Retro Review – Rattana Guest House, Luang Prabang, Laos

Howdy all. Well, with much of the second half of 2021, like much of 2020, seeing me locked down in Melbourne unable to travel for any reason other than work more than five kilometres from my home. It means that where I would usually have the chance to visit restaurants and even have a few nights away, which has left me without anything new to review.

Fortunately, I do have a large back log of places I’ve stayed and I have some very loose notes (ratings mostly) to guide me as I talk about more the memories of staying at the places I did. And today’s ‘Retro Review’ again goes back to the trip of 2011, and this one is of the place I stayed in my favourite spot in Laos (and probably everyone’s) Luang Prabang. I came in on Lao Aviation from the airport after a flight from Hanoi, Vietnam, and there was a pick up service organised for me in the later evening.

At $15USD per night, it was hard to argue with the price. The guesthouse was a personal house converted for purpose. So it was lived in by the kind family who ran it, and there kids etc. The room was upstairs, and when I arrived I was taken upstairs to my single room, which was in fact a twin room (two single beds) at a single price.

I was quite happy with the room. It was upstairs, had a fan and a TV as well as attached bathroom. I survived without air conditioning. The weather had been very cold for the time of year (March) prior to my arrival, with maximums in the low to mid-twenties. Very rare at that time of year. Apparently the weather in South East Asia was affected by the tsunami in Japan which had recently occurred. From the day after I arrived the temperature shot up and was around 38 – 39 degrees Celsius every day. It cooled down a bit in the evening which made it survivable without a/c, but I would certainly look for it if I was to return. Some places charge extra to activate the air conditioner throughout south-east Asia and I this was one such place. Actually, I am stunned I stuck to the fan!

It was a very kind family, breakfast was included, and the place was very clean. It’s in a part of town where there are number of similar guesthouses and also restaurants. Breakfast was simple but filling. A little walk into the centre of town, but it was walkable just a bit hot for the walking! It was also nice and quiet, which for me is one of the biggest things.

The lobby was really half a living room, and I remember dozens of shoes on the floor (yes, you had to take your shoes off). The reception hooked me up to a couple of tours, one to the incredible Kuang Si Waterfalls, and one up the river to see the cave temple and local villages. The bathrooms were perhaps a little disappointing, well not for the price. This is common in SE Asia Guesthouses, small bathrooms with a little on the spot hot water heater for the shower which can be tricky at times, and little space to operate your shower without getting the toilet seat wet. But it is what it is and it’s pretty standard. All in all I would recommend the place. I do remember the lady running it was very kind and helpful and answered probably dozens of my questions.

Andy’s Ratings:

Value for Money: 3/5

Friendliness: 4.5/5

Cleanliness : 4/5

Noise: 4/5

Total: 15.5/20 [78/100]

Thanks for reading! May the Journey Never End!

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