Recently opened around 12 months ago, Mandala Ou Resort is the prettiest and most luxurious accommodation in Nong Kiaw. It also boasts Nong Kiaw’s only pool, which is lovely, especially if travelling with a group, but not essential in the cooler temperatures. The pool is framed by an attractive bar area, making for a very welcoming, central spot to relax.
Nic and Kenny run a smooth and efficient ship. Nic has designed some beautiful individual villas that all have either a gorgeous balcony with a stunning view of the river or a garden setting with an upstairs studio area. The textiles and decorating in the rooms are beautifully chosen.
Hot water to the shower is provided by an efficient small electric heater. Tea and coffee making facilities are also available.
The restaurant has a great view out over the river and there are hammocks to relax in.
Breakfast (7:30-10:30) is included and has delicious warm croissants all the way from Le Banneton in Luang Prabang. Nic makes his own bread and the homemade passionfruit and mango jams are wonderful. Fruit, yogurt , muesli and eggs made to order and a meat and cheese plate are also available for breakfast.
Lunch and dinner is available from a short menu and possibly the spaghetti, papaya salad and the beef and ginger stir fry ( mainly vegetarian) are the most tasty dishes.
Spagetti pomandera Green papaya salad
Smoked eggplant dip and vegetables Massaman curry
Chicken schnitzel Duck breast with bacon and vegetables (French style) (dinner only)
Beef and ginger stir-fry
The bar provides a good range of drinks including some good fruit and vegetable combination juices like apple carrot and ginger.
Filtered coffee is also available and hammocks to relax in.
Nic ( ex Germany) and Kenny ( ex Australia) are very easy to communicate with and know what you need. Nic is also excellent at organising transport and helping with any arrangements. A boat trip up river to pretty Muang Ngoi (500,000 kip about $AUD 73) is well worth doing.
It includes Sop Jam for an extra 50,000 kip which has an interesting weaving industry and offers the opportunity to buy some lovely table runners/scarves.
A comfortable minivan pick up ( seats 11 + driver) is $120US up and $100 US back to Luang Prabang. Sadly, you can no longer travel up by boat.
Mandala Ou is about 10-15 min easy walk from the centre of town where there are a number of frequently recommended restaurants like Deems Indian and Chennai Indian (both don’t allow alcohol) Vangmany ( Lao food) just at the end of the bridge. Complimentary bikes are also available from Mandala Ou.
The bridge is great for views and boats leave to go up river from just below the bridge.
Mandala Ou Resort is highly recommended as a good spot to stay, it is cheaper to book directly at around $63 US for a river view room and $52 US for a fountain view room.(30% discount as well as 3 nights for the price of 2, low season rates between 1 May and 30 September.
No credit card facilities but you are able to pay in a range of currencies at market value exchange rates.
There’s no room safe, but I understand there are no safety issues with valuables. Also, be aware that the paths and bathroom floors can get very slippery when moist.
The entrance can be tricky to see, but it’s on the right coming into Nong Kiaw.
River view bungalow all with balcony (No. 5, second bungalow from the pool)
Garden/Fountain view bungalow all with loft (No. 12 twin)