Day 1 ~ Rivertime Resort & Ecolodge in VientianePosted on Sep 02 in Laos, Rivertime Resort and Ecolodgeby ShelynPrint
According to most of the travel guides, the cost of living in Laos is as below:
Budget: US$0.50 – 1
Mid-range: US$1 – 3
Top-end: US$3 and upwards
Budget: US$2.50 – 8
Mid-range: US$8 – 15
Top-end: US$25 and upwards
Look reasonable huh? But we were shocked when we were told that the taxi fare was USD 22 to Rivertime Ecolodge which is 30km away from the airport. There was no tut tut in the airport so we decided to take the taxi to Vientiane town and look for cheaper transportation to Rivertime Ecolodge. Even the taxi fare to town costs us as much as USD 6 for only few minutes drive.
When we were in town, we visited the market and spotted many stalls selling this French bread sandwiches. It’s like their specialties that you can see them in almost every stall.
It’s very interesting that all types of meats are displayed like this in the stalls.
Hawker stall that sells noodle soup.
We bought a sandwich and 2 bottles of green tea. The green tea costs 6000 KIP each, which is USD 0.7 or MYR 2.4. Isn’t that cheap actually.
Without wasting much time, we tried to look for cheaper transportation to Rivertime Ecolodge, but the transportation fare here is kinda standard, about USD20 for 30km. We had no choice and paid that amount of money in order to get to the destination.
Here we are, Rivertime Resort & Ecolodge (http://www.rivertimelaos.com/), completely spotless from the main street and surrounded by the nature.
Initially, we picked this resort because we saw that the reviews were really good (See URL here: Review from Tripadvisor). But one has to take note that this is an ecolodge, which has a different approach to tourism and how resources are preserved and utilized.
One really big thing about this place is that the whole place was built without cutting down a single tree. The entire design of the resort is integrated into the existing space. Still, visiting an ecolodge also means roughing it out a little. For starters, there is no air-conditioning in any of the rooms. Only fans and natural ventilation. There is hot running water but Don doesn’t really see the need to have hot water if there is no air-conditioning. It’s quite hot and humid here, like any typical tropical forest.
The ecolodge, while a bit rustic, adopts a lot of sustainable management practices, such as employing local staff both in during the construction as well as in the daily operations of the resort. The staff here are also compensated fairly or better, typically receiving 20%-40% better compared to other resorts. The restaurants here also serve food grown in the organic gardens surrounding the grounds.
Rivertime has friendly staff and in addition to a cute dog, there is also a nice cat (they’re both friends). And since none of the trees were cut, there are other little ‘friends’ crawling and flying all over the place too.
While this place aims to serve a higher ambition and a noble one at that, a few things should be noted. The claims on sustainable practices are those made by the resort, and while we do not doubt the resort operator, claims on sustainable practices should be substantiated/certified by third parties.
Still, this place is quaint but not the most comfortable and certainly not for those seeking a luxurious resort with all sorts of creature comforts. It is a great place for those who would like to see more of and support sustainable tourism.
It was a very hot day but also very cloudy. Should expect the rain very soon.
There is a floating restaurant in the resort overlooking the river. Again, we were the only customers here so we felt quite lonely enjoying the river alone.
I guess the life here is just too simple and lonely that when the cat saw the dog, she looked so excited and immediately approached the dog.
There was really nothing much to do here in the resort. So we spent our night in the room reading, reading and reading, with the background music played by a band of insects.
~~ Expenses in the resort: ~~
Room Rate: USD 28 (with private washroom)
Lunch: USD 7
Dinner: USD 7
Internet Access: Free
~~ My rating for this resort: ~~
Value: 2 out of 5 stars – A bit pricey for the room and the food. But since according to the owner of the resort, Philip, the staffs here are compensated fairly or better, typically receiving 20%-40% better compared to other resorts, so I’m happy if our spending help to improve the local staffs’ lifestyle.
Room: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Cleanliness: 2 out of 5 stars – I know it’s not easy to adopt and maintain sustainable management practices, but to maintain the cleanliness shouldn’t be difficult.
Service: 4 out of 5 stars – There’s only one manager here and he’s very friendly. He even brought us a solar torchlight which can be hung on the ceiling when the electricity was cut off during night time.
Business Service: 4 out of 5 stars - Basically I just need internet access in any resort. So since the internet access there is free, I’m very happy. In fact there isn’t much business services, except internet access and a ‘library’, with few books on a table.
Food: 2.5 out of 5 stars - With the price they charged, the food can be better.
Surroundings: 4 out of 5 stars – Just simply love secluded place.
Our spending of the first day (for 2 person):
Transportation – USD 28
Food – USD 17 (with very simple food as described above)
Accommodation – USD 28
Total - USD 73
Did we over spent or the information from the travel guide isn’t that accurate?