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 Restaurant, across the road from Villa Santi Hotel, also offers good cooking classes that also include a visit to the local Phosy Market.
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.
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.
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.
If it’s anything like Romdeng, Marum or Makphet, it will be a top spot not to miss.
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.
(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.
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 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 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.
Room 104 is a small $20US Room
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.
There are also two other double rooms downstairs.