: Luang Prabang (Laos) www.borntobeawildflower.com Bianca Capstick

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Let Angkor Restaurant Review: Luang Prabang (Laos) www.borntobeawildflower.com Bianca Capstick

Let Angkor Restaurant Review: Luang Prabang (Laos) www.borntobeawildflower.com Bianca Capstick

Let Angkor Restaurant Review: Luang Prabang (Laos) www.borntobeawildflower.com Bianca Capstick

Let Angkor Restaurant Review: Luang Prabang (Laos) www.borntobeawildflower.com Bianca Capstick

Statues of Buddha sit alongside vintage tins of Fois Gras and the walls are adorned with retro TinTin prints.

If you fancy making the most of Laos boat life, stretching beyond the Mekong then take a unique cruise along the spectacular Luang Say from £120 per person based on groups of 9-38 people.

WHEN TO VISIT

Go between November and January when temperatures are mild, but keep in mind that this is also the season when tourist numbers are highest.

Alternatively head to Luang Prabang in the rainy season (April-July and Sept-Oct), when ‘rain’ means a brief cleansing shower most afternoons, but otherwise lovely weather.

Avoid March when temperatures are searing.

The Lao New Year festivities (from 13 to 15 April) are a worthy draw, and the tradition of throwing water is delightful – and tonic.

Koh Rong Sanloem Travel Guide: Cambodia

Koh Rong, the largest of Cambodia’s collective of islands, has enjoyed the “backpacker favourite” status for the last five years. However its smaller sister, Koh Rong Sanloem, beautifully unspoiled, yet closer to the mainland is a much quieter and more picturesque and serene spot; favoured by the “flashpackers,” and definitely worth consideration for backpackers looking a little further off the beaten track – or for those not looking for a trashy Full Moon Party.

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Despite being just 45 minutes away from Sihanoukville by the “Fast Ferry” ($20 return) or 2 hours in the “Slow Boat” ($10 return)*; navigating your way to, from, and around the island is a little more challenging than you’d assume: So below are some points to consider when planning a trip to this truly stunning island.

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*The main strip in Sihanoukville is full of small travel agents who will be able to book you on either ferry. Try to book a day in advance if you’d like to go early in the morning, otherwise you can arrange same-day transport.

  • How to get to Koh Rong Sanloem

Just south of Koh Rong, Koh Rong Sanloem takes pristine beaches to another level; offering picture perfect snorkelling spots and peaceful Eco-conscious diving options, as well as a stretch of standy beach for sun-worshipping.

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Koh Rong Sanloem’s M’Pay Bay is the closest beach to Koh Rong and as well as offering unspoiled beaches, here a small community of fishermen and their families gives tourists a unique insight to village life.

For an average of $40 a night (you can stay in a dorm for around $10, camp for $5 or pay up to $80 for more premium accommodation), you can sleep in a beach front bungalow with private bathroom (some also offer free wifi in the guesthouse restaurant between 6pm and 11pm); and use the dense jungle behind you for trekking and exploring.

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A 45 minute trek through the jungle will lead you to the other side of the island, Saracen Bay; where a stunning and vast expanse of pure white sand snakes round in a circular bay, meeting a pure aqua shallow sea; the landscaped dotted only with occasional traditional turquoise fishing boats.

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IMPORTANT TRAVEL INFORMATION: If travelling from Sihanoukville main land, both ferries will only drop you off on Saracen Bay and you will have to make your own way to M’Pay Bay either by paying $45 on for a “taxi boat” or talking to some locals and jumping in with them for free at around 4pm when they head home.

No one will tell you this before getting to the island, so if heading to Koh Rong Sanloem from the mainland it is best to book a guest house on the stunning Saracen Bay; or keep in mind that you will have to make your own way (via boat or jungle trek) to M’Pay Bay.

Similarly, if you are traveling to Koh Rong Sanloem from Koh Rong, most boats only go to M’Pai Bay, so it is worth booking accommodation here, or keeping in mind that you will have to find your own way to Saracen, via the same suggestions above.

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Both beaches are equally beautiful, with chilled out beach bungalows, low key bars (although M’Pai is has a bit more of a party scene) and delicious seafood restaurants; Both are also a little more expensive than the mainland with accommodation starting at around $30 a night and the cheapest dish (including breakfast) starting at $4.50.

Therefore whether you end up in M’Pai or Saracen you are in for a similar experience; it’s just useful to know which beach you can expect to end up on, depending on where you are travelling from.

However as they are only a 45 minute, breezy, jungle walk apart, it’s very easy to day trip from one side of the island to the other to experience both!

