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“Please Don't Rush!”

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Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge
Ranked #8 of 197 Vientiane B&B and Inns
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
18 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Please Don't Rush!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 March 2013

After visiting Lao numerous times I was delighted to find Rivertime Eco Lodge! Those who know about Lao the roads north can be very dangerous as in buses slipping off cliff faces and even tourist being shot on highway 13! you need to fly between destinations.. These are unfortunate risks one takes when visiting this delightful but dangerous country.

And then I found Revertime!!! You couldnt ask for a better landing pad, it's super close to the vientianne border crossing and you have a English born expat to ensures your safety, he speaks the local dialect fluently and also German and French making the global community that much smaller. No long dodgy bus trips required!

I visited Rivertime before Barnaby was the manager and let me tell you he definatly makes the place better and helps you get a grasp on LAO LIFE, why not follow by example and snooze in the hammock?? LAO P.D.R !! P.D.R is said to stand for 'please don't rush' so leave your westen anxietys and great expecations at the border! Lao is on of the poorest countries in the world but makes up for it in the richmess of culture and a very relaxed happy attitude! It's so nice to get off the beaten track and experience a culture for what it really is!! Not just people that a forced to work for tourism, the traditional village across the river is one of the sweetest places on this planet, RELAX and enjoy!!

Sleeping under a canopy of butterflies and moths in a mini jungle setting is a true delight, the colours that are contantly changing within the river and sky from dawn to dusk is an absolutely spectacular view somethning that can observed for weeks on end!

Get back to nature and the life god (or buddah) intended! take a breath and air your bones for a while, this is the place to do it, leave feeling like part of the family!!

Would love to see the bungalows rebuilt as the truth is they are getting run down but well worth the stay regardless.

Love to see you all soon X

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
3 Thank Katey L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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112 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Eastbourne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 March 2013

My girlfriend and I had arranged with Barnaby our stay early last year via email. Rivertime also arranged our pick up from the train station at the Thailand/Loas border. The driver, Sit, is a local that works at Rivertime (he's probably the nicest person in Laos you'll ever meet).

It takes about 40 minutes to get to Rivertime from the station. Barnaby introduced himself and Sit then showed us to our lodge. The room was incredible! It is in a rural, wooded area therefore there are going to be various wildlife about but don't let the idea of creepy crawlies put you off; there are mosquito nets around each of the beds. Very protective. The westernised toilets are a nice touch too.

The floating restaurant is a sight to behold, great river views that will not make you want to leave. Relaxing with a Beer Lao (not Lao Beer, I made that mistake!) and watching the sun set in good company cannot get any better.

Barnaby and Sit asked us to join them and the other staff in a beverage or two most evenings. It was great fun hanging out and having a laugh with them, treating ourselves to a drink or two the day before Women's Day.

There is plenty to do at Rivertime Resort. You can go tubing, kayaking, take trips to local villages, swim in their swimming pool and borrow a bicycle amongst other things. We took advantage of the book exchange in the office and the borrowing of a laptop to watch a couple of films from Barnaby's vast collection, thanks for the few we watched!

It was quite sad to leave, as we felt we built a good friendship with both Barnaby and Sit. We would definitely stay at Rivetime Resort again, and possibly never leave because of how relaxing it is.

Thank you again Barnaby and Sit!

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Troy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Udon Thani, Thailand
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 March 2013

I found Rivertime a wonderful experience and would much rather stay here than anywhere in Vientiane. The place is not for everyone (it is rural Laos, after all), but for those who can handle sleeping in a rustic cabin among the trees it offers plenty of opportunity to both relax and enjoy oneself.

The cabin (#1) was comfortable, although I wouldn't call it luxurious by any means. The bed was OK but not great. Even on an exceptionally cool day, the water in the shower was warm enough - just. There was some evidence of termites, but that probably can't be avoided, and they don't bite. More importantly, over the course of almost 48 hours, I saw all of one (1) mosquito in the cabin, and not many more elsewhere. Not that I was looking for them, but didn't see many bugs, period. Maybe I was just lucky. In any case, the mosquito net was in great condition.

The staff was consistently friendly and helpful - when it started raining, someone brought us an umbrella, for example - and I enjoyed every bite I ate in the restaurant. The Thai restaurant next-door is a treat: great food in a beautiful setting.

