My first mistake was not booking a hostel in advance of arriving in Luang Prabang on the slow boat from the Thai border. I was then forced to pick between the numerous persistent guys at the pier. After a lot of haggling, a tuk-tuk driver took me and some fellow backpackers to Mao Pha Shok which we regretfully settled for out of tiredness. To save money we asked if they could put 3 of us in a double room after putting a spare mattress on the floor - which they agreed to do. The rooms aren't in great condition, and the bathroom stank of eggs every time the toilet was flushed. Leaky sinks and the room often flooded a bit after using the shower. The hostel as a whole didn't fill you with confidence that it was very secure as the odd unoccupied rooms were left unlocked.
The good points (which don't quite outweigh the negatives):
- good location very near to the popular Utopia bar, Australian sports bar and Mount Phousi.
- one of the staff had excellent English and was helpful in booking onwards transport, although if he wasn't around you were left a bit stuck trying to get any help from the other staff
- free bananas and coffee all day
The hostel next door Phonthida Guest House is a better option if you like the location - but I'm sure there are still many better hostels nearby that will make your stay in this beautiful city much more enjoyable.
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