Prefering the quieter island life, we stayed on Saracen

  • Where to Stay on Saracen Bay

After the fast or slow ferry drop you at the Jetty, the second guesthouse you will reach is a Turkish-owned set of beach bungalows, called Rumi & Atam Bungalows, which at $30 / night was one of the cheapest options, and where we chose to stay. The bungalow was a decent size, had sea views, clean private bathroom and the seafront restaurant, naturally serves very good Turkish and Khmer food for a reasonable price. The staff are very sweet and our stay was very pleasant.

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About halfway down the beach is the beautiful Green and Blue Resort. Somewhere I wish I’d stayed if we’d explored a little further at first. Again, Turkish-owned, this bohemian blissful spot has blue and green day beds, hammocks, murals, traditional Turkish “Evil Eyes” hanging throughout and offers beautiful, uniquely designed bungalows with balconies  which cost around $60 a night.

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For a cheaper option try the lovely Easy Tiger Bungalows at $24 a night and for a bit of luxury, go for Sol Resort which just opened in 2016, or the very cosmic Moonlight Resort – where you will stay in unique luxury domes at the far end of the beach for $120 a night. – Another place I wish I’d explored further to reach when looking for a place to stay.

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  • Where to Eat on Saracen Bay

The restaurants in both Rumi and Green Blue Resort offer very good Turkish Food, Green Blue is better, with more picturesque views, stylish cocktails, more of a beach vibe – and is the only place on the island to take card or offer cash back. Green Blue is a romantic little dinner spot and close to where the Plankton surface at night, if you feel like a sparkling midnight swim after dark.

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For incredible pizza, perfect seafood (and the most reliable wifi on the island)  head over to Moonlight Resort’s Blue Moon Restaurant. As though dining under the stars, the blue domed restaurant is a beautiful place to eat along side the shore.

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  • What to do on Saracen Bay

Sunbathing is the obvious choice: All of the hotels and bars have day-beds and sun loungers on their ‘patch’ of beachfront, free for anyone to use; and if you need a little shade then there are plenty of treehouse style beds, built around the shoreline’s palm trees.

The living is easy and blissful.

StandUp Paddle boarding at just $5/ hour is available on the island, the team also arrange 2-3hour snorkelling trips around the Saracen Bay’s two reefs for just $20/person, or 6ft Diving for $60/person.

The snorkelling trips are beautiful: The sea is crystal clear, making for a serene immersion into coral reefs spiked with Black sea urchins and shoals of tropical fish. To the meditative sound of your own breath, hours can be spent lost underwater admiring clown fish – and small octopi.

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If you need to resurface to adjust your snorkelling mask, you’ll also spot monkeys playing in the jungle on the reefs edge.

If island-hopping through Cambodia, it would be my strong recommendation to visit beautiful Koh Rong but to steer as far away from Sok San Beach as possible – unless you enjoy terrible music (*PSYTRANCE) and don’t mind the tragedy that it’s once pure shores* are now washed up with the mainland’s rubbish.
*It also speaks volumes about how tourism has changed the island for the worse now that police patrol the beach to stop anti-social behaviour.

Instead take the time and small extra expense to visit Palm Beach on the north side of the island. This private, but inexpensive stretch of beach with thatched bungalows, a great bar and a solid playlist is a stunning, edge of he world setting, opposite the stunning SongSaa Resort, the owners of which, work hard to preserve their local environment and marine life.

 

When the Khmer Rouge ‘soldiers’ seized Cambodia’s cities in 1975, sending anyone thought to be ‘intellectual’ to its oppressive torture camps, artists and musicians were among the first to disappear.

After little more than a decade of peace following 40 years of war, the country is awakening once more to its creative potential, recapturing some of its early 20th-century flair. No more so can this be said than of the dreamy and peaceful city of Battambang; Cambodia’s second largest city, yet relatively untouched by tourism.

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Few visitors include Battambang on their itinerary, missing out on a thriving contemporary cultural scene with arts cafes, art-funding projects and galleries springing up all over the riverside town; through which the Sankae river atmospherically snakes, and with rice fields, leafy villages and glittering pagodas haloing around its edges.

With its untouched ambiance and having survived Polpot’s regime relatively undamaged, in Cambodia’s sleepy “second city” you’ll find some of the country’s best-preserved architecture; retaining its Art Deco charm with jaded yellow and blue shaded French colonialism sat alongside modernist 1950s and 1960s style buildings.

