Feb 28, 2007
OK here we go, my first blatant plug of a business.
A few years ago while in Muang Sing I met a guy Vong who worked at the bank. His English was very good and it turned out I had rented a motorcycle from his business over in Luang Namtha.
That night he took me to a guest house opening party. The guest house was owned by a local oficial. While there, through him as a translator, someone asked my why bother coming to Muang Sing or even Laos it being such a rural out of the way place. I replied (speaking in my limited Lao) how the Lao food was so good, I waved my hand at the view we could all see out the front of the restaurant, the sun was setting over fields of rice all the way to the mountains, and said how beautiful the countryside was, and I mentioned the easy going manner of the Lao people. Actually the normal type of thing you say to anyone when they ask about their own country. The lao lao had already been flowing, and they loved my praise of Loas, hard to go wrong praising a country to it's inhabitants.
When I went back to Luang Namtha this year with photos of Vong and Sai’s young daughter he was standing in front of his brand new guest house. Good connections to be had at the bank? I stayed there that night and a few more nights when I went back up to Luang Namtha province.
Here are the details as of this writing.
All rooms are $6 except the two rooms available out by the kitchen that have a shared bath and are $2. All rooms have hot water but as of now no AC. They are large, clean, have a place to hang clothes, wooden furniture, a painting, ceiling fan etc, There is a lot of wood used in the construction. Most of the walls are brick painted with some kind of sealant to make them shiny and clean, similar to the outside of the guest house.
The restaurant has an extensive menu kind of in the style of large western orientated hotels in Vientiane. (What that means is that if you are expecting something to be like back home fugetaboutit. But it will be very palatable by western standards, look back at my post about Yam Moon Sen three posts ago. Made not very hot, and not too spicy just for you) If you are looking for regular Lao food order from that portion of the menu. Coffee comes in coffee mugs and the restaurant area is a quiet pleasant place to while away time reading or writing post cards.
The entire guest house itself is fairly quiet being set back off the street down as small short alley. The way to find it other than asking or looking for the small sign is to look for the tallest thing on “the street”. That’s the brand new four story tall guest house that was being built by their neighbours next door. Highest building I saw in Luang Namtha.
When I urged Sai, that’s Vong’s wife, to up the rates so to make them comparable to similar rooms in the area she replied that she was more interested in having a full house every night than making tons off one room. They do seem to fill often. Mostly word of mouth but also the mini bus drivers like to take the guided tourists there. The standards meet the requirements of the guided tours and they save ten or fifteen bucks. There is no pressure to eat in the restaurant, rent a motorcycle, change money, or use any of the other services they offer. They are happy that you stay with them.
The hotel is run by Sai, the motorcycle rental by her mom, bikes are serviced by Vong’s brothers, and there are many brothers and sisters working throughout.
The name Zuela comes from Vong and Sai’s little girl who is now of an age to pretend to have tea parties with her friends and is cute as a button.