Sunday, March 2, 2014

Maylyn Guest House

Since we only booked 3 nights with the very comfortable and spotless Lao Haven, we tried to find cheaper accommodation for the rest of our stay in Vang Vieng. We wandered over the Namsong Bridge (4000 kip to cross; other smaller bridges are free) and saw that Chez Mango, a place recommended by Lonely Planet was full so we decided to check out the other highly recommended one, Maylyn Guest House.

At Maylyn Guest House, a local guy who works there told us they don't take bookings because he doesn't know when current guests will leave - he told us to just show up the day we need the room. However, he did show us around when we asked to see a room first. The grounds of this place are huge - lush and beautiful.

road out front

restaurant area
Bungalows range from 60,000-100,000 kip (ones with shared bathroom are cheaper) and the newer concrete type with guaranteed hot showers costs 100,000-150,000 kip. The 80,000 kip bungalow he showed us looked basic on the outside but decent on the inside. The 100,000 room with concrete walls looked much bigger, newer, and nicer.

Wifi is only available in the restaurant area where you can refill drinking water for 1000 kip. The food's quite good! You write your orders in a little book belonging to your room and pay when you check out. There are nice multi-speed Giant mountain bikes for rent at 30,000 kip. Laundry is 10,000 kip per kilo.

Out the entrance, there are some local shops and restaurants - the one next door serves an even wider selection of decent food and has wifi. The road out is a dirt road with small rocks scattered all over, a very rustic feel. It's about a 15-minute walk into "town" but easy to get to the caves as they're on this side of the river.
Maylyn Guesthouse
We showed up around noon a couple of days later and went for the 80,000 kip stand-alone bungalow. The view is incredible - a lush field with dramatic karsts directly in front of our bungalow and butterflies dancing everywhere. There are some bamboo chairs and even a hammock so you can take in the view! It's very quiet, except for occasional animal noises - birds, roosters, cows...

The bungalow is perfect except that being early March, it is very hot during the day even with the fan on - at night and in the morning, it's cool though. This is probably not a problem outside the hot season. Although it's hot out, the cold shower is a bit too cold for me - Joe, the owner, said we could use the hot shower room and he'll install a hot water shower in the bungalow soon.

There are lights around the premise at night, but it doesn't hurt to have a flashlight, especially if you plan to walk along the riverbank back from town (some animal poop on the sand). Since the walls are made of woven bamboo and the windows are screen-less and glass-less, there are little bugs here and there, but a mosquito net over the bed is provided. There's a metal box safe inside the room.

view from bungalow 15

Although the standalone bungalow has an unbelievable view, the next day, we decided to switch over to the new 100,000 kip-a-night room. Although still a fan room, it's much cooler inside! The shower's hot even though the water pressure is much lower. With concrete walls and screens on the windows, not many bugs get in. The room's bigger and came with a table. There are also more outlets! It has a shared balcony with comfy slatted wooden deck chairs. The view's not as amazing, but still quite spectacular. We like the idea of the bungalow but much prefer the nice new room - we ended up spending 10 days here.

view from the new room