Phonsavan is a fairly small town in the north-eastern part of Central Laos. The provincial capital of Xieng Khouang, it is primarily used as a gateway to nearby attractions, specifically the unusual Plain of Jars and the lush surrounding countryside. It’s also a great place to learn more about the devastation caused in Laos during the Secret War in Laos.
If you’re planning a trip to Phonsavan, White Orchid Guest House offers a reasonably priced and comfortable base for your trip.
Here’s why you should choose White Orchid Guest House for your stay in Phonsavan:
A good location in the heart of Phonsavan
Essentially, Phonsavan is just a one-road town, with most facilities and amenities spread alongside the main road. Whilst some accommodation options lie towards the quieter ends of the dusty road, meaning that you must walk to reach the restaurants, taxi stands, bus stop, shops, and tour offices, White Orchid Guest House sits in the middle of the, albeit sleepy, action. It is just a couple of minutes by foot from the bus stop, so you don’t have far at all to lug your backpacks. The few local town attractions are also just a couple of minutes’ walk away.
The nearby hilly countryside is home to cascading waterfalls, interesting caves, relaxing hot springs, and lush rolling fields, and you can support the local community by visiting places like the Mulberry Silk Farm, the Hmong Crafts Centre, and the Navang Craft Centre.
Reasonable prices for a budget stay
There are several room types available at White Orchid Guest House, and with just 17 rooms in total you can be assured of a peaceful stay. Each room type is very reasonably priced, ranging from around 9 USD (73,300 LAK) per night for an economy double room for two people, to around 23 USD (187,000 LAK) for a night’s stay in a triple room for three people. Payment can be made in US dollars or Laotian kip.
Having stayed for one night in another local guest house within the same price range, and viewed rooms in several others when looking to switch, I can honestly say that this is by far one of the better budget options in town.
Comfortable rooms with basic facilities
The rooms may have basic furnishings, but they are cosy, comfortable, and clean. Each room has a private bathroom with warm water. Fans are available if you get too hot, but the elevated position of Phonsavan means that the night time temperatures are pleasantly cool; you won’t find yourself missing air-conditioning!
Storage is provided by way of bedside drawers and cabinets, as well as a slender wooden wardrobe. Towels are provided. All rooms have a TV, though the satellite signal may be a bit patchy. If you upgrade to the superior double or triple rooms you will also have a mini refrigerator at your disposal, along with a desk and chair.
Perhaps the cutest thing about the rooms is the bedding; on top of your crisp, clean sheets you’ll find a pale-coloured throw decorated with the outline of Laos, with Phonsavan’s location clearly marked.
Do note that rooms are on the middle and upper floors, accessed by steps; there is no elevator in the building. It may not, therefore, be suitable for people with reduced mobility.
Other guest house amenities and services
Wi-Fi is available throughout the guest house, though the best signal can be found downstairs in the reception area. There are carved wooden benches and a table where you can sit if you really need to stay connected.
Although not advertised as providing breakfast, at the time of stay we were given a basic breakfast of bread, juice, and fruit to start the day. There is a dining area on the ground floor.
The staff members are helpful and friendly, ready to answer any questions you may have about the local area and recommend places for you to visit. They also offer a trip-booking service, making accessing the famous Plain of Jars easy. Whilst most trips revolve around this well-known site, they are available for half-day or full-day durations, and options to include bomb sites, a whisky-making village, and other local attractions can be selected if desired.
If you wish to explore independently, the guest house has scooters available to rent for just a few dollars per day.
Things to see and do in the nearby area
Xieng Khouang was one of Laos’s most heavily-bombed areas during the Secret War in Laos. Several local Phonsavan bars screen documentaries that teach visitors more about the atrocities in Laos, a heavily scarred victim, yet neutral party, during the USA’s campaign to try and stamp out communism in Southeast Asia, particularly neighbouring Vietnam. Bombies and Craters are recommended places to learn more.
You’ll notice that many local establishments have remnants of ordnance as décor, reminding visitors of the area’s past.
A visit to the Mines Advisory Group (MAGS) Information Centre shows how the area is still threatened and harmed today by deadly unexploded bombs and mines that lie under the surrounding fields. You can also learn about clean-up efforts that help to make the countryside safer for all.
Book your stay at White Orchid Guest House and have a comfortable stay in a great location, perfect for discovering Laos’s magnificent Plain of Jars, learning more about local war history, and admiring the beautiful countryside.