Jul 022011

The Souksavan Guesthouse is located about a three hundred meters west of the actual bus station, and about a hundred meters east of where the bus might drop you off if you are coming from Nong Khiaw (in which case it might drop you next to the Dok Champa Guesthouse). There’s a sign for the guesthouse on the main road, pointing to the south; walk this way another 50 meters and you’ll run into the front entrance.

The guesthouse is a two-story building made of concrete. There are rooms on both floors. On the second floor, there’s an open-air common area looking toward the front of the building, and a narrow back balcony with great views of rice paddies and the stream that runs by the town.

We stayed in a second floor room – one of two at the back of the building.

At first glance, the building and room looked better than what we expected after getting off the bus in this small, muddy town. Things looked generally clean. The flooring was tile, with tile trim elsewhere on the walls, which always improves the look of a place. The room had a double bed with mosquito netting. There was no air conditioning, but there was a ceiling fan and ventilation fans that, combined with the cooler night temperatures we found in Vieng Thong, worked just fine. There was a television with satellite access. There were bug screens on the windows, which is a rarity.

There was no Internet or refrigerator, and the bathroom was the typical water closet arrangement with a Western toilet flushed by hand-delivered pails of water, but none of these negatives was unusual or unexpected.

When we looked a little closer, though, we started to see maintenance-related negatives. The curtains were ragged and dirty. The walls had chips in the paint and concrete, and needed a general cleaning and new coat of paint. The coat hanger was broken and hanging by one of two wall anchors. The bathroom sink faucet was barely functional, and the sink drained directly onto the floor (which Jen discovered while brushing her teeth, when toothpaste waste water began flowing through her toes). The mosquito net was tied to nails in the wall with strips from a nylon feed sack.

The first night, we were the only guests, so it was quiet. The second night, there were other occupants, and sound carried into our room. This was probably aided by the bathroom vents, which blew into the common hallway.

Nonetheless, this might be the best place in Vieng Thong. We looked at the other guesthouses from the road, and walked into one, and they didn’t look any better.

In the future, there might be better options. We saw ongoing construction on what looked like two new guesthouses.

On the bright side, it only cost us $6.25 US, and the bed was without critters. We have stayed in worse.

 Posted by at 11:41 pm