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Battambang’s main street is built along the banks of the Sangke River, with the city’s night market taking centre stage and artsy little avenues acting as easy to navigate side roads; perfect to explore on a push bike, which if hired through Bambu hotel for $2 a day, means the money will go to its local school.

Cycle down streets 2 and 2.5 and you will find some of Cambodia’s coolest philanthropic art spaces, the newest being Lotus Cafe and Gallery, housed in the remnants of a colonial 3 story shop front.

Loving renovation from Darren Swallow has resulted in a stylish, exposed brick wall, retro floor tiled multi-purpose space that will host art exhibitions as well as films, music and live performances, and also features a bar.

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Gracing the walls of Lotus are some of the stunningly psychedelic artworks by Swallow’s wife, Khchao Touch; in feminine colours, fluid lines and fine tipped brush strokes, Touch’s works depict dreamy meditative looking-women surrounded by hallucinogenic swirls of lime greens and golds.

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Available to buy from Lotus cafe; stare into Touch’s paintings and their painstakingly applied dots of colour and you may find your own inner peace. – The gallery is split over three floors with plenty of other local artists work to admire.

Down the street is Sammaki, a community art space hosting local artists and helping to bridge the gap between art school and life as a professional artist.

Just one road away on Street 2 is Jaan Bai, a social enterprise run by the Cambodia’s Children’s Trust and arguably the best restaurant in Battambang. Melding good looks with real substance, here young chefs have been schooled in the art of creative cuisine and cocktail mixing; while local artists have the opportunity to share their stories and works.

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Characterised aesthetically at first glance by dusty, unsealed roads, weathered shop houses and the off architectural gem; delve deeper and discover is vibrant cafe scene, growing education focus and an artistic community unlike any other in Cambodia.

Vibrant yet untouched, there has never been a better time to visit Battambang.

Travel Indochina runs small group tours and tailor-made itineraries that feature Battambang. 

Sojourn Boutique Hotel : A Soulful Stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Cambodia is a very special country; and anyone who knows me well will know just how special the country is to me. – A country which, after centuries under Vietnamese and Thai siege and the devastation during Polpot’s Khmer Rouge Regime, rightfully still wears its heart on its sleeve; it’s heart-centre being the soulful Siem Reap.

As the country’s heartland, home to the famous Angkor Watt temples, Siem Reap has seen a huge increase in tourism in the last couple of years, bringing with it an equal increase in beautiful boutique hotels with frangipani-fringed swimming pools. However only one can lay claim to giving as much back to its local communities as it does for its guests – and that place is the stunning Sojourn Boutique Villas.

Soujourn Boutique Hotel poolside 1 Bianca Capstick www.borntobeawildflower.com

Nestled in the authentic Treak village, a short drive out of the dusty bustle of Siem Reap’s town centre; Sojourn Boutique Villas combines style with substance by offering guests an experience that stretches so much further than excellent exotic cocktails sipped at its swimming pool’s bar.

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Soujourn Boutique Hotel Thai Coconut Cocktail 1 Soujourn Boutique Hotel poolside 1

Opening visitors’ eyes to its soulful surroundings, Sojourn Boutique Hotel stands out by offering guests walking tours around Treak Village ($5 per person), and ‘A Day in the Life” tours in Komphein Village, as part of its community enriching work through HUSK, an NGO lovingly set up by the hotel’s owners in 2009, following Typhoon Ketsana.

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The fee for the walking tour goes directly to HUSK, whose remit is to help people help themselves, give children access to education, improve basic hygiene, provide access to food and better nutritional knowledge, and help establish programs so that the villagers derive income through sustainable projects and tourism.

HUSK Cambodia Soujorn Boutique Hotel Treak Village 2

 

Treak Village is also brought to life with even more vibrancy thanks to Sojourn Boutique Villa’s hands-on Cambodian Cooking Class* in its bamboo pavilion. Unlike any other Khmer cooking courses, this one starts with a short visit to a local family’s home to learn about food customs and beliefs within the village.

HUSK Cambodia Soujorn Boutique Hotel Treak Village 4

Taking this new-found knowledge back to the hotel’s beautiful Bamboo Pavillion, sunkissed in the morning light; here under the guidance of Sojourn Boutique Hotel’s Head Chef, up to eight people will learn how to make three traditional Khmer dishes – followed by a sit down lunch together to enjoy your three courses of your own creations.

Soujourn Boutique Hotel Treak Village HUSK Cooking Class

Soujourn Boutique Hotel Treak Village HUSK Cooking Class 2

Continuing to give back to its community, the majority of the hotel’s team of incredibly warm and smiling staff are those who live locally, walking the short distance to the utopian setting of Sojourn Boutique Villas each day.

