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“Disappointing”
Review of Kamu Lodge

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Kamu Lodge
Ranked #33 of 71 Hotels in Luang Prabang
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 May 2011

Like most other reviewers, we stayed here just one night, traveling up the Mekong, visiting the Pak Ou caves en route. There were ten of us on the private boat from Luang Prabang, and we were accompanied by a very pleasant Laotian guide from Kamu Lodge.

We arrived before lunch and were met at the waterside by staff who carried our bags if we wished. Since the river was very low (April), there were a good number of steps up to the Lodge, with the lower ones being very sandy. We had a small greeting from the assembled staff and were then led to our rooms.

These are spacious and reasonably comfortable "safari" tents, with stone foundations and attached bathroom facilities. Lots of mosquito nets which seemed to do their job. Two single beds with plenty of covers that were comfortable. Lighting was overhead, and either on or off. I was glad I brought my headlamp for late night reading, although a flashlight was provided in each room. I never managed to get any hot (or warm) water, although my husband got the shower temperature up to warm by the time he had finished. One bar of soap provided.

Lunch was a good selection of of Lao food, and beer and wine was available if required. The afternoon was given over to the various activities that Kamu advertises. I was feeling unwell, so didn't participate, but got full reports from my traveling companions. It was evidently all a little disappointing, although the fishing and gold panning were fun to do. The area covered by Kamu Lodge is quite small, obviously very close to the Mekong, and surrounded by rice paddies and then forest.

Everyone enjoyed the visit to the local village, from which the staff are trained, and there were various handicrafts for sale. I missed out on dinner as well, which was at the village. Guests could enjoy a drink beforehand in the Lodge bar area, but the general consensus was that the food was pretty average, and perhaps the food that the villagers normally ate was a little more exciting and spicy.

Breakfast was either Asian or Western, with tea and coffee available. When I asked for another glass of orange juice I was told it was "all gone". A strange incident occurred when we were all packing up and getting ready to leave. Our Vietnamese friends were on the little terrace in front of their room and being watched by two of the maids. Then one of the young women walked on to the terrace and started talking with the other maid who was on the ground, picking at some vines. It was as if there were no guests in the area.

All in all, a little disappointing. My husband and friends agreed that one night was certainly more than enough. Perhaps if there were more open space to hike and stroll it would be more appealing. Having said that, the owners are apparently giving the local village employment and other opportunities. If you have never stayed in safari tent in a remote environment before this would be a good experience, if a pricey one.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank marleydog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 April 2011

We loved our night at Kamu Lodge. Initially we were worried about it being isolated but it was truly a great experience and very comfortable. The tents are much nicer than you'd think and we had a wonderful welcome. Going to the nearby village was a highlight as was my husband having a turn at sowing the rice fields with a water buffalo! The food was lovely too. It was so pretty there I couldn't stop taking photos and so quiet too. A more authentic view of how the locals live than anything else we'd done. Worth the expense.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with friends
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6  Thank JulesAdelaide
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 October 2010

We stayed at this property on 19th October 2010 as an additional extension of our cruise enroute to Luang Prabang.
There were only eight guests at the time all of whom had also arrived and traveled with us on the boat but who we had not known prior to the trip.
Our tent accommodation was perfectly comfortable & quite charming with basic ensuite facilities, but we did have hot water.
Our tent was equipped with mosquito nets, torches and bottled water.
Our bags were carried for us from the boat to our rooms and we found the staff to be accommodating & trying hard with their basic English and service skills.
The location is very picturesque - the tents are set beautifully within the grounds with an outside seating area and the restaurant and bar are located amongst the rice fields.
As there were so few guests we all ate together & the food, breakfast & drinks selection were perfectly adequate.
The property do employ some locals from the village which is located alongside the grounds and the village children roam happily around the communal area.
We did have an English speaking guide who met us on arrival & accompanied us on to Luang Prabang and he made every effort to show us some local practices - fishing, rice planting and walked with us and explained the workings of the village.
From my own point of view I would have liked more information about the relationship between the property and the village and how much revenue is invested back to the villagers to aid their living conditions and prospects.
We went to bed soon after it was dark and woke with the sunlight.

Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
3  Thank Anna P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 March 2010

We stayed here as the 2nd night of a 3 day cruise down the Mekong with the Luangsay Cruise from Houisay to Luang Prabang and totally loved it. The whole trip was quite expensive but we thought well worth it. The accomodation is in the type of safari tents that you find in Africa with comfortable beds and mozzie nets and a stone built bathroom with solar shower, a seating area outside and fresh flowers everywhere. We had hot water any time we showered during our stay.

The communal areas were just beautiful, set in the middle of a rice paddy with walkways linking them. The local village is just round the corner and had a great visit there with not another tourist in sight. We went for a walk in the pm which was a lovely way to stretch your legs after cruising but it would be an exageration to call it a hike. Our guide did not speak any english which was a shame - but then we didnt speak his language either... There is no road to the lodge so all movement is by river which makes it even more peaceful. The staff were all lovely.

