Anything going on in LP for NYE?
Because there are no hostels in Asia, it's harder to meet backpackers...
I just came across this message, and find it a bit bizarre. In asia, hostels are called guesthouses. The visitors range from backpackers to regular travellers wanting cheaper accommodation. I have many friends I see all the time who i've met backpacking through asia in all the years.
Anyhow, were you in LP for NYE? we were in Vang Vieng....such a great place for NY if you want buckets and happy menus. Needless to say, it was not our idea of a NYE and had the quietest NYE we've had, not even a count down! but a 1am pancake was good hehe :)
PS the lanterns which were being sent into the air were beautiful
There are no hostels in Southeast Asia. You will find some super-budget places ($2-$4 per night) that have shared toilet/shower and the occasional bedbug to keep you company. Inexpensive lodging is known as a "guesthosue". It is (usually) a family-run hotel/inn kinda place, and many of them have common areas for guests to dine or watch TV. This will give you a good opportunity to mingle and meet people. In LP you will find these places in the $10-$25 range.
Definitely book ahead for LP for the year-end (starting in December) as it is high season and things get booked up. For the lesser-known guesthouses this may not be possible, so call them as soon as you arrive in Asia to reserve a room.
Maneki is right - the days of 2-3 dollar accommodation in LP are long gone (well the last I knew of was 2 years ago). However, generally standards have risen accordingly and you would be very unlucky or silly to find yourself sharing with bedbugs in even the $10 rooms. At $25 you can expect good-sized, very clean rooms with private bathroom, air-con and cable tv.
Don't panic about posts claiming LP is much more expensive than (for example) Vientiane. In the $10 to $25 range accommodation is very good and arguably easier to find than in Vientiane - so long as you look a short distance away from the main drag. It is also still possible to eat out for under a dollar if you choose to do so. You would be hard pushed to find good accommodation in any popular destination in SE Asia for less than $10 and LP is understandably popular...
Of course, prices do rise in periods of peak demand and for Pii Mai Lao (even more than NYE) it looks like most of the lower-end places in LP will pretty much double their rates. Even so, they will book up quickly and many people are likely to spend their nights on shop floors and temple complexes (if they are lucky). Maneki's advice to book in advance at these times is very wise.
It is extremely easy to meet backpackers in LP as there are many bars and restaurants catering to these travellers even if you don't meet like minded people on the bus / boat or in your guesthouse. Probably the best "areas" to look at in LP are around Lao Lao garden and Hive bar or on the main street North of the night market.
"Don't panic about posts claiming LP is much more expensive than (for example) Vientiane. In the $10 to $25 range accommodation is very good and arguably easier to find than in Vientiane - so long as you look a short distance away from the main drag."
I disagree totally with this quote. Cheap accommodation is much harder to find in LP than in Vientiane, regardless of where you look - main drag or not. I can point you to many guesthouses in Vientiane for less than $10.00 a night, and that includes air.
As for meeting backpackers, well I would suggest the best places would be anywhere serving a cheap breakfast on the main street.
Millie, I am also curious where you can eat for less than $1.00. Can you provide details please? As Khao piak sen costs pretty much a minimum of 8000kip and as the current exchange rate of kip to $USD is 8500, I find that hard to believe. One bowl of Khao piak sen is breakfast only, and you can't live on this.
Hi Rufus, I have no wish to prove the "arguably" part of my quote but I fail to see how you can TOTALLY disagree! For anybody planning to visit LP it is worth knowing that accommodation in the $10 - $25 range is good and plentiful outside of times like Pii Mai.
For food at less than a dollar there are now many "buffet" stalls around the southern end of the night market selling plates (and bowls of Noodle soup) in the 5,000 Kip range. A filled baguette (smaller size) is a similar price. Also in this area are many street stalls which will fill plastic bags with tasty cheap concoctions and sticky rice. Your breakfast recommendation also comes in at under a dollar so why so hard to believe? I didn't mean you could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner all for under a dollar - is this possible in Vientiane??!?
What I said was you can't live on Khao piak sen iow you can't eat it all the time. (Neither can you live on Khao niau). I think you interpreted this to mean all day. I also think you might find baguettes a bit dearer than 5000k.
You also didn't read my post correctly. I said I totally disagree that accommodation is easier to find in LP than in Vte.
aside from this discussion about food, I found luang prabang very very expensive and laos a lot more expensive than friends and family experiences of laos just one year ago. Was just wondering if the western new years eve time would've lead to that.
aren't hostels just the same as guesthouses? i'm confused...I've never booked ahead with any of my accommodation in asia and unfortunately I took that 'day by day' attitude with me to laos in a busy period :) but i still loved it! expensive or not, i just love the country.
Sorry for getting sidetracked!
Your experience of prices would certainly have been effected by the time of year. Prices don't usually rise as much around western new year as they do around Lao new year but this is still one of the peak times for visitors and with demand high some owners will try to make extra cash to cover the quieter times while those whose prices remain low fill up very quickly. Price of accommodation is far and away the most hit by seasonal spikes in demand with (local) transport second. Restaurant prices of food and drink etc. are relatively constant year round and the price of (raw) food obviously changes most according to the growing season and whether or not it has to be imported from Thailand.
Prices have certainly gone up over the last year (partly due to the increase in petrol prices around the time you visited) and partly due to an increase in the number of tourists on organised trips (as opposed to independent travellers).
Glad to hear you loved Laos.