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“Australian mum traveling with her 8 year old son”
Review of Shangri Lao

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Shangri Lao
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 January 2014

We took a trip to Laos end of January, focusing mainly on Luang Prabang. I booked an overnight stay with Shangri Lao Elephant Village including an elephant ride into the jungle.
This was the most special experience for me and my son starting from when we were picked up from our hotel by our guide Dao Phet (A).

We were introduced to the rescued elephants in the sanctuary and told of their individual stories and the plight of elephants generally throughout the country. Our accommodation - a beautiful bungalow in the trees with an outdoor shower was so special.

Our ride into the jungle on the back of the elephant with our Mahout was simply fantastic, with Phet A taking care of pictures of us as we travelled along - a great touch. But the wonderful experience didn't end there, with a spectacular picnic organised for us in a hut by a stunning waterfall. The food was full, abundant and absolutely delicious.

Following our lunch we trekked through the jungle for another while - great to get some exercise and there were some fairly rugged bits but didn't phase me nor my son. The whole experiecen concluded at another cafe/waterfall area and a wonderful game of boulle for my son with Phet.
A slow boat ride took us back to the Elephant Village - the perfect way to end the perfect day.

At our room, our sweet guide asked if my son would like to join him and his mates in a game of soccer. This was priceless and such a lovely gesture from Phet - a complete bonus for my son who in heaven kicking a ball around with Phet and his mates. Our dinner that night was stunning, plentiful and delicious.

The next day, unfortunately it was just a bit too cold to join the Mahout in the water to bath the elephant but watching the exercise was just as good.

All up I cannot recommend this experience more highly. We were so well looked after by the most delightful people and soaked up the stunning grounds whilst learning about the remarkable elephants. A truly life changing experience which I know my son and I will never forget.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank EmmaSquid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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31 - 37 of 52 reviews

Reviewed 8 January 2014

We stayed during Christmas 21-24 Dec 2013.
I really enjoyed the stay here.
We stayed 2 nights. I book one full day and one half days package.
The view is stunning.
Tips: request red villa
feed the elephants in the resort, very cheap.
Must print out all the confirmation/ mail/ invoice/they may make many mistake.
Take a bath first, hot water is limited:>
Food is not bad, they should have better food for this price. for example fresh fish. I saw fisherman near resort, they should buy some fresh daily catch fishes for the guest.
Complain:
~During the full day trip, I don't know why they cut the horse riding section without notify me.
~I was told no elephant bath because they change it for 2 full days stay client? I told my guild that I asked before paying the hotel. This package have during the stay.
~Room light is dim after 6pm, I guess because of the limited supply of electricity. Which still acceptable because we must has bread fast at 8am. I do not mind to go to bed early.
We have three people in the villa, the last one complained that the water for bath is not hot enough daily.
Overall, I am very happy that I picked this resort although it is very pricy. But I can say its worth.

Room Tip: request the red villa, next to red is yellow, next to yellow is green.They are next to each other.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank EvaW0000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 December 2013

I am sitting in my hotel room back in town( Luang Prabang ) thinking about the last two days my husband and I just spent at The elephant Village associated with Shangri Lao camp . The one with the 5 month old baby elephant(Maxie) and her mother. I researched this organization thoroughly before signing on for our tour. I was very concerned about how the elephants were treated. I have to say that I was thrilled to see rescued Elephants , all in great health. They were not worked more than day few hours a day and the work consisted of a short trek in the jungle with no more than two riders or a shorter trek to the river for a bath. The rest of the time they are eating or resting. Yes at times they are chained but only for short periods. I looked on their legs/ feet and saw no signs of chafing from rubbing chains that would have been apparent if they were overly restricted. They had an abundance of fresh food , refreshed every single day. Nor sores and they appeared happy, tails and ears flicking about as they should be. I never saw our mahut yell or swat our elephant. in fact he said he has been working with this elephant for 25 years before he was rescued and came with him when he was rescued. our mahut was proud to say he was 37 and his elephant was 38 and he grew up with her! He was happy how she was being treated now. Now I know that it would be better for elephants to roam freely but this is not (sadly an ideal world) elephants are used for logging( dangerous and grueling work) , they are not welcomed when they roam wild near populated villages as they eat the farmers crops, and they are hunted . The ones that are found in these unfortunate circumstances are certainly better off rescued for life in a camp where the public can be educated about these wonderful creatures! OK , enough of that... On to the resort camp... It was worth every penny. I must admit I am not a "rough it girl" and I was completely comfortable. the "tent" a room on stilts overlooking the river and mountains was clean and more than comfortable. the view was breathtaking. The silence in the evening and the morning, except for some music local villagers were playing, and hearing some villagers speaking to one another across the river... Nothing else. the misted mountains were magnificent. The food was excellent, nothing gourmet but fresh and well prepared and where you ate was absolutely beautiful. There was a beautiful pool with a waterfall and lush , tropical gardens everywhere. Our guide was as accommodating as possible , as was our mahut . I would like to add that we saw another elephant camp on the other side of the river, and they do not have the reputation for taking as good care of their elephants. they do not feed them as well and work them all day. Hopefully they will learn from this other camp but I think it is important to carefully look in to how the elephants are treated and the reasons they are at a camp in the first place before participating in these camps. I would not visit these camps if I though elephants living in the wild were captured and trained for the mere entertainment of people!