Taking upmost pride in their roles, the team here go above and beyond to make your stay as special as possible, whether it’s squeezing a different fresh fruit juice for you each morning, shaking cocktails in the atmospheric lantern-lit restaurant or poolside bar or turning down your bed every evening and leaving chocolates on your pillow.

Soujourn Boutique Hotel breakfast

Not a trick is missed at Soujourn Boutique Villas: Pick up to the hotel is arranged from wherever you require and on arrival fragrant Jasmine “welcome” bracelets and cooling face towels are lavished upon you.

Guests are spoiled further with the beautiful, winding palm and banana tree-lined walk to its villas, greeted by fluttering butterlies and perfectly-timed falling Jasmine flowers on route, adjacent to an ocean blue swimming pool surrounded by loungers, day beds, water features – and it’s in-pool cocktail bar.

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Soujourn Boutique Hotel poolside 2

A family-friendly hotel; here children splash, sunworshipers worship, shade-dwellers seek shelter under the light cover of the Bedouin style double loungers, and those in full holiday mode sup sun-kissed cocktails, very reasonably priced at $4.50 or $3.50 during the 4pm-6pm Happy Hour.

Quicker than you can say “Happy Hour,” your bags, fresh lime juice and sweet, toasty coconut pancakes will have been spirited into your luxury villa, prolonging the welcome even further.

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Soujourn Boutique Hotel bedroom 5

With almost as many Jasmine flowers dotted around your heavenly holiday home as you’ll find in the grounds, beautiful attention to detail runs throughout.

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Soujourn Boutique Hotel bedroom 2

Coffee, English Breakfast, Earl Grey & Darjeeling Tea sit atop your well-stocked minibar; the rooms are adorned with statues of Buddha and local photography; the rain shower alone (let alone the stylish stone bathroom) was about the same size as my Hackney studio flat and locally sourced, ethically made beauty products sit alongside your giant stone sink waiting to be used.

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Soujourn Boutique Hotel bathroom 2

Soujourn Boutique Hotel bathroom 3

If the azure of the pool can’t lure you over for a sunset apéritif at the bar, each villa has its own balcony on which cocktails and light bites will be brought to you – and in a little more seclusion thanks to the dense tropical garden surroundings.

Soujourn Boutique Hotel bedroom 3

Dinner here is atmospheric, the restaurant romantically lit by tea lights in Chinese lanterns, with the ripples of the swimming pool still in sight or sound. – And the food is exquisite.

Little is known about the diversities and subtleties of Khmer Cuisine and at Sojourn these delicately spiced flavours are played out in a sophisticated menu which offers the likes of a light, tangy Crab & Coconut Salad (easily the best salad I’ve ever eaten) and the delicious national dish Amok, the option of a daily special such as John Dory Fish steamed in ginger and local spices. France’s colonial heritage in Cambodia has shaped an impressive wine list of Bordeauxs, sparkling wine and champagne.

The restaurant is open from 7am-10am for breakfast, included in your room rate and offers the likes of perfectly cooked omelettes or decadent French toast dusted with cinnamon and honey; all accompanied by perfectly your choice of tea or a barista blended Flat White. The restaurant re-opens at 11:00am for the rest of the day.

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Soujourn Boutique Hotel flat white

Huge thanks to the wonderful, dedicated and philanthropic Fiona and Anthony for having us. A stay at Sojourn Boutique Villas really is the perfect oxymoron of altruistic luxury.

Soujourn Boutique Hotel

  • Room rates range from $165 / night in a Terrace Room through to $240 / night in a Temple Villa. Be sure to check their bookings page for any deals.
  • Treak Village Rd,Treak Village Siem Reap
  • (+855) 12 923 437 / info@sojournsiemreap.com
  • Donate to HUSK

*Cambodian Cooking Classes are $24 per person for the half day class and $35 for the full day class. There is a maximum of eight participants involved in any class. Classes are run daily at 9.30am and 12.30pm and take around 2.5 to 3 hours per class. Bookings are essential and can be made at reception. – Full review to follow.

Villa Maly Hotel : Luang Prabang (Laos)

Centered around a pristine pool under chic Chinese lanterns, you will find Villa Maly, a colonial mansion turned boutique hotel, hidden from the hustle of Luang Prabang by its dense green garden of sky high palm trees and vibrant banana plants.

