Cooking at home cooking class



Cooking@home cooking classes in Chiang Mai are well run by two engaging sisters who first start with a market tour. The rural location is a gorgeous setting to enjoy your meal and the hands-on facilities are excellent.

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Tasty snacks are also offered to keep you going while you’re cooking.

Other classes worth investigating include Asia Scenic.

Rimping Village



Rimping Village is hard to beat for value, location and service (including a free airport transfer if you book directly).

Spacious rooms are located around a lovely pool and or garden area.



Deluxe rooms are around $140 including breakfast in the busy season and worth the extra cost (Superior rooms are around $110) for a balcony and extra space.

Deluxe rooms 421 and 425 are the corner rooms with additional space that is not needed for the walkway.


There are open communal areas that are pleasant.



Breakfast is served near the pool and includes a buffet of interesting and inviting choices including a coffee machine and eggs made to order.

Staff cannot do enough for you and all their tips are winners.


The night market is an easy walk across the iron bridge (turn left) and you will also find a good money exchange if you turn right on the night market road.

Rimping Supermarket is also very close and is an experience in itself. Everything you could wish for is there including imported items and Thai packaged foods to take as gifts as well as small cafes with ice-cream and  sandwiches. 7 Eleven before crossing the iron bridge is open after the supermarket closes. Riverside restaurants are also within walking distance and bikes are provided.


Saturday and Sunday Walking Streets


Not for the faint-hearted, Chiang Mai’s Saturday and Sunday night Walking Street Markets (4pm-10pm) seem to go on forever and are perhaps the best in Asia.



The street food is great, but if you prefer to sit down, The Sunday Walking Street has a lot more restaurant options. It also passes a number of interesting temples.













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