One night Barnaby and the staff took all the guests to a festival in a nearby village, and while the event was 90% cheesy and maybe 10% exotic, it was a fun and night out. It did raise one question, however: if Beer Lao didn't exist, would there still be a Laos?

The best part of my stay: swimming in the "pool," a part of the river that is enclosed by the same floating deck as the restaurant. The current is strong, but not too strong to swim against, so the pool provides a great place to get some exercise in an endless pool: there's no risk of floating away down the river. The water, in case you wonder, seemed clean and fresh, and it was just warm enough that one could comfortably stay in it forever.

I've pointed out a couple of shortcomings, but that's easy; it's more difficult to describe just how relaxing and comfortable a resort feels. And Rivertime does feel relaxing and comfortable. I'm not talking about the hammocks and the chairs, which, by the way, I thought were just fine, unlike another reviewer. I thought the atmosphere of the place was a breath of fresh, invigorating air, and I left feeling rejuvenated.

I could have stayed for weeks.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Fred L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dublin
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 February 2013

Fantastic! We had a great time here, we had had enough of the hussle and bussle of Thailands capital and were so ready to CHILL OUT! The eco lodge was perfect for just that. We were collected from the city by Sit. He was very friendly and also a good driver! We arrived and settled in quickly by ordering copious amounts of beer lao at the floating river restaurant! We did much of the same on our second day too! Reading our books in the hammocks and sleeping and eating! Enjoying the river views and endless rice paddies! We could have gone for a cycle or done some activities but we were happy to stay and relax (I swam in the river once). We spoke with all the guests and met some lovely people while we were there from all over the world. I enjoyed the bungalow style accomadation, sheets were clean and the bed was nice, even came with a mozzie net. I like the pebbled bathrooms too, western toilets and it was also clean. We were woken to roosters and jungle sounds early in the morning and we loved every minute. It is a great get away for anyone that loves nature/relaxing/back packing and beer (lao whisky is quite good too), take cash as there are no atms there but you can pay for everything at the end with card so it was no problem. Thanks Barnaby and family for a great time! I wish you guys all the best for 2013!

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Leiha S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Delhi, India
Level Contributor
122 reviews
90 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 December 2012

Nice little getaway from Vientiane. Food is not so exciting but there is a great Thai restaurant next door. Rooms are ok, management is BritishbeentoolonginLao style. We got a massage from the local woman (as per their list of things to do). She was very local style, spent an hour yawning and scratching her head and then took the USD$7 fee from me (a 100,000 kip from my friend). When we checked out we told the manager that we had paid the woman already but he did not deduct that from the bill.
I do appreciate the eco policy and arrangement with the locals but really, there are better value options around

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank dsharmawinter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SamThammavongsa, Manager at Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge, responded to this review, 22 January 2017
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to review our resort. We truly value the opinions of our guests and we apologize that we did not meet your expectations. We are now under new management and would like to reach out regardless of the time that has passed since your original review was posted. We hope to see you again in the future and wish you the very best.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Swindon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 December 2012 via mobile

If you are doing your research and wondering about this place then let me state a few facts for you. It is 30km away from Vientiane, it's in a rain forest and it's by a river. That means that you stay pretty much on site (tours not withstanding), it's wet and occasionally even a little mucky and that 5 star accommodation it ain't.
What it is however is a chance to experience something a bit different.
The Good
-the peace and calm (except when the locals play Lao music.)
- the people; Barnaby the owner is great, Sit the Guest manager is great (even helped me eat my dinner) and the the rest of the team are friendly and helpful.
-the food; Barnaby could charge more... It's Cheap here but the food is fantastic. I have spent two months seeking the best seafood in Asia and I would still rate the BBQ fish from here at the top.
-the whole set up; it's a bit wild and a lot different, floating restaurant is a unique and brilliant concept, which works very well.

The bad
-bugs... Harmless but damned annoying.
-Lao music; this isn't restricted to rivertime... It's bloody awful whereever you go!
-the bathroom floor is stones and slabs. Ok when you are sober and alert. Painful when half cut and sleepy.

So there you have it; read the website. Barnaby is remarkably (and commendably) honest on his website. Email if you aren't sure, we found the responses prompt and helpful. Enjoy!