There were only four of us staying in the place which made it even more peaceful and quiet. The food was good but not fantastic and there was some reluctance toserve us more drinks after dinner but then Laos was not a late night country!

We preferred the place to the more formal Luangsay Lodge further upstream.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Josken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2010

Kamu Lodge is in an idyllic location set in woods close to the Mekong - you go to bed soon after dark and wake up when it gets light - the nightlife "serenades" you to sleep. Accommodation is in comfortable, spacious tents complete with basic ensuite facilities. The food and service were very good and we were well looked after. Our stay here was part of a three day trip up the Mekong from Luang Prabang to Houai Xai but one night is not enough time to explore and enjoy the surroundings.
The comparative luxury in which we stayed compared to the village next door just reminded us of how lucky we are - and also how money from tourism can help the local people - although we both felt we were intruding on the people during our visit to the village.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank CandS_Kbt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2010

Ok, the location is good and you can visit a nearby village of local people. Nice, but this definitely not justify the high price you have to pay to do that!
First af all they say you can carry the luggage with you as the boat is really spacious and it's true. But they don't mention that you have to climb several steps with the sand to reach the hotel nad the staff won't help you!
Rooms are really basic and if you're lucky enough to go there in a sunny day you can even have hot water (which i didn't). The bathroom has a shower but no washbasin (how come that?).
You reach the hotel around lunch hour and, after that, the so called "activities" start around 3 pm.
Here are the activites (from their website):
First "Rice planting and harvesting in surrounding rice fields". Nothing of that happens, they just explain to you how they cultivate.
Second "Gold panning (January to June) in the Mekong. Anything you find is yours!" Again it's not like that, a guy of the staff tries it once and that's all.
Third "Jungle walks to search for medicinal plants". Not included, if you want to do that you have to stay longer than one day and you have to pay for it!
Fourth "Trekking through the forest to waterfalls (two hour hike and boat ride)". Again not included and available on second day of stay.
Fifth "Traditional fishing techniques. You can sample your catch for dinner!" This is ridiculous! They just tried to throw the net a couple of time in the river!
Sixth "Local village visit". This is the only interesting thing you can do over there included in your package!
Seventh "Archery contest". You can try that, it takes twenty minutes!
Eighth "Team building programs" I don't even know what it's meant to be!
It takes no more than two hours to enjoy the all "activities" and this means that around five pm you've nothing to do till dinner at seven pm.
At eight pm dinner is over and you can go straight to bed as there is nothing more to do!
You might wonder what you paid your USD 140 per person for, but don't forget that for every guest they have the donate the fantastic amount of ONE dollar to the village!
I think that, considering what they offer, they could easily donate something like 40 dollars at least!
This is a rip-off!

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled with friends
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5  Thank effe97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 August 2009

Spent one night at this eco-lodge, with minimal electricity, no A/C and min. infrastructure. Somewhat enlightening look at how the Kamu people live, but certainly felt like we were the ones who were being studied. Interesting two days, but am truly perplexed by the high cost ($280 for 2 adults). You sleep in a tent with two beds, very basic bathroom, limited electricity, simple meals and labor essentially provided by the Kamu people living next door. So why the high cost? Most people would presumably assume that that extra cost is going to help support, etc. the Kamu people, but not so sure. You also pay for all drinks (sans water) out of pocket, although we were told "full board". Noone mentioned this beforehand, just handed a bill at the end. No big deal, but people should be told in advance.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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Thank KrungTiep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kamu Lodge

Address: 44/3 Ban Wat Nong | Kham Kong Rd,, Luang Prabang 0600, Laos
Region: Laos > Luang Prabang Province > Luang Prabang
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #33 of 71 Hotels in Luang Prabang
Hotel Class:3 star — Kamu Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sitting along the Mekong River, Kamu Lodge offers the unique opportunity to experience slow travel with accommodation in our spacious "African Safari" tents, each with a private balcony and thatched roofs. Our tents provide all necessary comforts and great river views. Using only solar power energy at the lodge, rooms have lights, fans and each has an en-suite private bathroom with shower facilities. The experience includes boat transfers to and from Luang Prabang. Step back in time visiting and getting to know the people from the neighboring Kamu Ethnic Minority Village. Activities include the chance to learn traditional crafts from the Kamu people of net fishing, gold panning and to learn with a "hands on" opportunity of rice planting and harvesting. We also offer traditional massages that complement the experience. Enjoy al fresco dining at the lodge's rustic restaurant in the middle of the rice fields. We serve Lao specialties, offering lunch, dinner and breakfast included in the package. There is also a well-stocked bar, offering a delicious selection of drinks and refreshments. Kamu Lodge is in Yoi Hai Village, a 2.5-hour boat ride from Luang Prabang, tour includes a stop at the revered Pak Ou Caves. The 2 day 1 night package departs Luang Prabang daily at 9.00am, returning the following day before 4pm ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kamu Hotel Luang Prabang

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