Room Tip: We stayed in one of the individual tents which was really a room on stilts. they have three tents an...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank romeoindiana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2013

This hotel if you can call it that, is the accommodation attached to the Elephant Village. There are only 3 'tents' so its certainly not crowded. As other reviewers have written the rooms are very attractive with great views over the river to small farms and mountains on the other side. The only downside was having a beautiful bath but not enough hot water to fill it. Never mind

The operation has just been taken over by Lao people (the previous owner was a German) and they are feeling their way. The service can be a bit hesitant as they aren't necessarily sure about what Western tourists want. However, you couldnt fault their politeness or their willingness to try and please.

The beautiful accommodation is a bonus because the main reason to come is the elehants. On day one we went on a 2 hour long trek where we both got the opportunity to be mahouts and ride on the elephant's neck rather than in the howdah. At the end of the trek we were provided with our own lovely private lunch in a bamboo hut at the base of a waterfall. Simply stunning.

Next day was the elephant bathing and I had the only elephant who can fully submerge....so I submerged with it. Great fun.

Finished off with a visit to the local village where most of the workers live. A real insight into the Lao lifestyle.

Highly recommended if you want an elephant experience.

Room Tip: there are only three....they all have the same view so you can't go wrong
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank pahSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 December 2013

Shangri Lao is really Shangri la in Laos! i stayed here for 2 full days and one night. i have to say it way exceed my expectation. from the tent itself , the grounds, the elephant ride , the village visit to the waterfalls trekking, everything is just perfect and i am like 'wow wow wow' the whole time'.

i can't forget how my eyes wide open when i first saw a big elephant slowly walked by lobby where i had my welcome drink and how i can't believe after elephant jungle ride, my lunch was right by the waterfall with such a beautiful setting and good taste. i cherish the evening walk through the Ban xieng lom, the village near the shangri lao, to see how local village people enjoyed their pastime when i chitchatted with my guide Tha to know more about laos and lao people. the morning elephant bathing is the highlight too, i feel like i were 12 years old girl again, elephant gave me a good shower too when i brushed her back:)

Tha is such an amazing guide...i can't thank enough for all his help and insightful knowledge about elephants, religion and local culture. it is not only an elephant ride , it is more like a laos culture tour for me...Thank you so much Tha for your hard work and kind heart!!!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled solo
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Thank maotouzi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 June 2013

Tented rooms are fantastic. They are not very large, but decorated with a lot of attention. I loved it. Food was ok. Location great.
We stayed for one night, two full days. The time we spent with the elephants was amazing. I have to say riding them was much scarier that I thought. We especially loved the elephant bathing in the river.
Our guide, Nick, was great as well. Attentive, but also gave us space.
The only thing that could have been better was the first jungle trip we had. We felt we were rushed the whole time, and did not have enough time to enjoy the environment. Some of us in the group did not realize we had an option to stop for a short swim. Which would be great, as it was very hot. When we reached the river, a fancy raft was supposed to pick us up, but there was nobody. The guide was confused as well. I think we ended up waiting for almost an hour in the mid day sun with no shade around us. It was not nice. Eventually we were picked up by a small boat, not the raft. And we were transferred to the raft few minutes later.
Considering the price, that was a disappointment.
The trip was pricey, but still a lovely and special experience.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Ana C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2013

My husband and I did the one and a half day, overnight stay. When we arrived at the elephant camp and were shown to our tent, we burst out laughing - it was the coolest tent we'd ever seen, something you might find on a 5 star African safari. After check in, we went on a boat ride up to the drop-off spot to begin our 3 hour hike. The trek was beautiful, through the jungle, over streams, past waterfalls, up gently sloping trails.
We came upon an open, thatch-roof hut sitting over a brilliantly blue lagoon, fed by a waterfall in the middle of a tropical paradise. Our private 3 course lunch was waiting for us (included linens and crystal). After the meal, we hiked a bit more and arrived at a clearing where our elephant and mahout were waiting. For an hour or so, we rode our elephant down the mountain to the river. We swam our elephants into the river and began bathing them.That experience was a once in a lifetime, unforgettable experience. The elephants were loving the experience as much as we were.
Once we finished with the elephants, we went to the swimming pool bar and had cocktails while the sun set.
Dinner was very good. Breakfast, in a private cabana beside the river, was even better. We checked out and returned by private driver to Luang Prabang.
This was an expensive side trip and worth every penny. My husband and I would do this trip again in a heartbeat (except we never do the same thing twice).
If it's in your budget, do this trip. It's exquisite.

Room Tip: Stay in one of the tents, not in the hotel
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Pretty-Rough-Ranch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Shangri Lao

Address: Sisavangvong Road | Ban Xieng Mouane, Luang Prabang 80020, Laos
Region: Laos > Luang Prabang Province > Luang Prabang
Amenities:
Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 159 Speciality Lodging in Luang Prabang
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the middle of the beautiful Laotian jungle in Luang Prabang, Shangri-Lao Classic Explorer Camp & Expeditions, invites you to re-live the adventures of Dr. P. Neis, an historic French explorer from the 19th century. Re-trace his footsteps along the very same tranquil streams and dense jungle in his original and authentic style whilst staying in luxury tents with breathtaking views just as he did in 1883. Sit atop the magnificent elephant as she slowly and peacefully takes you through the pristine jungle, though spectacular Teak forests and by local farms. With a choice to stay overnight in our stunning tents; you will wake up refreshed the next day with a new sense of being in the world. To rise early and see the morning mist slowly rise from the Namkhan River, then walk into the heart of the jungle to collect your elephant ready to bathe, is a truly unique experience & one that will last in your memory forever... ... more   less 

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