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villa maly poolside 3 Bianca Capstick/BorntobeaWiildflower

villa maly poolside 5 Bianca Capstick/BorntobeaWiildflower

Like a grand mason from the French/Indochinese golden era lost in a lush southeast Asian jungle; Villa Maly blends Laotian hospitality with French flare to create a unique luxury hotel in the centre of Laos’ “golden city.”

villa maly mansion 1 Bianca Capstick/BorntobeaWiildflower

villa maly mansion 2 Bianca Capstick/BorntobeaWiildflower

Beginning your stay with a “welcome drink,’ of refreshing, chilled watermelon juice, served with traditional local snacks such as fried Mekong seaweed and banana chips; a visit at Villa Maly is as though guests are stepping directly into a 1940s picture-perfect travel poster for Air France or La Indochine; in an expertly matched colour palate of creams, greens and oranges.

villa maly welcome drinks and snacks Bianca Capstick/BorntobeaWiildflower

villa maly poolside 7 Bianca Capstick/BorntobeaWiildflower

Although reminiscent to staying in a jungle villa, the grounds are expertly kept by a dedicated team who, from sunrise to sundown, delicately trim and treat the floral filled gardens which surround  the swimming pool, discretely maintaining Villa Maly’s air of perfection.

You know that the team are there, but it’s almost as though they’re not as rogue leaves and empty cocktail glasses are spirited away with only the sound of the hotel’s trickling swimming pool to distract you.

villa maly garden 2 Bianca Capstick/BorntobeaWiildflower

These aforementioned cocktails, are those expertly blended by the talented team in Villa Maly’s Mouhot’s Bar, its namesake Henri Mouhot, the French naturalist who rediscovered the famous Angkor temples before travelling through Luang Prabang; and the bar, the classic kind of out-of-the way watering hole you’d image the explorer drinking in.

As well as Mouhot’s Bar, Villa Maly offers luxury dining at Le Vetiver a perfect alfresco experience, sited on a wooden deck, appointed with a warm rose wood furnishing and sheltered by a canopy.

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And on balmier evenings guests have the option of a poolside barbecue: Surrounded by the garden’s tropical frangipanis, ginger, orchids, lilies, gardenias and mango trees, and served next to what has been rates as one of the best pools in Luang Prabang, here Villa Maly’s team will fire up the grill and leave you to cook your selection of tantalizing cuts of well marinated tenderloin, ribs, pork, shrimp and fresh seafood.

villa maly poolside 1 Bianca Capstick/BorntobeaWiildflower

The hotel’s wine list complements both the grill and the various delectable local Laos traditional cuisine, which is served all day long.

Breakfast is buffet style – but not as you ma have come to expect from Southeast Asian breakfast buffets – as Villa Maly’s is the best I’ve experienced, with attention to detail and little touches like wooden honey twirlers, individual glass bottles of fresh juice to take to your table, and homemade jam served in miniature jars nestled in an impressive spread of museli, cereals, fresh fruit salads, croissants, pastries, omelettes, cooked breakfast options, stuffed tomatoes, cheese, cold cuts, fresh coffee and fresh tea. Everything for the hungry hearted to the health conscious.

villa maly breakfast 2 Bianca Capstick/BorntobeaWiildflower

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Blankets are strewn over the backs of the chairs too, making that challenging transition from cloud-like comfortable bed to breakfast that little bit easier – another thoughtful touch.

Bedrooms come in two categories and we stayed in a “Superior.”

Superior Rooms (US$ 214-320) at Villa Maly can lay claim to its own distinct appeal, featuring custom arrangements and distinguished artwork. The rooms do share similarities in hardwood floors, vibrant colors, slate-walled bathrooms, flat screen televisions and views of the gardens or pool. Some superior rooms boast a king sized bed; others offer a pair of beds. All promise a very individualized experience. Our Superior rooms have an average of 24 sqm living area.

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The Deluxe Rooms (US$ 254-360) were once the residence of Princess Khampieng, Ptince Khaman and their children.

The rooms are bright and well-lit thanks to their three broad French windows, although all afford privacy thanks to its lush garden surroundings, and benefit from sun-dappled green and red light dancing around the room, complementing the wonderfully subdued pastel colour palate in each room.

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With attentive staff, stunning rooms, thoughtful extras, great food, lush gardens, killer cocktails and one of the best swimming pools in Luang Prabang, Villa Maly offers a blissful and unique place to stay in Laos’ gorgeous golden city.

75 Oupalath Khamboua Road, PO Box 1148 Ban That Luang Village, Luang Prabang, Lao P.D.R
+856 7125 3903/04, +856 7125 3936 (Sales Office)
+856 7125 4912, +856 7126 0319 (Sales Office)
reservation@villa-maly.com

Thank you for having us.