  • Stayed November 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tom W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
The Hague, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
33 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 November 2012

We stayed here for 2 nights and off course the fact that you know before it is a ecolodge in the jungle it can not be that eco stands here for very dirty and we had one off the private bungalows i did not look at the ones who shared the bathroom.I asume they are even worse.
Old is not the issue when it is clean.
The whole bungalow was very dirty as the bedsheets and towels as well.It is very far from Vientienne so no where to go easily.
Not one comfortable chair in the whole complex.
The staff are not much interested they are in the dirty hanging baskets down at the ,,restaurant,,
Breakfast not recommended.
The only good thing was the neighbour thai restaurant with delicious food.
Barnaby the owner must shame himself about offering accomodation for that price.
When you deside to go anyway take your own bedsheets!

Room Tip: Not even one
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mimiton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BarnsLaos, Manager at Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge, responded to this review, 22 November 2012
First of all, having looked at the prices of the previous accommodations you have reviewed (luxury safari lodges in Africa at $495/$240/$75/$150 per night etc) I have no idea what you expected at an ecolodge in rural Laos for $38 per night. I feel no shame whatsoever at asking such a price, especially considering about $8 of it covers the two included breakfasts (a choice of 8 different dishes from bacon & eggs etc/fresh fruit salad/Asian breakfasts etc...all highly commended by previous reviewers), 10% ($3.80) goes to the government in tax and a further $2 goes to our community development project leaving $24.20 per night....that's the equivalent of six light bulbs...

People often presume that because you are a “resort” you obviously have unlimited funds to make everything absolutely perfect and repair everything immediately. I admit I used to feel the same when I went travelling but I can now tell you, from direct experience, that this is not the case.

Secondly, you seemed happy as larry while you were here, laughing, chatting and drinking, and never said a word that would have given any of us the impression you weren't happy. If you weren't happy with your bedsheets then why didn't you tell me? It would take me 5 minutes to have them changed. Rural Lao villagers do not have the same concept of "dirty" as we do in our sterile Western worlds, they don't even use bedsheets/pillowcases etc) and may sometimes overlook something which they regard as unavoidable and absolutely normal in rural Laos, which is inherently dusty and dirty. Therefore please let us know if something is not to your liking and we shall do our best to change it!

Also, if you didn't like it then why did you stay both the nights you had booked? We can always arrange transport back to Vientiane. I would rather people left early if it's not their cup of tea than stay and not like it. I want my guests to be happy and I bend over backwards to try to make them so as you can see from previous reviews.

Of course it's far from Vientiane. That's why we advertise ourselves on every site we are on starting with the words “Just 29 km from Vientiane...” That pretty much gives it away to me. Did you do any research on where you were going before coming here or did you presume a rural ecolodge was in the centre of town? The whole idea of Rivertime is to offer an insight into real life and culture here in the Lao countryside.

The furniture is made by local villagers out of local materials so, yes, of course they are not luxurious Big Boy EZ recliner masage chairs. This is part of the whole idea of an ecolodge. They're not perfect, no, but I've been here for three years and have sat on the chairs almost every day and have never had a problem with comfort and no other guest has ever commented on the chairs.

What do you expect the staff to be interested in between doing their tasks? They take guest food and drink orders, prepare the food and drinks and bring them to the guests. In between, yes, they do tend to sit down. Often learning English when doing so. Would you like them to wait at your table with a white towel draped over one arm? Lao people are well-known for having a very laid-back attitude to life and that's one of the things nearly everyone who visits Laos likes about the place! Both I and the vast majority of my guests find the staff to be super-friendly and always ready to sit down and have a chat and tell people about Lao life and culture. Both Sit and Paiwan have often been personally commended for doing exactly that!

You're obviously a wealthy couple who are used to luxury accommodation and I have no idea what gave you the impression we were of the same ilk.

I'm genuinely sorry you didn't like it but we have never claimed to be what you were obviously expecting.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge

Property: Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge
Address: Ban Thadokkam, Vientiane 01000, Laos (Formerly Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge)
Region: Laos > Vientiane Province > Vientiane
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 197 B&Bs / Inns in Vientiane
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a riverside ecolodge resort only 30 km outside of Vientiane which offers a true taste of rural Lao life but with most of the comforts of home. We have a floating restaurant on the river and offer a range of activities such as local village tours, tubing, cooking classes, massage, a sauna nearby, boat trips, fishing, free bicycles etc. We do our best to live in harmony with both the local people and the surrounding forest. We also donate $2 per guest night to local education and community projects. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rivertime Resort And Ecolodge Hotel Vientiane
Rivertime Hotel And Ecolodge
Rivertime Hotel Vientiane

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