Makphet Restaurant, Vientiane, Laos


Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is not an essential stop on a Laos itinerary as sadly, it lacks the charm of Luang Prabang and the laid back nature of the Mekong 4,000 Islands. However, it is the home of the fabulous Makphet restaurant ( one of the Friends International hospitality training restaurants) which you must not miss if you are in Vietianne.



Red Hibiscus Sorbet with Coconut Ice-cream and Meringue


Steamed Pumpkin Cake with Palm Sugar Caramel


Crispy Rice Sesame Dumplings with Roselle Hibiscus Syrup and Coconut Gelato


Watermelon and citrus freeze

Tamnak Lao cooking class, Luang Prabang


Tamnak Lao Restaurant, across the road from Villa Santi Hotel, also offers good cooking classes that also include a visit to the local Phosy Market.

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The main differences to Bamboo Tree Cooking Classes are that Tamnak Lao’s are run by men not women (so perhaps not as chatty) and Tamnak Lao offers has more opportunities for hands on preparation, whereas Bamboo Tree does much of the work for you.

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Bamboo Tree also has the lovely riverside tables to enjoy your meal afterwards, whereas Tamnak Lao’s tables are in a lane way.

But the Tamarind Restaurant also runs classes that are well worth considering. Tamarind has a particular interest in passing on Lao cuisine wisdom (and also the best sticky rice dessert ever).

Tamarind’s classes fill quickly so book early.


Kaiphaen Restaurant, Luang Prabang


The newest Friends International restaurant was scheduled to open in November 2014 in Luang Prabang at 100 Sisavang Vanatana Road, Ban Wat Nong, down from Cafe Toui, the French Institute, Villa Champa and the Lao Airlines office and close to the Mekong River River.

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If it’s anything like Romdeng, Marum or Makphet, it will be a top spot not to miss.

Sayo Guest House, Xieng Muane Luang Prabang



Sayo Guest House Xieng Mouane  may not be the top guest house pick in Luang Prabang, but might be worth considering. The upstairs double suites for $50-70 US are incredibly sapcious with another mezzanine bed included and large  bathroom.

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(Room A3 but A6 is simiilar)

It also has a great location near to the Mekong River, the start of the night market and good restaurants like Cafe Touri and Kaiphen.

And the other end of the range  are the downstairs double or twin standard/small rooms startting at $20 US.

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B3 is a standard twin for $25-35 US.

Breakfast is not included, but can be ordered separately and includes eggs cooked to order, ham/bacon, fruit salad, baguette with butter and jam, juice, tea and coffee.

However the breakfast seating lacks charm and you might prefer to eat at one of the other eateries close by as it is not included in the price.


15% discount offered to groups.

Villa Saykam, Luang Prabang


Villa Saykham is good value for a guest house stay at $30-35 US per night approx. (Book via hotel website)

It has a good location near the night markets (which is where everyone generally ends up at night) and it is very close to good restaurants like Cafe Toui and the new friends International restaurant Khaiphaen, as well as the Mekong riverfront and Xiang Muane area. Room B1 is a good pick on the ground floor, nearest to the outdoor eating area.

However, possibly a room upstairs would be more private and quieter.

Breakfast is eggs, baguette, fruit, juice and coffee and is included in the price.

Trip advisor reviews


Villa Saykam


Room B1


Breakfast area


Room B1



Villa Champa, Luang Prabang


Villa Champa is well priced and located near the  to the start of night market with some good restauants like Cafe Toui and the new  Friends International restaurant Xiaphen close by as well  the Mekong River for sunsets.


It doesn’t have a kitchen, but just across the road is a pretty cafe to sit outside and eat breakfast.



Rooms range from $US20 to $US56 a night and upstairs rooms have balconies.

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Room 104 is a small $20US Room

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Pack Luck Villa, Luang Prabang


Pack Luck Villa is a guest house with plenty of charm.


Located in a quiet but still central spot near the Mekong River, just down from Villa Santi, it faces Le Elepahnt French Restaurnat, a temple, a cultural centre.


The better rooms cost $65 which includes a continental breakfast.

Room 3 upstairs is  an  attractively decorated double and possibly the pick of rooms with it’s balcony overlooking the street.

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There are also two other double rooms downstairs.



Apsara, Luang Prabang


The Apsara  is a lovely boutique hotel, that is well worth considering.


The standard downstairs rooms (about $US90) include the three in a separate building from the restaurant and reception (11, 12, 14) .



Room 11 is on the corner and has a window


Room 12 has no window except the front opening glass doors, and Room 14 has a right side wall window. They have a nice wide balcony on the street that faces the river.




Two more standard downstairs rooms are located next to the restuarant and have more rom, but might be a little noisier.
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The superior rooms upstairs above the restarurant are nice, with more room and privacy but smaller hotter balconies including room 3 and Room 1 Upstairs.

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Room 1 (Superior)

Superior (double) have lots more room but a smaller balcony for about $130 US (Agoda).


Breakfast is not buffet, but is still nice and is served either indoors or riverside.

Well run by a European couple. Price includes breakfast and an airport transfer for superior rooms. It is not far from Villa Santi, perhaps a 5 min walk.


The restaurant is also particularly nice, with good, though pricier food.
It’s also next door to the Tamarind Restaurant which is also lovely and offers good cooking lessons.


Street view of standard rooms on ground level



Lobby and balcony outside restaurant


Some restaurant (and breakfast ) seating along the Nam Khan River front that’s lovely


Standard rooms




Restaurant and bananas with caramel sauce dessert



Standard rooms balcony


Another gorgeous dessert from the restaurant




Restaurant and lobby front




Night market Luang Prabang


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The night market runs 4-10pm every night in front of the palace and is a great place to spend the evening/s in Luang Prabang.


Not only does it sell a wide range of souvenirs, handicrafts and potiential gifts to take home, there’s food stalls selling steamed coconut cakes….


steamed dumplings……


chocolate and banana crepes…….


and a whole alley (down near the post office/baguette and fruit shake stalls) of buffets selling a plate of food for about $2 AUS.


Some stalls will heat your food in a pan. Go here early when it’s not so busy and the food is freshly cooked.

Luang Prabang Phosy Market



Phosy Market is Luang Prabang’s main market for locals.


A short tuk tuk ride from the centre of town, it’s well worth a visit especially to enjoy the fresh produce section and is often included in cooking classes. Tamarind Restaurant sells an inexpensive ‘What’ at the Market?’ booklet that’s worth investing in.

It’s also a good spot to explore Luang Prabang’s specialty foods….


….buffalo skin for boiling and dipping or adding to stews and  fried mushroom and bamboo shoots, coconut biscuits, sweet chilli dip



fermented fish sauce