Notes From The Road: Splashing Out, Laos Style

Friends, I have been traveling for three and a half months now.  Three and a half months of sleeping on friends’ couches, in refugee camps and on the floors of NGO offices.  The majority of my showers have come via bucket and I’d ask that you don’t smell my scarf, as the adjective ‘feral’ might spring to mind.

Being slightly sleep deprived and a little bit dirty makes for a rather grouchy traveler.  If you would have greeted me in my Laos hostel, I probably would have pretended I didn’t speak English, turned my ipod up  and glared at you over the top of my Beer Lao.In summary, I was a surly, smelly mess.

So, I decided that after all that bucket-showering and floor-sleeping I would splash out on a little luxury for my last two days in Laos.  And by ‘splash out’ I mean “$24.”  Twenty four dollars, yo! 

What did I get for $24?

For $24 I got a room in a palace.  The Chamapsak Palace Hotel
 was originally built as a palace for the king of Laos,  but after his

death in exile, it was converted into a hotel.

You had me at “fresh baguettes.”

Where do you stay when you travel – with friends? family? In hostels?  Hotels?  I’ll stay anywhere, though I’m past the ‘hostel dorm room’ point in my life.P.S. I uploaded heaps of travel photos to my flickr if you’re curious to see what I look like in a salwaar kameez!

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  1. Jessika

    my only actual demand at this point is a bathroom with a water toilet.

  2. Princess and the Pea

    The worst I've ever slept in was a sleeper train between Beijing and Xi'an – I came away covered in flea bites! Not good. Now I prefer accommodation that's still in the same place when you wake up!

  3. Athena

    That looks amazing and so cheap! Never been in a hotel that fancy. At this point I usually stay in hostels, although sleeping in the same room with ten other people does cause some annoyances. I prefer a hotel though, or a bed and breakfast, it's nice to be fed.

  4. allison

    in my travels i decided to splurge in laos as well! it was SOOO worth the extra. it was south laos and my travel buddy and i splurged for a beautiful floating cabin on the lake. 2 big beds, full shower, porch where you could dip your feet in the water.
    i love reading about your travels! thanks for sharing! its bringing me back (i travelled malaysia, thailand, laos, cambodia).

  5. Anonymous

    My standards are pretty low because my travel budget is usually tight, tight, tight! However, at the end of a six month trip to India in 2008, I had a very acute case of food poising to the extent that I wasn't sure I'd be able to catch my flight home. I splurged on a room at the Silver Oaks Hotel in Kalimpong for two nights @ $20, and hardly left the room. It was glorious!
    Traveling through the Mekong region last fall though I had a different experience. I found that the standards, particularly in Laos, are much higher and for $3 a night, I could stay is some very homey digs. I also found that the notion of a 'hostel' is more of a marketing fad than a budget travelers' resource. They were pricey and overrun with a certain crowd that I usually tend to keep my distance from!
    When I travel in N America and Europe, I always check to see if there is anything remotely affordable. I have had some great experiences with finding places to rent for a long weekend that I can use as a base from which to explore a new city and return to some solitude.

  6. ♥  Nadine ♥

    Unbelievable! That looks adorbs!
    This feeling you had – it's only natural, right? I felt the same after sleeping weeks and weeks in dorm rooms and worse – well, not worse, but more crowded and things. You absolutely deserved that beautiful room in that wonderful hotel! Enjoy yourself. xx.

  7. DaniellaBella

    That is beautiful! I usually do hostels because I'm not a very good planner and rarely do research on cheap and different places to stay. I would like to stay here when I get to Laos eventually!

  8. Jamie Walker

    Those trees are amazing! I wish I was traveling for more than a weekend at a time!

  9. mylifereinvented

    I use to go to hostels, but now that I have 18 month old hostels are pretty much out. The best place I ever stayed at was a bungalow in Thailand. It was on Koh Samet and came with a huge, clean king bed, a very clean bathroom, and small plants in the room. The only catch was that the shower didn't have a ceiling, but uses palm trees to cover it. Hey, for $5 who is complaining?

  10. Emily

    That place looks gorgeous! I haven't done a lot of traveling, but I think I'd go for the hostel route first for financial reasons.

    But after three months, I think your desire to sleep in a real bed and take real showers is totally justified! Sounds like a good way to recharge for a couple of nights before heading on again. And what a great hotel price, to boot!

  11. Rachael

    Oh my gosh – $24 for a night in a palace. What beautiful luxury!

  12. Jake

    It looks amazing and the price is ridiculous! Well, you sure gave me some ideas about my future travel plans.

    I work in tourism and I travel quite a lot, each spring and summer. The worst place I've ever stayed in was quite unexpectedly in Brussels, in one of those cheap student hostel. The place was so full of bedbugs you couldn't turn in your sleep (sleep, ha, as if!) without killing a handfull. Gross, never again…

  13. Gaby

    I just wanted to pass to say Hello!!
    I found you on Sunshine on a Cloudy Day and I'll be following your blog because you're awesome.

  14. iris

    In the Greek Islands, I stayed in a little wooden "shack" on the beach for $25 with breakfast included. It was so lovely.

    But on that trip I also stayed in a "cheap" hotel, a 10-people-in-a-room hostel dorm…and whatever else there is. Including falling asleep on a ferry at one point.

  15. Beth

    Mostly I couchsurf which is great. I can pick a comfy couch at 20 paces!! However, I'm not adverse to overnight coaches, trains, airport lounges, train station or where ever seems most convenient or cheap.

    I did stay at a hostel a couple of nights recently thinking it would feel like luxury relative to my other accommodations but I found I just got irrate at rude service when I was spending $30 a night for the priviledge.

    Luckily I have had good health on the trip (3months so far) which has made it easier to be flexible about accommodation.

  16. Sher

    I've never thought of traveling to Laos, especially for budget travel, but it sounds pretty amazing and I can totally afford $24/night 🙂

    When we travel, we almost always stay in a hotel, apart-hotel or a timeshare. Having a kitchen is really helpful in saving us a bit of money, and they basically cost the same as a hotel room, so why not!
    visiting from Shereen Travels Cheap 🙂


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